SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews
JERRÉ TANNER: Boy with Goldfish (Heroic Fantasy for Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra based on Hawaiian legend) – Soloists/Nigel Brooks Chorale/London Symphony Orchestra/Lee Holdridge – Albany
Published on March 12, 2007
If this seems like a possibly familiar album, it’s because it was a standard stereo release on Varese-Sarabande a couple decades ago. It used the Soundstream digital gear and the engineer was Brian Culverhouse. The 50K master tapes were converted to DSD and 5.1 surround using proprietary equipment of Zarex HD Studios for this SACD version. The surround process is quite effective, though I normally find I need to turn up the level on my surround channels about 2 dB.
The score was inspired by the symbolism of the series of paintings by an artist on the island of Kona, John Thomas. A follower of Jung, he united various Greek, Teutonic and Hawaiian legends into the story of The Boy with Goldfish. Composer Tanner comes from a French and Cherokee background and has a Zen-like feeling for the natural world which is evidenced in his tonal score. The paintings of artist Thomas are influenced by the Italian Renaissance and Gestalt psychology. Quite an artistic brew we have simmering here!
The lyrics are sung in English and involve a child, forest mother, nature spirits, a girl, rainbow children, and various tempters. The complete libretto is printed in the booklet. This is not “Hawaiian music,” by any means! (thank god.) The effects with the solo voices and chorus as well as orchestra, pipe organ and guitar soloist are well placed spatially, adding another dimension that was certainly not present on the original stereo release LP.
- John Sunier