SCHUBERT: Octet in F, D. 803 - op. posth. 166
Camerata Freden
TACET DVD AUDIO D 133 (5.1 channel) TT: 58:01

RACHMANINOFF: Trio elegiaque in G minor. TCHAIKOVSKY: Trio in A minor, Op. 50.
Abegg Trio
TACET DVD AUDIO D 127 (5.1 channel) TT: 55:22

BEETHOVEN: Septet in E flat, Op. 20. Octet in E flat, Op. 103.
Camerata Freden
TACET DVD AUDIO D 115 (5.1 channel) TT: 58:31

SCHUBERT: String Quintet in C, D. 956 - op. posth. 163
Auryn Quartet/Christian Poltéra, cellist
TACET DVD AUDIO D 110 (5.1 channel) TT: 52:53
HANDEL: Messiah
Lynne Dawson, soprano; Guillemette Laurens, mezzo-soprano; Charles Daniels, tenor; Antonio Abete, bass; Coro della Radio Svizzera; I Barocchisti/Diego Fasolis, cond.
ARTS DVD AUDIO 45007-6 (5.1 channel) TT: 2 hrs. 21 min.

The four Tacet releases are more examples of their surround sound recording philosophy—which I endorse as an imaginative approach to recorded music. All of these are chamber music performances of some of the major works of the repertory in fine performances by the various groups. Tacet provides a chart for each disk showing position of each instrument. The Rachmaninoff/Tchaikovsky disk is highly unusual; two versions of the program provided (with a total playing time of 114 minutes)—the first recorded in the label's usual discrete approach. The violin is front left, the cello front right and the piano is in the rear. In the second version, Tacet provides what they call "Moving Surround Sound." On occasion, the instruments move about the room as they are playing—a most unusual effect—which some may find disturbing: this surely would never be heard in a concert performance.Tacet seems to have limited distribution in the United States, but you can order them from this address:

Arts Music offers a fine, small-scale performance of Handel's Messiah. Less than 70 performers are involved, with period instruments used. Soloists are excellent, particularly soprano Lynne Dawson. Recorded June 8/9, 2000 in Chiesa de San Nicolao, Lugano, Switzerland, with producers Giuseppe Clericetti and Gian Andrea Lodovici, recording supervisor Gian Andrea Lodovici and sound engineer Matteo Costa, the recording is a model of natural balance, clarity and spacial perspective. This won't replace the best of the numerous recordings of Handel's favorite, but it has much to offer and surely is one of the best sonically. My copy of the disk is oddly labeled, referring to DVD 2 when there is only one. At some stage of production it was decided to get the entire work on one disk, but booklet information doesn't indicate this. Doubtless later copies of this release will be correctly labeled. It's interesting that the one-disk DVD audio version of this costs less than the regular CD version.

All of these audio DVDs are recommended.

R.E.B. (December 2004)