This is one of the early Telarc recordings, and one of the very early consumer digital recordings. It was meant to be a showcase for the technology. More than a few friends have jumped when the big notes of the Fantasia came out of silence on the recording.
Audiophile factor & artistic factor: High!
Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer: Michael Murray
Number of discs: 1
DR-Analysis: DR 12
Size: 2.29 GB
As to the performance: My impression is that Michael Murray chose to let Bach be Bach, with a minimum of interpretation (but plenty of drive). He uses the full capabilities of the Methuen organ, including its bass. The Methuen organ is known to be quirky, although many organists love it. Among its quirks are the power of its mixtures, which are placed low in the case. The organist and the people sitting in the very front of the hall do not hear them at their full power; for people at the balcony, they can dominate a soft registration. Nor does the instrument provide a very clear left-to-right soundstage; that is said to be part of its design. But along with the quirks comes great flexibility in registration, which Murray uses to good effect, suitably grand, plaintive, dulcet, or cerebral.
The Passacaglia in C minor may be the primary attraction of this recording. While this is not the best recorded performance I’ve heard–I give that honor to the recording that Biggs did in the Thomaskirke–it is very good indeed, and has the benefit of being in print.
The recording also makes full use of concert hall dynamic range. The quiet passages are very quiet (notably the opening of the Passacaglia) and the loud passages suitably loud. While part of the glory of the recording, it does limit the places where you can enjoy it. This is not a recording for the car, unless you have a very, very quiet car, nor for earbuds in a noisy place. It demands a good listening room, and pays back in pleasure.
A little bit of trivia: If you ever wanted to know, what was that beautiful organ music in the baptism sequence, on “Godfather 1″…it is “Passacaglia And Fugue In C Minor” (track B1)
|A1||Fantasia And Fugue In G Minor, Bwv 542 (“The Great”)||11:30|
|A2||Toccata In F Major, Bwv 540||8:16|
|B1||Passacaglia And Fugue In C Minor, Bwv 582||14:35|
|B2||Vater Unser Im Himmelreich, Bwv 737||2:24|
|B3||Alle Menschen Mussen Sterben, Bwv 643||2:27|
Analyzed Folder: /192k JSB – The Great Organ At Methuen (Murray)_dr.txt
DR Peak RMS Filename
DR14 -0.28 dB -19.25 dB A1 Fantasia And Fugue In G Minor, BWV 542 ‘The Great’.flac
DR12 -3.15 dB -18.56 dB A2 Toccata In F Major, BWV 540.flac
DR14 -0.41 dB -19.89 dB B1 Passacaglia And Fugue In C Minor, BWV 582.flac
DR9 -10.61 dB -22.46 dB B2 Vater Unser Im Himmelreich, BWV 737.flac
DR9 -22.99 dB -35.79 dB B3 Alle Menschen Mussen Sterben, BWV 643.flac
Number of Files: 5
Official DR Value: DR12
- Composed By – Johann Sebastian Bach
- Engineer – Jack Renner
- Organ – Michael Murray
- Producer – Robert Woods
- Recorded By, Edited By – Bruce Rothaar, Jeff Ostler, Thomas Stockham
- RCM: Okki Nokki (L’art du son, Clearaudio’s Diamond Cleaner)
- TT: Vintage (1982) Yamaha PX-3
- Cartridge: Sumiko Black Bird
Cartridge: ZYX 50R Bloom
- Phono amp: Audio Research SP15 own tube phono section.
- ADC/DAC: RME Fireface UC
- Pre Amp: Audio Research SP15
- Finals: Opera Consonance 9.9 Mono (Tube)
- Speakers: Dali Helikon 400
- Connections: MIT Terminator, Audioquest Emerald, Audioquest Quartz
A few words about the way i’ve been cleaning vinyl records and post-processing rips, since summer 2017: After washing and recording the vinyl, I use a kind of mixed cleaning of the rip, which consists of mostly manual rather than automatic de-clicking, (the latter only on unimportant passages, such as end of the groove, beginning and end of the songs, applause, speaking). I often leave the rips almost rough, de-clicking only the silences between the tracks. Never de-noising or/and EQ, as unfortunately some do. I prefer to hear a bit of quiet noises of the clean groove, that contain something of the music, rather than generate clinically clean files that may, eventually, sound a bit dead. If you do not agree, do not download my rips and buy instead digital files or CDs.
When I listen to music I “don’t hear” any noise: I enjoy the music 😀
I do not make rips for headphones!
- Software: iZotope RX 5 Advanced, Adobe Audition CS 5.5, Twisted Wave 1.18
- Very careful de-clicking with iZotope, significant clicks manually removed, never de-noising
- Wave 32/192(32/384) —> Flac 24/96 & 24/192: Twisted Wave 1.18
- Artwork: Sony Alpha 350, Epson Perfection V750 Pro, Photoshop CS 5.5
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