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About QuartalHarmony

  • Birthday February 4


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    Wiltshire, UK

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  1. This is often the case with unusually great acoustic spaces. I've never been to a concert in Vienna, but I know the sound of the chapel of King's College in Cambridge well, for example, and no recording - even multichannel SACDs in 5.1 replayed on a very good system - seems to be able to quite capture what it sounds like in reality. I wonder if the Hollywood studios, having been built specifically for recording music in, suffer less from this problem than older spaces which were built long before music recording was a thing. Mark
  2. Hook (e.g. the Prologue) and Far & Away (e.g. The Land Race) would be my top suggestions.
  3. It literally does. Marketing blurbs aren’t always correct. I was speaking from previous experience. Excellent advice: I wasn’t participating in the discussion, just pointing out that this particular debate has been done to death many times on other forums and I’ve only ever seen it end unpleasantly and inconclusively. I was merely trying to preserve a bit of Christmas magic by avoiding such unpleasantness in this forum. Mark
  4. Depending on how it’s been made, it could have up to three versions on one disc: 1) Standard CD layer, playable on any normal CD transport. 2) Stereo ‘high-res’ DSD layer, playable only on players that can decode it. 3) Multichannel (anything up to 5.1) DSD layer. Also playable only on players that can decide it and obviously needs up to a 5.1 speaker system to listen to it. Based on the other Dutton Vocalion discs I’ve got where a vintage ‘quad’ mix has been remastered, it might well have been rejigged into 5.1 from the original 4.0, and done very well. We won’t know exactly what it is until someone buys one and plays it on a compatible player. I would recommend that arguments about sampling rates, Shannon-Nyquist, human hearing, DAC filter settings etc. are best left running interminably and inconclusively on hifi forums rather than being repeated here! Mark
  5. I still can’t quite believe that the prices of both Jaws and SW are, in real terms, exactly the same as today’s specialist label prices!
  6. My (slightly early) Christmas present is a subscription to Gramophone, which enables me to search through back issues all the way back to 1923. After a little searching, I found this in the March 1978 edition. According to the Bank of England's inflation calculator, £5.50 in 1978 is the equivalent of about £27.50 today - ironically, more or less what the specialist labels are charging for a decent expansion today! A year later, Superman got damned with faint praise, but in April 1983 they saw fit to give Williams a bit more credit: ET (Williams). Film soundtrack recording [sic] After Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, it would have been easy for John Williams to repeat himself in ET and settle for musical clichés, all too redolent of composers in a hurry to meet the deadline set by their producers. So it says much for his collaboration with Steven Spielberg that each of his scores has been carefully thought through , and that on this occasion he has capped all his previous work with a consistently magical series of compositions culminating in no mere hollow apotheosis, but a genuinely triumphant conclusion where the fanfares joyfully celebrate ET's departure for home to the image of a cascading rainbow. Another aspect of these selections I rejoiced in was the absence of all recent trends in 'pop' scoring; the track "ET and me" is a glistening composition for harp and strings, while in "ET phone home" the composer's use of a celesta to pinpoint the child /alien relationship, conjures up a happy comparison with Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker. Elsewhere one recognizes other now familiar touches from Williams such as the rushing scales on high winds and the ostinato figures that propel his sketches along. The recording has been made at a somewhat lower level than usual, though nothing a notch or two on your amplifier won't rectify; as far as the musical quality of this score is concerned I need only reiterate that no purely instrumental soundtrack has given me as much delight to review as this one. ADRIAN EDWARDS Back to March 1976 for this one (again, for comparison, £2.90 equates to about £18 in today's money): JAWS (John T. Williams). Music from the film soundtrack conducted by the composer. MCA MCF2716 (£2.90). Ever since his lively and inventive score for The Reivers I have considered the American John Williams one of the best of today's film composers, and this is one of his finest works to date. Writing on the sleeve, director Stephen Spielberg compares him to Erich Wolfgang Korngold, and listening to the twelve short tone poems recorded here one sees exactly what he means. I don't think I have heard the ocean conveyed so successfully in music since Korngold's score for the Errol Flynn sea adventures, and in many ways this surpasses them. Although he has composed a striking main theme Williams has eschewed the lazy way of Hollywood composers nowadays, whereby every track is a variation on it. Instead he has written an original piece of music for each occasion and incident in the picture and the results are both graphic and exciting. One can imagine each scene even without seeing the picture, so vividly pictorial is his writing. For once this is a record to play again and again. Incidentally it is technically magnificent as well, a recording of the highest possible quality. Recommended not only to those who want a film souvenir, but to anybody who enjoys truly exciting music. P .M .
  7. Dutton is an excellent, careful and conscientious mixer so I very much doubt he will have left the stereo untouched. Apart from anything else, surely it would have been much more effort for them to locate the album master tape for the stereo tracks and the original multichannel tapes for the 5.1. Much easier to construct the 5.1 then down mix it to stereo. Interestingly, I believe this was recorded a mere four days before SW was released in the UK. Mark
  8. A very convincing theory, Jay. I suggest we go with that.
  9. My copy just arrived and I'm enjoying it greatly. One question: On the list of musicians, there's a guitarist credited but I can't hear a guitar anywhere so far. Can anyone point me in the right direction? Mark
  10. No info in my hands, but I agree that the chimes in Home Alone do sound very FM, so DX7 is a possibility. My only other suggestion might be Korg M1, because that was the biggest synth in the world at the time - by 1990, the DX7 was a bit 'last month'. Ralph Grierson was the keyboard player on JP (and for a huge number of JW scores, plus Horner et al) and seemed like a really friendly chap when @TownerFan interviewed him. If anyone could track down contact details for him and ask nicely, I suspect he might be quite happy to help us geek out. His synth rig was probably pretty comprehensive, back in the day, but I imagine that extra synth kit would have been hired in for certain scores - I believe it was pretty common practice. This picture from @TownerFan's interview webpage gives you an idea of the scale we're talking about: The website gearspace.com often discusses this sort of thing (with a degree of obsession and fanboy-ness which residents of this forum may recognise), but I can't find much of substance about Ralph on there. It seems he was a featured artist in Keyboard magazine (May 1986) - if anyone can get hold of a copy, it might have some info in. Or might not. Mark
  11. Well, if that uncertainty doesn't persuade Disney to immediately commission MM to produce a proper re-release of all the OT scores with definitive information about where and when everything was recorded, I don't know what will. So there. Mark
  12. Doesn't George Lucas say as much in the liner notes to the 1990 Sony Skywalker Symphony disc?
  13. I particularly like the TOD end credits where he interpolates Short Round's theme between phrases of the Raiders theme. Quite delightful and makes me smile.
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