Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bluy Ray Pure Audio and 2 CD package., 5 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Britten: War Requiem (Audio CD)
This is a very nice package and while it has the classic look of the original and the previous CD set, it now contains a single Blu Ray disc which has all the music in what they call "ultra-high-quality 96kHz 24-bit audio", as well as 2 CDs,

The idea was of course, to create a definitive version/transfer for the 50th anniversary of the piece and they chose to work in the 96kHz 24 bit domain - this means a higher resolution than normal CD and fits well now, with "Pure Audio" on Blu Ray. So, not many people bought SACD players, but there are millions of Blu Ray players out there now, bought primarily for home cinema. A lot of these have decent sound systems built in and so there is potential for more people to hear the original version of this wonderful work in the highest definition possible.

Listening on Blu Ray, the sound is incredibly clear - no background noise and no distortion - even in the loudest climaxes of massed brass and percussion in the Dies Irae. I think there is a discernible improvement over CD, although it's not as dramatic as you might expect from the build-up given, in large parts of the work. The loud Tuttis benefit the most and this is still a 1960s recording and doesn't have the space and sophisticated surround picture of recent recordings like Britten: War Requiem (Erin Wall/ Mark Padmore/ Hanno Muller-Brachmann) (Arthaus: 108070) [Blu-ray] [2012]

However, we can't really complain about having the composer and his preferred performers, presented in the highest possible resolution/sound quality. This has to be the benchmark against which all other versions are compared and gives us an inisght into what Britten intended. To further establish these credentials, the second CD in the package has rehearsal tapes where you can hear Britten himself talking to the performers and getting his points across. There is also a nice booklet included, which has many photos from the sessions and overall, you really get a strong impression of what was going on - especially how serious everybody was, about creating a strong anti-war message.

This is certainly a worthy commemoration of a historic recording and the addition of Blu Ray Pure Audio, makes this a very desirable purchase for anybody who already has a home cinema system with decent sound quality.
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