III: Finest Music Components
(2005 w/Leonidas Kavakos, violin/Top Music/Intermusic S.A. Hybrid
Super Audio CD/SACD/SA-CD w/CD layer)/Ballet
Du Capitole (2017 Opus
Arte DVD Compilation Set)/Berlioz:
Beatrice et Benedict
(2016/Opus Arte Blu-ray)/The
Golden Age: Bolshoi Ballet
Incredible Latin Guitar Of Sergio Lava: Hi-Fi Guitar
(2014)/London Double Bass
Sound (2015 w/Gary Karr &
Geoffrey Simon/Top Music/Intermusic S.A. Hybrid Super Audio CDs)/A
Midsummer Night's Dream: Royal Swedish Ballet
Kodaly: King Of The Cellists
(2004/Top Music/Intermusic S.A. Hybrid Super Audio CDs)/Verdi:
The Four Seasons
X/B-/B-/B-/X/X/B-/B/X/X/B-/B- Sound: B+ B/B-/B-/B-/B+ B/B
B-/B-/B/B+ B/B+ B/B-/B- Extras:
C-/C/C+/C-/C-/C-/C-/C+/C-/C-/C/C+ Main Programs: Videos: B /
Super Audio CDs have links for track listing and a path to order each
release, available from our friends at Intermusic with technical
performance at the end of this text for all six releases.
start with Amp
III: Finest Music Components: Acoustic Arts
(2005), part of a series of demonstration discs Top Music has made in
conjunction with high end electronic component makers. This 12 track
set includes works by Debussy, Rossini, Tchaikovsky, Paganini and
Schubert, with Leonidas Kavakos on violin. This is as good as the
other tie-in demo SA-CDs we've covered from the label in the past
(note other products like cords, et al, are also noted to you know
the high quality materials used for recording snd transfer, making it
a great reference and resource of this) and its great to always hear
top quality work from people who love music and its sound
reproduction at its highest level.
can find out more at this link...
DVD compilation set is a 3-disc set offering Le
Bete et la Belle
& The Beast)
three ballets from Kader Belarbi are now available in this
collectible three disc DVD set (which is also available on Blu-ray).
If you can't afford to go to all the shows or take a flight to see
one, this is the next best thing and not unlike what is being
screened in HD projection in select movie theaters. Each of these
programs are video recorded nicely and give you a front row seat.
Featuring performances by the Toulouse Capitol Ballet and the Ballet
du Capitole, casts include:
Slave-girl - Maria Gutierrez
Corsair - Davit Galstyan
Sultan - Takafumi Watanabe
Sultan's Favourite Concubine - Juliette Thelin
Corsair's Companion - Demian Vargas
Slaves - Juliana Bastos / Julie Loria
Wealthy Slave-trader - Henrik Victorin
Guards - Cedric Pons / Joel Sitbon
BETE ET LA BELLE:
Beast - Takafumi Watanabe
- Julie Loria
- Kazbek Akhmedyarov
Ferrante - Artjom Maksakov
Ines de Castro - Maria Gutierrez
Pedro - Davit Galstyan
Infanta - Juliette Thelin
programs are presented in anamorphically
definition with 1.77:1 widescreen aspect ratios and LPCM 2.0 Stereo
tracks, which are the best that this format can handle. As mentioned
above, the set is also available in HD on Blu-ray if you are looking
for a slightly sharper and better sounding presentation.
Features include Cast Galleries and you can find out more about the
stories in pervious coverage of these classics performed elsewhere on
Beatrice et Benedict
an award winning opera (Presto Recordings of the Year Finalist 2017
and BBC Music Magazine's September 2017 Opera Choice), is a French
adaptation of Shakespeare's Much
Ado about Nothing
though reimagined as a comical opera piece. It's turned a lot of
heads in the Opera community so worth checking out if you're a fan or
if you're into Shakespeare.
cast includes Stephanie d'Oustrac (Beatrice), Paul Appleby
(Benedict), Philippe Sly (Claudio), Sophie Karthauser (Hero), Lionel
Lhote (Somarone), Frederic Caton (Don Pedro) & Katarina Bradic
show features music by London Philharmonic Orchestra & The
Glyndebourne Chorus with Antonello Manacorda and is directed by
on the disc is in 1080i with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and
a LPCM 2.0 Stereo and DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless tracks as
well. As is common with 1080i presentations, the transfer isn't
anything too mind blowing but serves this performance well.
