LSO Live’s newest releases, Berlioz' Symphonie fantastique & Overture: Waverley, Mendelssohn's Symphony No 3, Overture: The Hebrides & Schumann's Piano Concerto, are not only musically captivating, but are also the first on the label to be released in the exciting new format, Pure Audio Blu-ray.
So what is Pure Audio Blu-ray?
Pure Audio Blu-ray is an exciting new format which is set to revolutionise the way we see and hear music. LSO Live is one of the lead partners in the development of this format, which will allow millions of homes to experience HD content, audio and visual, on any Blu-ray player – from PlayStations to high-end equipment.
On the new Pure Audio format, the orchestra's performance will be heard in high resolution sound, in surround and stereo. The format also includes HD video footage of the concerts, allowing the London Symphony Orchestra’s performances to be seen and heard to full effect.
This format isn’t just for high-end audio enthusiasts, however, and works with or without a screen. Tracks can be navigated by using the standard controls or numeric keys on your Blu-ray remote control – just as on a CD. And for those who prefer navigating on a screen, the Pure Audio Blu-ray also provides menus just as on a video Blu-ray. These pop-up screens give information about the tracks, track lengths, audio streams and video content.
For LSO Live, Pure Audio Blu-ray maintains our mission of using the latest high-density recording technology, for wide distribution. With our prices set to challenge previous releases in the format we are able to encourage the broadest reach possible and ensure that Pure Audio Blu-ray is available for all lovers of music!
But what if you don’t have a Blu-ray player?
Don’t worry – if you don’t have a Blu-ray player there is a Super Audio CD (SACD) included in both releases. SACDs look like normal CDs but have a much higher audio quality due to being recorded through a new process called Direct Stream Digital (DSD). You’ll need an SACD player to hear the higher quality audio, but it’s not a problem if you don’t have one; LSO Live issue hybrid-SACDs which will play on normal CD players (although you will only hear the CD mix and not the high density SACD mixes).
Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique & Overture: Waverley
Now available to order, LSO Live’s first Pure Audio Blu-ray release is Berlioz Symphonie fantastique & Overture: Waverley, conducted by Valery Gergiev. HD video content of the full performance of Symphonie fantastique is included on the Pure-Audio Blu-ray format, allowing the orchestra and conductor to be seen and heard to full effect.
Berlioz let his imagination run wild in his music, finding inspiration in all manner of sources, including his own turbulent personal life. His experience of powerful, unrequited love finds its expression in the emotionally charged Symphonie fantastique, the story of an artist’s ‘hopeless love,’ complete with waltzes, witches and a hallucinogenic nightmare.
The release was recorded live at the Barbican Hall on 31 October and 14 November 2013, with both concerts receiving outstanding reviews. Bachtrack's five-star review describes Gergiev and the LSO’s performance of the Symphonie fantastique as ‘some of the most thrilling Berlioz one could ever hope to hear,’ whilst Music OMH praised the ‘robust reading of Berlioz’s Waverley overture,’ highlighting Gergiev’s ‘awareness of colour and timbre.’
Mendelssohn: Symphony No 3, Overture: The Hebrides & Schumann Piano Concerto
Also now available to order, LSO Live launches the start of its Mendelssohn symphonies cycle with the release of Mendelssohn Symphony No 3, conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner, on SACD and Pure Audio Blu-ray. This release also includes Overture: The Hebrides and Schumann Piano Concerto, performed by Maria João Pires.
Inspired by his travels to the British Isles, and full of the influence of the rolling Scottish landscape, both Mendelssohn's Symphony No 3 ('Scottish') and his Hebrides overture ('Fingal's Cave') are amongst the composer's most popular and celebrated works.
Sir John Eliot Gardiner writes of the coupling of works by Mendelssohn and Schumann; 'Even if they spoke with different accents these genial Romantics were united in their ambitious fervour for 'abstract' music to be acknowledged as having the same expressive force as poetry, drama or the literary novel. The three works on this album exemplify the endeavour and range of invention of two of them, friends and colleagues in Leipzig'.
This release also includes HD video footage of the full performance of the concert, recorded on 21 January 2014 at the Barbican Hall. The performance received rave reviews; the Evening Standard gave the concert five stars and The Times spoke of the ‘Romantic and revolutionary’ sound of the orchestra, made possible by having the violin and viola players standing during the Mendelssohn. Of the Schumann concerto, Seen and Heard praised the ‘cultivated way in which Pires and the LSO took up and finished phrases.’
Moving Music Campaign
In order for LSO Live to keep releasing products in Pure Audio Blu-ray, we need your help.
To help achieve the LSO’s goal of taking the Orchestra’s music out beyond the concert hall we have launched our most ambitious fundraising campaign to date: Moving Music. Moving Music is raising the money so we can keep filming to release in new formats like Pure Audio Blu-ray.
In 2012 we were challenged to raise £6 million by 31 May 2015 – and if we did so this would release £3 million of matched funding from Arts Council England. The support so far has been great, but to reach our target we are now appealing to you to help us in the final stage of our campaign.
From £10 to £1000: your donation, small or large, would help us to film our performances, present the material in innovative way and distribute them through the latest digital technologies for years to come! All gifts to Moving Music are gratefully received, and raise a 50% match grant from Arts Council England. With Gift Aid, this means that your contribution to the LSO is worth up to 75% more than your original donation, at no additional cost to you. With this in mind, there has never been a better time to give!
To find out more please watch this video: