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Reviews: Mozart: Requiem - Karajan

Reviews: 7

Review by nora10040 January 5, 2004 (3 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I think this SACD, mastered from the original analog tapes, is a good piece of music to demonstrate that SACD isn´t simply better than CD, it´s even better than the good old vinyl version - so just get it and enjoy

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Review by jtcod January 19, 2004 (6 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This was one of my first Super Audio purchases and I was moved from the first spin. I deliberately waited before posting a review as I wished to study other SACD's in order to be objective. Having bought and listened to more than 20 SACD's over the last 4 months, I still keep coming back to this one and it has lost none of it's special atmosphere in that time.

Apart from being a beautiful rendition of a beautiful piece of music, the original recording captured the performance brilliantly. Who ever 'miked' this one up on the day, knows how to record an orchestra. (I hope he got a royalty).

The transfer to SACD has been successful. Just close your eyes and imagine you are there. (The soundstage is that clearly defined).

I wouldn't hesitate to choose this SACD in order to demo my HiFi system to a friend. But let's not get away from the music itself: Atmospheric and emotional in every way. I particularly like tracks 1 and 4

Well done again to the original sound engineer on this recording. Whoever he/she was. They captured a special performance.

A well deserved maximum points.

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Review by karman February 8, 2004 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Feb. 2004:
I bought this SACD for testing SACD equipment + new speakers. I listened extensively to this SACD in multichannel mode on a variety of high quality speakers. This allowed me to compare the different speakers and also to assess the quality of the SACD recording. I payed extra attention to the multichannel effects since I know this piece of music very well in stereo-mode. My conclusions are as follows:

Overall I think the recording is very good and the multichannel mix sounds very natural. The rear speakers never dominate and the location of the different parts of the orchestra and choir can be heared quite clearly: e.g. you can hear that the location of the male singers is different from the female singers. As I did not attend the original performance, I am of course not sure whether this is exactly as it was in real life, but to me it sounds natural. Therefore I do not give 5 stars, simply because I do not know whether it can be done better. When in the future I have more listening experience I will update this review.

I have no opinion on how the SACD stereo layer compares to the ordinary CD stereo recording, since I didn't check this; since the SACD is a hybrid I also listened to the CD layer on my ordinary CD player (non-SACD equipment with not-that-high-quality speakers) and this also sounds very good as I expected, but to me the multichannel effects have a clear added value. Therefore I think this SACD is well worth the money. I cannot imagine how this recording can be further improved upon: future recordings will differ only in the way the 5.1 mixing is done but that will be a matter of personal taste.


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Review by DrOctodivx October 25, 2004 (1 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I love this piece in general, and this rendition is exquisite compared to my previous CD versions of the Requiem. I have not been able to compare it to the other Mozart Requiems available on SACD, but I am sure that even if the others are comparable, or even superior in some ways, I would still recommend this interpretation by Karajan.

I am planning on acquiring the Netherlands Bach Society version as well as the Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Mackerras interpretation, and of warranted I will update my review of the Karajan. However, as I enjoy multiple interpretations of a piece of music, I suspect that this will remain at least on par with the other performances.

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Review by PureAudio August 23, 2005 (6 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Finding a satisfying performance of Mozart´s Requiem took me some research. There are several discs on the market and I want to spend my money well. The local musicstore could offer me 2 different performances: The Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Karajan.
Whilst listening to the first I noticed good sonic quality and a steady performance. Good but nothing spectacular. Karajan, however, delivered the essence and the music went straight through my spine. For me goosebumbs are the ultimate music experience and I get it with this disc.

Because the original material is recorded some decades ago, the quality of the recording is not the best. But the engineers did well and what remains is a very enjoyable mix with natural spacing. The sound is warm and the instruments can pretty much be distinguished. Choir is powerful yet not too dominant.

PRO: Drama, feel the emotion => goosebumbs
CON: Some may wish engineers could do magic to the original tape

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Review by canonical December 27, 2009 (8 of 15 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
This is a 1975 analog recording converted to DSD. The booklet states that the SACD layer is 96 kHz / 24 bit PCM Stereo and 96 kHz / 24 bit PCM 5.1 Surround Sound; I am not sure what is meant (in this context) by the 96 kHz / 24 bit claim ... presumably it means that it was re-mastered from analog at 96 kHz / 24 bit?? I am also uncertain what relevant source there would (or could) have been for 5.1 surround sound ... presumably the surround layer is artificial?

In any event, the sound quality (stereo) is surprisingly good: there is some noticeable distortion, and lack of clarity in the louder passages, but generally it is quite natural. The vocal soloists are fine ... Jose van Dam is a splendid base. The real problem, however, is the performance. The problems take two forms: First, Karajan's rendition somehow lacks any sense of real drama - it lacks suspense and angst, and is heavy and unwieldy. Second, the choir (the Vienna Singverein) are, on average, appallingly awful. I don't know how Karajan put up with them, and I am surprised that he allowed this to be released: their intonation is shonky, their tone is screeching and unrefined, and the performance as a whole is ruined. Very disappointing.

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Review by Pianist718 August 1, 2014 (0 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
Sorry but this is very disappointing performance. This is not the way I always hear Requiem. Performance is slowed down to probably half speed and so it loses the power and energy. I am also not impressed with SACD Multichannel sound. Stereo is probably a bit better.

Bottom line is ... if you want Mozart Requiem the way you are used to hearing it, this SACD is not the same. Unfortunately not better either.

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