I cannot help but notice a distinct lack of reviews and/or comments of music specifically written for a multi-channel format such as SACD.
May I direct your attention to:
For those of you unfamiliar with Berlioz' Grande Messe des Morts aka Requiem, it was written for a very large orchestra, huge choir, 16 tympani, and 4 separate brass choirs distributed around the hall at the four points of the compass. If any work (this one was written in 1837) by any composer was designed to take advantage of our modern technology, this is it.
Hector Berlioz: Requiem
Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR
SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart
MDR Rundfunkchor Leipzig
Toby Spence, Tenor
Roger Norrington, conductor
hänssler Classic 93.131 (2006)
Any of you who may be familiar with the first well known recording of this work, that by Charles Munch and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, originally released on RCA Soria and last released as a Living Stereo 3-channel SACD, will notice that Sir Roger has taken a somewhat different approach to tempos and phrasing. Norrington has long prided himself on being historically accurate in both his conducting and in the instrumentation of his orchestras. I doubt that he has changed course for this work. Which is certainly not all bad.
Berlioz himself stated that if only one work of his were to survive, a desert island piece as it were, this would be his choice. And for good reason. It is a choral work first and foremost. But the colorful, audacious writing for the orchestra is almost Mahlerian in his use of the instruments. And when the trumpets call in the Tuba Mirum you'd better be strapped in as the brass sound their demonic calls from everywhere in the room. Likewise the Lachrymosa has the brass resounding once again.
Most of the work is relatively low key, as one would expect from a Requiem. But it's Berlioz genius that turns even the quietest moments into spectacular visions. The piccolo - trombone duets, the fading, cascading Amens at the end.
This a work to be cherished. The 5.1 SACD goes way beyond what I ever expected. I hope you get to experience it.
Needless to say the sound quality is IMHO flawless throughout.