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1812 Ov/Cap Italien/Marche Sla Enhanced, Original recording remastered, Hybrid SACD

4.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 27 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Enhanced, Hybrid SACD, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Universal Music Canada
  • ASIN: B00005AVNH
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #57,544 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. 1812 Overture, Op49
2. Polonaise From Eugene Onegin, Op.24
3. Capriccio Italien, Op.45
4. Marche Slave, Op.31
5. Waltz From Eugene Onegin, Op.24
6. Festival Coronation March
7. Cossack Dance From Mazeppa

Product Description

Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture etc. / Kunzel, Cincinnati Pops (Multichannel Hybrid SACD)

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

This disc was among those on my list for when I finally got my hands on an SACD player. I was very excited when I finally put it in and pressed play.
Then I was a little disappointed. The orchestra seemed dull....almost far away in the mix. The volume on the recording is very low, and I found myself turning up the volume just to hear the detail in the strings.
What's more, I found the perfomance a wee bit uninspired. Maybe a little too slow for my tastes. (My favorite recording of the 1812 is Claudio Abbado and the Cleveland Orchestra....now that would make a truly great SACD)
Then came the cannons....wow! But, far far too loud when compared to the rest of the mix. The orchestra and chorus are practically drowned out by them, and I also found myself having to turn down the volume at that point just to avoid speaker damage.
The cover does warn you to be aware of the volume when the cannons blast, but had the orchestra been mixed a little louder, i would not have had my volume up past the usual point where all music has depth and power, thus necessitating me to turn it drastically down just for the cannons.
I determined that a safe level for my system was around 66....but when i listened from the beginning at that volume setting the orchestra and chorus were far too soft to be heard clearly.
All in all, I just felt that the balance between the sounds was poorly engineered. It seems as though Telarc was more interested in the exploding cannons than in the quality of the music.
This disc is great to show off your system and have some fun blowing things up, but it is hardly a great recording of great music.
Let's just hope someone else gets it right next time around.
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I absolutely adore Tchaikovsky in all his various incarnations, and on this disc he'll blow you away.
In respect to the 1812 Overture, Erich Kunzel made a wonderful choice including the choir, and the cannons are incredible, especially on the right equipment, as another reviewer exhaustively explained. Apart from 1812 Overture, there are plenty of treats from the well-known Polonaise from Eugene Onegin to the lesser-known Cossack Dance (a real treat) and the Festival Coronation March (some signature Tchaikovsky bombast).
You will not find a better engineered recording of any of these pieces, however I believe that Capriccio Italien and Marche Slave have been better-played in a variety of places. Kunzel is just too free with the tempos, and the whole concept of a march is somewhat lost. On the cannon end of things, it seems that Kunzel has arranged the blasts from worst to best as the piece progresses. The first much-anticipated cannon shot is a letdown in that it sounds like you dropped a metal trash can lid. However, by the time we reach the end, there has been one shot that sounds incredibly like a cannonball flying inches above your head and the final shot which resonates like the planet exploded.
Overall this disc is wonderful, especially if you have the right equipment, but a better choice for the typical CD player (the cannons and the bells seem to have more of a raw oomph! to them) is Antal Dorati's 1950s recording with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra on the Mercury Living Presence label. Somehow, there is something in Dorati's interpretation that doesn't need today's fancy equipment to make it sound fantastic. Buy Kunzel's and buy Dorati's and decide for yourself. My choice is Dorati, but Kunzel is a very close second.
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Telarc International made recording history in 1978 when they used digital audio technology to record the 1812 Overture. With its live cannons and phenomenal dynamic range, it quickly became a favorite demo disc in many audio stores, and the ultimate test for my new CD player and system.
The advent of multi-channel discrete surround sound and high-definition audio recording systems such as 24/96 PCM and the DSD system, with its frequency response extending beyond 100 kHz and the availability of Super Audio CD and DVD-Audio, were enough to coax Telarc to create a new recording of the 1812. The new recording is even more taxing on your sound system than the original.
Deciding to release the recording on the latest DSD recording equipment, the music, Civil War-era cannons, and the church bells were captured in different venues.
The recording is mixed to include optional height information using the LFE channel. Telarc's height information is used to drive a pair of elevated side, preferably dipole, speakers. The height information does add to the overall effect, particularly with the cannons. Even without the height effects, this is a great demo disc, one I demo frequently for myself when my wife is out of the house - the pictures are straightened before she returns!
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First, let's start out by admitting this was meant to be a demo disc. Since the LP was invented, Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture has been used to show how close audio reproduction is getting to "perfection" - whatever that is.
This 6.0/5.1-channel SACD does not disappoint. The cannons are so realistic that my dog was arching her head to try to figure out where the sound was coming from (the only other time that happened was in the "barking" sequence of the remastered "Hey Bulldog").
Since cannons come out of all four corner speakers, it made quite an interesting scene. My multichannel SACD player directed the low bass to the LFE channel - make sure to set your bass management properly on your multichannel SACD player, such as the Sony SCD-CE775, before playing the disc. The equalization and levels are very consistent with other multichannel SACDs.
The orchestra sounds very realistic, as you would expect with a multichannel SACD. The orchestral recording is designed to surround the listener rather than have discrete points, unlike the cannons.
In addition to the 1812 Overture, the disc also contains a number of Tchaikovsky's other works. At the end of the multichannel SACD are 6 tracks of test tones for help in balancing the SACD player. I found the LFE track to be invaluable and better than the player's test tones. The voice used to introduce each tone is sure to bring a smile to any face.
The reason the 1812 SACD is listed as a 6.0/5.1-channel disc is that the orchestral part of the disc contains an "upper center" channel output instead of LFE output. This really isn't a problem as long as the disc is played with the multichannel SACD player's bass management set properly and the subwoofer's (LFE) low pass filter is enabled.
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