Back to the Future
Thirty years ago, quadraphonic albums were the wave of the future, but a lack of industry support quashed the format in its infancy. Now the resurgence of interest in five-, six-, and seven-channel sound (due largely to the introduction of home-theater systems) and the advent of DVD-Audio and the Super Audio Compact Disc (SACD) formats has led to affordable multiple-channel audiophile sound.
PentaTone, the Netherlands-based label distributed in the states by Telarc, has just released several noteworthy SACDs. The first set of eight remastered quadro recordings (RQRs) are the same quadraphonic recordings made in the 1970s by Philips Classics. These new hybrid discs can be used on most CD players with standard two-channel stereo but only SACD-capable units will reproduce the 5.1-channel effects. All of the recordings feature solid performances, beautifully remastered and reproduced with stunning spatial resolution.
Among those first RQR titles are Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67, and Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 4 in A, Op. 90 "Italian," performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra (Beethoven) and the Boston Symphony Orchestra (Mendelssohn), both under Sir Colin Davis; and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74 and Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a, by the Orchestre de Paris with conductor Seiji Ozawa. Future releases will include several string-related titles.
PentaTone also plans to release new core classical recordings performed by top classical artists, including Kent Nagano and the Berlin Deutsches Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Yakov Kreizberg, the Russian National Orchestra, the Concertgebouw Chamber Orchestra, and many others.
This article, "Back to the Future," is part of the Strings Archive, which you can access with a paid site subscription.
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