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Category:    Home > Reviews > Classical Music > Opera > Multi-Channel Music > Naxos Classical SACDs: Jakob Gade, Mozart Flute Quartets, Spotless Rose, Georg Philipp Telemann, Tansman Symphonies, Melchior Schildt & Peter Morhard’s Complete Organ Works

Naxos Classical SACDs: Jakob Gade, Mozart Flute Quartets, Spotless Rose, Georg Philipp Telemann, Tansman Symphonies, Melchior Schildt & Peter Morhard’s Complete Organ Works


DSD 2.0/DSD 5.1/Extras/Music:


Jakob Gabe’s Jealousy - Suites, Tangos, and Waltzes performed by the Odense Symphony Orchestra  B+/A-/B-/B+


Mozart’s Flute Quartet’s performed by Michala Petri, Carolin Widmann, Ula Ulijona, and Marta Sudraba  B+/A-/B-/B


Spotless Rose: Hymns to the Virgin Mary performed by the Phoenix Chorale  B+/A-/B-/B-


Georg Philipp Telemann: Kapitänsmusik 1724  B+/A-/B-/B-


Tansman Symphonies Vol 3: Symphonies 2 & 3 Quartre Mouvements performed by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra  B+/A-/B-/B-


Melchior Schildt & Peter Morchard’s Complete Organ Works performed by Friedhelm Flamme   B+/A-/B-/A-




Sometimes it is so hard as a classical music fan to determine what recordings to buy.  There are just so many!  Unfortunately because so much classical music is public domain there are dozens of generic labels out there that put out poor quality recordings.  This certainly does not engage new listeners and help them to appreciate the art whatsoever.  This is why certain labels have been known around the world for their quality and Naxos is without a doubt one of the premier classical music labels/distributors and continues to live by high standards.  The label has even helped support the SACD format and even though it will probably only remain a niche format for audiophiles around the world, that does not stop their dedication to put out a superior product.  This recent batch of six SACD’s should have just about any classical music lover drooling at the mouth. 


First, let me talk about the audio quality for these discs.  All of these titles are Hybrid SACD’s, which means that they have three layers to them.  The first is a standard CD layer that will play on any machine, although they tend to sound even better than normal CD’s.  The second layer is the Direct Stream Digital (DSD) mix, which is presented in stereo 2.0.  Then the third layer is the DSD 5.1 mix or sometimes 5.0 mix that plays the album in multi-channel.  For playback of these discs I used my Parasound Halo D3 Universal player connected to a Parasound Halo A3 amp and PSB Platinum T6 towers.  Through this setup I was able to do A/B/C comparisons with all of the discs comparing each layer to one another. 


Overall the CD layers were as expected the weakest of the three and upon comparison it was evident that the compressed PCM audio for the CD layer just couldn’t handle the range that the DSD tracks could.  In particular on the Complete Organ Works SACD it was noticeable how the CD layer cut off the upper and lower registers making the sound seem forced, whereas the DSD layers felt more relaxed and allowed the sound to pass through with ease.  Since an organ has the ability to handle a wide dynamic range of frequencies it’s amazing how the DSD tracks were faithful in reproducing a very life-like and live-like expression of the tracks.  In comparing the DSD 2.0 mixes to the DSD 5.1/5.0 mixes the biggest difference here really comes down to preference.  Purists really seem to like and enjoy standard 2.0 mixes, which in high-end systems will often work.  However, the multi-channel mixes here fare well too as they offer a more ambient-like feel.  More often than not the front soundstage is the more predominate force on these discs with the surround channels used only in subtle ways that make sense.  Often times surround channels are misused, especially when it comes to music, but not the case here as the mixes are intelligently managed and only had that third dimension when necessary to create a more encompassed feel. 


The other great thing about these particular six titles is that each of them are unique in their own way and provide a wide gamut of material that will allow for a variety of expressions and tones on your system.  Choral pieces, orchestral pieces, organ works, and vocal pieces are all different in their presentation and these SACD’s capture them in true form.  Again with regards to the Complete Organ Works disc the mix has a more ‘airy’ type of presentation that gives the listener that true organ like expression, because an organ moves air, this mix allows that to happen.  The mix, especially the DSD mixes, feel like a pumping action is happening, but yet the sound is also smooth and deliberate.  The Mozart Flute Quartet’s on the other hand is more lively and cutting in it’s presentation, which is certainly more characteristic of the tonal qualities of the flute, which cut through the mix in a sharper way.  The choral and vocal sections on their respective discs are more relaxed, warm, and smooth in their presentation and again the DSD tracks are able to capture that where the CD layer falls short. 


