Hi-Res Downloads

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C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jun 01, 2014
Pletnev’s first recording with the RNO, Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique [Virgin Classics, 1991] created a sensation. He went on to record a complete symphony cycle for Deutsche Grammophon, which included a 1993 Manfred, and currently a Pentatone cycle is under way. What’s interesting is to find this new recording – made in a Moscow studio last April – has consistently longer timings, Pletnev adding 5m+ to his previous reading. It’s the proper score, rather than the cut ’n paste various Russian conductors offer.
J. Bamford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jun 01, 2014
Not to be confused with the German DJ who founded Top Dog Records, this Tobias Becker is a young musician who recently completed studies in classical and jazz piano at Stuttgart’s University of Music and Performing Arts. Centred on his self-penned Life Stream Suite, a composition in four parts for 17-piece ensemble, the album is an impressive outing for Becker who has already garnered an impressive CV for his talent as a musical arranger. It’s vibrant and exhilarating big band jazz, redolent of Count Basie at his swingin’ best, albeit interspersed with a 21st century twist here and there. The album’s excellent sound quality, recorded in Bauer Studios in Ludwigsburg, has captured the vivid colours and textures of the Bigband ensemble most authentically.
J. Bamford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jun 01, 2014
Born in Milan in 1965, classical and jazz pianist Stefano Battaglia has recorded an astonishing number of albums during his varied career – more than 60 at last count. Songways, released on CD in 2013, continues his association since 2005 with Manfred Eicher’s ECM label, and his talented accompanists Salvatore Maiore on double-bass and Roberto Dani on drums. Battaglia describes Songways as ‘a new harmonic balance between archaic modal pre-tonal chant and dances, pure tonal songs and hymns, and abstract texture’. It certainly weaves a spell, often hypnotically ambient while sometimes exquisitely lyrical, for example on the enchantingly melodic ‘Mildendo Wide Song’.
J. Bamford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jun 01, 2014
Pirouet’s studio complex in Munich is responsible for many fine audiophile recordings, this eclectic experimental jazz outing being no exception. The sound is intimate and beautifully balanced. Ronny Graupe’s Spoom is in fact the name of a working jazz trio founded a decade ago, comprising composer Ronny Graupe on electric guitar, Jonas Westergaard on bass and Christian Lillinger on drums. Graupe plays a seven-string guitar and his compositions are – how should I put this? – er, ‘difficult’.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jun 01, 2014
192kHz/24-bit FLAC/ALAC, Linn Records CKD 421 (supplied by www. linnrecords. com) The SCO’s young conductor (31) is following in his mentor Sir Colin Davis’s recording path with a Berlioz series for Linn. The testing ‘Scène d’Amour’ from Roméo et Juliette I hope doesn’t preclude a complete version: the leaner orchestral sound here works well in suggesting the defiant youth of the lovers.
J. Bamford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  May 01, 2014
Young Dutch saxophonist Ben van Gelder’s 2012 debut album Frame Of Reference, published by his own BvG Music enterprise and released on vinyl as well as CD, is followed up by a fresh outing recorded in New York’s prestigious Sear Point Studios. Less contemplative than his auspicious debut and featuring pretty much the same line up of Craig Weinrib (drums), Peter Schlamb (vibraphone) and Rick Rosato (bass on all but two tracks), but with pianist Aaron Parks replaced by Sam Harris, van Gelder’s quintet once again exhibits a medley of styles, shifting from angular unisons to freewheelin’ blowing. It’s hard to believe they’re all in their 20s such is the maturity of their playing, van Gelder’s inventive compositions certainly belying his age. It’s a pity the sound isn’t more open and airy, the textures at times masked by the slightly cramped soundings.
J. Bamford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  May 01, 2014
Jazz fans craving that spine-tingling sensation of being in the performance space with musicians should look no further than United In The Big Blue, where pianist Tizian Jost is accompanied in these original compositions by bassist Thomas Stabenow and drummer Mario Gonzi. Jost is perhaps best known as a member of the Stephan Holstein Trio and accompanist to saxophonist Till Martin over the years, as well as being a passionate champion for Brazilian music. He was co-leader of the band Domundo during the ’90s. There’s much to admire in the creativity of Jost’s writing, tracks such as the brooding ‘Missing The Right Word’ and intriguing ‘Not An Easy Way To Go’ replete with ingenious juxtapositions in melody, harmony and phrasing.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  May 01, 2014
192kHz/24-bit; ALAC/FLAC/WAV, naimcd026 (supplied by www. naimlabel. com) Recorded live in Hamar, Norway in August 1997, this is the later of Iona Brown’s two Naim programmes with the orchestra, resampled from co-producer Ken Christianson’s original tapes [see also HFN Oct ’13, p103]. She had almost reached the point where arthritis stopped her from playing the violin and allegedy she was found to be a hard taskmaster by the young Norwegian players.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  May 01, 2014
Thanks to preparation and de Waart’s keen ear for balance, every detail of Elgar’s orchestration of the A-flat Symphony is heard – possibly with greater definition than you’ll find elsewhere. But it’s all rather literal and comes at the cost of passion, heartache and a sense of momentum. Gerontius has been the almost exclusive recording preserve of English knights – Ashkenazy the exception. The attractions here are fine orchestral playing and choral sound (set back in a spacious Antwerp hall).
