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Discussion: Respighi: Church Windows etc. - Ashkenazy

Posts: 42
Page: 1 2 3 4 5 next

Post by DSD June 16, 2009 (1 of 42)
My reply to John from another thread /showthread/29069/39567/y#39567 I moved it here as this spot is more relevant.

hiredfox said:

"The Exton sound can take one not familiar with it by surprise. Best described as warts-and-all unpolished but it don't 'alf sound like a real live performance and oozes excitement! Problem for Brits is that only a small part of their releases ever reach the UK whilst the amazon.jp website is totally un-navigible and HMV send everything by the most expensive postal arrangements they can envisage."

My response:

Oozing excitement is a great way to describe Exton DSD recorded SACDs. The goosebump level is extremely high and often, especially with the Rachmaninov and Respighi orchestral SACDs. The sound stage is gigantic and they often use a lot of microphones, amazing without any ill effects I can hear. Next to Telarc these are among my favorite DSD recordings.

If you mean unpolished as in very little editing, you are correct as you will hear Vladimir Ashkenazy sometimes grunt when he is conducting, perhaps this is one of the secrets to why they sound so real? Once one starts cutting and editing, piecing different performances together IMHO it decreases the flow of music and it in turn sounds less live to me. So it may be a good thing they didn't try to remove Mr. Ashkenazy's grunting by piecing together different bits from different takes.

It is no secret I love classical orchestral music on Direct to Disc LPs as to me the flow of the music sounds so real. Some people want note perfect music, not me, I want music that sounds and feels real and is full of excitement. That is why I am for little to no editing.

I also think the earliest Telarc and Exton SACDs sound more real as less editing was possible in DSD at that time.

I would like to see Exton get a USA distributor, but that likely will not happen as I understand SACD is the least popular in the USA than just about anywhere else in the world. In that case I hope more Exton's get imported to Europe, so I can order them from there as the total price is less than half of the cost to import them from Japan.

I have read that SACD is the most popular in the Far East followed by Japan, Germany and the UK and then the rest of Europe. Some even think that SACD is more popular in Russia than in my home country of the USA. It makes me wonder what the hell is wrong with my country and why hasn't SACD made a bigger impact here?

Today I added my review of the Respighi: Church Windows /showreviews/3607#6515 which is flat out the most exciting recording in my entire collection, I am more impressed with the Roman Trilogy than many of the other reviewers and may write a review of it soon. I am listening to it now though with Sennheiser headphones and it is superb. I played Church Windows through speakers earlier today.

Post by mahlerei June 16, 2009 (2 of 42)
Personally I think there are much better versions of Church Windows elsewhere, notably on RBCD. The Exton sound was very disappointing - in stereo at least - on the Edo de Waart Zarathustra, but then it's hardly competitive as an interpretation. Again, some of the most compelling performanecs can be found on RBCD.

One Exton disc that did impress me enormously - sonically and musically - was the van Zweden Rite of Spring. Refreshingly different, not as overdriven as some. I look forward to hearing more of his Stravinsky.

Post by bissie June 16, 2009 (3 of 42)
I have read that SACD is the most popular in the Far East followed by Japan, Germany and the UK and then the rest of Europe. Some even think that SACD is more popular in Russia than in my home country of the USA. It makes me wonder what the hell is wrong with my country and why hasn't SACD made a bigger impact here?
May I, then, from a practical experience, tell you my findings?

SACD is a selling argument in Taiwan, a little in HK, decidedly NOT in Japan and the rest of the Far East.
In Europe SACD means next to nothing, with the possible exception for Be-Ne-Lux, and certainly not in Germany, according to my German distributor.
My UK distributor tells me the same as my German. Nice for a few enthusiasts, but not a selling argument in general.
The USA, however, is a different kettle of fish.
Thus, almost diametrically to what you state, Teresa.

Not to start another megadiscussion...

