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Holst: The Planets, Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra - Gardner

Holst: The Planets, Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra - Gardner

Chandos  CHSA 5179

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral


Holst: The Planets
Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra

CBSO Youth Chorus
National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain
Edward Gardner (conductor)


For its very first album on Chandos, the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain devotes its characteristic energy and musical mastery to an explosive programme that transcends daily life and earthly experience. It is helped by the enthusiastic, encouraging, and experienced baton of Edward Gardner as well as by the sumptuous yet detailed acoustic of Symphony Hall, Birmingham, all fully revealed in this surround-sound recording.

Their performance of Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra and Holst’s The Planets is already a point of reference in the UK after the immensely successful Prom concert that preceded the recording. The concert’s five-star review in The Daily Telegraph praised in particular the orchestra’s ‘great attack and complete absence of anything routine’, while The Guardian emphasised the great performance of the orchestra in this ‘graceful and evocative programme’, especially the ‘depth and richness of sound that belied their youth’.

This unique album is a first milestone in what promises to be a superb discography for the NYO.

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PCM recording

24/96
Comments (5)
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Comment by Luukas - December 31, 2016 (1 of 5)

Oh, what a wonderful newcomer of Chandos! I already ordered the album in advance - it is now in my library, then.

The Planets looks pretty interesting but Zarathustra is a real treat here. I have waited for a long time a superb SACD release and most likely this will fulfill my expectations. Mackerras (Membran) was OK but the surround sound was a slight disappointment. Perhaps this album was recorded in 192kHz/24bit or even in DSD...

Bravo, Chandos!

PS. Watch the stunning performance (The Planets) here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=be7uEyyNIT4

Comment by Scott Adair - January 11, 2017 (2 of 5)

From the back insert, it appears to be 24/96 & 5.1. Seems like kind of a shame to make a new recording destined for SACD and not use DSD. Maybe I just don't understand the technological issues, or perhaps it is just a matter of cost.

Comment by hiredfox - January 13, 2017 (3 of 5)

Indeed so Scott!

What Sony failed to do when launching SACD back in 1999 was to embed DSD as the recording code for SACD in a standard, which was their raison d'être for the new medium. The Sony/Philips Red Book standard for CD was set in stone and specified 44.1kHz / 16bit as the recording coding, so how they messed up with SACD & DSD remains a mystery.

These days surely we have moved on from the sterile debate of PCM v DSD SQ. DSD is de-facto analogue in nature whereas PCM is not. In a nutshell PCM is no more than a poor recording man's DSD and the final transcription of PCM into DSD does not for one moment mitigate the inherent flaws evident in the SQ of any PCM recorded SACD (screechy metallic upper strings, nasally and harsh female voice etc).

Chandos has not covered itself in glory it has to be said, having for years extolled the virtues of DSD Recording and labelled their SACD as such only to "discover" that because they were recording in PCM and only transcribing PCM to DSD to format the DVD disc that was not an entitlement to claim that their discs as being DSD recorded. When the error was pointed out to them they soon changed their covers to confirm 96/24 PCM recording had been used and their literature to extol the virtues of PCM recording!!!

Bissie confirmed to us years ago that he had to switch away from DSD to PCM because of critical cost considerations, he had many recording rigs operating around the world - witnessed by a wonderful array of artists and ensembles form all over the globe on the BIS label - and he/they just could not afford to convert to DSD recording rigs and stay profitable.

One suspects you'd get the same answer from Chandos and other small niche SACD labels yet on the other hand Challenge, LSO Live and Mariinsky are not huge but stick resolutely to their DSD guns.

Comment by Stephen Wright - January 13, 2017 (4 of 5)

"What Sony failed to do when launching SACD back in 1999 was to embed DSD as the recording code for SACD in a standard, which was their raison d'être for the new medium. The Sony/Philips Red Book standard for CD was set in stone and specified 44.1kHz / 16bit as the recording coding, so how they messed up with SACD & DSD remains a mystery."

All SACDs are encoded in DSD-64, regardless whether the original recording is analog, DSD-64, DSD-256, 44/16 PCM, or DXD.

All Redbook CDs are encoded in 44/16 PCM, regardless whether the original recording is analog, DXD, 96/24 PCM, or DSD-64. In fact I have a Telarc Redbook CD that proudly advertises its DSD origin (Hartmann Symphonies 1 and 6, 1999, conducted by Leon Botstein, I think).

The resolution of the original source recording was never set in stone by either the CD or SACD standard.

Comment by hiredfox - January 15, 2017 (5 of 5)

Stephen, I think you know what I am saying.