Laura Metcalf & Matei Varga : First Day (mqa)


192kHz/24-bit, FLAC; MQA; Sono Luminus DSL-92201 (supplied by

Cellist Metcalf and pianist Varga coax great drama from eight classical pieces, playing off each other with amazing sensitivity and awareness of the other. ‘First Day’ opens with a composition by José Bragato reminiscent of tango master Astor Piazolla, then segues into the sometimes mournful ‘Variations On A Slavic Folksong’ by Martin? – not a logical choice, but one that makes perfect dramatic sense. The tracks are carefully chosen so that each seems to lead to the next, making the assemblage a musical artform of its own. The overall mood is darkly contemplative but never depressing, with undercurrents of wonder and mystery. Dan Visconti’s contemporary ‘Hard-Knock Stomp’ serves as a sort of relief before the pair plumb the depths of Marais (exquisite) and Poulenc. Recording quality is exemplary – impactful, transportive, transparent, and artifact-free. BW

Sound Quality: 90%

Hi-Fi News Lab Report

This ‘double-folded’ 192kHz MQA file trades some aliasing above 48kHz for a claimed reduction in ‘time smearing’ of signals below 48kHz [blue]. The undecoded MQA file passes through a DAC as if sampled at 48kHz [red]. PM