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E. Power Biggs • Music for Organ, Brass and Percussion • The Six Organ-Concerto Sinfonias [SACD Hybrid Multi-channel] Reviews for the product - E. Power Biggs • Music for Organ, Brass and Percussion • The Six Organ-Concerto Sinfonias

[SACD Hybrid Multi-channel]
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1 Product Reviews - Average rating 5 / 5 (Best Rated | Worst Rated | Most Recent | Oldest)

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Fantastic albums finally done right! Hats off!!

- 12/05/2019

This is a most welcome release in every way. I’ve long owned the vinyl originals and was particularly interested in getting a CD of “Music for Organ, Brass and Percussion” (the first half of this disk). A CD of it was briefly offered in the 1980s but disappeared before I could acquire it. I later acquired the Haydn House version (a CD evidently generated from the vinyl) but quickly realized the limitations of the format -- this was a stopgap measure at best. Surely someone would remaster these wonderful recordings and – fingers crossed – maybe even do so in multi-channel, given that the originals were quadraphonic recordings.

Having gained access to the precious masters, Michael J. Dutton did a stupendous job of remastering these amazing recordings – particularly the first half of the program – for Vocalion Ltd. Yes, it took a couple of weeks for the SuperAudio CD to make it across the Atlantic to me, but it was worth the wait! It’d be hard to imagine these sounding any better than they do – there’s only the slightest hint of tape noise well after the final notes fade to alert you to the source material. I wouldn’t be surprised if this album doesn’t become a regular go-to source for putting audiophile systems to the test. It’s very difficult to tell that these programs were recorded in 1972 (brass & percussion) and 1976 (the Bach organ concertos). At the switchover point to the “second” program, the timbre change is breathtaking while giving the sense of inevitability: this coupling was very well thought-out.

The SACD layer has content (the final track) not available on the Redbook CD layer (which is already pushing the limits of official capacity for such CDs). I’ve not listened to the Redbook layer, only the SACD layers. Why take a step backward when one's equipment doesn’t require it, especially with such wonderful music-making as E. Power Biggs, Maurice Peress, and company, bring to the table (for the first program … Rotzsch and the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig accompany Biggs on the Bach concerti).

The program notes appear to accurately replicate the original vinyl album liner notes for both original sources, and the photos are reproduced beautifully. Nice to see that care was taken with the printed materials for this wonderful SACD.

If I had a complaint, it’s that the tracks have virtually no gaps between them: no sooner does one track end then the next one starts. Normal practice in authoring music CDs or SACDs would be to insert maybe ten or so seconds of silence between tracks, but this isn’t the case here. If that’s my only quibble with this fantastic SACD, I’m in pretty good shape – and it IS my only complaint, and (obviously) a very minor one. The tracks are more important than the gaps between them.

This release by Vocalion Ltd has my highest recommendation. It’s impossible to go wrong with it. And for those of you who are used to other arrangements of Eugene Gigout’s Grand Chorus in Dialogue but haven’t heard this legendary orchestration, be prepared for the 800-lb gorilla to enter the room. I own a couple of other versions on CD with other forces and arrangements, but THIS recording sets the standard, age notwithstanding.

Yes, it’s that good – as is the rest of the program. Buy without hesitation.

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