Hi-Res Downloads

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C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Oct 01, 2014
The 2CD set was released in February '14 while Kremer and his strings group were touring the States with music by Weinberg in their programmes. (ECM made the recordings at Lockenhaus and Neuhardenberg in Nov '12/Dec '13, the Sonatina for violin/piano at lower resolution, as noted on HRA’s web page. ) Music by the Polish composer – who went to Moscow but did not prosper – was admired by Shostakovich, and Kremer sees an affinity, especially in the 1968 symphony here, commissioned by Rudolf Barshai. This is a tough work, with brief respite found in (iii), Canzona.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Feb 01, 2014
192kHz/24-bit FLAC/ALAC, Linn Records CKD 432 (supplied by www. linnrecords. com) This second Linn album by the young Japanese artist Kuniko Kato comprises arrangements, mostly for marimba, of well-known minimalist pieces by Steve Reich and Arvo Pärt. She also plays a solo work by Hywell Davies, Purl Ground, premiered by Kuniko at Cheltenham in 2011.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Dec 01, 2013
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.
J. Bamford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Dec 01, 2014
Often recording as ‘The Larry Goldings Trio’ this longstanding collective of American jazz virtuosi Larry Goldings (keyboards), Peter Bernstein (guitar) and Bill Stewart (drums) cover all manner of musical moods in their latest collaboration Ramshackle Serenade, from the rubato rumination of the album’s title track to the Brazilian-flavoured ‘Luiza’, interspersed with a smattering of blues, swing and soulful grooving to keep listeners enthralled throughout. The seductively rich textures and colourful tones of Goldings’ Hammond B3 organ (so reminiscent of the sounds favoured by Focus’s frontman Thijs Van Leer) have been captured exquisitely by this impressively dynamic recording released on the German label. The musicians really do sound like they’re playing together in a believable space, spread across a wide soundstage. Great stuff! JB Sound Quality: 85% Hi-Fi News Lab Report Much of the ultrasonic energy arising from this digital recording is associated with the gentle percussion [as in track 8,above] but could also be a product of distortion from downstream limiters.
B. Willis (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Nov 20, 2017
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.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Sep 01, 2015
The third album from 23-year-old British blues guitarist Jones opens with a bang, as the band slams into ‘What’s It Gonna Be’, and from there on in the pace doesn’t let up until the closer ‘Stop Moving The House’, taking in along the way a duet with Sandi Thom on the more reflective ‘Don’t Look Back’, and Jones’ labelmate Dana Fuchs deploying her considerable pipes on a cover of ‘Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love’. As a vocalist Jones is an excellent guitarist, and while this album isn’t the last word in subtlety, being more about slam, drive and soaring guitar solos, while the occasional downbeat track sounds rather too AOR, it does its job effectively enough. The rhythm section has real weight and drive, while Jones’ guitar powers out of the mix just as you might hope it would. But somehow I still can’t help hearing the opening of ‘Evil’ and thinking ‘Devil Gate Drive’… AE Sound Quality: 80% Hi-Fi News Lab Report Keen though I am to promote this album’s charitable association, the content itself is evidently compromised.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jul 01, 2016
Part of the third and final tranche of Led Zep remasters, along with In Through The Out Door and the somewhat ragbag Coda, 1976’s Presence arrives in the second decade of the 21st century complete with a second ‘disc’ containing ‘reference mixes’ of four of its tracks plus a previously unreleased instrumental entitled ‘10 Ribs & All/Carrot Pod Pod (Pod)’. That ‘new’ track really stands out against what is perhaps the band’s roughest album: it’s gentle and reflective, driven by delicate piano, but I’m not too sure that one novelty is sufficient to justify a purchase of this set, even if it is in spiffed-up 96/24. For all the remastering work, overseen by Jimmy Page and thus given the stamp of approval, this version doesn’t really bring too much to the party in terms of new insights or revelations. I guess if you’re a Led Zep completist, this is a must-have, however… AE Sound Quality: 75% Hi-Fi News Lab Report These are genuine 96kHz renderings from what are clearly analogue masters – hence the noise is some 30dB higher than a modern all-digital recording [see Graph, above].
