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  Telarc -
  SACD-60711 (2 discs)
  Cameron Carpenter: Revolutionary
  Chopin, Bach, Carpenter, Demessieux, Liszt, Ellington, Dupré, Horowitz

Cameron Carpenter (organ)
Track listing:
  Classical - Instrumental
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Reviews: 2

Review by Cornan January 11, 2009 (6 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
If you don't like Virgil Fox and never liked theatre organ (I do occasionally and harbor fond memories of an overwhelming diaphone in an organ installed in an Armory in Cleveland, Ohio), then you won't like this SACD.

Me, I'm delighted! All the hype about Cameron Carpenter being a maverick is pretty overblown and was almost enough to make me pass up this disc altogether. I was afraid that he would tear apart works like the Toccata and Fugue in d and diminish their musical qualities. I was pleased to find, therefore, that he didn't do so.

Beginning with an unusual ornament on the famous opening phrase of the toccata, though, he finds plenty of drama, in places that even Virgil Fox didn't find. There are other surprises that I won't spoil for you here, but Bach would still recognize this old warhorse.

Track 3 is titled "Solitude", which could best be described as a Bach Chorale Prelude that materializes in the midst of Duke Ellington's music. There are some less interesting moments, but at its best this is amazingly complex and could show signs of promise for Mr. Carpenter as a composer.

The Demessieux "Octaves", which I heard here for the first time, is relentless, a sort of moto perpetuo for organ.

The Virtual Organ played here was apparently customized for this performance (it was installed after the conventional instrument was damaged by the events of 9/11). Customizing an organ for/by a performer is certainly a new technology approach that I hadn't even thought of before. Having spent my entire working life in IT, though, I had an "of course" moment as soon as I read about it.

In fact it seems almost quaint to push all of this digital sound out into the air at all, only to be sucked back into microphones for recording. But I'm glad they did; one of the revelations of SACD for me has been the increased naturalness in the sound of the performing space over all the simulated ambience systems I've heard over the years (and I've owned several generations of them).

As a surround sound nut from way back, I was pleased to hear some front - back activity, though I wasn't in the ideal spot during my first listen. I can't wait to hear this disc in my SUV (with the 12" Infinity subwoofer).

I haven't watched the DVD yet, though if anybody would be "exciting" to watch at the organ, it would be Cameron Carpenter (though I would generally expect more flying hands on the stop tabs at a theatre organ recital).

Again, there are some slow spots, but you'll want to buy this SACD for the peaks, not the valleys. Imagine what Cameron would do with a more antiphonal setting and music!

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Review by mlgrado May 23, 2014 (1 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
A wonderful SACD with intriguing performances!!! I find these interpretations to be very interesting. Perhaps not orthodox? Not being a classically trained organist, still I suspect these aren't for the purists our there.

This is a pure DSD recording, as indicated on the back of the box. As are most all Telarc SACD's from the last decade. They represent in my opinion the best of what DSD is capable of. Not sure why it isn't marked as a DSD recording here. There are a couple of other Telarc SACDs that are pure DSD (see the Hiromi catalog)that are not marked as such. I do know that often the Telarc engineers will convert to analog to do any mixing before re-digitizing in DSD. They prefer this to any PCM conversions (other than those of the millisecond variety, such as crossfades.) Now, this indeed may not be 'pure' DSD, since it has an intermediate analog stage. But, still counts in my book.

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