Editor's Choice: Stereophile's Sampler & Test CD Track 16

[16] Liszt: Liebestraum, S.541 (from Sonata, STPH008-2)

Performer: Robert Silverman, Steinway D piano
Recording venue: First United Methodist Church, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Recording Date: November 2-5, 1993
Producers: Robert Silverman & John Atkinson
Executive Producer: Larry Archibald
Assistant Engineer: Robert Harley
Piano Technician: Charles Rempel
Steinway D piano supplied by Riedling Music Company, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Microphones: Schoeps KFM 6 Sphere (center pair), two DPA 4006 ½" omnis with black (diffuse-field) grids (spaced pair)
Mike Preamp: Sonosax FD-M4
A/D Converter-Recorder: Nagra-D (20-bit) at 44.1kHz
Mixer: Sonic Solutions Digital Audio Workstation (4 channels)
20-16-bit Noiseshaping: Meridian 618

The rich sound of the Steinway D on this recording, made in the same warm-sounding church as the Gershwin cuts, is due to all the microphones used being omnis, with their extended low frequencies. The central pair, however, was the Schoeps Sphere, which mounts two sideways-facing omnis on the sides of a head-shaped ball.

What you should hear: This particular Steinway D has a less reedy tonal color than the Bösendorfer used for the Beethoven cuts, with richer low frequencies. It's a big instrument, 9' long, and its rather diffuse image should extend from midway between the left speaker and the center of the stage to far right. But with playing as passionate as Bob Silverman's is on this gorgeous melody, you'll forget about the sound in favor of just being carried away by the music. Which, to my way of thinking, is what this business is all about.

"O love so long as you are able to love!" go Liebestraum's lyrics, "O love so long as you can enjoy loving! The hour will come, when you will stand at grave sites and mourn."