Music for Organ, Brass and Timpani on Sonoma
I've been listening to this wonderful SACD in two-channel this afternoon. If you look over at Acoustic Sounds at http://store.acousticsounds.com/browse_detail.cfm?Title_ID=15380 you'll see some very mixed reviews.
Of course, if you don't like brass and organ,then don't even think about this, but if you do, this is one of the greatest examples of the genre that I've ever heard.
Anthony Newman is organist, playing a spectacular instrument at St. Ignatius Loyola Church in NY. Brass is provided by The Graham Ashton Brass Ensemble, including some great players like Mark Gould and Jim Pugh.
Graham Ashton did most of the arrangements.The music includes Richard Strauss' "Enty of the Knights of the Order of St. John", Handel's "Overture to Music for the Royal Fireworks", Monteverdi's "Tocata from 'Orfeo'", a little Gabrieli, a little Rachmoninov, a lot of Bach and a great transcription of Mursorgsky's "The Great Gate of Kiev from Pictures at an Exhibition."
If you look at those reviews you'll see one or two saying there's no bass. Huh?!?! I was worried about breaking my lease. The organ and tubas rocked my room and pounded my chest. I think that someone had equipment failure, or maybe they've never heard really low, powerful bass. I just played trumpet today, in church, with my back to the wall holding the organ pipes so, you see, I know how organ sounds. This SACD captures the visceral power and excitement of great organ.
I have dozens of albums of this genre and many (most) fail to get the balance between the organ and brass right. Either the organ is too far away or the brass is two far away. Both instrument sets can be very powerful, so it's easy to understand how hard it is to capture. Well, Sonoma does a perfect job here.
As for the brass sound, it's burnished, brilliant and accurate. I'm a sponsor of the Rocky Mountain Trumpet Fest and get to hear lots and lots of brass ensembles live. The recording really nails it. There's no compression. The mics are balanced perfectly for brass.
Oh, the timpani also fits perfectly. There's only one player, but get to really twack the ole skins a few times.
So, if you like this genre, then this SACD is a MUST HAVE. Sorry, but my universal player is set up such that it won't let me play the CD layer unless I disconnect from the two-channel and hook it to a TV monitor. Sorry, but I just don't feel up to that. I'm certain that the SACD layer is better than the CD, but I can't imagine that the CD is all that bad.