The Special Sound of Chandos
It is good to have on Compact Disc format such formidable evidence of the prowess of the Chandos engineers. As our quarterly report in ''Sounds in Retrospect'' has regularly been saying, many Chandos issues—particularly in the orchestral field—vie with anything being produced by the major companies in their full and well-balanced sound.
A wide-ranging selection of ten items on this disc speaks for itself, though as so often with CD the idiosyncrasies of each recording come out the more plainly—the free reverberation in the Ophelia scene from Tchaikovsky's Hamlet for example (with the voice of Janis Kelly caught extremely vividly in face-to-face illusion), the comparable reverberance of the Weber Clarinet Concerto, with Janet Hilton an outstanding clarinet soloist, the rich and warm sound of the slow movement from Harty's Irish Symphony, all of them reflecting the fact that to be believable instruments and voices have to relate to a background acoustic. It is not enough to have the sound-source recorded close and a vague acoustic presented as a background, which is too often the way these days with engineers favouring close-up microphone placing and multi-channel recording.
In Malcolm Arnold's
The opening item is ''Jupiter'' from Gibson's recording with the SNO of Holst's suite The Planets, and impressive as it is—if anything finer than on either of the CD issues of The Planets so far, Karajan's for DG (400 028-2—reviewed on page 144) and Maazel's for CBS (CD37249, 4/83)—I find it just a shade disappointing that the string sound has some digital aggression, with violins biting rather too hard out of a generally warm texture. Maybe when transferred complete that Chandos version of The Planets will—as on LP—outshine in sound quality its direct rivals.'