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Todd
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Robert Silverman Plays the Diabellis

[This is being posted on multiple sites, so an intro is needed.]

I so enjoyed Robert Silverman

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Robert Silverman Plays the Diabellis

Would you be kind enough to list your playback equipment as this might give some of us a reference point for sound? I am sure you are hearing things that I can at my advanced age only dream about anymore.

I eagerly await this disc as does Cheapskate and we will also chime in once we have digested it. With Clay's new digital source I am most curious as to his thoughts.

I love the boxed Silverman set JA recorded. To me it is about a real a recording can sound from the audience perspective. It is worth every penny of the $65.00, it may even be a bargain considering all the music.

RGibran
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Re: Robert Silverman Plays the Diabellis

I think Todd has done a wonderful job in describing the sonic attributes of this disc.

I have only listened a couple of times so far, but in both instances cannot say I was

Todd
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Re: Robert Silverman Plays the Diabellis

My main system is as follows:

Naim CDX / Naim NAC202 (with HiCap 2 & NAPSC2 power supplies) / Naim NAP 250.2 / Joseph Audio RM25si, Mk IIs / Quadraspire Q4 rack / Analysis Plus Oval 9 speaker cables.

The faint noise was confirmed by my young son.

I must say that I like the recording quite a bit and cannot say it could ever be background music for me.

--

ohfourohnine
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Re: Robert Silverman Plays the Diabellis

I finally got my copy of "Variations" today and have listened to it twice - once fresh out of the box, and once after my ritual spritz with Optrix. I don't have many thoughts, Jim, but here goes.

As yet, I don't think I've given it a fair hearing as a piece of music. I think I may be able to enjoy it as such - in fact I have enjoyed segments in that sense - but I've carried too much baggage into these early hearings. As I've said fairly often in posts to this forum, I don't think so-called critical listening is fun, but that doesn't mean I can always resist doing it. Having read JA's report of the recording session in May I was eager to hear what sonic picture would result from Kimber's IsoMiking.

On first hearing, I couldn't help but be impressed with the sonics. If this is an example of the product, IsoMiking is really a great technique - at least for solo performances. The piano was literally in the room and I had a great seat for the performance. I made comparisons with other solo piano, including some other Silverman recordings, and the intimacy of the sound on "Variations" set it apart dramatically.

As for the musical content, I'm hopeful that I'll be able to enjoy it as music - not just as "damn good background music" . That remains to be seen - or heard, actually. I don't have Diabelli Variations by other pianists, and probably won't seek out any. Generally, when I do have multiple performances of a work, I don't really pick a favorite. For example, I play Mahler's 4th Symphony by Reiner and the CSO about as often as by Lennie and the NY Philharmonic. Lennie has more fun with it, but I grew up with Reiner. I couldn't tell you which of those two favorite recordings of mine has the better sonics. The music and the musicians' performance are what matter. It will be nice if "Variations" gets under my skin musically.

Incidentally, I don't hear the high-frequency buzz that Todd refers to, and I listened carefully for it. Perhaps my ears are just too old, or it is an artifact of Todd's system.

I do have one complaint about the recording - or, more correctly, about the accompanying booklet which includes a group photo of JA, Silverman, and the others involved in the recording session. Burn that shirt, John. It doesn't suit you or anyone else I can think of.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Robert Silverman Plays the Diabellis

Clay,

Good job. I don't envy music reviewers. What one thinks might be an easy job would become very difficult to me.

First, I am glad you did not hear the HF buss Todd did. I would find it hard to believe THAT would get by JA. After reading Todd's review I had already told my 12 year old son, Nick, he had a hearing science project coming up soon. I wasn't sure if I could hear it either, even if it was there. If I was a betting man I would think it is in Todd's system. I sure hope it is. Diane and Nick will let me know.

I try and keep an open mind like you on new works. I can't wait to hear it. It would be hard for me not to like just about anything piano but there will be a first time I am sure. I think most JA and RS efforts will be safe.

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Re: Robert Silverman Plays the Diabellis

I heard a little bit of this over at Wes' this morning before our bike ride. What little I heard was impressive. There's a sense of the piano in real space, and you really hear the notes coming off the soundboard in a convincing manner.

Todd
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Re: Robert Silverman Plays the Diabellis


Quote:
If I was a betting man I would think it is in Todd's system.

You'd lose the bet. (And when's the last time you listened to a Naim / Joseph rig?) I can hear the same thing in my second and third systems, too - Naim/Sonus Faber and Marantz/Sim/Joseph, respectively. Besides, there was no such noise on the disc I listened to immediately afterward (Hilary Hahn's new Paganini / Spohr disc), or any of the other discs I've listened to recently. There's definitely some spurious noise of some sort in the recording.

-

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Robert Silverman Plays the Diabellis

Aren't we special?

ohfourohnine
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Re: Robert Silverman Plays the Diabellis

I should add, Todd, that I consulted with our cats, both of whom have hearing far superior to mine particularly where highs are concerned, and neither of them heard the buzz either through the main system (Marantz, MF, Sonus Faber) or through the MF/Sennheiser 600's. Of course my cats don't take either themselves or the sound systems all that seriously. Perhaps your disc needs a little spritz with the OPtrix bottle.

Todd
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Re: Robert Silverman Plays the Diabellis


Quote:
Perhaps your disc needs a little spritz with the OPtrix bottle.

Or perhaps some snake oil. Since the disc is brand new, I'm sure it's fine.

Perhaps Mr Atkinson can add some insight to the recording, and in particular what type of lighting (and other electrical items) was used in the auditorium and how distant it was from the microphones. The recording is so clear that it's obviously picking up something else other than the Steinway. (There are also some other creaks and brief random noises, too. Indeed, many recordings I have from the 20s to today have non-musical noises in them.) Either that, or my disc has a manufacturing defect that affects only the Diabellis and not the other piece on the disc.