There just are not enough words to really express just how fantastic these mixes are, and just how superior they are to the CD counterparts.  Thankfully there are still companies dedicated to issuing material on SACD and we hope that trend continues, even if it never does fully blossom into a mainstream format. 


Jealousy – Suites, Tangos, and Waltzes is a terrific disc that people who love the old overture-type orchestrations often heard in movies from the Golden Age of Hollywood.  With the big crescendos and emotional swells the disc demonstrates the best that SACD has to offer in terms of fidelity in both high and low end. This is a great selection of material to get anyone acquainted with the Danish composer/violinists work. 


Track Listing


Jalousie, Tango Tsigane

Leda and the Swan, Legende D’Amour

Suite D’Amour


Romanesca, Tango

Wedding at Himmelpind, Rustic Suite

Valse Capriccio

Copenhagen Life, Waltz

Douces Secrets, Valse Lente




Next up is Mozart’s Flute Quartet’s, which most people are probably familiar with to some extent, although this recording pulls together the Quartet in D Major (K285), Quartet in G Major (K285a), Quartet in C Major (K285b), and Quartet in A Major (K298).  At the time of Mozart’s life the Flute was becoming one of the more mainstream instruments of it’s time as it was portable and was far superior in terms of capability to the recorder.  Mozart, along with many other composers of the time, began writing more complex pieces as well since prior to this the arrangements were mostly for solo playing or chamber music.  The flute would eventually make its way as a permanent staple in the classic orchestral arrangements. 


This particular selection gives us a great glimpse into the new ways that the flute was being integrated and supplies us with four very different arrangements that Mozart would write during very different sections of his life.  Some of those times would be joyful while others were more sorrowful and that translates into his compositions. 

Spotless Rose: Hymns to the Virgin Mary is a fantastic selection of hymns performed by the Phoenix Chorale under the direction of Charles Bruffy.  This particular SACD truly captures a variety of pieces here as we have some more modern hymns as well as more classic hymns from the 19th century. 


Track Listing


Splendid Jewel – by Stephen Paulus

A Hymn to the Virgin – by Benjamin Britten

Three Latin Motets – by Cecilia McDowall

A Spotless Rose – by Herbert Howells

Two Marian Pieces – by Javier Busto

Three Liturgical Motets – by Healey Willan

Electa – by Jean Belmont Ford




Both the Tansman and the Telemann discs exemplify some of the best in orchestral works and it would be great to have the complete works from these individuals on SACD sometime as well.  Some people are less familiar with these two composers, but these two entries quickly familiarize anyone with their abilities even as secondary composers and would rightfully be considered minor players in the world of classical music.  This however does not diminish the quality of the work, but rather the influence of the work.  Regardless of popularity their accomplishments as artists can be fully revealed now on SACD and it’s always a delight to get material like this to bring fresh life to classical ears. 


Tansman’s symphonies are performed here by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Wilma Smith, with tracks 1-4 dedicated to Symphony #2, from 1926 and running nearly 27 minutes in length.  Quatre Mouvements pur orchestre occupies tracks 5-9 and reflects Tansman’s later career from 1967/68.  Tracks 10-13 are dedicated to the Symphonie concertante (Symphony #3), which runs just over 25-minutes and was released 5 years after the 2nd installment in 1931.


Telemann’s Kapitänsmusik is broken down into two sections, the first 14 tracks comprise of the Oratorio entitled Freuet euch Herrn, ihr Gerechten and runs a total of 28-minutes.  The second half of the disc (starting with track 15) is the Serenata Geliebter Aufenthalt beglückter Stille, which runs a staggering 50-minutes in length. 


The Complete Organ Works of Melchior Schildt and Peter Morhard are broken into two halves as well, the first half occupies the first 14 tracks and runs 33-minutes, while the second half is dedicated to Morhard’s work and runs a total of 36-minutes.  All of the work is accomplished with musical mastery by Friedhelm Flamme on the organ Gerhard-von-Holy-orgel, which is picture on the SACD/CD insert, it was built in 1710/1711 and not only looks magnificent, but as this disc proves, sounds amazing as well.  Here you truly get a sense of the air flow that is happening as well as hearing the performance as you can hear the pedal work and handstops being activated. There is a history segment inside the insert on the organ and the building history of St. Bartholamew’s Church in Dornum, which is a great informative piece as well. 


We look forward to covering other great titles in the future and cannot express enough how this small sampling of discs gives the listener a full sense of a live performance as best offered within the home environment.  Your classical appetite will certainly be quenched with these titles alone, but it’s hard to fully quench a classical hunger for long! 


Also check out our coverage of other classical SACDs:


Fidelis Wave



Ravel - Bolero



Ivan The Terrible




As well as these DVD-Audios:


Handel - Messiah



DTS Label Wave




-   Nate Goss


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