Recording of the Month

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Robert Levine Posted: Nov 15, 2010 0 comments
Beethoven: Piano Concertos 1–5
Paul Lewis, piano; Jirí Belohlávek, BBC Symphony Orchestra
Harmonia Mundi 902053.55 (3 CDs). 2010. Martin Sauer, prod.; Philip Knop, eng. DDD. TT: 2:55:42
Performance *****
Sonics *****
Richard Lehnert Posted: Oct 31, 2011 Published: Nov 01, 2011 1 comments
1111rotm.jpgBruckner Symphonies 4, 7, 9
(Finale of 9 completed by Carragan, ed. 2010)
Gerd Schaller, Philharmonie Festiva
Profil PH11028 (4 CDs). 2008/2009/2011. Ememkut Zaotschnyj (4, 7), Lutz Wildner (9), prods.; Sandro Binetti (4, 7), Herbert Fr ühbauer (9), engs. DDD. TTs: 65:43 (4), 64:52 (7), 83:41 (9)
Performance *****
Sonics ***** (4, 7), ****½ (9)

These performances were recorded at the Ebrach Festival, held annually in the small town of Ebrach, Germany (an hour's drive north from Nuremberg or west from Bayreuth), in the former Abbey Church of Ebrach, which comprised a Cistercian monastery (now a prison) and a vast gothic cathedral built in the 13th century which now serves as the parish church. Many hear the phrases "festival orchestra" and "live recording" and expect the worst: flawed documents of underrehearsed performances by hastily convened pickup orchestras in venues not designed for good sound, and plagued by coughs, sneezes, scraped chair legs, the inadvertent rustlings of hundreds of attendees, and a level of applause that might not conform to the response of the listener at home.

Robert Baird Posted: Nov 02, 2012 0 comments
Albert Lee: Tearing It Up
AIX Records AIX 85054 (BD). Mark Waldrep, prod.; Mona Waldrep, exec. prod.; Dominic Robelotto, assoc. prod., eng., BD authoring. DDD. TT: 100:00
Performance *****
Sonics *****

"From a layman's perspective, I'd listen to the 'Audience' mix on my first bourbon and the 'Stage' mix on my second."

Ahh, yes, out of the mouths of . . . audiophiles . . . who like good booze!

Lacking a 5.1-channel surround-sound rig at home, I enlisted the able assistance of "Music in the Round" columnist Kalman Rubinson, who then convinced his son-in-law, Michael Schechter, source of the above quote, to host us for an evening of listening to and watching the Blu-ray disc Tearing It Up, a new set by the incomparable English country-rock guitarist Albert Lee, recently released by AIX Records.

David Sokol Posted: Oct 24, 2013 Published: Nov 01, 2013 0 comments
Bob Dylan: Another Self Portrait (1969–1971): The Bootleg Series Vol.10
Columbia/Legacy 88883 73488 2 (4 CDs). 2013. Bob Johnston, Al Kooper, orig. prods.; Neil Wilburn, Don Puluse, Glyn Johns, orig. engs.; Elliot Mazer, Glyn Johns (Isle of Wight disc); Jeff Rosen, Steve Berkowitz, prods.; Greg Calbi, mastering. AAD? TT: 4:06:32
Performance ****½
Sonics ****½

It wasn't until I'd read Michael Metzger's write-up of Self Portrait in "Records To Die For" (Stereophile, February 2002) that I was prompted to revisit Bob Dylan's once-critically-scoffed-at musical enigma from 1970. Sandwiched between the new country of 1969's Nashville Skyline and the decidedly folkier New Morning from late 1970, the two LPs of the original Self Portrait sounded like the work of an artist, albeit one still in his late 20s, wanting to unplug from the world and his already staggering body of work. With its quirky cover versions and unfocused song selection, it left plenty of fans scratching their heads.

J. Gordon Holt Posted: Jul 08, 2014 Published: Oct 01, 1984 2 comments
1084rotmjgh.jpgSaint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No.2
Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini

Bella Davidovich (pno), Concertgebouw Orchestra, Neeme Jarvi, cond.
Philips CD 410-052 2 (CD), 6514-164 (LP).

At last we're starting to realize some of the promise of CD from a major record company. This is the best CD recording I've heard yet from Philips. Both of these are virtuoso romantic works requiring a big piano sound and the stamina to produce it for 6–10 minutes at a stretch, which is probably why few lady pianists will tackle them. Bella Davidovich pulls these off with great aplomb.

To me, the Saint-Saëns is the better of the two, and is one of the truly great performances of this work. I grudgingly rate it as equal to my long-time favorite, the Rubinstein/Reiner performance on a 1958 RCA LP (LSC-2234), although I would have liked a little more TLC from Ms. Davidovich in the first movement. She seems a little rushed where an occasional lingering caress is indicated, but that is quibbling with what is a really rousing performance.

Harold Lynn Posted: Sep 18, 2013 Published: Oct 01, 1987 11 comments
Duruflé: Requiem; Fauré: Requiem
Blegen, Morris, Shaw, Atlanta SO and Chorus.
Telarc 80135 (CD). Robert Woods, prod.; Jack Renner, eng. DDD. TT: 74:23

To have two Requiems by French composers on the same disc certainly invites comparisons. Superficially similar, the works are actually quite different: both are conceived for small-scale performance, both rely on the organ, and neither places any great demands on chorus or orchestra. The differences concern mood and even intent. Fauré's Requiem, composed between 1887 and 1890, has survived all kinds of performances, both amateur and professional, without losing its ability to move hearers with its gentle hymn for the dead. The Duruflé, composed in 1947, has not achieved this kind of public appeal. A commissioned work, and not unified in style, this requiem is enjoyed by those who sing it; audiences tend to find it bland.

