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Positive Feedback ISSUE 38
july/august 2008


First Classical Blu-Ray and SACD from 2L - Divertimenti, TrondheimSolistene
by Mark Wagner


I will go ahead and state that I am a huge fan of the releases from Mort Lindberg and his label, 2L. 2L, like Caro Mitis, has found a warm place in my heart as a label that puts a great deal of love into their efforts. This recording is no exception.

What makes this release so interesting is that, along with a hybrid SACD, there is a Blu-Ray disc of the same music. Since I currently do not have my own Blu-Ray machine, I took this combo to my good friend's house where HE has a Sony Blue Ray machine. I listened to the SACD on my system for sometime before I did the listen at his house so that I would have a good idea as to what to expect.

NOW, to be fair, my friend's Blu-Ray setup is fed into a NAD Silver processor that will not decode the FULL Blu-Ray sound, so we were comparing the full resolution of the SACD to the nearest top level, Dolby Tru-HD. I share my friend's belief that until one of the more major audio manufacturers develop a serious Blu-Ray processor we will have to deal with the sound we get ...which is still quite fine. Neither of us has any desire for the mass-fi units from Circuit City and Best Buy.

In our comparisons at my friend's house and on my system, the sound of the SACD is usual. Warm, full, rich and down right enjoyable, this recording joins the other killer SACDs in my library. The playing of the Trondheim Solistene is top notch and captured in an intimate setting. On my 2-channel rig, I of course do not get the benefits of the multi channel so I get a typical spread of instruments from left to right. Of course, when one looks at the image (or listens in a MC rig) you hear exactly how the ensemble was recorded the round.

Of the four titles, there are only two I am familiar with: the Britten "Simple Symphony" and the Bartok "Divertimento for Strings". The other two, Bacewicz's "Concerto for String Orchestra" and Bjørkland's "Carmina" are new "listens" for me. The Britten is simply superb and further cements my belief that Benjamin Britten was one of the 20th century's top composers. The Bartok is also quite fine, though I find Bartok's string only music to be a wee bit less thrilling than his orchestral works like "Concerto for Orchestra". The "Concerto for String Orchestra" is still a "listen in progress" as I am still trying to absorb what the composer wants. A few more critical listens will do the trick I suspect. However, the "Carmina" is simply lovely.

I closing, both my friend and I have to give our vote for best sound to the SACD disc. This does not mean that the Blu-Ray is less good is just that the SACD is a touch warmer all around. Perhaps someday when my buddy has a Blu-Ray processor that matches the remainder of his MC rig, we will finally be able to compare the SACD to the full Blu-Ray sound

A VERY highly recommended recording!