Bartok and Kodaly - SCO - HDTV Magazine
01 October 2004HDTV Magazine
Technical Rating A-
On an admittedly amateur note: my appreciation for the third movement of Bartók's "Music For Strings, Percussion & Celeste" was initiated by Stanley Kubrick's film, The Shining. Who can forget the tapping xylophone note motif or the mysterious string glissandos that are peppered throughout the classic film's soundtrack? But like every great introduction to a fantastic work of music, exploring the whole is infinitely more rewarding than sampling the parts.
Linn Records' hybrid/multi-channel SACD pairs Bartók's "Music For Strings, Percussion & Celeste" and "Divertimento" with Zoltán Kodály's "Dances Of Galánta," another fine example of Hungarian music. Sir Charles Mackerras conducts the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and their approach to each work is sublime. Tempos are confident, yet unconfined by rigidity, and the SCO players tackle each piece with assurance. The sound quality of the native DSD recording is excellent; however, casual listeners may be tempted to remark that the audio was recorded at too low a level. In fact, all the dynamics and transients of the performances are intact and have not been squashed by limiting or compression. Engineers and mixers Philip Hobbs and Calum Malcolm have opted for a naturalistic surround sound approach: the orchestra occupies a wide "U" shaped soundstage that emanates from the front speakers and dissolves into the rears with the ambience. This hybrid SACD contains hi-res DSD stereo and surround mixes, along with a standard resolution stereo layer (HDCD-enhanced) for regular CD players.
Highly recommended for "newbies" and seasoned aficionados alike!
Related LinksScottish Chamber OrchestraBartok & Kodaly