Hi-Res Downloads, February 2021

hfnalbumDaniil Trifonov, Mariinsky Orchestra/Valery Gergiev
Piano Concertos by Prokofiev (No 2) and Scriabin; Prokofiev & Stravinsky solos (96kHz/24-bit, FLAC)
www.highresaudio.com; DG 483 5331

The album title 'Silver Age' relates to the pre-Revolution Russian cultural movement. The solo pieces are Stravinsky's Serenade and three transcribed movements from The Firebird and Petrushka ballets, while we hear Prokofiev's big Sonata No 8, his less frequently recorded Sarcasms and a Gavotte from Cinderella. Nowadays with younger pianists like Yuja Wang and Anna Vinnitskaya, his formidable G-minor Concerto sounds like child's play but Trifonov is too thoughtful and introspective an artist to create this impression – try 'Petrushka's Room. He is able to bring an entirely different palette to the transcriptions from the purely solo works: warmth rather than the customary neoclassical dryness in the Serenade, but brilliance in the Prokofiev Sonata's Vivace. Excellent support from Gergiev. CB

Sound Quality: 90%


Lab Report
These are genuine 96kHz recordings, the Prokofiev and Scriabin captured in St Petersburg's Mariinsky Theatre [17-20, 24-30] showing slightly higher ultrasonic noise [Graph, above]. Dynamic range and ~40kHz bandwidth are well used. PM


Carmen Gomes Inc
Up Jumped The Devil (DSD64/128/256/512; DXD)*
www.nativedsd.com; Sound Liaison SL1043A

Just when you thought you'd heard every possible take on the songbook of Robert Johnson, from true acoustic versions to Clapton's electric tracks, up jumps singer Carmen Gomes with her own rendition. The legendary bluesman died aged just 27 in 1938, amidst all those 'sold his soul to the devil' legends, and left a catalogue of just 29 songs, so you could argue there's nothing new to hear. However, Gomes gives her selected tracks an atmospheric, mystical spin, with minimal backing, a simple mic set-up, in Sound Liaison style, and a 'straight to DXD' as-live recording approach. Her sultry voice has immediacy and intimacy, the instruments captured with real vitality, and the whole recording drips with presence and a sense of performance. I can imagine this one proving popular on the demo circuit if we ever get back to them – and that would be no bad thing. AE

Sound Quality: 85%


Lab Report
If the original recording format was DXD, the subsequent mixing and mastering of the four mic feeds evidently sees some downsampling to 96kHz – hence the notch and 'reflection' at 48kHz detected on 'DXD' and DSD128 [black] files. PM


Zurich Chamber Orch/Daniel Hope
Serenades for Strings by Elgar, Mozart (Eine kleine Nachtmusik) and Tchaikovsky (96kHz/24-bit, FLAC)
www.highresaudio.com; DG 483 9845

The Zurich Chamber Orchestra debuted in 1945 under founder Edmond de Stoutz, and their earlier recordings have appeared on various labels (repertoire early classical to modern works). Violinist Daniel Hope became Music Director in 2016 and this is their fourth CD programme. In the Mozart (full repeats) accents are sharp, dynamics varied and inner voices suddenly pop up. To some it could seem a little precious – as one critic noted in a 2008 review, 'Hope's penchant for minute shadings and nuances can seem over-sophisticated'. His way with timing and accentuation works better in the later works where both slow movements are plumbed for expression. The soundstage has good separation and there's unusual low frequency extension in this very recent ZKO Haus production. Interesting archive photos in the booklet provided. CB

Sound Quality: 80%


Lab Report
This is a clean 96kHz DG recording with no peaks beyond –1dBFs (typically from –5dBFs to –2dBFs). Good dynamic range and low noise too, with harmonics of the massed strings stretching out across the ~45kHz bandwidth. PM


Ragnhild Hemsing & Tor Espen Aspaas
Beethoven: Violin Sonatas Op.30:3 & Op.47, 'Kreutzer' (88.2kHz & 176.4kHz/24-bit, FLAC; DSD128; MQA)
www.highresaudio.com; www.nativedsd.com; 2L 2L160

Not unlike the Andreas Staier 'A New Way' CD [Harmonia Mundi; HFN Jul '20] this one is marketed as Beethoven's 'Testaments of 1802' – 'the year Beethoven became Beethoven' [sic]. While the earlier sonata has folk elements, Op.47 was composed in 'molto concertante' style, setting a new level for the duo sonata. The violinist here won the 2013 Bonn Beethoven Ring (she also plays the native Hardanger fiddle); Aspaas is her regular partner. They were recorded in Norway's Sofienberg Church in 2019, the sound reflecting exactly what you see in the promo video – though I preferred a slight rebalancing to the left. Aspaas takes the lead, with Hemsing ever responsive – if without much tonal allure. But at best, these are two performances with a 'feel good' factor. CB

Sound Quality: 80%


Lab Report
Recorded in DXD by Lindberg Lyd AS the 352.8kHz master has been symmetrically downsampled to 176.4kHz [red, peak; blue, RMS] and cleanly converted to DSD128 [black]. Piano travels to ~12kHz, the strings out to 30kHz. A good 'un. PM


Paper Motion
Paper Motion (DSD64/128/256/512; DXD, FLAC)
www.nativedsd.com; TRPTK TTK0006

If audiophile prog rock is a turn-off, look away now – you'll also manage to avoid the pretentious sleeve notes of this self-titled debut set, including 'inspired by the silence and noise that surrounds us... we thrive to make warm indie rock played with devotion'. I think they might mean 'strive', but add in the fact that the booklet takes a whole page to explain the philosophy of the label, and then another to list everything used, right down to the cables, and you can see where the 'audiophile' bit comes from. Only problem is, the 'prog' side of the equation is neither very progressive nor terribly interesting, setting out its stall with the somewhat dirge-like 'Grey One', and going on through tracks with titles like 'Downfall', 'Gloom' and 'Cease To Exist'. I'm sure it's all recorded with the utmost care and attention, but if the music doesn't hold the listener's interest... AE

Sound Quality: 75%


Lab Report
Supplied in FLAC form, the DXD files are best unpacked to WAV before playback. All DXD tracks are normalised to a high –0.1dBFs while the DSD128 files all peak at circa –5.5dBFs [black trace]. Some spuriae, esp. at 20.8kHz [green]. PM