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Category:    Home > Reviews > Classical > Soundtrack > Multi Channel Music > Prokofiev - Ivan The Terrible: Leonard Slatkin (Mobile Fidelity SACD)

Prokofiev: Ivan the Terrible - Leonard Slatkin

(Mobile Fidelity Multi-Channel SACD)

 

Music: A†††† PCM CD: B†††† DSD Stereo: B+†††† DSD Multi-Channel: A-

 

 

When it comes to excellence in the world of music recording, there are companies like Mobile Fidelity there to meet the consumer.A consumer interested in getting the best quality that the format offers, in this case Super Audio Compact Disc.When it comes to DVD another company offers the same excellence and that is the Criterion Collection, which has been around since the LaserDisc era and has continued to restore and remaster to the fullest in order to come as close as possible to the original way the film should look and sound.Mobile Fidelity likewise does the same and that is precisely why Prokofeivís Ivan the Terrible soundtrack is a perfect fit.

 

The reason for this is because the DVD for the film is released through Criterion, along with Alexander Nevsky in a box set, including both Ivan films, part one and two.The sound on those discs though is old Dolby 1.0 mono that has aged very poorly, with Nevsky possessing the notorious Stalin-approved final soundtrack, but the newer recording of Prokofievís score from Mobile Fidelity is an awesome listen and would be really terrific if you could sync it up with the film.The Mobile Fidelity disc offers three different audio playback modes: 2.0 PCM CD, DSD Stereo, and 4.0 Multi-Channel DSD.

 

Elsewhere on this site I had the privilege to review a few other discs from Mobile Fidelity including the outstanding Ravelís Bolero SACD, Los Lobos Goodbye Aztlan SACD, and we continue to look forward to the fabulous work done by this company.The reason is very simple and that is that the titles that are chosen always lend themselves to treat the listener to something fresh and new.Whether it be a recording you have heard thousands of times or never at all, listening to the SACD form, which comes as close to the Original Master tapes as possible at this point in any format, opens the listeners ears in a whole new way to the intended sounds and performance.

 

 

Track Listing:

 

1.†††††† Overture and Chorus

2.†††††† March of the Young Ivan/The Broad Expanse of the Sea

3.†††††† Iíll Be the Tsar!/God is Glorified/Long Live Our Tsar/The Sea

4.†††††† Simpleton/The White Swan/Glorification/The White Swan

5.†††††† On the Bones of Our Enemies/The Tartars

6.†††††† The Cannoneers/To Kazan!

7.†††††† Ivan Pleads with the Boyars

8.†††††† Yefrosiniya and Anastasia/Song About the Beaver/Ivan at the Coffin of Anasasia/Choir of the Oprichniks/The Oath of the Oprichniks

9.†††††† The Song of Fyodor Basmanov

10.†††† Dance of the Oprichniks

11.†††† Polonaise

12.†††† Finale

 

 

This is a case where both the film and the soundtrack are absolute masterpieces and are both worthy of obtaining for serious cinemaphiles and audiophiles alike.The score for this film is and was always meant to be full and powerful, to help aid the storytelling by being boisterous and bold, which would fuel this politically charged narration into a whole new level.Even while listening to the film you get a sense of pride, heroism, esteem, courage, and yet the chorus echoes feelings of sympathy, hurt, longing, pain, and misfortune.

 

There are three possible ways to immerse yourself into this piece.They are: CD layer, the DSD (direct stream digital) stereo mix, and the DSD multi-channel mix, which is actually placed in four channels.Those channels are all but the center channel in a typical 5.1 setup and there is also no .1 LFE discreet subwoofer channel either.Now the CD layer and the DSD stereo layer are very similar in orientation, but the biggest difference is the compression and lack of detail that immediately becomes evident when switching to the CD layer.Then the 4.0 DSD bumps it up a notch from the stereo mixes by introducing a more fuller soundstage that now brings audio information from the surrounds, which more-or-less serve as ambiance.Due to the way in which this particular recording was done, the microphones were setup at varying distances to give a Ďlifeí feel, so this recording also echoes that to some degree.

 

You can crack up your volume knob until your ears bleed on this one as well because the sound never distorts!No matter how loud you go the presentation is full, dynamic, and powerful.This gets you about as close as you can get to being in the room with the symphony pounding away and the St. Louis Symphony here under Leonard Slatkinís directing is phenomenal.†† Mobile Fidelity delivers once again with an important recording that is a guarantee pleaser.I look forward to reviewing more of their material since it never disappoints!It is material like this that should make more consumers aware of the SACD format and continue to seek out players that are capable of playing SACDís and re-thinking their home theater setups to handle an important format like this.Mobile Fidelity also includes great liner notes about Prokofiev, this recording process, and also about their SACD presentation and how their GAIN 2 system works for transferring over at the best possible rate with minimal amount of loss.

 

 

-†† Nate Goss


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