SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

FLINT JOVENTINO BEPPE: “Remote Galaxy” – Remote Galaxy: Distant Worlds: Lost in September: Tightrope walking beneath heaven: Flute Concerto No. 2 – Philharmonia Orch./ Vladimir Ashkenazy & soloists – 2L (Pure Audio Blu-ray)

An amazing contemporary collection of works in first rate surround sonics.

Published on December 6, 2013

FLINT JOVENTINO BEPPE: Remote Galaxy – Remote Galaxy: Distant Worlds: Lost in September: Tightrope walking beneath heaven: Flute Concerto No. 2 – Philharmonia Orch./ Vladimir Ashkenazy/ Emily Beynon, flute /Mark van de Wiel, clarinet /Ralph Rousseau, viola da gamba -  2L Multichannel 7041888518822, 72:00 (Pure Audio Blu-ray) – DTS HD MA 192kHz/24 bit 5.1; DTS HD MA 96kHz/24 bit 7.1; Auro-3D 96kHz/24 bit 9.1; PCM 192kHz/24 bit Stereo [11/19/13] (Distr. by Naxos) *****:

It’s rare that I am swept up in a musical experience, but that’s the case with the new release from 2L in Norway called Remote Galaxy, featuring the music of Flint Juventino Beppe.

The title composition sets out to express the dualism life, nature and art in pure music. Remote Galaxy is described as a journey in time and space, with sometimes powerful and sometimes reflective music that draws upon the multichannel recording process to distribute acoustic instruments in a seductive curtain of sound that envelopes the listener. The work includes extended use of brass, woodwinds, and organ.

The recording here is first rate, perhaps the most realistic and compelling rendering of symphonic music I have ever heard. The Blu-ray Pure Audio disc (sourced from DXD extreme definition 352kHz/24 bit) contains audio formats to match your home equipment. There is a 5.1 DTS-HD MA mix. a 7.1 DTS-HD MA version, a 2.0 PCM mixdown, and an experimental 9.1 Auro 3D mix that supports height channels. My listening was in 5.1 and 7.1 and the sound was thrilling.

Besides Remote Galaxy, there are Distant Worlds, a two movement work, Lost in September, Tightrope walking beneath heaven, and the Flute Concerto No. 2, Op. 80.

The theme of all the works is ‘distance’, and each composition ably portrays that feeling.  The accompanying booklet has charts that show the location of the instruments, that change for each composition. In general, the instruments are arranged in a semi-circle, but in remote galaxy the orchestra surrounds you, with a glass harmonica coming from the center rear. According to the composer: “It’s really as simple as it is complicated – I breathe in what life has to offer, and breathe out what I have to offer life. I have given up trying to grasp what actually happens in the process from impression to expression.”

The playing of the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Ashkanazy could not be better. These must have been difficult sessions, and surely the music would have been a challenge for the best of musicians. But Remote Galaxy and the other compositions never go off the rails into dissonance or ugliness. The works are all musical and emotional.

Beppe, born in 1973, has composed 200 works. He has also collaborated with Sir James Galway for flute music. Beppe suffers from both Tourette’s Syndrome, and Asperger’s, making the musical accomplishment here all the more remarkable.

Remote Galaxy is one of the finest recordings I have ever heard! Unlike a lot of so-called demonstration material, the music matches the quality of the recording. It’s an incredible  artistic and technical achievement, and a disc I will return to many times in the months and years to come.

—Mel Martin




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