Well, here we go on the new wild and crazy ride known as hi-res music once again. After the wave and sudden drops from sight that we experienced with the promise of DVD-Audio, and SACD, we’re about to do it again. In fact, it’s already started. In the not too distant past, we’ve heard rumblings of Blu-ray Audio, although any emergence of them on a scale worth noticing had been slim pickings. Recently, however, especially with the delivery of a high profile YES reissue of Close To The Edge as remixed by Steven Wilson, and with a lot of extras, we’re starting to see titles emerging.
Many of the titles being announced are some that should be quite exciting to own. (If No Secrets by Carly Simon gets reissued in BD-Audio, I’m buying it right away. EBay copies of the DVD-Audio version are selling for a high premium!)
Iamgine by John Lennon is scheduled for February 11 by Capitol Records. Also on the list – and already released – are Peel Slowly & See (The Velvet Underground & Nico), Breakfast In America (Supertramp), Sea Change (Beck), Big Band Bossa Nova (Quincy Jones), What’s Going On? (Marvin Gaye), Songs In The Key Of Life (Stevie Wonder), Kaya (Bob Marley & The Wailers), and Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs (Derek And the Dominoes), all issued on October 30 of last year (2013). There may be more titles joining Lennon‘s Imagine yet.
New titles (besides the high profile John Lennon – Imagine reissue) now include selections from the Classical realm and include Bruckner: Symphony Number 4 ‘Romantic’ (Bohm/Wiener Philharmoniker), 1612: Italian Vespers (I Fagiolini/Hollingworth), Tchaikovsky: Ballet Suites (Karajan/Wiener Philharmoniker), Beethoven & Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos (Mullova/Gardiner/ORR), and Handel: Messiah (Various Artists). All of these titles are scheduled on the calendar for March 18.
These are Universal titles, all in the first – and now second – salvos from the label to test the waters of hi-quality audio being referred to as High Fidelity Pure Audio. We haven’t seen any returns to DSD in Blu-ray Audio discs from Sony, or any Warner (who previously supported DVD-Audio) music.
Still, I find these issues promising. I’m sincerely hoping that we continue to see brave ventures out into the waters of these BD-Audio reissues. The difference between these issues and the previous attempts with SACD, and DVD-Audio is hardware. All toe-dippers in the past had to pony up for new and exclusive hardware, where Blu-ray players already have a huge install base. However, I’m not holding my breath for any adoption other than a few titles trickling out. The money return expectations will have to be there which will exclude the popular but lower selling titles.
All we can do is to sit and wait it out.