Hi-Res Downloads

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C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jul 01, 2015
You don’t get a booklet PDF with this download so you’ll need to see the web page for full track details. Obviously, there’s the Chopin Cello Sonata and the Grand Duo he co-wrote with cellist and friend Auguste Franchomme. Track 9 is a Nocturne by him, track 8 his setting of Chopin’s Op. 15:1.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jul 01, 2015
192kHz/24-bit ALAC/FLAC, CKD 462 (supplied by www. linnrecords. com) This first instalment in a new Sibelius cycle with the BBC’s Welsh Orchestra has prompted a mixed response. Criticism of the sound from Cardiff’s Hoddinott hall strikes me as spectacularly wrong (Gramophone) as – at 192kHz/24-bit at least – this is an extremely fine, natural orchestral presentation.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jun 01, 2015
Elizabeth Roe is a young Chicago pianist with already an impressive CV. Well worth hearing, she’s also half of a piano duet (see here). Here, she rounds out her programme with two solo ‘night pieces’ – Barber’s Nocturne ‘Homage To John Field’ and Britten’s Notturno written (1963) as a test piece for the very first Leeds Pianoforte Competition. Both main works exist in definitive recordings: John Browning’s (for whom the Barber was written) with Szell/Cleveland on Sony; and Richter’s with Britten/ECO on Decca.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jun 01, 2015
We’ve only just been introduced, and already 32-year-old Cuban-born Ms Pacheco is sitting at her piano in just her drawers – what is one to think? Actually, Marialy Pacheco already has six previous releases under her belt (not that she’s wearing one), and is an acclaimed classical and jazz pianist. This is simply her first album for the Neuklang label, and finds Pacheco going back to her Havana roots, accompanied by Colombian bassist and drummer Juan Camillo Villa and Miguel Altamar. It’s a tight little trio, able to kick back on tracks such as ‘Cambodian Smiles’ or motor through ‘En El Camino’, while the album centres around the pianist’s three-part ‘Cuban Suite’, exploring the country’s dance styles. And the ‘klang’ here is certainly impressive: yes, the piano is rather spotlit, but the bass and drums are resolved well, and this is a very attractive-sounding set.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jun 01, 2015
You can of course sample tracks at HRA and read the booklet PDF (texts dangerously close to ‘Pseuds’ Corner’ territory) before thinking of buying, which is probably just as well for the compositions of this Russian Orthodox Bishop (Metropolitan), born in 1966. There’s a Concerto grosso and a fugue on B-A-C-H – ‘the sense of the infinite contained in these four notes continues to excite’, we are told – but the rest is vocal: an ultra-conservative Stabat mater, which I admit I quite enjoyed, Songs of Death (after Lorca) and De Profundis, a 24m Psalm settings piece. The Concerto grosso is pure Baroque-pastiche, the fugue like an old Stokowski Bach transcription. While nothing will frighten the horses, it’s depressing to find this sort of sub-Pärt ‘me too’ music, copying its ‘sawing’ motifs and liberal use of tolling bells, being written today.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jun 01, 2015
44. 1kHz/24-bit WAV/FLAC/ALAC, Naim CD210 (supplied bywww. naimlabel. com) So what’s with the Hitchcockian title? Well, London-based trio Troyka tells us the title of its new album comes from guitarist Chris Montague’s fear of birds – this ‘escalated into an album set in a fictionalised London: a post-apocalyptic dystopian nightmare in which people have contracted a form of avian flu that is slowly turning them into human-size birds’.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jun 01, 2015
Belgian singer/songwriter Caroll Vanwelden takes another stab at the Bard’s back-catalogue with this collection – the follow-up to her first disc of sonnets, released a couple of years back. Ms Vanwelden has a decent set of pipes, which are unleashed full-blast on tracks such as her take on Sonnet 124: ‘If My Dear Love’. She is well recorded, as is her backing trio of Thomas Siffling (brass), Mini Schulz (bass) and Rodrigo Villalon (drums), even if the overall sound is perhaps a bit ‘in yer face’ and relentless in some instances. However, her vocal style is somewhat mannered, at times sounding almost like a parody of female jazz singers, and the incongruity of this and the words being sung, plus a sense that there’s often a disconnect between the subject-matter of the sonnet and the music we hear, makes this set something of an acquired taste.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  May 01, 2015
96kHz/24-bit FLAC, BIS BIS-2091 (supplied by www. eclassical. com) Masaaki Suzuki turns to Mozart and the unfinished Requiem. The principal question here is whose edition do you perform, and in this recording Süssmayr’s completion is used together with additions by Joseph Eybler with an added ‘Amen’ fugue (discovered in 1960) after the Lacrimosa.
