Recording of the Month

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Richard Lehnert Posted: Dec 26, 2012 Published: Jan 01, 2013 2 comments
Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen
Birgit Nilsson, Hans Hotter, Wolfgang Windgassen, George London, Gustav Neidlinger, Gerhard Stolze, Gottlob Frick, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Kirsten Flagstadt, Set Svanholm, James King, Régine Crespin, Christa Ludwig, many others; Vienna State Opera Chorus, Vienna Philharmonic, Georg Solti
Decca 0289 478 3702 2 (17 CDs, 1 BD, 1 DVD). 1958–66/1997/2012. John Culshaw, prod.; Gordon Parry, eng.; James Lock (1997), Philip Siney (2012), remastering. ADD. TT: 14:36:56 (Ring only)
Performance *****
Sonics *****

Gramophone called it "the recording of the [20th] century"; Stereophile named it No.1 of the 40 essential recordings of all time. Fifty-four years after the first Rheingold sessions, there is still nothing like this history-making first studio recording—by conductor Georg Solti, the Vienna Philharmonic, and producer John Culshaw—of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, originally taped and released on LP from 1958 to 1966. The unsurpassed quality of singers and orchestra, Solti's astonishing ability to tell a dramatic story in music, the epic scope and sweep of work and performance—and the sound, as much a wonder for our own time as half a century ago—make these recordings seem more precious, their combinations of qualities less likely to ever be repeated, with every passing year.

Larry Birnbaum Posted: Dec 24, 2013 Published: Jan 01, 2014 0 comments
Various Artists: The Rise & Fall of Paramount Records 1917–1927, Volume One
Third Man/Revenant (6 LPs, USB drive). 1917–27/2013. Alex van der Tuuk, Jack White, Dean Blackwood, prods.; Christopher C. King, David Glasser, Anna Frick, remastering. A–D. TT: 4:12:39 (LPs only)
Performance *****
Sonics Historical

Launched in 1917, Paramount Records initially recorded conventional pop music, such as Arthur Fields's "Good Morning, Mr. Zip, Zip, Zip." But with the hiring of J. Mayo Williams as a talent scout and producer in 1924, Paramount became one of the leading suppliers of "race" records, as discs marketed to African-Americans were then called. For the next decade, Paramount recorded some of the most important blues, jazz, and gospel artists of the era, along with country and pop musicians.

John Swenson Posted: Dec 22, 2014 Published: Jan 01, 2015 1 comments
Bob Dylan and the Band: The Bootleg Series Vol.11: The Basement Tapes Complete
Columbia/Legacy 88875016122 (6 CDs). 2014. Garth Hudson, orig. eng., tape restoration; Jeff Rosen, Steve Berkowitz, reissue prods.; Jan Haust, reissue prod., tape restoration; Peter J. Moore, tape restoration, remastering; Mark Wilder, prod., add'l. mastering. A-D? TT: 6:27:56
Music *****
Sonics ***

The Basement Tapes are, as musician and archivist Sid Griffin writes in the liner notes, a kind of Rosetta Stone codifying the interface of myths, folktales, and song stories that inform the restless spirit of Bob Dylan's work. All the ingredients of American folklore, from blues and gospel to country, R&B, and rock'n'roll, went into this home brew distilled in the Catskill Mountains by Dylan and the Band over the course of these sessions.

Steven W. Watkinson Posted: May 07, 2014 Published: Jul 01, 1985 4 comments
Anyone who thinks the ultra-chic New York progressive music scene lacks a sense of humor hasn't heard Laurie Anderson. Her last album, Mister Heartbreak, proved to be the most listenable and entertaining example of the genre on years. It also provided a sound quality that put most "audiophile" discs to shame.
Richard Lehnert Posted: Oct 27, 2011 Published: Jul 01, 1988 1 comments
788rotm.jpgWynton Marsalis: Baroque Music for Trumpets
Vivaldi: Concerto for 2 Trumpets, RV 537; Telemann: Concertos for 3 Trumpets, in B-flat and D; Pachelbel: Canon for 3 Trumpets (arr. Leppard); M. Haydn: Concerto for Trumpet; Biber: Sonata for 8 Trumpets & Orchestra
Wynton Marsalis, piccolo trumpets; Raymond Leppard, English Chamber Orchestra
CBS M 42478 (LP), MK 42478 (CD). Bud Graham & Steven Epstein, engs.; Steven Epstein, prod. DDD. TT: 47:18

There are very few musically satisfying compositions for solo trumpet. A great deal of the standard repertoire is Baroque, and that primarily of the Paradestuck (parade, or showoff piece) school. Of Wynton Marsalis's five Masterworks releases, at least three fall into this category, the present one most of all. There are gimmicks galore here, of composition, arrangement, and recording—Wynton Marsalis, genius of all trades, overdubbing himself ad infinitum through digital wizardry. The fact is, given the music, such an approach is probably the most appropriate; certainly no one listens to the Biber Sonata for 8 Trumpets for profound spiritual insight, and none of this music was written to stretch the boundaries of anything but the trumpeter's chops. In the recording of such antiphonal works, the 18th century's version of "special effects" or "stereo spectaculars," it makes sense that the soloists seem as telepathically in tune with one another's playing as possible. So why not use the same single player?