Robert

Post by tailspn June 16, 2009 (4 of 42)
bissie said:

May I, then, from a practical experience, tell you my findings?

SACD is a selling argument in Taiwan, a little in HK, decidedly NOT in Japan and the rest of the Far East.
In Europe SACD means next to nothing, with the possible exception for Be-Ne-Lux, and certainly not in Germany, according to my German distributor.
My UK distributor tells me the same as my German. Nice for a few enthusiasts, but not a selling argument in general.
The USA, however, is a different kettle of fish.
Thus, almost diametrically to what you state, Teresa.

Not to start another megadiscussion...

Robert

Interesting! Could you elaborate a bit? Since the RIAA does not count hybrid SACD's, there is almost no way to get a sense of the market here in the US.

Thanks,
Tom

Post by Windsurfer June 16, 2009 (5 of 42)
bissie said:

May I, then, from a practical experience, tell you my findings?

SACD is a selling argument in Taiwan, a little in HK, decidedly NOT in Japan and the rest of the Far East.
In Europe SACD means next to nothing, with the possible exception for Be-Ne-Lux, and certainly not in Germany, according to my German distributor.
My UK distributor tells me the same as my German. Nice for a few enthusiasts, but not a selling argument in general.
The USA, however, is a different kettle of fish.
Thus, almost diametrically to what you state, Teresa.

Not to start another megadiscussion...

Robert

Following up on what tailspn says, concerning the RIAA, can we assume that you are referring to BIS's experience as interpreted from BIS's internal accounting to allow you to say that?

Might other labels (speculation here!) have a different experience?

Post by DSD June 16, 2009 (6 of 42)
bissie said:

May I, then, from a practical experience, tell you my findings?

SACD is a selling argument in Taiwan, a little in HK, decidedly NOT in Japan and the rest of the Far East.
In Europe SACD means next to nothing, with the possible exception for Be-Ne-Lux, and certainly not in Germany, according to my German distributor.
My UK distributor tells me the same as my German. Nice for a few enthusiasts, but not a selling argument in general.
The USA, however, is a different kettle of fish.
Thus, almost diametrically to what you state, Teresa.

Not to start another megadiscussion...

Robert

Robert I am glad to hear that SACDs, at least from BIS are selling in the USA. There was even one writer that blamed the USA for dragging the entire format down. I know I can't believe everything I read on the internet and because hybrid SACD sales are counted as CDs in the USA there is no real data.

I'm shocked to read about Japan, especially as there are tons of SACDs made for the Japanese market only that are either unavailable to outsiders or only available at an extremely high price.

Maybe Exton will seek out a USA distributor? Currently most of Exton's 199 SACDs are only available in Japan, with the exception of 20 or so they have imported to the UK/Europe market with English program notes. The Japanese only SACD versions have both Japanese and English on the cases with the front of the booklet in English only but the inside program notes are Japanese only. On the titles imported to UK/Europe the inside program notes are in both Japanese and English everything else is the same.

Curious ever since I seen my first Japanese LP back in the 1970's I've noticed the covers seem to always be in English and the backs were Japanese and English.

Post by DSD June 16, 2009 (7 of 42)
mahlerei said:

Personally I think there are much better versions of Church Windows elsewhere, notably on RBCD. The Exton sound was very disappointing - in stereo at least - on the Edo de Waart Zarathustra, but then it's hardly competitive as an interpretation. Again, some of the most compelling performanecs can be found on RBCD.

One Exton disc that did impress me enormously - sonically and musically - was the van Zweden Rite of Spring. Refreshingly different, not as overdriven as some. I look forward to hearing more of his Stravinsky.

Curious Dan what versions might those be? As Church Windows is not recorded very often.

My first version was Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra on LP followed by the fantastic 45 RPM Reference Recordings LP by Keith Clark and the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, which is #2 on 10 Recommended Audiophile LPs. http://vinylfanatics.com/analoglovers/page3.html The performance and especially the sound quality just creams the Ormandy.

