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Dallas Space Spectacular (Holst, The Planets; Strauss, Thus Spake Zarathustra) Dallas Sym Orch/Andrew Litton (Delos DE 3225).

Dallas Space Spectacular (Holst, The Planets; Strauss, Thus Spake Zarathustra) Dallas Sym Orch/Andrew Litton (Delos DE 3225)

I will confine my remarks about this two-CD set to the Hoist disc, because I simply cannot bring myself to listen to the Strauss piece. Most classical music lovers have at least one major composer about which they cannot understand how that composer ever got to be considered major, and for me, Richard Strauss is that composer. Enough of that -- on to the Hoist disc, which is also reviewed elsewhere in this issue, the DVD version by Howard Ferstler and the CD version by John Puccio. Delos calls their recording process "VR2" (for "Virtual Reality Recording"), which is explained in John Eargle's liner notes as a method for "recording up to four stereo program pairs with the intent of mixing them into discrete surround sound for the consumer." At its present stage of development, VR2 is intended for playback by Dolby Digital equipment; however, this CD is a normal two-channel stereo CD, and that is the way I auditioned it (JJP reports on what it did in his modest Dolby Pro Logic system, while HF reports on the full-blown realization of the Dolby Digital process in his review of the DVD). At least to these ears, there was nothing truly outstanding about this recording, although it is certainly a very good recording. I found both the Dutoit/Montreal (London) and Levi/ Atlanta (Telarc) recordings slightly superior in sound quality (the Dutoit for its clean articulation and separation, the Telarc for its sense of the hall), and overall, the Dutoit recording still stands supreme in terms of performance. That leaves this new entry from Delos a bit of an also-ran when considered strictly as a two-channel stereo release, but it is exciting to see excellent engineers such as John Eargle working toward the future, and it will be interesting to revisit this recording -- in both CD and DVD format -- with a surround-sound system someday. -- KWN
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Title Annotation:Review
Author:Nehring, Karl W.
Publication:Sensible Sound
Article Type:Sound Recording Review
Date:Apr 1, 1999
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