“Tutti!” – Orchestral Sampler – Various orchestras and chorus in selections by VIVALDI, CHADWICK, STRAVINSKY, MOZART, PARAY, BRUCKNER, ARNOLD IBERT, R. STRAUSS, JANACECK, MUSSORGSKY-RAVEL & others – Reference Recordings Stereo-only SACD RR-906SACD, 71:33 ***** [Distr. by Allegro]:
[Complete PlayList Below)
This is Reference Recordings’ first Super Audio disc, and more are planned – great news to hear at a time when some other labels are dropping their SACD series due to limited sales. I don’t see how they could have come up with a more exciting and interesting classical sampler of two-channel material from their catalog than they have here. (Some of their future SACDs will be multichannel.) There are the expected warhorses, of course, such as the smashing last two sections of Pictures at an Exhibition which concludes the disc. But there are also unexpected off-the-beaten-path gems such as Malcolm Arnold’s The Padstow Lifeboat, and the world premiere recording of a little piece by conductor Eiji Oue, titled E.C.F. The clean enunciation of the German lyrics to “Morning,” from Richard Strauss’ work for chorus and orchestra, The Times of Day, demonstrates the high quality of Reference Recordings’ miking and mastering. An English translation is thoughtfully provided – unusual for a sampler such as this.
A quick A/B comparison with the CD layer of this hybrid disc shows again the sometimes subtle but often shockingly major enhancement that the higher-res format provides even in two channels. One element is the more extended, tighter and increased physical sensation of the lowest bass drum or tympani hits in such selections as the Firebird excerpts, the Scherzo of Bruckner’s Ninth, or the concluding Great Gate at Kiev. Another is the analog-like quality of “air” around all the performers; one doesn’t appreciate fully its lack on most standard CDs until you do a comparison such as this. Reference Recordings’ compatible HDCD encoding (of which their chief engineer Keith Johnson was co-inventor) does add a noticeable enhancement to the 44.1K sonics when properly decoded, and I was listening via my Benchmark DAC1 which upsamples to 110K. But in spite of this the CD layer sounded like that “air” had been pumped out in comparison.
I have a stack here of sampler SACDs from various labels which I keep delaying reviewing as a feature article – due, I suppose, to lack of interest. Tutti! is an exciting exception and I jumped at the chance to write it up.
1. The Snow Maiden: Dance of the Tumblers
2. Suite symphonique: Intermezzo E Humoreske: Intermezzo e Humoreske
Czech State Philharmonic
3. Rocky Point Holiday
Dallas Wind Sym./Junkin
4. The Firebird: Berceuse
5. The Firebird: Finale
6. Piano Concerto No. 21 in C, K. 467: Andante
Seattle Symphony Orchestra/Istomin/Schwarz
7. Symphony No. 1: Allegretto Con Grazia
Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Paul
8. Symphony No. 9: Scherzo
9. Concerto In F, RV 569: Allegro
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra/McGegan
10. The Padstow Lifeboat
Dallas Wind Symphony
11. Escales: Valencia
12. The Times of Day: Der Morgen
The Turtle Creek Chorale
13. The Makropulos Case: Symphonic Synthesis, Act II
Czech State Philharmonic/Serebrier
14. Presque Isle: E.C.F.
15. Pictures at an Exhibition: The Hut of Baba Yaga
16. Pictures at an Exhibition: The Great Gate at Kiev
– John Sunier