Richard Lehnert Posted: Oct 28, 2010 Published: Jul 28, 1989 0 comments
The Neville Brothers: Yellow Moon A&M CD 5240 (CD). Malcolm Burn, eng.; Daniel Lanois, prod. AAD. TT: 53:01
Robert Deutsch Posted: Dec 05, 2008 Published: Jul 05, 1991 0 comments
The Phantom of the Opera: Original Canadian Cast
Jeffrey Huard, cond.; Andrew Lloyd Webber, music; Charles Hart, lyrics; Richard Stilgoe, additional lyrics
PolyGram 847 689-1 (LP), -2 (CD*). Martin Levan, David Caddick, prods.; Martin Levan, eng. DDA/DDD. TTs: 57:03, 69:45*
Richard Lehnert Posted: Dec 31, 2007 Published: Jul 31, 1992 0 comments
WAGNER: Siegfried Reiner Goldberg, Siegfried; Heinz Zednik, Mime; James Morris, Wanderer; Hildegard Behrens, Brünnhilde; Ekkehard Wlaschiha, Alberich; Kurt Moll, Fafner; Birgitta Svendén, Erda; Kathleen Battle, Forest Bird; Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, James Levine
Deutsche Grammophon 429 407-2 (4 CDs only). Cord Garben, Claudia Hamann, prods.; Wolfgang Mitlehner, eng. DDD. TT: 4:10:29
Les Berkley Posted: Nov 10, 2003 Published: Jul 01, 1993 0 comments
VIVALDI: The Four Seasons; Flute Concerto in D ("Il Gardellino"), RV 428; Harpsichord Concerto in A, RV 780
Igor Kipnis, Connecticut Early Music Festival Ensemble
Chesky CD78 (CD only). David Chesky, Jeremy Kipnis, prods.; Jeremy Kipnis, eng. DDD. TT: 62:15
Wes Phillips Posted: Jul 06, 1995 0 comments
MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD: Friday Afternoon in the Universe
John Medeski, organs, piano, wurlitzer, clavinet; Billy Martin, drums, percussion; Chris Wood, acoustic bass, harmonica, wood flute
Gramavision GCD 79503 (CD only). MMW, David Baker, Jim Payne, prods.; David Baker, eng.; Dr. Toby Mountain, mastering. DDD? TT: 57:06
Les Berkley Posted: Jul 22, 1996 0 comments
EDUARDO PANIAGUA GROUP: Danzas Medievales Españolas
Eudardo Paniagua, flautas de bisel, nay, fujara, psalterio, tromba marina, darbuga, tar, címbalos, caraqueb, cascabeles; Cesar Carazo, canto, viola de brazo; Wafir Sheik, laúd árabe, darbuga, pandero, sonajero; Jaime Muñoz, axabeba, kaval, chalumeau, dulcimer, sonajas; Enrique Almendros, flautas de tres agujeros, gaitas, gaita charra y tamboril, tar, címbaols, campanas; Luis Delgado, zanfona, laúd, dutar, vihuela de péñola, santur, fujara, cántara, darbuga, zarb, bendir, pandera, tambor, tar
M•A M034A (CD only). Todd Garfinkle, prod., eng. DDD. TT: 72:05
Thomas Conrad Posted: Jul 01, 1997 0 comments
CHARLES LLOYD: Canto
Charles LLoyd, tenor sax, Tibetan oboe; Bobo Stenson, piano; Anders Jormin, bass; Billy Hart, drums.
ECM 78118-21635-2 (CD). 1996. Manfred Eicher, prod; Jan Erik Kongshaug, eng. DDD. TT: 65:18
Performance ****½
Sonics ****½
Robert Baird Posted: Jul 19, 1998 0 comments
TOM WAITS: Beautiful Maladies
Island 314-524 519-2 (CD). 1998. Various prods., engs. AAD? TT: 74:00
Performance *****
Sonics ****?
Robert Levine Posted: Jul 27, 1999 0 comments
MOZART: Così fan tutte
Véronique Gens, Fiordiligi; Bernarda Fink, Dorabella; Werner Güra, Ferrando; Marcel Boone, Guglielmo; Pietro Spagnoli; Graciela Oddone, Despina; Kölner Kammerchor, Concerto Köln, René Jacobs
Harmonia Mundi 951663.65 (3 CDs). 1999. Barbara Valentin, artistic dir.; Mark Hohn, eng. DDD. TT: 3:21:09
Performance *****
Sonics *****
Chip Stern Posted: Jul 07, 2000 0 comments
SONNY ROLLINS: The Freelance Years
Sonny Rollins, tenor sax; Clark Terry, Kenny Dorham, trumpet; Jimmy Cleveland, trombone; Ernie Henry, alto sax; Thelonious Monk, Hank Jones, Sonny Clark, Wynton Kelly, Gil Coggins, Hampton Hawes, piano; Victor Feldman, vibes; Barney Kessel, Oscar Pettiford, Ray Brown, Paul Chambers, Wendell Marshall, Leroy Vinegar, bass; Max Roach, Shelly Manne, Roy Haynes, Kenny Dennis, drums; Abbey Lincoln, vocals
Riverside 5RCD-4427-2 (5 CDs). 2000. Orrin Keepnews, Lester Koenig, Leonard Feather, original prods.; Eric Miller, compilation prod.; Dave Luke, tape transfers; Kirk Felton, remastering. AAD. TT: 5:58:42
Performance *****
Sonics *****

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