J. Bamford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  May 01, 2015
Accomplished guitarist Richard Schumacher was born in Boston (1955) but grew up in Hamburg. In his mid-twenties he returned to Berklee College of Music to study jazz composition and arrangement. Back in Germany in the 1990s he formed the Vibe Tribe jazz collective project and his own Straightvibe Records label dedicated to jazz and world music. Despite Right Of Way being an analogue recording, ironically it delivers that rather ‘dark’ and dry sound reminiscent of the many ‘audiophile’ releases from Tom Jung’s digital-pioneering DMP label.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  May 01, 2015
Blank & Jones is not so much a band as a brand: a duo of producers specialising in trance, techno and electronica, based in Köln, Germany and with a dozen or so albums and even more singles to their name since they got together to create Sunrise back in 1997. All of which might suggest what to expect here: banging choons, and a bit of ambient trippiness, right? Erm, no: here the duo teams up with German pianist and composer Marcus Loeber to create an album all about intimately recorded solo piano, playing gentle, melodic pieces. And that’s about it: this is, as the title suggests, a relaxed, slow-paced set of tracks, none of them especially memorable but all suitably chilled out. The piano sounds nicely weighted and detailed, and the whole thing might be just the thing to play at a dinner party (or a laid-back hi-fi show demonstration).
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  May 01, 2015
There’s nothing like being ambitious: according to Punch Brothers lead singer and mandolin player Chris Thile, this album grew out of the question ‘how do we cultivate beautiful, three-dimensional experiences with our fellow man in this day and age?’. So we have songs about recognising a song – the epic ‘Familiarity’, all ten minutes plus of it – and about shining your light by holding a smartphone in the air at a gig, complete with a backing chorus comprising vocals submitted by fans, these two topping and tailing the set. All sound a bit icky and navel-gazing? Far from it: with the assured production of T Bone Burnett, some serious dynamics and close focus on the performers, this set is at turns attention-grabbing, unpredictable, quirky and sincere. It swings from folk to classical to even a little rocky, but all in a good way, and is hard not to like.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  May 01, 2015
The veteran vibes player Bobby Hutcherson marks his return to the venerable Blue Note label with this all-star set, produced by label president Don Was and with an all-star line-up including saxophonist David Sanborn, organist Joey DeFrancesco, and drummer Billy Hart. None of these stalwart performers are exactly strangers to the recording studio thanks to extensive careers. As you might expect, this is a joyful set, with DeFrancesco’s Hammond bouncing off Hutcherson’s understated vibes, and assured rhythm-keeping by Hart. It’s a relaxed, good-time set of tunes, played by a bunch of old masters completely at ease with themselves and what the others are doing.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Apr 02, 2015
Recorded by the Swiss Italian-language broadcaster RSI, this album by oudist Anouar Brahem apparently draws its inspiration from the recent political and social traumas of his native Tunisia. It sees Brahem’s lute-like instrument front and centre in the mix. He’s helped by close miking, and partnered by Francois Couturier (piano), Klaus Gesing (bass clarinet) and Bjorn Meyer (bass) – oh, and the small matter of the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana. Here the orchestra performs the function of the backing drone so often heard in Middle Eastern and North African music, underpinning Brahem’s lyrical, reflective playing and the rich interjections of Gesing’s clarinet.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Apr 02, 2015
Jazz pianist Vijay Iver’s been busy of late: having changed label from ACT to ECM last year, he’s managed to put out three albums, of which this is the latest, as well as being appointed a Professor of the Arts at Harvard. Here he rejoins with long-term travelling companions Stephan Crump on double-bass and Marcus Gilmore wielding the sticks – the three have been playing together for over a decade – for a set combining Iver’s takes on some jazz classics as well as self-compositions. Iver and company pay tribute to Monk, Coltrane and Strayhorn with impressive takes on ‘Work’, ‘Countdown’ and ‘Blood Count’ respectively, but it’s in the original pieces that there’s the strongest sense of musicians who know each other well both locking together and playing off each other. It’s all recorded with typical ECM clarity by label founder Manfred Eicher.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Apr 02, 2015
Joshua Bell became artistic director of the St Martin’s Academy in 2011. New to his discography, Bach’s concertos in E and A minor are followed by contemporary adaptations, with strings, by Julian Milone (composer/academic, he also plays in the Philharmonia), from older violin/piano transcriptions of two solo pieces, plus the ‘Air’ – taken at a rather old-school slow tempo, and with Bell prominent in the mix as leader/director. He introduces tasteful modest decorations. These are very cleanly played concerto performances, seriousness in slow movements contrasted with joyous finales, tempos steadily maintained.

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