One of my all time favorite operas is Verdi’s Don Carlo with Plácido Domingo and the Royal Opera House Orchestra, Covent Garden, conducted by Carlo Maria Giulini on an EMI Classics recording. The work is an utterly inspired 1971 recording of the five-act Italian opera. The cast is stunning, with Domingo as a brash Don Carlos, and Sherrill Milnes as a volatile and virile Rodrigo.
I had been listening to my favorite sections, acts 1-4, on my headphones for some time now and it sounded like a rich and full-bodied recording—so I was eager to play it in Music Room One. The only version I had was a direct copy from a friend’s 3-disc set stored on my Mac Mini server. The richness and warmth I heard through headphones was all there, but the rest left me sad. Where the moving strains of low strings should have lifted voices off the stage and the tympani’s power almost frightening, I was left with a sense of emptiness I hadn’t anticipated. Bummer, I thought, must have been a poor recording. It was, after all, 46 years old and on analog tape.
By chance, a friend brought the actual CD set by and we slipped the disc into the DirectStream Memory Player just to hear the difference. I nearly fell out of my listening seat. The power, glory, and richness of this CD was overwhelming. Neither of us could stop listening to Giulini presiding over the company of Covent Garden. It breathed, it came to life, its power unmistakable. How could this be so different from the same CD copied onto my hard drive?
I made another copy and we tried it again on the server. Flat, dull, and the same as before. So much so I deleted the files from the drive and spent the $89 for a copy of this rare CD on Amazon. Fingers crossed it arrives soon enough.
If you have yet to hear what CDs truly sound like, now’s your chance. Check out the deal we have going on the DMP and DS combo. If you’re not in the States, drop me a line and I’ll see what I can do to help.
Rediscovering what’s on these silver discs is the most fun I’ve had in some time. Too bad most of my great music is trapped on the hard drive.
Gotta fix that.