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The Gerhardt Star Wars Recordings


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Gerhardt's 21 minute Close Encounters suite is unrivaled. This should have become the standard performance version.

Varese is re-issuing Empire on vinyl this July 23rd   https://www.varesesarabande.com/products/john-williams-the-empire-strikes-back-symphonic-suite-from-the-original-motion-picture-score-vi

Anyway, the old varese CD sounds perfect to my ears on my hi-fi system.  

  • 3 months later...
  • 4 years later...

Nice re-release (digital only) of the recordings of Star Wars and Return of The Jedi by Charles Gerhardt and the NPO. 

 

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Sony Classical / 12.12.19

https://www.qobuz.com/us-en/album/star-wars-return-of-the-jedi-charles-gerhardt/uouyhi4ntue1a

(no Empire but it seems there's a right issue, being a Varese recording ) 

 

Maybe a bit cleaned up - the sound is top notch !

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  • 1 month later...
On 11/10/2014 at 7:41 PM, MrScratch said:

Empire Strikes Back

This is my favorite of the three and is an outstanding representation of the score. The main title is my favorite all time rerecording of the opening crawl. It is flawless. However, the inclusion of the unused Hoth music immediately following is perplexing. So much great music in Empire, not sure why they went with that on an album that needed to make a lot of other cuts. The OST segues into the Mynock cave music, that would have been very cool to rerecord that. Overall, the performances are on par with the soundtrack and the tempos are spot on. At one point over I listened to Luke's First Crash three times in a row. Absolutely fantastic. I'd have left off Training of Jedi Knight & Magic Tree and instead included Yoda and the Force & Hyperspace. Though not definitive, the Imperial March is excellent and I dig the added intro. Han Solo and the Princess IS definitive and one of the reasons to buy this album. The End Credits is, I believe, the only such rerecording of the End Credits from Empire Strikes Back and the performance is exhilarating.

 

It was my first SW album, and to this day my favorite.

 

On 12/22/2019 at 9:19 AM, publicist said:

I always wondered what exactly the filter did, except maybe a slight bit of reverb.

 

On 8/1/2019 at 7:31 PM, Marian Schedenig said:

Dolby Surround Pro Logic is basically 4 channels encoded in standard Stereo. I.e. no special *player* equipment is necessary, it's the receiver that has to demux the Stereo signal into 4 separate streams for 5 speakers. The signal consists of the two standard stereo channels, a centre channel and a frequency limited mono channel for the rears. The centre, as far as I know, is simply the portion of the left and right channels that's identical, i.e. every standard Stereo signal would already contain a Dolby Surround Pro Logic centre channel automatically.

 

Many DVDs and Blu-rays encode Mono tracks as Stereo with two identical channels. If you play that as a Dolby Surround Pro Logic signal, you'll still get everything properly through your centre speaker, but unless the audio track has the necessary flags set to mark it as Dolby Surround Pro Logic, most receivers will switch back to plain Stereo. This is annoying, because my centre speaker is much better suited for dialogue than my main speakers.

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Beautiful! I'm a proud owner of the original vinyl release since 1980, and I applaud very much Varèse's efforts. This recording may sound poorly and hastily performed according to some, but I love its freshness and energy from start to finish. 

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I don't believe in surround albums. This is shit like quadraphony was in the old days. I don't want to listen to the music like if I was IN the orchestra.

 

Even the conductor hears it IN FRONT OF HIM.

 

The concept is bad from the start. It always was, it'll always be.

 

STEREO FOREVER!

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Happy for those of you who do records.  I was a late adopter of the Gerhardt albums (didn’t have the SW/CE one until a few years ago, even) because by the time I was able to buy my own scores, Sony Classical was in the midst of releasing the Special Editions, so I went with those.  But this is a good album!  Probably my favorite of the three.   
 

Wish somebody would have gone all-in like that on the prequels or sequels…

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8 hours ago, Bespin said:

I don't believe in surround albums. This is shit like quadraphony was in the old days. I don't want to listen to the music like if I was IN the orchestra.

 

Even the conductor hears it IN FRONT OF HIM.

 

The concept is bad from the start. It always was, it'll always be.

 

STEREO FOREVER!

I think they were trying, in part, to replicate how music sounds on headphones.

You do get the feeling of being in the middle of the orchestra with them on.

 

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10 hours ago, Bespin said:

I don't believe in surround albums. This is shit like quadraphony was in the old days. I don't want to listen to the music like if I was IN the orchestra.

 

Even the conductor hears it IN FRONT OF HIM.

 

The concept is bad from the start. It always was, it'll always be.

 

STEREO FOREVER!