Richard Lehnert Posted: Jul 29, 2011 Published: Oct 15, 1988 0 comments
Lyle Lovett: Pontiac
MCA/Curb MCA-42028 (LP), MCAD-42028 (CD). Willie Pevear, eng.; Tony Brown, Lyle Lovett, prods. DDA/ DDD. TT: 35:41

Jesse Winchester has been silent for seven years now, and we needed some mint-julep–voiced cowboy to write and croon such smooth, fluid, irresistible songs, no sharp edges and none needed, thanks. Thank God Lyle Lovett stepped in; we could have done much, much worse.

Robert Hesson Posted: Jul 26, 2010 Published: Oct 26, 1989 0 comments
YSAŸE KREISLER BACH
J.S. Bach: Partita No.2, BWV 1004, Kreisler: Recitativo & Scherzo, Op.6, Ysaÿe: Sonata, Op.27 No.2
Arturo Delmoni, violin
Water Lily Acoustics WLA-WS-07 (LP), WLA-WS-07-CD (CD). Kavichandran Alexander, eng., prod. AAA/AAD. Subsequently released on CD as John Marks Records CD JMR 14G (footnote 1). TT: 48:03
Allen St. John Posted: Sep 04, 2008 Published: Oct 04, 1991 0 comments
RICHARD THOMPSON: Rumor and Sigh
Capitol CDP 95713-2 (CD only). Dave Leonard, Lance Phillips, Tchad Blake, engs.; Mitchell Froom, prod. ADD. TT: 61:25
Richard Lehnert Posted: Oct 20, 2003 Published: Oct 01, 1993 0 comments
MIGHTY SAM McCLAIN: Give It Up to Love
AudioQuest AQ-LP1015 (LP), AQ-CD1015 (CD). Joe Harley, Sam McClain, Lorne Entress, prods.; Michael C. Ross, Dan Bosworth, engs. AAA/AAD. TTs: 47:46, 54:06
Les Berkley Posted: Oct 29, 1994 0 comments
HILLIARD ENSEMBLE/JAN GARBAREK: Officium
Medieval & Renaissance Chant & Polyphony by Morales, Perotin, Dufay, de La Rue, Anon.
The Hilliard Ensemble, vocals; Jan Garbarek, soprano & tenor saxes
ECM New Series 78118-21525-2 (CD only). Manfred Eicher, prod.; Peter Laenger, eng. DDD. TT: 77:41
Mortimer H. Frank Posted: Oct 09, 1995 0 comments
BEETHOVEN: Symphonies 1 & 3 ("Eroica")
Wolfgang Sawallisch, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
EMI 54501 2 (CD only). John Fraser, prod.; Michael Sheady, eng. DDD. TT: 77:15
Michael Ullman Posted: Oct 24, 1996 0 comments
PAQUITO D'RIVERA: Portraits of Cuba
Paquito D'Rivera, alto & soprano sax, clarinet; Lew Soloff, Bob Millikan, Diego Urcola, Gustavo Bergalli, trumpet, flugelhorn; Lawrence Feldman, alto sax, flute; Thomas Christensen, tenor sax, flute; Andres Boiarsky, tenor sax, clarinet, flute; Roger Rosenberg, baritone sax, bass clarinet, bassoon; John Clark, French horn; James Pugh, trombone; David Taylor, bass trombone; Allison Franzetti, Dario Eskenazi, Carlos Franzetti, piano; David Finck, bass; Mark Walker, drums; Pernell Saturnino, percussion; Carlos Franzetti, arr., conductor
Chesky JD145 (CD only). David Chesky, prod.; Bob Katz, eng. DDD. TT: 60:36
Robert Baird Posted: Oct 04, 1997 0 comments
The Delevantes: Postcards from Along the Way
Capitol 8 56179 2 (CD). 1997. Gary Tallent, prod.; The Delevantes, Mike Porter, assoc. prods.; Mike Clute, Peter Miskinis, engs. AAD? TT: 43:34
Performance ****½
Sonics ****½
Larry Birnbaum Posted: Oct 18, 1998 0 comments
ORCHESTRE NATIONAL DE BARBÈS: Orchestre National de Barbès
Larbi Dida, vocals; Youcef Boukella, vocals, bass; Aziz Sahmaqui, vocals, percussion; Fateh Benlala, vocals, mandolin; Fathilla Ghoggal, Olivier Louvel, guitar; Alain Debiossat, soprano sax; Toufik Mimouni, Jean Baptiste Ferr, keyboards; Ahmed Bensidhoune, bendir, darbouka; Kamel Tenfiche, vocals, percussion; Karim Ziad, karkabous; Michel Petry, drums
Tinder 42853192 (CD). 1998. Tajmaat, Djilali Aichioune, prods.; Luis Saldanha, Antoine Illouz, Delphine Presle, engs. AAD? TT: 78:33
Performance *****
Sonics ****

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