For classical connoisseurs, multichannel recording is state-of-the-art reproduction, and they regularly seek out the finest recordings in the super audio format. Among those discs are some important discoveries from the past, including rare quadraphonic recordings from the 1970s that are being remastered for the new technology. Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony Orchestra made these quadraphonic recordings of orchestral works by Maurice Ravel in 1974, and they were remastered in 2014 by PentaTone as part of an ongoing project to preserve these early experiments in multichannel sound. Ozawa had a magical touch with Ravel, and his performances with the BSO of Le tombeau de Couperin, Menuet antique, Ma mère l'oye, Valses nobles et sentimentales, and Une barque sur l'océan are among the most transparent interpretations of the period. What quadraphonic recording added were exceptional depth, crisp details, and ideal separation of the parts, so the brilliant solo and sectional writing in Ravel's scores stood out with the clarity and presence of chamber music. This hybrid SACD can be played on SACD players and conventional CD equipment with stereo playback, but even with that limitation, the spatial dimensions of the orchestra come across with astonishing verisimilitude. Highly recommended as a sonic showcase of the highest quality.
Maurice Ravel: Orchestral Works Review
by Blair Sanderson