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The Garden Of Cosmic Speculation [SACD] Hybrid SACD - DSD

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Hybrid SACD - DSD, February 26, 2008
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 26, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD - DSD
  • Label: Telarc
  • ASIN: B000ZU98FI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #137,498 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Dr. Debra Jan Bibel TOP 500 REVIEWER on December 12, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
You should know first that The Garden of Cosmic Speculation is an actual place in Scotland, a creation of American architect Charles Jencks who transformed a large plot of land into a metaphoric landscape, with sculptural details, of scientific universal principles, both in physics and biology. American composer Michael Ganolfi has created his own musical metaphors and impressions of each key portion of this garden, and he succeeded brilliantly. Astonishingly clever, fun, magical, and cheerful, Ganolfi's rich and complex symphonic tour uses the colors of orchestral timbres and stylistic dance forms (sarabande, gigue, allemande, courante, etc.) of classic music as his palette. The section called The Universe Cascade, a true Big Bang, is perhaps the most obvious but the most fun, as the history of Western music rapidly unfolds in but 6.5 minutes with 28 brief linked excerpts, from Gregorian chant to de Machuat, from Dufay and Palestrina to Bach's Bandenbrugs, from Beethoven Pastoral to Stravinsky's Petrushka, from Sibelius's Symphony 7 to Steve Reich's Octet, including a zig into...laugh out loud in joy...Miles Davis' Boplicity from Birth of the Cool! Well-recorded by Telarc and nicely peformed by Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, this CD is a perfect match to the Garden's combination of science and design. (And is not music itself just that?) I listened in surround sound, but whether CD or SACD, you will love this recording. I will now purchase the book to reverse the process, of matching the site to the music.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I am a casual listener of classical music and I love orchestral pieces in hi-res surround. If you are a fan of Stravinsky and like dense, melodic, complex recordings this sacd will knock your sox off. It has become my favorite orchestral recording and I never tire of it. There is so much to hear musically. It's like the entire sacd is made of great moments. Don't miss it. Unfortunate that the Telarc that produced this is no more.
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Format: Audio CD
If you have a good 5.1 channel surround setup and you enjoy surround music, you will have fun near the end of 'The Universe Cascade'!. This is not merely a 'conventional' surround recording of an orchestra, where the surrounds are used only for ambience. I wish more 'serious' composers used the surround channels to great effect as Gandolfi does here. And BTW, the orchestral sound is state-of-the-art-of- recording wonderful, even without considering the very skillfully done surround effects.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I bought this disc based primarily on the positive reviews I read. This is a very interesting, eclectic composition, It shifts moods readily from the dramatic to the serene. Lovely themes. Very well conducted and performed. The Atlantans seemed to be enjoying playing this unique piece. The sound quality is spectacular. It is everything a well-produced SACD can be, enhancing the overall enjoyment of listening to the composition. In particular, if you are into Romantic/Modern Period composition, this should be right up your alley!
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Format: Audio CD
Michael Gandolfi is one of the group of composers known as the "Atlanta School of Composers", championed by conductor Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, whose music can be boiled down to one phrase: accessible, non-threatening, audience-friendly neo-romanticism. The performance by the Atlanta SO and Spano on this recording of "The Garden of Cosmic Speculation" is a fine one, given solid Telarc engineering, as is standard with Telarc.

The rating here is not because of the performance. This is because of the music, which to me isn't all that special. A sense of pastiche informs much of the work, which isn't a problem, and Gandolfi's musical grammar is very much based in traditional tonality, which is also fine. One illustration of the problem regarding the quality of the composition is that Gandolfi quotes past musical works by other composers, and those quotations are much more memorable than any of Gandolfi's own original music. The notes also state that the movements can be done in any order, as to suit the occasion. This makes the work more of a suite than a single, unified composition, in my opinion.

Ultimately, this kind of classical music is for those who really don't want to be challenged by new orchestral music. I respect the musicians' effort here, but I wish that it had been spent on something more substantial.
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