Incoming! Telarc Revisits the "Blast from the Past" with New DSD Technology, Newly Recorded Cannons, Carillons and Choruses
Available in 2-channel CD and 6-Channel Discrete Multi-Channel Surround and Stereo SACD as well as DVD-Audio.
The Legendary First Recording
In 1978, Bob Woods and Jack Renner took the first of many risks that are characteristic of Telarc's history. On the cutting edge of recorded sound technology, they made the first commercial classical recordings in the U.S. in the digital format. One of those recordings was the now legendary Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture, performed by Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. The recording featured the first-ever digitally recorded live sound effects—digital cannons.
When the 1812 was released, the cover read "Caution! Digital Cannons," and the interior of the booklet warned the listener that "the cannons of the Telarc 1812 Overture are recorded at a very high level. Lower levels are recommended for initial playback until a safe level can be determined for your equipment." Reviewers also issued cautions: "Just be sure the volume isn't so loud that one of the shots spreads pieces of speaker cone all over your floor," (Digital Audio); and "Its peaks would crack your window panes and maybe your speaker cones, too." (Knight-Ridder Newspapers). The disc became Telarc's best-selling recording of all time, with over 800,000 copies sold, and for well over a decade has been the audio demo disc of choice.
Enter the Next Generation of Sound Recording Technology
Now Telarc is making history again. Recorded with DSD (Direct Stream Digital) encoding, the "new" recording of the 1812 Overture, along with six other popular works by Tchaikovsky, will delight a whole new generation of listeners. "The sound quality of the DSD recording technology is a staggering improvement over what we've had until now," said Telarc president Robert Woods. Telarc began making its first recordings in DSD in May, 1998, with the expectation of offering multi-channel surround formats.
With simultaneous releases in 2-channel stereo CD as well as a 6-channel discrete surround sound and 2-channel stereo SACD (Super Audio Compact Disc), listeners can choose whichever format works best for their own playback components. Details on the DVD-A release will be available in the near future.
Telarc Engineer and surround guru Michael Bishop took on the awesome challenge of creating the final two-channel and multi-channel surround mixes for the new recording. "Little did Jack Renner and Bob Woods know," he comments in the booklet notes, "what a challenging task they had laid out in 1978 for the team and me to accomplish twenty-two years later."
The Music, Cannons, Bells, Choruses and More
This disc features all new recordings of every component that was on our original recording (music, cannons and bells), but has the addition of the Kiev Symphony Chorus with their authentic Russian sound, a children's chorus and the optional brass band for more musical punch in the finale. We were able to hire the same cannoneers as for the 1978 recording, but this time recorded them in a larger "battlefield setting." The cannons could now be placed more accurately in the overall soundstage, as could all of the musical components—especially in the surround version!
Also included on this landmark disc are six other orchestral works by Tchaikovsky, two of which, the "Cossack's Dance" from Mazeppa and the Capriccio Italien, were also on the 1978 recording. The vivid "Cossack's Dance" is virtually all that survives from the unsuccessful opera Mazeppa, completed in 1883. The Capriccio is a tuneful melange of Italian popular dances and songs, as well as military marches and fanfares the composer heard while staying in Rome.
We still must caution you to be careful of the initial playback volume for the sections with the cannons, as there is extremely taxing low frequency and transient information that could damage your equipment, especially your speakers, if you play them at excessively high levels. Countless hours were spent to keep the recording sonically challenging, but still accessible to all levels of playback equipment. The better your equipment, the more you can shake the walls, and the more detail you will hear. Have fun, but be careful!