 

One has to differentiate. Those were Dolby Surround albums, if I remember correctly. Those just used a Dolby encoder to make sure, that you got the correct stereo panorama when playing through a Dolby decoder at home: Instruments left, center, right, and ambiance in the surround. Like in a real concert hall. 

 

With Quad and modern surround sound like Blu-ray and SACD it depends on the aim of the producer or engineer. Most have only ambience in the surround, so NOT the situation as if one is in the orchestra. 

 

And the concept is NOT bad. Just different tastes. I personally like those "middle in the orchestra" recordings very much, since they remind me of the soundscape when I am playing myself in an orchestra or chamber group. 

 

 

And concerning this album: I have it on CD since around 1990 and like it very much, although some pieces like asteroid field sound a bit hurried and slightly chaotic.

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3 minutes ago, Gurkensalat said:

One has to differentiate. Those were Dolby Surround albums, if I remember correctly. Those just used a Dolby encoder to make sure, that you got the correct stereo panorama when playing through a Dolby decoder at home: Instruments left, center, right, and ambiance in the surround. Like in a real concert hall. 

 

That's not the explanation @Marian Schedenig gave for these dolby surround CD albums. If I remember correctly, there's not really any additional channels other than the two stereo channels.

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2 hours ago, Jurassic Shark said:

 

That's not the explanation @Marian Schedenig gave for these dolby surround CD albums. If I remember correctly, there's not really any additional channels other than the two stereo channels.

 

Gurken's explanation is correct. But they're not discreet channels, because it's still an analogue stereo signal. The centre channel simply gets all the frequencies that are the same in both channels, and the rears get everything that's phase inverted.

 

A nasty side effect of this is that many Blu-rays of old films come with a 2.0 "mono" channel that is essentially just two channels carrying the same signal. In Dolby Surround, that would all go to the centre channel, but because it's a digital stream and doesn't have the Dolby Surround flag set, my amp at least keeps insisting on playing it through the two stereo speakers. Which is very annoying because the centre is much better for making out dialogue.

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1 minute ago, Jurassic Shark said:

So does the dolby surround encoding degrade the sound quality in any way when played on a stereo setup?

 

I'm not an expert. But from what I've read, a DS track isn't even necessarily specially encoded. The centre channel obviously happens automatically if the stereo signal has something that's dead centre, and apparently the phase shift of reverb also tends to push stuff to the rears.

 

I've always assumed that the supposedly inferior sound of the DS RCA's had more to do with remixing choices than the DS encoding.

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42 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

So does the dolby surround encoding degrade the sound quality in any way when played on a stereo setup?

 

Not necessarily, as Marian said. Every surround encoded Music CD I have sound perfectly ok in simple stereo, although I have the feeling that they often tend to widen the stereo panorama and enhance the hight frequencies a bit; both because of drawbacks of early surround decoders which often decreased high frequencies and tended to collapse the stereo panorama in the center. With modern equipment using Prologic II and better, this is not a concern any more. 

 

One main reason for surround encoding of music was that some recording engineers, especially for classical music, used phase stereo recording techniques which lead to unwanted effects when played through surround decoders like putting instruments in the surrounds and such. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Jurassic Shark said:

So does the dolby surround encoding degrade the sound quality in any way when played on a stereo setup?

It shouldn't do, if it's been encoded correctly. I've got several Dolby Surround CDs and have listened to them in plain stereo and Dolby Pro-Logic (the successor to Surround) and they're fine either way.

 

If the producer has made the surround channels very busy (e.g. with electronic music where you might pan a whole instrumental line to the surrounds for fun) then it can sound a little odd in 'plain' stereo but it's not dramatic. If it's an orchestral recording, as others have pointed out, by far the commonest routine is to only use the surround channels for the reverberant ambience of the hall so stereo playback is basically unaffected.

 

Mark

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28 minutes ago, Bespin said:

I want nobody to play music in my back! :pfft:

 

Ok, but what does that have to do with the discussion we're having about natural ambience in the rear channels? Also, you probably shouldn't go to a live performance of The Planets if you're categorically against music not coming from the front.

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There is a lot of music that is composed with the idea of spatial audio, from the early Renaissance antiphonal Venetian school to Mozarts Notturno for 4 orchestras and Berlioz Requiem to Stockhausen´s Gruppen and the 20th century music. Pop music also, I am thinking of the phase experiements and quad recordings from Pink Floyd and others. Music does not have to be restricted to the simple front podium situation. And in a classic concert hall, the ambient reflective sound is often almost as intense as the direct sound from the front. 

 

Back to the Gerhardt series, as far as I know TESB was never released in Surround, but his recording for ROTJ was. But for me, there is not much audible difference. since there is little ambience in the recording. 

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