I have only tried one CD version: Jesús López-Cobos and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra on Telarc CD80356, IMHO the gong at the end of "St. Michael Archangel" was very lame and the sonics bland, but of course it's only a CD and that alone explains the poor sound quality to me but the performance was lackluster as well.

I only know of two other Church Windows on CD one on Naxos the other on Chandos. I don't like the sound of Naxos on SACD, DVD-Audio, CD or MP3, I find their recordings extremely bland and lacking in deep bass response. Ditto with early Chandos as I don't care much for their recordings until they switched to DSD recording.

There was a highly regarded mono LP with Antal Dorati and the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra on Mercury but I have never heard it.

I listen in Stereo and IMHO the Exton SACD is by far one of the most realistic recordings I have heard in any format, SACD, DVD-Audio, LP or prerecorded Reel to Reel tape. As I said in my review "The energy level of this SACD is thunderous and it defines the term "power music". The bass is deep, full and warm. The organ is huge and powerful. The big bass drum packs a wallop you can feel in the pit of your stomach, a rare sensation outside of the concert hall. The midrange is melodically beautiful and the highs are airy with a wonderful touch of delicacy. This is Respighi on adrenaline, and this will now be the first SACD I pull out when someone asks me, what’s so special about SACD?"

And the performance, OH MY GOD, no Church Windows I've heard comes even close, even the wonderful Keith Clark from Reference Recordings! That is why I gave it 5 stars for both performance and sound quality. /showreviews/3607

If your intention is to discredit a recording you should at the very least give recorded examples of why you believe the way you do like the rest of us do.

I also have to question you ability to reproduce SACDs with their full glory if you actually think there is a better sounding CD anywhere on Planet Earth of Church Windows than this absolutely marvelous DSD recorded SACD. Of course you are free to question my ability to get the most out of CDs. If you do, please know that is an area I do not want to explore as I prefer high resolution DSD recorded SACDs over low resolution CDs, so if any additional monies get invested by me it will be to further improve high resolution DSD/SACD playback.

Post by mahlerei June 16, 2009 (8 of 42)
DSD said:

Curious Dan what versions might those be? As Church Windows is not recorded very often.

My first version was Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra on LP followed by the fantastic 45 RPM Reference Recordings LP by Keith Clark and the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, which is #2 on 10 Recommended Audiophile LPs. http://vinylfanatics.com/analoglovers/page3.html The performance and especially the sound quality just creams the Ormandy.

I have only tried one CD version: Jesús López-Cobos and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra on Telarc CD80356, IMHO the gong at the end of "St. Michael Archangel" was very lame and the sonics bland, but of course it's only a CD and that alone explains the poor sound quality to me but the performance was lackluster as well.

I only know of two other Church Windows one on Naxos the other on Chandos. I don't like the sound of Naxos on SACD, DVD-Audio, CD or MP3, I find their recordings extremely bland and lacking in deep bass response. Ditto with early Chandos as I don't care much for their recordings until they switched to DSD recording.

I listen in Stereo and IMHO this is by far one of the most realistic recordings I have heard in any format, SACD, DVD-Audio, LP or prerecorded Reel to Reel tape. As I said in my review "The energy level of this SACD is thunderous and it defines the term "power music". The bass is deep, full and warm. The organ is huge and powerful. The big bass drum packs a wallop you can feel in the pit of your stomach, a rare sensation outside of the concert hall. The midrange is melodically beautiful and the highs are airy with a wonderful touch of delicacy. This is Respighi on adrenaline, and this will now be the first SACD I pull out when someone asks me, what’s so special about SACD?"

And the performance, OH MY GOD, no Church Windows I've heard comes even close, even the wonderful Keith Clark from Reference Recordings! That is why I gave it 5 stars for both performance and sound quality. /showreviews/3607

If your intention is to discredit a recording you should at the very least give recorded examples of why you believe the way you do like the rest of us do.