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Mar 01, 2014
In this mid-2012 Brahms recording from the reverberant Lukaskirche, Dresden, Batiashvili is playing the Stradivarius owned by Joachim. She doesn’t play his familiar first-movt cadenza, however, but – like Isabelle Faust on Harmonia Mundi last year – the one by Busoni which has timpanist and orchestral strings joining in. The three Romances Op. 22 are by Schumann’s sister Clara (Joachim was again the dedicatee); these are airy and gracious pieces, and the violinist is nicely partnered by Ott.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Apr 13, 2016
Take an artist known for her velvety, soulful voice, add in some class musicians and acclaimed producer Larry Klein, who’s worked with the likes of Tracy Chapman, Madeleine Peyroux, Melody Gardot and Joni Mitchell, and you’re probably onto a winner. That’s exactly the case with this, Lizz Wright’s fifth album, mixing a number of self-composed numbers with two covers: a gospelled-up version of the Bee Gees hit ‘To Love Somebody’ and an unnerving take on Nick Drake’s ‘River Man’, accompanied by Till Brönner on flugelhorn. Wright’s classy, expressive vocals are well-served by Klein’s clean production, imbuing the set with a warm, generous sound. Musicians include Dean Parks and Klein on guitars, Pete Kuzma and Kenny Banks on keyboards, Dan Lutz on bass, and Vinnia Colaiuta and Pete Korpula on drums and percussion.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Dec 01, 2016
Bit of a dream team exercise, this Blue Note label debut by saxophonist Richardson: quite apart from Pat Metheny on guitar, he’s also brought together Jason Moran on piano and keyboards, with a rhythm section of bassist Harish Raghavan and Nasheet Waits on drums. It’s quite an assembly of talent, and it shows in this richly recorded set that nevertheless lets the musicians’ solo contributions shine through, from Metheny’s soloing on ‘Creeper’ to his attack on ‘Untitled’, while the building complexity of ‘Slow’ is handled deftly yet maintaining the almost stately tempo of the piece. But then that’s the way of this album: beautifully stated melodies breaking down into lyrical, challenging variation and improvisation, with Richardson and Metheny trading blows underpinned by that oh-so-tight engine-room of drums and bass. Lovely stuff, and the sound shines, too.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Dec 01, 2016
Reviewed as an SACD in HFN Jul ’16, these are string orchestra transcriptions recorded at The Barbican (as DSD128 – might we hear this in the future?) on 26th April 2015. The Schubert Quartet was partly adapted by Mahler, and completed here by Donald Mitchell and David Matthews, while Shostakovich’s powerful Eighth was expanded, with the composer’s approval, by Rudol Barshai in 1974. It contains quotations from earlier works, from Tchaikovsky and the ‘DSCH’ motif. Such is the sensitivity of the 24 LSO string players that much of the intimacy of the Schubert prevails, and while I prefer the Shostakovich in its original form (we reviewed it herewith the Quatuor Debussy) the performance here has an admirably stark impact and presence in this dry acoustic setting.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Feb 26, 2015
Political ill-will meant that the planned Vienna Philharmonic premiere of the Brahms-influenced Dvo?ák Sixth was deferred for three years and it was first played by a Prague orchestra in 1881. The VPO’s only recording came in 2000 under Myung-Whun Chung – superb, like the BPO/Kubelík (both DG), and I don’t think this Lucerne Orchestra version offers any real challenge. In seeking out every tiny detail, their young American chief conductor, I think, loses a forward momentum – even in the furiant scherzo. Only in the finale does everything come together splendidly.
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.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Dec 01, 2014
It would be hard not to succumb to the very real charms of this programme of polkas, waltzes, etc, by the three sons of Johann Strauss – replete with effects like insects’ wings buzzing (string tremolandos in ‘The Bee’), cuckoo and other birds (‘Im Krapfenwaldl’), or the comic anvil blows of ‘Feuerfest’. Currently with an extended contract with the Pittsburgh Orchestra, the Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck – he first graduated from playing zither to viola – has made a special study of the genre. The playing is carefully balanced, the VSO set well back in the lively acoustic of the Salzburg Grosses Festspielhaus. But there’s a certain ‘flatness’ when you compare the champagne sparkle and variety to be found with Boskovsky’s mid-’60s Decca versions with the city’s premiere league Strauss orchestra, the Vienna Philharmonic, still sounding amazingly vivid as CDs.
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.