Falla: El Amor Brujo (CD review)
There is no doubt this classic 1966 Decca rendition of Falla's perennial favorite ballet-with-song El Amor Brujo has weathered the test of time quite well. Dutoit's equally beguiling rendition challenged it more recently, but de Burgos's way with Falla is certainly affectionate in the way he lavishes loving care and attention on every phrase. Nor does de Burgos forget the color and excitement of Spain, and audiophiles can be justifiably proud of showing it off to wow friends with their audio systems.
The bigger question is whether it's worth spending about twice as much money on this remastering of the piece when it comes only in the configuration cited above, and Decca's own various mid-priced editions come with more material. Does the new LIM (Lasting Impression Music) remastering really sound that good? LIM's owner and producer, Winston Ma, would assure you it is that good. As he points out, the new K2HD processing is better even than XRCD2. Well, that is his opinion, and what else would you expect him to say? But the proof is in the pudding, and there is no doubt this thing does sound good.
The K2HD remastering brings out all of the recording's dynamics and detail, providing a wide stereo spread and a fine sense of orchestral depth, perhaps a hair more so than on my old Decca "Classic Sound" CD. More important, the K2HD processing appears to offer up a smoother overall sound, which is most pleasing on the ear. However, some listeners may argue that it takes away some of the original CD's transparency by sounding slightly softer. I don't know. I leave that discussion to dedicated audiophiles. I only know I liked what I heard, the K2HD business making a good thing better. Twice as good? Not quite. But different in a pleasing way and different enough to make it worthwhile to discerning, deep-pocketed buyers.
William (Bill) Heck, Contributing Reviewer
Among my early childhood memories are those of listening to my mother playing records (some even 78 rpm ones!) of both classical music and jazz tunes. I suppose that her love of music was transmitted genetically, and my interest was sustained by years of playing in rock bands – until I realized that this was no way to make a living. The interest in classical music was rekindled in grad school when the university FM station serving as background music for studying happened to play the Brahms First Symphony. As the work came to an end, it struck me forcibly that this was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard, and from that point on, I never looked back. This revelation was to the detriment of my studies, as I subsequently spent way too much time simply listening, but music has remained a significant part of my life. These days, although I still can tell a trumpet from a bassoon and a quarter note from a treble clef, I have to admit that I remain a nonexpert. But I do love music in general and classical music in particular, and I enjoy sharing both information and opinions about it.
The audiophile bug bit about the same time that I returned to that classical music. I’ve gone through plenty of equipment, brands from Audio Research to Yamaha, and the best of it has opened new audio insights. Along the way, I reviewed components, and occasionally recordings, for The $ensible Sound magazine. Recently I’ve rebuilt--I prefer to say reinvigorated--my audio system, with a Sangean FM HD tuner and (for the moment) an ancient Toshiba multi-format disk player serving as a transport, both feeding a NAD C 658 streaming preamp/DAC, which in turn connects to a Legacy Powerbloc2 amplifier driving my trusty Waveform Mach Solo speakers, supplemented by a Hsu Research ULS 15 Mk II subwoofer.