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Discussion: Mahler: Symphony No. 5 - Temirkanov

Posts: 13
Page: 1 2 next

Post by seth August 31, 2005 (1 of 13)
After reading a plethora of exuberant reviews I picked this SACD up on my way home today. What are people smoking?

The sound is fair, at best. Brass is nice and bright, front and center; everything else is diffuse, as if there is a curtain infront of the orchestra; the sound is restricted in places. The recording has a really strange Y axis; it sounds like the strings are coming out from below the speakers. As a result of this horrible balance, there is a strange sense of space. Getting back to the brass, as good as it sounds, most of the instruments are shoved over into the right speaker. This is just poor imaging (maybe the should have used a third microphone...). The strings sound particularly muddy and subdued. The only positive thing I can say is that the engineers did an excellent job reproducing the most subtle sounds.

The performance is pretty routine. Well done, but nothing special. The brass is a bit coarse at times and there are mistakes.


EDIT: I did some A/B comparisons with Gielen's recent recording (to compare with a recording made around the same time); each time I switched back to Gielen it was like a veil had been lifted. While audiophiles may find the sound in the Gielen recording to have an artificial digital flavor, it has beautiful crystal clear clarity, imaging is excellent, instruments are where they should be, the sound is very open, etc, etc.

The problem with the Water Lily disc seems to be the two microphone setup everyone is praising. It seems like their placement and angle was off, which is why the brass comes in so well, but the strings sound so diffused and distant. The imaging issue could have easily been fixed by adding a third mic. For instance, the Living Stereo recordings done with two mic's have the same problem, such as Reiner's Bartok Concerto for Orchestra where the brass too is mainly shoved into the right channel with there rarely being any spill over into the phantom center channel. None of the three track recordings have this problem. This isn't to say that I have anything gets a two mic setup; I produced a recording of a chamber orchestra only use two (and another two for capturing ambience). But I had the luxury of recording in a hall where my engineer had spent years finding the absolute best placement and angles.

Post by peteyspambucket August 31, 2005 (2 of 13)
Your comments on this are very valuable to me because I almost bought this, but then thought better of it. And I'm glad I held back!

Post by viktor September 1, 2005 (3 of 13)
Seth,
Three reviews, one of them is mine. All of them commented on the strange layout of the orchestra with the complete brass section on the right. This should not has come as a surprise to you. But that was the actual layout in Saint Petersburg, like it or not.
Routine performance...is that beginning routine? And I stopped smoking years ago.
What did you record and for whom?

Post by seth September 1, 2005 (4 of 13)
viktor said:

Seth,
Three reviews, one of them is mine. All of them commented on the strange layout of the orchestra with the complete brass section on the right. This should not has come as a surprise to you. But that was the actual layout in Saint Petersburg, like it or not.
Routine performance...is that beginning routine? And I stopped smoking years ago.
What did you record and for whom?

Brass coming from one speaker is a lot different than the brass being grouped together on one side of the stage live in concert. In person, during any loud parts their sound is going stretch out. This doesn't happen in the recording; it's extremely confined. If properly recorded, you'd hear spill over into the (phantom) center and even left channel.

I recorded Stravinsky's "Pulcinella" Suite. For my senior thesis at Cornell I demonstrated DVD's untapped capabilities in presenting classical music.

Post by viktor September 1, 2005 (5 of 13)
It depends on where you are sitting.
(I have your DVD)

Post by seth September 1, 2005 (6 of 13)
viktor said:

It depends on where you are sitting.
(I have your DVD)

I have never experienced such discreet acoustics.

Post by viktor September 1, 2005 (7 of 13)
seth said:

I have never experienced such discreet acoustics.

Well, what can I say. There is a first time for everything.
And I wouldn´t call them discreet. Did you listen in surround or stereo?
Seriously, if the hall is big and you are placed in front. The great hall in St Petersburg is a vast hall.

Post by ramesh September 1, 2005 (8 of 13)
Seth
who is that cartoon of, Neemi Jarvi logging onto sa-cd.net and reading his 'adulation'? I thought Homer Simpson was bald.
Re DVD's untapped potential, 'Mode'do an excellent job. Their Elliott Carter 24/96 DVD with interview is splendid. I have just received their 24/96 DVD of Xenakis. Both will play on any DVD player, though surround is DTS.

Post by seth September 1, 2005 (9 of 13)
viktor said:

Well, what can I say. There is a first time for everything.
And I wouldn´t call them discreet. Did you listen in surround or stereo?
Seriously, if the hall is big and you are placed in front. The great hall in St Petersburg is a vast hall.

I'm listening in stereo.

I typically sit very close to the front at the orchestra -- best acoustics. Sure, if I close my eyes I can locate the exact position of any instrument, but even if a horn is seated on the extreme left, I still hear it all around me.

Post by seth September 1, 2005 (10 of 13)
ramesh said:

Seth
who is that cartoon of, Neemi Jarvi logging onto sa-cd.net and reading his 'adulation'? I thought Homer Simpson was bald.
Re DVD's untapped potential, 'Mode'do an excellent job. Their Elliott Carter 24/96 DVD with interview is splendid. I have just received their 24/96 DVD of Xenakis. Both will play on any DVD player, though surround is DTS.

It's comic book guy, who hates everything: "Worst episode ever." I'm acknowledging that I'm being a wet blanket.

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