J. Bamford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  May 01, 2014
The reclusive American pianist Bill Carrothers has recorded several albums for the Munich-based Pirouet label over the years. For Castaways he was accompanied by fellow American bass virtuoso Drew Gress and Belgian drummer Dré Pallemaerts, the set recorded in April ’12 and first released on CD. Now the studio master can be enjoyed in its native 88. 2kHz/24-bit format and it sounds beautifully balanced, the trio laid out in a sound image you can virtually walk into.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Apr 01, 2014
Produced/engineered by Philip Hobbs in Sept ’11, for AAM Records’ first release, this programme takes us from the Sinfonia from Handel’s Saul to Haydn’s F-minor Symphony 49, ‘La Passione’, via works by FX Richter, Stamitz and Mozart: the remarkable K16 – written when he was eight! There’s a related documentary at www. aam. co. uk/birthofthesymphony where Egarr and leader Pavlo Beznosiuk describe the pieces and their salient features (such as the ‘busy’ bowing in the Stamitz opening Presto) intercut with film from concert performance – the two natural horns are quite a sight.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Apr 01, 2014
96kHz/24-bit FLAC, BIS BIS-1978 (supplied by www. eclassical. com) I don’t think these two C-minor concertos have been coupled on records before, in spite of obvious connections. As if to stress these, the Mozart is given a Beethovenian vigour and scale – not inappropriately.
J. Bamford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Apr 01, 2014
Still in his 20s, acclaimed pianist Giovanni Guidi is regarded as one of the most original and inventive pianists on the Italian jazz scene. While he accompanied trumpeter Enrico Rava on his ECM albums Tribe and the live On The Dancefloor this is his first album for the label as a band leader, where his creatively daring improvisations are shared with American bassist Thomas Morgan and Portuguese drummer João Lobo. ‘The Forbidden Zone’ demonstrates Guidi’s talent for creating sublimely haunting atmospheres, its meditative melody achingly beautiful in its apparent simplicity. And ‘Just One More Time’, in which the bass and drums are given space to work out, highlights the recording’s splendidly natural feeling of musicians performing in a room.
J. Bamford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Apr 01, 2014
Nigerian-German singer-songwriter Joy Olasunmibo Ogunmakin – stage name Ayo – has enjoyed considerable success in Europe since her 2007 debut album Joyful and its follow-up Gravity At Last, both produced by renowned American sound engineer Jay Newland. This is her fourth studio album, produced and mixed by Newland once again, containing both the original version of her 2013 single ‘Fire’ and its subsequent remix featuring Congolese-French rapper Youssoupha [see Lab Report]. As usual her songs cover a mix of styles from reggae and rap to the country-esque ‘Justice’ and the beautiful ballad ‘Fallin’’ that bears comparison with Joan Armatrading at her most heartfelt. Standout tracks such as ‘Teach Love’ and ‘Complain’ showcase the album’s superior recording quality, with the backing instruments separated across a believable soundstage.
J. Bamford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Apr 01, 2014
This collection of chilled-out country/folk songs by the curiously-named June In The Fields duo of composer Jean-Michel Renaud (guitar/vocal) and singer Mélissa Brouillette hails from Canada’s Fidelio Musique audiophile label. Visit a hi-fi show in North America and you might bump into recording engineer René LaFlamme – who runs Fidelio Musique in Montreal – demonstrating his recordings promoted with the tag line: ‘We capture the feeling…’. This is an intimate set, the duo accompanied on tracks such as ‘Andaman Sea’ and ‘Summer Road’ by Sebastien Saliceti on double-bass to flesh out the sparse arrangements. The vocals in particular have been beautifully captured by LaFlamme’s all-tube mic and preamplifier set-up to produce a ‘charming’ sound that’s exceedingly cosy and seductive, if a tad lacking air and space.

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