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on 3 May 2012
What was I doing at 5 o'clock on the 15th of November 1988? Well, according to the receipt of my CD of the Elgar works, I was buying the first incantation of the CD from Bauermeister Booksellers in Edinburgh!

It's probably difficult for younger people to appreciate the effect CDs had on the music lovers of my generation. Prior to the advent of these 'musical beer mats' (as a popular Radio 2 presenter christened them!), music was available on vinyl lps (susceptible to pops, clicks and scratches no matter how careful you were with them) or cassette tapes, which tended to stretch, wobble and suffered from 'print through' which spoiled so many recordings.

All of a sudden, these little silver discs arrived which 'lifted the veil' between the medium and the listener. All, it seemed was right with the world. Well, 24 years later, has the CD improved and is it worth splashing out yet MORE money on a recording which, like me, you have owned on vinyl, cassette and CD?

Well, the answer has to be a resounding YES!!

The Elgar works have so much presence that my original CD purchase all those years ago now seem as dated as the vinyl and tape they replaced. The Bass line is so firm and detail which has been hidden is now revealed. It's like hearing these iconic recordings for the first time. There are one or two slight drawbacks. Sir John's moaning and groaning has been minimised and the clatter during the dying chord of the 'cello concerto has been erased. AND, it has to be said that the recording reveals that du Pre wasn't always in the very centre of each note.

But who cares? In the 'Sea Pictures' Dame Janet's voice is revealed in all its dark, authoritative glory and, again, more detail in the orchestral writing is revealed.

I suppose it'll be only a matter of time before EMI find another way of selling the same recording we have purchased (many times!) before but if this is a favourite recording then do try to sample it.
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on 15 January 2013
Forgive the cliche but listening to this remastering of these 2 1960s EMI couplings of vocal music by Elgar and Delius with Jacqueline du Pre playing the respective cello concertos is indeed like hearing them for the first time . There is a sense of immediacy, warmth and detail missing from the earlier remasterings which like Robert Roy I also have owned in various formats .

The legendary Elgar coupling comes over with such freshness . Dame Janet Baker could indeed have been standing singing between the speakers . The remastering has not uncovered faults to my ears but more mastery from both du Pre and Baker and the accompaniment sings as never before . The two finest performances in the catalogue of these pieces have been refreshed marvellously by the engineers.

The same applies a fortiori to the Delius record . The very young du Pre seems to capture the ethereal quality of this piece magically and Sargent as ever is an alert and sympathetic conductor for a soloist. She makes the recent very estimable Watkins/Davis recording ( which is essential for including some music cut from the original ) distinctly earthbound by comparison and that is even more marked in the remastering .

The Songs of Farewell are delightfully sung - all in all a triumph in the EMI Signature series.
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on 1 June 2015
Dame Janet Baker giving the definitive rendition of Sea Pictures but now in glorious HD SACD sound quality! What a thrill. Of the 1500 or so recordings that I've bought over the years this has to be one of the best. Du Pre sounds better than ever - even though I've never been a big fan of her over-vigorous, demonstrative, playing technique! Sorry JDP!
Again, about the best purchase that I've made recently. Highly recommended.
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on 21 May 2012
While there are some curious selections among EMI's new SACD releases (de Stefano's Italian songs), the Elgar and Delius items are outstandingly worthy of this release and gain significantly from the capability of the SACD system to reveal more fully the glories of the original recordings. And while I enjoy seeing the original LP album covers in the lavish notes, I must say that the texts for the Sea Pictures and the Delius Songs would have been a far better inclusion than the pictures of the master tapes and their containers. Yes, of course the texts are in English, but am I the only listener that would appreciate having them in front of me? Therefore my rating is five stars for the musical content, performance and the technology, but one star for the thoughtless presentation
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on 14 April 2014
I have owned different versions of this content over the years. It's good to have them available on one disc. Play time is good value for money.
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on 1 December 2012
What can you say about these magnificent performances from this incomparable 'cellist? Although the recordings were made nearly 50 years ago, they sound superb. I also very much enjoyed the chance to hear Delius' "Songs of Farewell" which are seldom performed.
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on 7 May 2012
IT IS WONDERFUL, TO AT LAST, SEE SOME OF THE EMI CLASSICAL ARCHIVED TREASURES RE-RELEASED IN HIGH RESOLUTION FORMAT ON HYBRID SACD, PATICULARLY JACQUELINE du PRES STUNNING & IMMORTAL PERFORMANCE OF THE ELGAR CELLO CONCERTO WITH SIR JOHN BARBIROLLI AND THE L.S.O. PLUS OF COURSE DAME JANET BAKERS "GOLDEN VOICE" IN AN EPOCH MAKING RECORDING OF ELGARS SEA PICTURES. REAL HEAVENLY PHRASING, JUST MAGICAL!
THE REPROCESSING IN SACD ADDS ALOT OF DETAIL TO JACQUELINE'S CELLO TONE AND TO THE STRINGS OF THE ORCHESTRA.
HOWEVER ONE MUST POINT OUT THAT THE ORIGINAL MASTER TAPES WERE MADE IN 1968 IN STEREO!
MULTI-CHANNEL AUDIO SURROUND RECORDING (ANALOG TAPE TECHNIQUES) WERE NOT COMMON PLACE IN EUROPE IN 1968.
IT HAD ONLY JUST BEEN SPARSELY EXPERIMENTED WITH IN THE USA!
HOME CINEMA MULTICHANNEL HOME AUDIO EQUIPMENT IS CURRENTLY QUITE POPULAR HERE IN EUROPE & THE UK
SO ALTHOUGH MOST OF SUCH WILL PROCESS A STEREO TWO CHANNEL SACD RECORDING WITH A SURROUND SOUND EFFECT BY MANIPULATING ONE'S EQUIPMENT SETTINGS, MY ADVICE IS TO PLAY BACK "DEAR JACQUELINE" AURALLY IN SUCH A WAY THAT ONE ACHIEVES A COMFORTABLE BUT NOT OVER PROCESSED SOUND THAT SUITS THE PERSONAL EAR! IE 2, 0R UP TO 6 FOR MOST COMMERCIAL EQUIPMENTS.
HAVING SAID THAT , I FOUND DISC 2 OF THE DELIUS SACD BEST PLAYED BACK IN 2 CHANNEL STEREO SACD! HOWEVER I RE-INTERATE, IT'S A PERSONAL CHOICE IF YOU HAVE THE EQUIPMENT WITH FULL MULTI CHANNEL FACILITIES.
AS WITH DISC ONE, AN IMMORTAL PERFORMANCE AGAIN FROM DUPRES IN THE DELIUS CELLO CONCERTO.
THIS TWIN PACK SACD RELEASE IS ONLY ONE OF MANY ALREADY OFFERED BY EMI , SO LOOK CAREFULLY AT ALL THE OTHERS CURRENTLY OFFERED ,PATICULARLY HERE ON AMAZON- THERE'S A TREASURE TROVE OF WONDERFUL ARCHIVE RE-RELEASES ON HYBRID SACD!.
ADRIAN (AL)
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on 17 August 2014
very good remastering.
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on 11 April 2013
Purchased for a friend and used in combination with other CDs for the Easter Vigil services, fine for his purposes
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