-

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Robert Silverman Plays the Diabellis

I will throw in my 2 cents on piano recordings. Since I love the piano and truly love when a recording captures the overall sound, tone, body, and power the piano can offer in the right hands I do not take this matter lightly. I love trying to record the piano and one day hope to get it near as right as JA does. And this is not an attempt to blow smoke up some one

Editor
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Re: Robert Silverman Plays the Diabellis


Quote:
The faint noise was confirmed by my young son.

It's the residual noise of my laptop fan, as mentioned in the article. It's too broadband to be simply filtered, and any of the more sophisticated NR techniques I tried made the sound of the piano worse. Ultimately, I felt it was sufficently low in level not to be audible at normal loudnesses on speakers, though that may not be the case on headphones.


Quote:
I must say that I like the recording quite a bit and cannot say it could ever be background music for me.

Thank you very much for your comments on this CD, Todd. I forwarded them to Bob Silverman.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

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Re: Robert Silverman Plays the Diabellis


Quote:
Robert Silverman: Variations Beethoven Piano Music
Stereophile STPH017-2 2006
This is by far the best piano recording I own, Period. The lower registers are powerful, but not overblown. The separation of notes is remarkable for the clarity and tone with tremendous power. Yes, Silverman is one powerful player, but he also shows a lightness of touch when called for. This is a you-are-there recording if there ever was one. The sense of space and the solidarity of image are remarkable. The textures are as thick and luscious as the best butterscotch or single-malt scotch. (You can ask Roy Hall about the last one.) And to think there is a 2 channel and MC version coming in DSD is almost scary. How much better can this get? If you own near a class A Stereophile rated CD player you should be in Heaven spinning this disc. I am a huge Beethoven fan, so I love the music as well. Kudos.

Wow! You place our efforts in exalted company.


Quote:
I would really like JA and Ray Kimber tell me how they are going to top this?

Bob's next project is the Mozart Sonatas, recorded in concert on the West Coast, but I am not involved in those, unfortunately. However, Bob has asked me if I would like to do an "encore" to "Variations." I now use a Mac mini as a recorder, which is dead silent.

My next CD is of Cantus, performing songs of the sea, including the great Stanford song cycle. It will be available from the Stereophile website in a two weeks or so, with an article on its making in the December issue of the magazine.

After that, I am recording Bob Reina's jazz quartet live in concert at Manhattan's Merkin Hall next February. I will give an interval talk on how and why I am recording each instrument and the idea is to have as many readers there as possible, who will then get a steep discount on the resultant CD.


Quote:
RS, JA, and RK certainly knocked one out of the park here. This one went so far it seemed to have a motor on it!

Thanks Jim.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Robert Silverman Plays the Diabellis

John,

Thank you!

I saw where the Tascam DV-RA1000 now come with an added hard drive. Couldn't you get the fine folks at Primedia to ante up for one? It is the least they could do! LOL

Now the fan noise is gone. Just a thought.

My curiosity has me asking at what freq does the fan noise start to come into play? I'll be darned if I can hear it even on my Grado's. I would rather spend my time listening to RS than worry about the fan.

Todd
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Re: Robert Silverman Plays the Diabellis


Quote:
Ultimately, I felt it was sufficently low in level not to be audible at normal loudnesses on speakers

That means I either listen at too high a volume, my system is hyper-revealing, or both. (I'm thinking both, but how can one not listen to the Diabellis at a nice, loud volume?)

I was hoping Silverman would record some Mozart after reading his essay on his web-site.

-

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Re: Robert Silverman Plays the Diabellis


Quote:
I saw where the Tascam DV-RA1000 now come with an added hard drive. Couldn't you get the fine folks at Primedia to ante up for one? It is the least they could do! LOL

I wouldn't have a problem buying one of these Jim, but the editing still has to be done in PCM land.


Quote:
My curiosity has me asking at what freq does the fan noise start to come into play? I'll be darned if I can hear it even on my Grado's. I would rather spend my time listening to RS than worry about the fan.

I don't have the spectrum here in the office, but it starts around 3.5kHz and extends up to 15kHz or so. The level is very low but 3.5kHz, unfortunately, is where the ear is most sensitive. I don't hear it on speaker playback, but headphones can unmask it.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Robert Silverman Plays the Diabellis

John,

Thanks for the reply. Some of the readers may have some interest in this Glen Gould event and recording. I know I do.

I looked at the Apple website and the MacMini looks very intriguing. A low price for a lot of computer.

Regards,

1955 Goldberg Variontions Yamaha Disclavier rework.

Robert Deutsch
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Re: Robert Silverman Plays the Diabellis


Quote:
John,

Thanks for the reply. Some of the readers may have some interest in this Glen Gould event and recording. I know I do.

1955 Goldberg Variontions Yamaha Disclavier rework.

Hi Jim,

I was at the Gould event; it was quite special. My report is slated to appear in the December issue.

Bob

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Re: Robert Silverman Plays the Diabellis


Quote:
I don't have the spectrum here in the office, but it starts around 3.5kHz and extends up to 15kHz or so.

I posted the spectrum in the photo gallery: http://forum.stereophile.com/photopost/showphoto.php/photo/948 .

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Robert Silverman Plays the Diabellis

Robert,

I look forward to your article. This is when new technology CAN and probably is a very worthwhile thing.

I have some old LPs of Aeolean?sp that were player piano rolls of the likes of Gershwin himself and others. This Gould piece will probably really be something. Thanks for the heads-up.

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