Hi-Res Downloads

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A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Oct 01, 2018
Appropriately, the veteran bass player’s second album with his trio starts with a delicate, considered bass-led piece, ‘Contact’. It starts with taut, cleanly-recorded solo bass, gradually joined by the slightest of shimmers from Joey Barron’s cymbals and the odd subtle chord from pianist Marc Copland, before settling into a more familiar piano trio form. Even then, Peacock is constantly busy in the background, and Barron rock-solid.
Reviews: Hi-Fi News Team, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Oct 01, 2018
This month we review and test: Basel CO/Giovanni Antonini, R+R=NOW, Tia Fuller, Angela Hewitt, and Ray Lamontagne.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Sep 28, 2018
Marc Coppey is a French cellist now 47, his talents first spotted by Menuhin, whose repertoire spans from Bach to Boulez and Carter. He plays a 1711 Matteo Goffriller cello – and here, of course, faces enormous competition in the Dvorák from the span of Casals to Fournier, Rostropovich and Isserlis.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Sep 24, 2018
Unusually, a period-instrument recording with a large complement of cellos and basses, recorded (apparently over a whole week of sessions) at a Berlin studio. The booklet note is another of Currentzis’s indulgent addresses, this time largely to the composer. I thought his Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with Kopatchinskaja [HFN Apr ’16] was a travesty of the music and other reviews warn that, here, he takes the music to extremes – The Times, though, welcoming ‘a return to subjectivity’ in interpretation.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Sep 21, 2018
Even those who have recovered from the waves of affected horror attracted by Sam Smith’s title song for the last James Bond movie will find little comfort here. This is an album of relentless introspection and downbeat thinking, all plaintive vocals and mournful accompaniment, with nothing much to raise the spirits. Smith’s voice is undeniably a matter of taste, but is heard here in all its close-miked glory, albeit with more than a touch of sibilance to distract the ear. Or maybe irritate even more.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Sep 17, 2018
Like other conductors, Stéphane Denève finds Prokofiev’s orchestral suites from Romeo And Juliet and the later, more traditional ballet, Cinderella, dramatically unsatisfactory and has prepared his own ‘Suites Romantiques’ that follow the story-lines more clearly. In the famous dissonances opening R&J his Brussels Orchestra articulates the brass writing with complete security, and these spacious readings – I have never heard the minuet with Paris and Juliet [trk 5, 1m 56s] taken so slowly before – allow every colour in the score to emerge with perfect clarity.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Sep 14, 2018
Start to play this set by Polish saxophonist Obara, note the label on which it’s released, and you’ll be pretty sure what you’re in for – the opening track has all the tinkle, breathiness and ethereal plaintiveness you’d expect from an ECM release. But before one dismisses it on those grounds, listen a little longer, for while that opener may show off Obara’s sax and the sympathetic piano accompaniment of regular collaborator Dominik Wania, with Gard Nilssen’s cymbals pattering and shimmering away, things take on added textures when bassist Ole Morten Vågan steps up and plays a greater part.
S. Harris (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Sep 10, 2018
For Souvenance, Anouar Brahem’s last release and HFN album of the month [HFN May ’15] this master of the oud enlisted a string orchestra to join some of his regular accompanists, but this time he’s started afresh. Having recruited the great ex-Miles bassist Dave Holland (who played on Brahem’s album Thimar in 1997), the renowned fusion drummer Jack DeJohnette was a natural choice. British composer Django Bates was suggested by ECM co-founder Manfred Eicher, who’d just been recording the pianist’s Belovéd trio, and though absent from the contemplative ‘Bahia’, Bates brings a wealth of ideas elsewhere. In the final, aptly-titled ‘Unexpected Outcome’, what seems at first a simple, even jazz pulse from Holland soon develops into something far more subtle.
C. Joseph (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Sep 03, 2018
Like Mavis Staples, Gregory Porter brings an awareness of civil rights issues to his music, but this tribute to his hero, Nat ‘King’ Cole, was clearly made for the easy-listening Christmas market. The album opens with a swirl of strings as he launches into ‘Mona Lisa’. Porter’s voice has always sounded very much like that of Cole, of course, and his rich tones are undeniably warm and attractive. Yet his performance on many of these tracks is so note-perfect that it often feels like an impersonation rather than his own interpretation.
Reviews: Hi-Fi News Team, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 01, 2018
This month we review and test: RCO/Daniele Gatti, Sullivan Fortner, Quatuor Cambini-Paris, Brenda Navarrete, and Leo Sidran.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Aug 27, 2018
A sequel to their demanding Adès/Nørgård/Abrahamsen ECM album [HFN Dec ’16], this is a self-produced, helpfully annotated 16-track collection of mainly Nordic folk music, arranged by the group and including a reel after Dowland, ‘Shine You No More’, by the leader, Rune Tonsgard Sørenson. To add textural variety, he also plays harmonium, piano and glockenspiel. And cellist/bass player Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin contributes three compositions, ‘Shore’, ‘Intermezzo’ – especially delightful – and the unwinding ‘Naja’s Waltz’ with pizzicato backing. The traditional pieces also include ‘Unst Boat Song’ from the Shetlands and the Faroese ‘Stædelil’.
C. Joseph (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Aug 20, 2018
That sombre cover portrait sets the tone for Benny Andersson’s latest solo project, which consists of 21 tracks from his decades-long career reinterpreted for piano. The mood is generally melancholy, and the album largely concentrates on Andersson’s post-Abba material, including songs written for musicals such as Chess, as well as his current ‘group’ – the Benny Andersson Orkester. Inevitably, though, it’s the handful of familiar Abba classics that stand out. The piano version of ‘My Love, My Life’ lacks the lush harmonies of the original, but the bittersweet melody still shines through.
C. Joseph (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Aug 13, 2018
‘This life surrounds you, guns are loaded. . . .
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Aug 06, 2018
The time when the Manfred Symphony was cut (Toscanini, Kletzki) or worse, cut and pasted (Ahronovitch), has long gone; and it now seems it was Balakirev who first suggested replacing harmonium with organ in the finale – which nearly all conductors do (Markevitch excepted). In this marvellous recording from Prague’s ample Rudolfinum it’s the way Bychkov integrates all those finale episodes and flashbacks into a coherent whole that impresses most. Back in 1972 a HFN editorial review suggested that Decca’s earlier VPO/Maazel version ‘would be unlikely to be surpassed’ as an orchestral recording – but it clearly is by this one over 45 years later! Bychkov’s is a powerfully dramatic account with a glowing richness missing from Pletnev’s cooler Pentatone Manfred with the Russian National Orchestra, which we also reviewed in this section [Album Choice, HFN Jun ’14]. CB Sound Quality: 90% Hi-Fi News Lab Report Digital throughout (recording, mixing and mastering) and mercifully free of obvious distortion or compression, this file still shows some low-level (<–80dBFs) spuriae, particularly 20kHz-48kHz.
Reviews: Hi-Fi News Team, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Aug 01, 2018
This month we review and test: Bobo Stenson Trio, Bahamas, Bettye Lavette, Chris Thile, and Imelda May.

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