"Our best CD yet!" says JA of Stereophile's Latest CD, Bravo!
In a perfect world, the conditions for capturing a live musical performance on tape would be under the control of the recording engineer. But rarely do these conditions exist in real life, as Stereophile's John Atkinson discovered back in July and August of 1998 while recording the 1998 Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.
Atkinson had used his favorite audiophile microphone placements on Stereophile's three previous recordings of the Festival, but found that option unavailable in 1998. "This year's Festival brought me face-to-ear with an acoustic rendered newly uncooperative by noise from the air-conditioning system for the Museum of Fine Arts, of which St. Francis Auditorium is a part," notes JA. "The AC couldn't be turned off, the leasing arrangements for the museum's exhibitions of paintings mandating 24-hour climate control. My preferred purist, distant microphone technique would thus pick up too much of the AC's rumble'n'roar."
The solution came in the form of some advice from violinist Pinchas Zukerman, who explained to JA that he's had engineers pointing microphones at his violin for 30 years. Atkinson combined Zukerman's tips with his own sensibilities to produce Stereophile's latest release of classical music, Bravo!.
Works featured on Bravo! include: Quartet No.1 in G Minor for Violin, Viola, Cello, & Piano, K.478 (1785) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; Pueblo Children's Songs (1995) by Marc Neikrug; and the Quintet in A Minor for Two Violins, Viola, Cello, & Piano, Op.84 (1918-19) by Edward Elgar. The artists on this CD are some of the finest chamber musicians performing in the US. Featured are: Heidi Grant Murphy (soprano) and Marc Neikrug (piano) in Pueblo Children's Songs; Pinchas Zukerman (violin), Cynthia Phelps (viola), Eric Kim (cello), and Marc Neikrug (piano) in the Mozart Quartet; and Jaime Laredo and Daniel Phillips (violins), Robert Rinehart (viola), Sharon Robinson (cello), and Joseph Kalichstein (piano) in the Elgar Piano Quintet.
For more about the recording, musicians, and music heard on Bravo!, the full text of John Atkinson's recently published article describing the making of the CD is available from the online Archives by clicking here.