Hi-Res Downloads, November 2023

hfnalbumSimon Callaghan/Sinfonieorchester St Gallen
Reinecke: Piano Concertos (96kHz/24-bit, FLAC)
www.hyperion-records.co.uk; Hyperion CDA68339

As part of its massive 'The Romantic Piano Concerto' project – this is Volume 85! – Hyperion brings us what will be to many listeners their first exposure to the works of 19th century composer Carl Reinecke, who fell out of favour for much of the last century, only being rediscovered and recorded in the 1970s. Soloist Callaghan and the orchestra under Modestas Pitrėnas do a fabulous job with the three concertos here, leading the listener to conclude they have been unfairly overlooked, and they're aided in their task by a typically fine Hyperion recording made in the Tonhalle St Gallen, Switzerland. Callaghan's Steinway sounds wonderfully weighty and agile, and the balance between piano and orchestra is persuasively natural, with not a hint of spotlighting of the solo instrument. It's a real discovery, and certainly cause for further exploration. AE

Sound Quality: 90%


Lab Report
This is a clean 96kHz recording from Hyperion possessed of above average dynamic range, and peaking between –10dBFs and –0.1dBFs (trk 4). The piano stretches out to ~20kHz; the orchestra filling the full 48kHz bandwidth. PM

2390 X

Gianluigi Trovesi & Stefano Montanari
Stravaganze Consonanti (96kHz/24-bit, FLAC)*
www.ecmrecords.com; ECM 2390

Here's one of those 'shouldn't work' projects: the 'Extravagant Consonances' combine baroque sounds under concertmaster Montanari with the jazz clarinets and saxophone of Trovesi and, on a couple of tracks, percussion and electronics from Fulvio Maras. It covers works from the likes of Purcell onwards with an ensemble including traditional instruments – there's even a long-necked archlute in here – and defies any doubts about a crossover too far by sounding fabulous and fascinating throughout. Of course, the ECM label has previous form here, and strikes just the right balance between ancient and modern, delivering a wide-open sound that gives all the instruments – and Trovesi's in particular – plenty of space to breathe. Standout track? A wonderfully stately reading of Purcell's Dido's Lament. AE

Sound Quality: 90%


Lab Report
While every track here will show as '96kHz' on your DAC, trk 1 'The Witches' Dance' is an upsampled 48kHz recording [black trace]. Otherwise there is excellent dynamic range, with harpsichord and sax utilising the full freq. bandwidth. PM


Justin Kauflin Trio
Live At Sam First (96kHz/24-bit, FLAC)
www.samfirstrecords.com; Sam First Records SRF001

Contemporary trio jazz doesn't get much better than this set, recorded live at the Sam First cocktail bar and jazz venue, and released on the club's own label. The recording conveys both the musicianship of all concerned – pianist Kauflin, David Robaire on bass and drummer Mark Ferber – and the intimacy of the venue, with its small audience. Most of the tracks here are Kauflin originals, along with Cole Porter's 'You Do Something To Me' and 19th century hymn tune 'Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing', and the hour or so of music runs seamlessly to give a real sense of a live performance. Whether verging on the classical in the opening 'Coming Home' or cruising through the Cole Porter, this is a captivating performance, and by the time the hymn gives way to Kauflin's 'Thank You Lord' at the end of the set, chances are you'll be wanting to discover more. AE

Sound Quality: 85%


Lab Report
Like J. Nelson's LA Stories [HFN Oct '23], also recorded at Sam First in Los Angeles, this album is a 96kHz rendering of content that's steeply filtered at ~28kHz. There's some small spuriae at 22kHz [black] but dynamic range is good. PM


Morten Georg Gismervik
Dunes At Night (96kHz/24-bit)
www.grappa.no; Hubro HUBROCD2657

These days it seems every album has a concept, and this set from composer/guitarist Morten Georg Gismervik is no exception. Drawing on everything from the chill blast of Nordic jazz to swaggering prog rock, it charts the progression between two characters – the exuberant Kimri and the introverted Winter. The writer says his intention was 'a piece in album format, that could mirror a cinematic experience', and here he's backed by musicians including Sigurd Drogset Hemmingsen on drums (and glockenspiel!), bassist Torger Forsberg and Harsha Jerome on piano. Unsurprisingly, the guitar is to the fore on a set running from gently lyrical jazz to all-out rock, and whether or not you follow the story/concept, the sound remains detailed, dynamic and involving throughout, with fine instrumental timbres and excellent soundstaging and focus. AE

Sound Quality: 85%


Lab Report
Recorded at Kongshavn Studio, all tracks aside from 3 (–5.2dBFs) and 11 (–7.2dBFs) are normalised to –0.8dBFs. Dynamic range is good and levels of spuriae are low, though the full ~48kHz bandwidth is only maximised during trk 2. PM


Requiem For A Dream (44.1kHz/24-bit, WAV/FLAC)
www.karnataka.org.uk; Immrama Records KTKCDSP001

If you were ever in doubt about the grandiose ambition of this latest symphonic rock set from Karnataka, look no further than the title track, closing the album at a staggering 25 minutes plus. Mind you, it lets you know what you're in for with the opener, 'All Around The World', where singer Sertari – often multitracked into choral effects – is joined by clips of Greta Thunberg, expressing her enviro-anger. There are Clannad-like Celtic overtones here, notably thanks to the pipes of Troy Donockley, no shortage of driving Euro-rock, and massive, multi-layered production. Unfortunately, all this dense sonic lavishness produces an effect somewhere between a high-concept Eurovision interval act and the soundtrack to a Cirque du Soleil aerial ballet – it's fairly hard going at a single sitting. But if it's your kind of thing, you'll surely overlook the 'sling the lot at it' sound. AE

Sound Quality: 80%


Lab Report
Available as 24-bit WAV/FLAC downloads, these 44.1kHz files are normalised to a high –0.03dBFs. Aside from the opening track [see Graph] the peak-to-RMS ratio is little more than 2 bits, so the dynamic range is not always well used. PM