I also have to question you ability to reproduce SACDs with their full glory if you actually think there is a better sounding CD anywhere on Planet Earth of Church Windows than this absolutely marvelous DSD recorded SACD. Of course you are free to question my ability to get the most out of CDs. If you do, please know full well that is an area I do not want to explore as I prefer high resolution DSD recorded SACDS over low resolution CDs, so if any additional moneys get invested by me it will be to further improve high resolution DSD/SACD playback.

Teresa

Is there any point in telling you which performances I prefer, as you have already made up your mind that the Ashkenazy DSD performance is the best thing since sliced bread. Some of us believe there is more to a performanec than just the sonics but then I don't think you'd know a good performance if it bit you in the backside. As your tediously repetitive posts simply confirm, unless it's on DSD it doesn't even exist for you. And if we're talking critical judgements OH MY GOD falls some way short of any meaningful analysis, don't you think?

By the way, it's monies, not moneys.

Post by DSD June 16, 2009 (9 of 42)
mahlerei said:

Teresa

Is there any point in telling you which performances I prefer, as you have already made up your mind that the Ashkenazy DSD performance is the best thing since sliced bread. Some of us believe there is more to a performanec than just the sonics but then I don't think you'd know a good performance if it bit you in the backside. As your tediously repetitive posts simply confirm, unless it's on DSD it doesn't even exist for you.

Every one who has reviewed it has agreed with me:

Site review by Castor May 24, 2007
Performance: ***** Sonics (MC): *****
"The sound quality on this 5(4?).0 channel SACD is absolutely stunning. I doubt that Respighi’s exotic orchestral palette and massive dynamics have ever been captured on disc as vividly and unflinchingly as here."

Review by thepilot June 13, 2007
Performance: ***** Sonics (S/MC): *****/*****
"This is certainly on of the best orchestral recordings ever made and the best recording of Church Windows you will ever find. Stunning dynamic range, splendid multichannel sound image and exceptional performances by Vladimir Ashkenazy."

Review by Oakland August 10, 2007 (6 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance: ***** Sonics (S/MC): ****½/*****
"I highly recommend this disc for both sound and performance"

12 of 13 recommend this SA-CD

Before defaming any recording the least you could do is explain why especially when you seem to be the ONLY one. You cannot attack someones work and retreat, otherwise there is no way to take you serious in anything you ever say.

For clarification "OH MY GOD" says it all, it just doesn't get better than that.

BTW I do listen to non-DSD recordings, I just don't expect them to offer the absolute sonic realistm of DSD recorded SACDs. Those are extremely special indeed, and I praise them whenever I get a chance to. Why? Because I prefer DSD recording and I want everyone to switch to DSD recording. Surely one is allowed to love what one loves.

Post by Windsurfer June 16, 2009 (10 of 42)
mahlerei said:

Personally I think there are much better versions of Church Windows elsewhere, notably on RBCD. The Exton sound was very disappointing - in stereo at least - on the Edo de Waart Zarathustra, but then it's hardly competitive as an interpretation. Again, some of the most compelling performanecs can be found on RBCD.

One Exton disc that did impress me enormously - sonically and musically - was the van Zweden Rite of Spring. Refreshingly different, not as overdriven as some. I look forward to hearing more of his Stravinsky.

????

Are you stating what you know (that in your opinion), this is inferior to others you have also heard, or are you inferring that since the de Waart Zarathustra (which I assume you are still talking about in the next phrase)is hardly competitive as an interpretation, that this disc, sound and interpretation - even though here it is Ashkenazy not de Waart -is inferior?

It seems to me that if you want to be clear about it you should talk about this Church Windows - It isn't even clear from your post that you have ever listened to it! - and compare it to others you know, rather than drag the inferior de Waart Zarathustra into the discussion.

Notice I am not disputing anything you say, merely saying that you are quite unclear as to exactly what your thought process is here.

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