Beatrice et Benedict - Rediscovering a Masterwork
to the ballet world, The
(2016, a complete ballet in two acts) lands on Blu-ray disc courtesy
of BelAir Media in HD and was taped in Autumn 2016, a few months
prior to Yuri Grigorovich's 90th birthday.
the Corps de Ballet & Orchestra of the State Academic Bolshoi
Theatre of Russia and Pavel Klinichev. Choreography by Yuri
Grigorovich, Sets and costumes Simon Virsaladze, and lighting by
show is a love story between Rita (a cabaret dancer) and Boris (an
idealistist) around the Golden Age of dance by the new generation of
the Bolshoi Ballet, including Nina Kaptsova and Mikhail Lobukhin.
in 1080i high definition with a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a
2.0 PCM Stereo and 5.1 DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless mixes. The
presentation here is fine for this showcase, attempting to make you
feel as if you are a member of the audience. Some details aren't as
clean as they would be in 1080p but that comes with the format.
special features just an Insert program book.
Incredible Latin Guitar Of Sergio Lava: Hi-Fi Guitar
(2014) lives up to its name with 13 strong tracks and the
performances to back them up. I did not recognize any of the songs
by name and only a few by listening to them, so it was a great change
of pace I appreciated an d played with the kind of heart and soul you
expect. The 'Hi-Fi' part is ironic since that term is sadly from
another era (the 1950s to early 1960s in particular), but it still
means high quality and that is what Mr. Lava delivers. Those
interested should check out more about this release at this link...
Double Bass Sound
(2015) is the on recording where the sonics were a bit limited, but
that does not stop this album from this set of 15 songs. Gary Karr
joins conductor Geoffrey Simon on 3 of the tracks, which are
highlights, though performances (without Karr) of The Beatles' When
and even The Spice Girls Wannabe
might be more than a bit much for some listeners. They fare better
with older standards, jazz, pop and showtune.
can find out more at this link...
powerful and offbeat performance of A
Midsummer Night's Dream
(2016) reimagined by Alan Ekman as a ballet is an interesting and
beautifully constructed piece that lovers of the art form won't want
to miss. Eloquently designed with beautiful costumes and set pieces,
the show is jaw dropping and interesting to say the least.
music by Mikael Karlsson and the Royal Swedish Orchestra and vocals
by Swedish pop singer Anna Von Hausswolff.
darkly stylized performance features lots of hay, a giant fish, a
hanging, and hypnotic choreography. This bizarre interpretation is
definitely a sight to behold.
in 1080i with a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a PCM 2.0 Stereo
track and a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 5.1 mix, the
presentation is up to standards and gives you a clean presentation
throughout on Blu-ray disc.
theater and Dance fans here is a bio-documentary feature for you.
(2015) features intimate rehearsals and breathtaking dance sequences,
all of which highlight the life and career of Ohad Naharin, Israeli
choreographer and artistic director of the Batsheva Dance Company.
film showcases how fluid and smooth dance can be in a mesmerizing
manner. Obsessed with perfection, Naharin's choreography is stunning
to say the least with acclaim from actress Natalie Portman (Black
and others who have worked for and know him well.
film is directed by Tomer Heymann (Paper
Gonna Love Me Now?).
in standard definition with an anamorphically enhanced 1.78:1
widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy Hebrew Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
track in Hebrew with English subs. The film is beautifully made so
it's a shame that it isn't presented in 1080p at this time. There is
a mix or archival footage and stage footage with mostly black
minutes of BTS footage
Rosenberger: Dynamic Piano: Beethoven
(2003) delivers two pieces by the legend, delivered nicely by Miss
Rosenberger in their pure piano form. Some may want more grandiose
Beethoven, but these are still very well played and not easy to play,
so the seeming simplicity is just her remarkable grasp and love of
these pieces. With so many such CDs on the market, this manages to
easily stand out.
out more about it at this link...
