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Nice notes but not a great acoustics sound in the round
le 28 juin 2012
No doubts that this is a 'curiosa' assemblage of lesser known petite-scale-Vivaldi-concertos with the occasional scattered tiny semi-precious-stones here and there - not even close to Vivaldi 4-seasons glory, and do not expect a four-seasons-for-runner here...
My concern here is more with the audio properties of this 2-SACD set.
During the first few minuets of listening to this SACD recording one is reminded of the sonic properties or finger print if you will, of the now legendary, analogue recording "Music ancient du Greece" made in the seventies by French Harmonia-Mundi (which also features period instruments), or to the "Devil's Trill" - Palladian Ensemble SACD recording by Linn (also with period instruments - and also recorded in a church) - but the similarity in sonic and sonority with this La-Cetra ends right there;
Where the French Harmonia-Mundi recording and the Linn SACD Palladians recording (featuring Tartini and Veracini) has more body, more focus, more presence, more depth and clues about the instruments location in relationship to each other - this Channel-Classics SACD (listened to in multichannel mode) has too much reverberation, haze throughout the sound field and around the instruments which lends it an added vagueness.
And what's more; the engineers went out-board here, with the rear channels emphasized beyond proportion to the front channels;
one has to tame the rear-channel's volume DRASTICALLY (almost attenuating them to zero output) in order to achieve any sensible sound-picture of what's going on on the front channels.
Simply put, the more one listens to this recording the more one become tired of that church acoustics, the reverberation captured and the haze that prevail there.
For such a bonbon-pack-low-key Vivaldi oeuvres this is wrong.
Make no mistake; the recording chain used here is one of the best in the business: Best calibrated microphones (too many of those for that simple revenue), great interconnect cables, best Analogue to Digital converter by Grim Audio, etc... and yet, and yet...
A good small to mid-size hall, furnished, draped and carpeted, would have done more justice to these Vivaldi short 'concert pieces'.
As it stands right now, this is not a very attractive SACD offer and certainly the praises endowed on this item are grossly misleading.