Music and Recording Features

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John Marks Posted: Apr 29, 2007 0 comments
I have not seen Borat! Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, and I am not likely to. But the phrase cultural learnings of America is a good jumping-off point for an important topic: cultural literacy.
Kalman Rubinson Posted: Mar 25, 2007 0 comments
Iván Fischer, founder and conductor of the Budapest Festival Orchestra, has performed with many major orchestras and recorded for a number of major labels, most significantly with Philips, from 1995 to 2004. Fischer/BFO made the first multichannel orchestral recording for SACD, which Philips used as a demonstration disc for their first SACD players. I still treasure that disc—it demonstrates many of the advantages of the medium with a wide and varied program—but it has never been commercially released.
Wes Phillips Posted: Nov 12, 2006 Published: Dec 12, 2006 0 comments
Wes Phillips on the Sessions
One of the enduring myths of audiophilia is that of the recording as a true and honest picture of a musical event—a sonic "snapshot" that captures a unique moment of time the way a photograph captures the light of a day long since past.
John Atkinson Posted: Oct 01, 2006 Published: May 01, 2006 0 comments
John Atkinson on the Recording
"This will fix it!" Kimber Kable's Ray Kimber placed some acoustic baffles around the table on which sat my Apple TiBook. We were recording Robert Silverman performing one of Beethoven's masterworks for piano, the Diabelli Variations, Op.120, and I had been bothered by a faint whistle underlying the music. It turned out to be the sound of my laptop's fan, an unforeseen drawback of my decision to dispense with tape and record straight to hard drive for the August 2004 sessions. We had already had a problem with a slight slapback echo from the balcony of the Austad Auditorium at Weber State University in Utah, which Ray had fixed with drapes, and a problem with low-frequency rumble from airplanes overflying the college campus during one session had been solved by Ray phoning the air traffic control tower. However, even Ray couldn't deal with thunder, so that was the one session we decided to finish early.
Art Dudley Posted: Oct 01, 2006 Published: Sep 01, 2006 0 comments
"The public will put up with anything except boredom."—Giuseppe Verdi
George Reisch Posted: May 07, 2006 Published: Jan 07, 2000 0 comments
Two scientists are racing for the good of all mankind—both of them working side by side, so determined, locked in heated battle for the cure that is the prize. It's so dangerous, but they're driven—theirs is to win, if it kills them. They're just human, with wives and children.
Kalman Rubinson Posted: Apr 02, 2006 Published: Jan 02, 2000 0 comments
I had been with Stereophile only six months and feared my tenure was over—I thought I was losing my hearing. There was pain, ringing, and stuffiness. I couldn't listen to anything.
John Marks Posted: Feb 19, 2006 0 comments
Mark Wilder, senior mastering engineer for Sony Music Studios, looked expectantly from John Atkinson to Bob Saglio to me and asked, "Are you ready?" As it had been my inquiry that had resulted in this mind-boggling, once-in-a-lifetime, peak-experience get-together, and as no one else was speaking up, I replied, "As ready as we'll ever be."
Art Dudley Posted: Oct 30, 2005 0 comments
What is best in music is not to be found in the notes.—Gustav Mahler
John Atkinson Posted: Oct 23, 2005 Published: Nov 23, 2005 0 comments
"I can't make out the words."
John Marks Posted: Aug 28, 2005 0 comments
A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane's Signature Album
by Ashley Kahn; Foreword by Elvin Jones. New York, Viking Books, 2002; hardcover, 260 pages, 9" by 8". $27.95.
John Marks Posted: Jun 26, 2005 0 comments
Morten Lauridsen's magisterial work for chorus and orchestra, Lux aeterna, appears in a fresh new recording, in truly excellent sound, on England's Hyperion label. The vocal ensemble Polyphony is accompanied by the Britten Sinfonia; both are led by Stephen Layton. Better yet, in addition to the CD-only version, there is a separate SACD/CD hybrid release (Hyperion SACDA67449), meaning that it is backwardly-compatible with CD players. Furthermore, the SACD layer contains a surround-sound program in addition to the stereo one.
Kalman Rubinson Posted: Nov 29, 2004 Published: Nov 27, 2004 0 comments
For months now, I've been beating the drum for full-range center-channel speakers, to reproduce recordings with a true center-channel signal. There are many reasons for this.
John Marks Posted: Sep 21, 2004 Published: Sep 01, 2004 0 comments
Flowers in the Dustbin: The Rise of Rock and Roll, 1947-1977
by James Miller
New York: Fireside/Simon & Schuster, 1999. Paperback, 8.5" by 5.5", 416 pp. $15.00. ISBN 0-6848-6560-2.
George Reisch Posted: Jul 25, 2004 Published: Jul 01, 2000 0 comments
Art and commerce are butting heads once again, now that England's popular Brit Awards include a category for classical music. Last month's inaugural nominees included some highbrow names (Rachmaninoff, Bryn Terfel), but leaned heavily on such "crossover" artists as Paul McCartney for his orchestral forays, and classical violinist Kennedy (formerly known as Nigel Kennedy) for The Kennedy Experience, his CD inspired by Jimi Hendrix. Classical sales are still down, and record companies, one suspects, are latching onto quasi-classical popular works to boost the sector's profile. For traditionalists, of course, this shows that classical music is falling further into the cultural black hole of all things Madonna, Spice Girls, and McDonald's. They're pissed—in the American sense, that is.

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