This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.
BERLIOZ Requiem • Colin Davis, cond; Ronald Dowd (ten); Wandsworth School Boys’ Ch; London SO O & Ch • PENTATONE 5186 191 (2 Hybrid multichannel SACDs: 91: 19)
Issued in 1970, Sir Colin’s first recorded performance of the Requiem has been a lighthouse in a stormy sea of novelRead more approaches—the Requiem of (not quite) a thousand, whiplash of the big machines, the sonic spectacular, the marathon sprint (e.g., Robert Spano’s with the Atlanta Symphony Chorus and Orchestra, fitting snugly on a single disc —Telarc SACD-60627; see Andrew Quint’s feature article in Fanfare 28:2)—many of them estimable, if in quite various ways. But it is the essential dignity of Davis’s grasp—against which the animation of detail, the drama, the effects unfold—that has made this a performance to live with. The news is that it was recorded in quad, a version unreleased until now. A spectacular stereo recording, the SACD version is fuller, richer, deeper and even more vibrant. Hearing it in tandem with the lavishly praised 2004 state-of-the-art Spano, the latter looms as a brilliant sonic surface against the spatial profundity and fraught detail of Sir Colin’s nearly 40 year-old tilt, though that’s at least partially due to Davis’s broader unfurling. Old friend or new discovery, this viscerally affecting version is the one to have.