C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)

C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jan 01, 2014  |  0 comments
192kHz/24-bit FLAC/ALAC, Linn Records CKD 430 (supplied by www. linnrecords. com) The two hunting horns played by Anneke Scott and Joseph Walters make a glorious noise at the start of Concerto 1, and their duo in 1(v), 6m 25s-7m 27s, is as clean as a whisker. Similarly, 4(iii) seemingly holds no terrors for trumpeter David Blackadder.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jan 01, 2014  |  0 comments
192kHz/24-bit FLAC/ALAC, VIVAT 103 (supplied by www. vivatmusic. com) Reviewing the CD from Tony Faulkner’s recordings for the new label, Vivat, produced at Stoke d’Abernon’s Menuhin Hall in April 2012 [HFN Sept ’13], I didn’t find space to mention occasional knocking noises, as one or other player caught the body of the instrument. These take on a more realistic, recognisable quality with the high-res download, and the extra £2.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Dec 01, 2013  |  0 comments
Recorded in a Tennessee Methodist Chapel during March, this is the debut album by a young American tenor, the programme comprising 26 short songs by American composers and with texts (not given in the booklet PDF) by American poets. Some of the names are unfamiliar but there’s Barber, Beach, Bernstein, Carter, Copland (‘Simple Gifts’), Griffes; with Irving Berlin’s ‘Change Partners’ and, by Stephen Foster, ‘Beautiful Dreamer’ and ‘Gentle Annie’ (with cellist Michael Samis – also in the Bernstein items). The balance with piano is good, and you don’t need the words as Bielfield’s diction means you miss nothing. A Juilliard graduate now with a wide-ranging repertoire, Bielfield has a ‘classical’ style which makes the Bernstein and Foster songs a touch too earnest.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Dec 01, 2013  |  0 comments
This is one of the analogue recordings produced and engineered by David Wilson now being distributed in high-res digital transfers via Naxos (in the States). These two sonatas appeared on LP in 1984 [W-8315] and were recorded at a hall in Oakland, California, using a simple Schoeps mic set-up suspended high over the players. Abel and Steinberg play respectively a Guarneri violin and a Hamburg Steinway D. It’s a pleasure to hear such clean, true piano sound, albeit with some pedal noise – although the violinist proves the more interesting interpreter.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Nov 01, 2013  |  0 comments
In 2007 Vladimir Ashkenazy decided to relinquish playing the pianoforte in public but has continued to make studio recordings. (That same year, at 24 Visontay became joint leader of the Philharmonia Orchestra. ) Simultaneously released in Aug ’13 as a CD and via high-res outlets, this programme realises his dream of recording all of Rachmaninov’s music involving piano, which Ashkenazy began 50 years ago for Decca with the D-minor Concerto. The evergreen Vocalise is heard here in the original key of C-sharp minor with violin/piano, while ‘Dream’ is a transcription by the cellist from the Six Songs, Op.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Nov 01, 2013  |  0 comments
This debut programme by duoW begins, not with the great Kodály unaccompanied cello sonata, but with a less familiar duo for violin and cello (his Op. 7); it ends with an arrangement of ‘The Stars And Stripes Forever’. The Servai/Léonard extravaganza Grand Duo de Concert draws upon our own National Anthem and ‘Yankee Doodle’, while the Halvorsen is based on a Handel passacaglia – their 2011 music video of this, Ghosts And Flowers, was apparently a viral hit. The two gifted string players have Masters degrees from Juilliard and they aspire to bring classical music to a younger generation.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Sep 01, 2013  |  0 comments
The young Britten’s Piano Concerto was thought too clever by half when introduced in 1938, and he replaced the third movement in 1945 – the original is a bonus track here. The first LP version (EMI, 1957) was with Jacques Abram, pianist in Utah and NY premieres. The definitive composer-conducted 1970 Decca was with Sviatoslav Richter, no less. The far superior Violin Concerto fared rather better – although The Times’ review in 1940 found ‘little achieved from so large a display’.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Sep 01, 2013  |  0 comments
The French violinist, now 64, has appeared on various record labels since his Erato debut in 1973; in 2002 he founded – and leads – the Camerata de Lausanne. Co-soloists here are viola player Yuko Shimizu (K364) and Ami Oike in the unfairly neglected Concertone for two violins (which also has important solo oboe and cello parts). These partnering string soloists are spaced not too far in from Amoyal: not in the right channel, thank goodness! The sound is generally vibrant and clear with plenty of ambience around the orchestra. One jarring entry, 2m 09s into track 2 warranted re-editing; and cadenzas were, I suspect, pasted in separately.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Sep 01, 2013  |  0 comments
A raucous Gershwin Prelude segues into Copland’s moody Concerto – one of his best pieces – then time-travels via Debussy (‘La fille aux cheveux de lin’) and Amy Beach (her romantic Berceuse) to 19th century concertos by Cimarosa and Spohr. Short transcriptions and concertos alternate in what may add up to a stylistically incoherent whole but one which affords the young Austrian Andreas Ottensamer, now principal clarinettist with the Berlin Philharmonic, a chance to illustrate his captivating skills in both jazzy and classical genres. His liquid sounds, wide colour palette and sense of timing sets this version of the Copland above any competition (even the recent Michael Collins/Chandos pales) and the Rotterdam Orchestra surprises in its exuberant embrace of the two American pieces. Bold, close-mic’d sound from De Doelen concert-hall.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Aug 01, 2013  |  0 comments
‘No Wagner tenor sings with such musicianship, colour and sensitivity… he sets a standard for our time’ [Sunday Times]. It was Kaufmann who gave the Abbado/DG Fidelio distinction [HFN Nov ’11]; and the German singer’s artistry at times reminds me of the young Fischer-Dieskau. Here we have excerpts from the Ring cycle (don’t be alarmed at Siegfried’s painful attempts to play the reed: track 2, 7m 44s!), Rienzi, Tannhäuser, Meistersinger and Lohengrin. Then, unusually for a man (as he explains in the booklet foreword), we have the lovely Wesendonck-Lieder, with its Tristan references in ‘Im Treibhaus’.

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