Stereophile.com‘s Jason Victor Serinus has a wonderful review on Dallas Wind Symphony release Horns for the Holidays, and even includes an interview with Keith O. Johnson!
“As you can well imagine, Johnson, who has something like nine Grammy nominations for Engineering and one Grammy Award for Best Surround Recording to his credit, takes full advantage of this opportunity to show what Reference Recordings can do. Even heard without the advantage of Johnson’s HDCD decoding, Horns for the Holidays sounds spectacular…
“If you want to test what your system can do, turn up the volume on the huge climaxes in … Russian Christmas, and discover how clearly your equipment and room can render the sound of percussion, bassoons, and everything else going full tilt. A truckload of plywood panels, positioned by Johnson and recordist Sean Royce Martin, provided the acoustic bounce necessary to hear the low woodwinds sound clearly in Reference Recording’s widescreen panoramic mix.
“In a phone chat, Johnson told Stereophile, ‘I feel very strongly that each composition has a sonic vision or relativity that the composer or orchestrator had in mind. Therefore, one should hear variations of their perceptual intentions, such as staging, weight, focus, revelation and other visceral qualities, from one composition to another.
‘Tracks have personality, and different tracks within a multi-composer compilation such as Horns should reflect these differences in personality. Recording tracks from different composers and orchestrators in the all too common, tightly balanced production where everything is mixed the same way is not the way music was intended, and is not the way we hear it in concert.
‘I want people to experience the recording as if they were listening at a concert…’
“There’s lots more that can be said about Johnson’s recording techniques, of course. But the bottom line is this. He has a field day on Horns for the Holidays. As long as you can lighten up enough to listen with even a modicum of frivolity and a bit of joy in your heart, you’ll have a ball as well.” — Jason Victor Serinus, Stereophile