Friday, October 04, 2013

What is missing from this CD artwork?


An upgrade to an Arcam FMJ CD37 compact disc player last year brought the bonus of being able to play SACD discs. To date I have been rather underwhelmed by the sound of most SACD releases, with production shortcomings all too often masking the technical potential of the enhanced CD format. A resounding exception are the lovingly produced discs from Jordi Savall's Alia Vox label which really demonstrate the sonic potential of SACD. One example is the newly re-released CD of music by Diego Ortiz seen above. Recorded for Astrée in 1989, the disc has been remastered in SACD format by Alia Vox. The SACD sound is quite simply superb; but did anyone spot what is missing from the artwork? The answer, of course, is a photograph of Jordi Savall. A search through my very extensive collection of Alia Vox discs uncovers just two with his image on the sleeve. Despite this Jordi Savall releases continue to be best sellers among specialist classical titles. Hot shot marketing executives at the corporate labels should try it: dispensing with all those celebrity mug shots may just rejuvenate their flagging sales. Jordi Savall talked to me about the ethos of Alia Vox and much else in a 2008 audio interview. Originally recorded for radio the streamed version now available on SoundCloud omits the music for copyright reasons. As I recounted at the time, it was recorded minutes before a concert that attracted a capacity audience at the Norfolk & Norwich Festival. I desperately tried to end the interview to allow the concert to start on time, and you can almost hear my heart jump into my mouth as my close is circumvented by Jordi who seamlessly segued into a priceless monologue extolling the virtues of inner peace. What a musician and what a man - listen to the interview here.

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