Playback and performance at MBL
MBL finished the job that Oracle Audio began with Anne Bisson (below): They spoiled me not only with live music, but with music by a world-class cellist, Montreal's Vincent Bélanger. Jeremy Bryan, the CEO of MBL North America, took the added step of inviting Bélanger to come by early and record, on ¼" analog tape (15 ips), extra cello parts for various pieces in his repertoire; thus when M. Bélanger set about to perform for a handful of fortunate show attendees, he did so alongside his recorded self, the latter portrayed with what can only be described as surprising realismdynamically, timbrally, and spatiallyby MBL's largest hybrid loudspeaker, the MBL 111 ($42,000/pair), which uses, from 600Hz and up, the same driver complement as even their most expensive loudspeakers.
Among the selections played by Vincent Bélanger were a piece by Telemann ("A German composer played on a German cello, alongside German technology," the cellist observed), and a beautiful melody I hadn't heard in ages, the theme from Ennio Morricone's soundtrack for the classic film Cinema Paradiso. (Another Morricone piecethe theme from Once Upon a Time in the Westwas recorded by Bélanger for his album Là on Fidelio Records.) MBL North America is to be congratulated, for their courage in demonstrating alongside a real musician, and for their generosity in bringing M. Bélanger to SSI.