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

C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jul 01, 2015  |  0 comments
192kHz/24-bit ALAC/FLAC, CKD 462 (supplied by www. linnrecords. com) This first instalment in a new Sibelius cycle with the BBC’s Welsh Orchestra has prompted a mixed response. Criticism of the sound from Cardiff’s Hoddinott hall strikes me as spectacularly wrong (Gramophone) as – at 192kHz/24-bit at least – this is an extremely fine, natural orchestral presentation.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jul 01, 2015  |  0 comments
192kHz/24-bit ALAC/FLAC, CKD 479 (supplied by www. linnrecords. com) Most collectors will have discovered the Mozart Divertimenti and Serenades via Decca and its mono/stereo LP series with various Viennese ensembles, from the time of Willi Boskovsky. Linn’s enjoyable programme with the SCO players – pairs of clarinets, horns and bassoons – has more of an ‘outdoors’ style, fresh and open.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jun 01, 2015  |  0 comments
Elizabeth Roe is a young Chicago pianist with already an impressive CV. Well worth hearing, she’s also half of a piano duet (see here). Here, she rounds out her programme with two solo ‘night pieces’ – Barber’s Nocturne ‘Homage To John Field’ and Britten’s Notturno written (1963) as a test piece for the very first Leeds Pianoforte Competition. Both main works exist in definitive recordings: John Browning’s (for whom the Barber was written) with Szell/Cleveland on Sony; and Richter’s with Britten/ECO on Decca.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jun 01, 2015  |  0 comments
You can of course sample tracks at HRA and read the booklet PDF (texts dangerously close to ‘Pseuds’ Corner’ territory) before thinking of buying, which is probably just as well for the compositions of this Russian Orthodox Bishop (Metropolitan), born in 1966. There’s a Concerto grosso and a fugue on B-A-C-H – ‘the sense of the infinite contained in these four notes continues to excite’, we are told – but the rest is vocal: an ultra-conservative Stabat mater, which I admit I quite enjoyed, Songs of Death (after Lorca) and De Profundis, a 24m Psalm settings piece. The Concerto grosso is pure Baroque-pastiche, the fugue like an old Stokowski Bach transcription. While nothing will frighten the horses, it’s depressing to find this sort of sub-Pärt ‘me too’ music, copying its ‘sawing’ motifs and liberal use of tolling bells, being written today.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  May 01, 2015  |  0 comments
96kHz/24-bit FLAC, BIS BIS-2091 (supplied by www. eclassical. com) Masaaki Suzuki turns to Mozart and the unfinished Requiem. The principal question here is whose edition do you perform, and in this recording Süssmayr’s completion is used together with additions by Joseph Eybler with an added ‘Amen’ fugue (discovered in 1960) after the Lacrimosa.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Apr 02, 2015  |  0 comments
Joshua Bell became artistic director of the St Martin’s Academy in 2011. New to his discography, Bach’s concertos in E and A minor are followed by contemporary adaptations, with strings, by Julian Milone (composer/academic, he also plays in the Philharmonia), from older violin/piano transcriptions of two solo pieces, plus the ‘Air’ – taken at a rather old-school slow tempo, and with Bell prominent in the mix as leader/director. He introduces tasteful modest decorations. These are very cleanly played concerto performances, seriousness in slow movements contrasted with joyous finales, tempos steadily maintained.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Apr 02, 2015  |  0 comments
You can’t help noticing that Paul Lewis’s recorded repertoire closely follows that of his mentor Alfred Brendel, whose early Vox LPs included Pictures at an Exhibition, a work he redid 30 years later for Philips. Issued with a bold Kandinsky cover, this Teldex Studio coupling is from Nov ’10/Feb ’14 and there’s a real disparity in sound quality. Pictures. .
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Mar 06, 2015  |  0 comments
Born in Paris in 1656, Marin Marais studied the viol under Sainte Colombe and worked under Lully in the court orchestra. He wrote over 800 pieces for viol, many in suite form and the Canadian oboist has transcribed six of those here. (The baroque oboe was first heard in a work by Lully a year after Marais was born and it quickly became very much in demand in France. ) The suites are typically in seven-movement form – Prélude, Courante, Sarabande, Menuet, etc – with a few concluding Gigues having descriptive titles: ‘La Chicane’, ‘La Badine’, ‘La Petite’.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Mar 06, 2015  |  0 comments
With Oliafur Eliasson’s 2003 installation from Tate Modern as cover (and texts white on orange – hard to read!) this vocal collection of arrangements covers a wide time-span, like their Signum album Choral Tapestry. Their second Decca programme, on the theme of a comforting warmth that music can bring, introduces one or two instrumental ‘guests’ – cello, saxophone, water-tuned glasses – and spans from Tallis and Allegri (Miserere Mei) to contemporary writers in the pop field: ‘Teardrop’ from Massive Attack’s Mezzanine and Ben Folds’ ‘The Luckiest’ from a Richard Curtis film soundtrack – an item I found intrusive. Voces8 (two sopranos, counter-tenors and tenors, baritone and bass) were recorded in helpful acoustics at Dore Abbey, in Herefordshire, and more intimately, a Highgate, London, church. Hard to fault, though arguably best for ‘dipping into’.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Feb 26, 2015  |  0 comments
96kHz/24-bit FLAC, Harmonia Mundi HMC 902183. 84 (supplied by www. eclassical. com) Early, middle and late period sonatas are prefaced by the three sets of variations on this release, complementary to the violin sonatas with Faust/Melnikov [HFN Yearbook 2010, ‘Album Choice’].

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