Plays Kodaly: King Of The Cellists
(2004) for at last most of the time (the first track is actually
Paganini), but again, the superior fidelity of the recording and
format in this case really shows the high quality and heart of the
cello and the man playing it (joined on violin by Joseph Gingold)
making for a high class experience in pure music you'll be likely to
enjoy. In SA-CDs higher definition, its like being at a concert or
more on this release, here's the link...
back to the 1800s, the infamous opera Verdi:
(2017) is for the grandest of voices only and has been well regarded
as a difficult piece to tackle. However, with this remarkable cast
which includes Anna Pirozzi (Leonora), Enkelejda Shkosa (Azucena),
Piero Pretti (Manrico), Marco Caria (Il Conte di Luna), and
Alessandro Spina (Ferrando), the show is a must see for opera fans on
show is conducted by Daniel Oren and directed by Francisco Negrin and
was recorded live at the Sferisterio theatre of Macerata in the
summer of 2016 during their opera festival.
for the technical specs, there's a 1080i/60 high definition transfer
with a widescreen ratio of 1.78:1 and both a PCM Stereo 2.0 Italian
track and a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes as well.
There are subtitles on the disc in various languages. Overall, a
decent presentation however there are some motion blur and grain
evident in some moments.
Features... Insert program booklet.
finally, you can relax from a stressful day with this beautifully
photographed journey into the classical music realm. Conducted by
Claudio Scimone is the Italian Baroque concerti Vivaldi:
The Four Seasons
(2004, aka Le quattro Stagioni) was taped at the Venetian Villas
(with was designed by Pallaio and other famous architects), the
performance cuts back and forth between the orchestral performance
and breathtaking surroundings of the Villas throughout the years.
it would most certainly shine in HD, we are just reviewing the DVD
standard definition version at this time, which has an anamorphically
widescreen aspect ratio of 1.77:1 and a PCM stereo track, both of
which are of high quality for the aging format.
Scimone on ''The Four Seasons'': Explaining the music, its history
Super Audio CDs are all available with a choice of two
sets of tracks each here (three tracks overall on some releases), the
simplest of which are the PCM 2.0 16/44.1 Stereo tracks that allow
the discs to be 'hybrid' and play on all CD players. They sound fine
and about the same in each case, but like most regular CDs, the
sound's sonic ceiling is limited and obvious. So that brings us to
the 'Super' part and is so great, its worth having a player for it.
what we now refer to as Ultra High Definition sound, DSD (Direct
Stream Digital) is the Rolls Royce of High Resolution audio, though I
think DTS: X and Dolby Atmos are just fine, they are still PCM-based
and are made up of many bits. DSD is a single bit that is gigantic
and oversampled 2.8 million times, so it actually plays more
naturally than any other digital audio format at its best and is
equal to the all the best analog formats (including heavy audiophile
vinyl) out there.
at least delivering 2.0 sound, it can deliver up to 5.1 tracks of
music. All six of our SA-CD entries have all three tracks, rated
from highest (5.1, not available in these cases unfortunately) to
second best (DSD Stereo) to plain CD sound. Save sonic limits from
recording, the 2.0 Stereo DSD on the other 5 SA-CDs are the sonic
champs here with remarkable sound reproduction with demo
replay-ability and if you add an SA-CD capable player to your home
theater system (a nice number of Blu-ray and DVD players handle the
format, plus some older Playstation 3 models), it will challenge and
push your system further in a better direction. There is also a
solid, still-growing library of titles (many reviewed elsewhere on
this site) and serious music fans who aren't aware of the format or
still considering should try it out. You won't be disappointed!
include booklets with information on each respective SA-CD release,
much like most SA-CDs, but that's more than you get these days on
many CDs, DVDs and even Blu-rays.
Nicholas Sheffo (SA-CDs) & James