Top critical review
16 people found this helpful
lovely piece, butchered by sound engineer
on 3 June 2010
This is obviously a fantastic piece of music, the shimmering arpeggiated stuff, the cross rhythms, the beautiful voices etc., however this is also a very detailed work that seems to suggest almost microscopic listening, hence the technical points below.
I bought this to replace my mp3 copies of this piece (sorry about that...) as I hated the way they sounded and put it down to bad quality 128 kbit/s encoding - unfortunately I was wrong...
The recording sounds like it was made on a Dictaphone, except for the incessant and distracting muttering and page riffling from the chorus and orchestra - how do these guys do this? Did the engineer mic up the music stands but not the instruments? I can also hear the noise gates on the chorus opening and shutting so that odd words seem to jump out at you, and even the singers' breathing seems to trigger this effect. Why did they even bother gating stuff if so much other stuff is allowed to leak through anyway. Honestly, an amateur recording in his shed wouldn't make such school-boy errors - Sony last time I heard are a massive multi-national company, does no-one listen to this stuff before it is sent off to be pressed?
Another personal bugbear - why are the solo voices panned hard left or right? Do these guys have no idea of what stereo is for? (to create a nice 3d sound environment, in case you wondered). It sounds really peculiar on headphones - even in a room with little natural ambience you hear voices reflected off the walls and therefore in both ears! In an opera house I would like to think that there was a little more natural reverberation, which brings me to another point - most of what I hear seems to have been caused by an over-emphasis on close miking singers and parts of the orchestra - were there no ambient microphones in the room at all?
I have to admit much of the classical music I've listened to has been fairly "flat" sounding, and I accept that there is certainly a different recording aesthetic at work here - I certainly don't expect the mix to be compressed or run through a load of psycho acoustic processing like a rock/electronic/pop record, but really, much of this could have been fixed in an afternoon in a studio (I could do it myself, to be honest - Mr Glass, if you can let me have the masters I'll gladly polish them for you - assuming it was recorded on multi-track at all!).