Reference SACD - Stravinsky: Le Sacre du Printemps

Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic (Deutsche Grammophon). In January of 2006, I made it my business (literally) to be in Los Angeles for the first performance to be recorded live at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. It was my third visit to this remarkable auditorium, and I knew that its extraordinary acoustics - clear and bright, yet capable of offering up warmth and resonance from its gorgeously wood-enclosed space - would provide the ideal setting for that most modern of 94-year-old works, Stravinsky's evergreen The Rite of Spring. What's more, the recording was to be made in surround sound for release on hybrid SACD.

The resulting disc proves that Salonen and his superb orchestra are the ideal interpreters of this 20th-century music. They're equally persuasive in the couplings: Bartok's The Miraculous Mandarin and Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain. Thankfully, the DG team has captured the full sonic experience. And Rainer Maillard's six-channel mix - with its thundering bass and shrewdly delineated deployment of sound through the front and rear - enhances that experience thrillingly. A visit to Disney Hall is well worth the journey, but the House the Mouse Built has provided the best surround recording I have ever heard, right here in my living room.

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