Sunday, December 19, 2004

Heifetz, Sibelius, and navel oranges

The original Living Stereo LP issue of this mind-boggling, blockbuster recording contains only the Sibelius Violin Concerto (approximately 26 minutes in length).

The JVC xrcd ($27 street price) duplicates this issuance, with a running time of only 26 minutes.

The forthcoming SACD ($9 street price) will contain the Sibelius, the Glazunov, and the Prokofiev Concerti, with an undetermined but much longer running time!

That having been said, the xrcd sounds like a million dollars--the most diaphanous, luscious tone I've ever heard from Heifetz' instrument (except possibly for the similarly-priced Classic LP reissue--but I must admit that the xrcd is closer in all the musically-important ways than I would ever have thought possible).*

You can literally hear Heifetz taking a deep breath a few seconds before his second entrance in the first movement. That particular sound is not of musical interest, I know, but just one of the elements that goes into placing the listener in the acoustical space in which the performance is taking place.

I don't weigh my music at the checkout counter. It's not a bag of navel oranges.

My headphones (and my head) eagerly await the SACD.


*There are, in fact, a couple of instances of static, for which JVC apologizes, and which are artifacts on the master tape. Either this gem wasn't properly stored over the last half-century, or else Lewis Layton was human after all.


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