SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

MENDELSSOHN: Violin Concertos in E minor & D minor; Violin Sonata in F minor – Tianwa Yang, violin/ Sinfonia Finlandia/ Patrick Gallois/ Romain Descharmes, piano – Naxos audio-only Blu-ray

A fine recording and performance in a format that is probably fading.

Published on April 27, 2013

MENDELSSOHN: Violin Concertos in E minor & D minor; Violin Sonata in F minor – Tianwa Yang, violin/ Sinfonia Finlandia/ Patrick Gallois/ Romain Descharmes, piano – Naxos audio-only Blu-ray

MENDELSSOHN: Violin Concertos in E minor & D minor; Violin Sonata in F minor – Tianwa Yang, violin/ Sinfonia Finlandia/ Patrick Gallois/ Romain Descharmes, piano – (Recorded at Hankasalmi Church-Finland and the Wieck Auditorium-Germany); Format: PCM Stereo/DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 – Naxos audio-only Blu-ray NBD0032, 66:39 (2/26/13) – PCM Stereo/ DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Performance: ****    Audio: ***

This Blu-ray music-only disc contains a spirited performance of two of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concertos, the E and D Minor, and the Violin Sonata in F minor. All are well played by Tianwa Yang and the Sinfonia Finlandia Jyvaskyla conducted by Patrick Gallois. This is as fine a performance of these violin works as you will hear, but the Blu-ray discs are about twice the going price of the CD version.

The recordings are done in DTS-HD Master audio, except for the Sonata, which was recorded at a lower bit rate and up-sampled. The surround tracks are very subdued, providing only some very low ambience.

The disc itself is a bit of an outlier. Being a Blu-ray, I expected to see the performance as well as hear it, but the disc is music only. You get text of the tracks that are playing, and a Blu-ray logo that fades in and out as the Naxos logo replaces it. Most of the bright white text stays on screen, so if you have a display susceptible to burn-in, beware. It’s likely these music-only Blu-rays are a dying breed. SACD is still going strong in the classical and jazz genres, but the music-only Blu-ray is going the way of the DVD-Audio disc. Still, the audio is excellent, despite long-term issues with the format. [Naxos had originally announced they would release two Blu-ray audio-only titles per month, but it has only been one lately. The logic behind the few audio-only Blu-ray releases is that there is a larger penetration of Blu-ray players out there than there are SACD players...Ed.]

—Mel Martin




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