Today we take high fidelity sound quality for granted, but how did it start? When was the moment when compressed and scratchy sound gave way to natural, realistic sound that captured the whole picture of a performance?
Decca Sound ‘Mono Years’ seeks to answer that question and shows how, 70 years ago, amidst war-time privations, a small team at Decca made technological breakthroughs that brought hi-fi to the world. This latest cube explores Decca’s earliest high-fidelity history, and restores some restores critically acclaimed albums from ensembles such as the Trio di Trieste, Quintetto Chigiano and Griller Quartet which have not been available since their original LP release more than sixty years ago. An equally impressive array of soloists includes pianists Clifford Curzon, Julius Katchen, Friedrich Gulda and Moura Lypmany and violinists Ruggiero Ricci and Alfredo Campoli. Several generations of cellists are represented with recordings by Pierre Fournier, Maurice Gendron and Zara Nelsova.
Admirers of Karajan will probably own most or all of these symphony cycles from what was probably the pinnacle of the conductor's prolific career. However, if you are unfamiliar with Karajan's work, or well enough acquainted with it to desire further exploration, then this amazingly inexpensive anthology can be enthusiastically recommended. I purchased all of these sets when they came out in DG's previous mid-priced "Karajan Symphony Edition," and I can testify to their consistently oustanding quality, both as performances and as interpretations. As recordings, however, it must be admitted that the sound is of variable quality; sometimes admirably vivid and well balanced, but frequently tending toward harshness, even garishness–particularly in those which come from the early digital era (cf. Bruckner's symphonies 1-3). Too bad Universal didn't see fit to give this magnificent legacy a sonic facelift. Still, the performances are sufficiently worthy of your attention to warrant purchase regardless of these sonic limitations.
The score to the 1999 telefilm Alice in Wonderland was composed by Richard Hartley and features the original songs performed by the all-star cast, which includes Whoopi Goldberg, Martin Short, George Wendt, Gene Wilder, Peter Ustinov, Ben Kingsley and Christopher Lloyd. A nice souvenir for fans of this production.
This is the first volume of the Neil Young Archives series of box sets, produced by Neil Young himself. This series is the definitive, comprehensive, chronological survey of his entire body of work. Volume I covers the period from his earliest recordings with the Squires in Winnipeg, 1963, through to his classic 1972 album, Harvest and beyond, including studio and live tracks with the legendary Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and Neil Young with Crazy Horse…
Director Tim Burton brings his unique vision and sensibility to Roald Dahl's classic children's story in this lavish screen interpretation. Willy Wonka (Johnny Depp) is the secretive and wildly imaginative man behind the world's most celebrated candy company, and while the Wonka factory is famously closed to visitors, the reclusive candy man decides to give five lucky children a chance to see the inside of his operation by placing "golden tickets" in five randomly selected chocolate bars. Charlie Bucket (Freddie Highmore), whose poor but loving family lives literally in the shadow of the Wonka factory, is lucky enough to obtain one of the tickets, and Charlie, escorted by his Grandpa Joe (David Kelly), is in for the ride of a lifetime as he tours the strange and remarkable world of Wonka with fellow winners, media-obsessed Mike Teavee (Jordan Fry), harsh and greedy Veruca Salt (Julia Winter), gluttonous Augustus Gloop (Philip Wiegratz), and ultra-competitive Violet Beauregarde (Annasophia Robb). Over the course of the day, some of the children will learn difficult lessons about themselves, and one will go on to become Wonka's new right hand.