Recording of the Month

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Robert Levine  |  Apr 14, 2002  |  0 comments
TRIO MEDIAEVAL: Words of The Angel
Anonymous: Messe de Tournai. Moody: Words of The Angel. Misc. 13th-century monophonic and 14th-century polyphonic works. Trio Mediaeval: Anna Maria Friman, Linn Andrea Fuglseth, Torunn Østrem Ossum, sopranos
ECM 1753 (CD). 2001. John Potter, prod.; Peter Laenger, eng. DDD. TT: 65:45
Performance *****
Sonics *****
Robert Baird  |  Apr 13, 2003  |  0 comments
ROSANNE CASH: Rules of Travel
Capitol CDP 8 37757 (CD). 2003. John Leventhal, prod., eng. AAD. TT: 39:07
Performance *****
Sonics ****
Robert Baird  |  Apr 11, 2004  |  First Published: Apr 01, 2004  |  0 comments
THE SUBDUDES: Miracle Mule
Back Porch 70876-18410-2-2 (CD). 2004. Subdudes, Freddy Koella, prods.; Warren Dewey, eng. AAD? TT: 52:13
Performance *****
Sonics ***½
Robert Levine  |  Apr 17, 2005  |  0 comments
Mozart: Piano Music
Sonata in a, K.310; March in C, K.408; Courante in E-flat, K.399; Gigue in G, K.574; Rondo in a, K.511; Sonata in F, K.533/494 Richard Goode, piano Nonesuch 79831-2 (CD). 2005. Max Wilcox, prod., eng. DDD. TT: 59:32
Performance *****
Sonics *****
Robert Levine  |  Apr 16, 2006  |  0 comments
MOZART: Violin Concertos 3–5
Violin Concertos 3–5, K.216, 218, 219
Andrew Manze, violin; The English Concert, Andrew Manze, dir.
Harmonia Mundi HMU 807835 (CD). 2006. Robina G. Young, prod.; Brad Michel, eng. DDD. TT: 75:45
Performance *****
Sonics *****
Thomas Conrad  |  Apr 15, 2007  |  0 comments
THE TIERNEY SUTTON BAND: On the Other Side
Tierney Sutton, vocals; Christian Jacob, piano; Trey Henry, Kevin Axt, bass; Ray Brinker, drums; with Jack Sheldon, trumpet, vocal
Telarc SACD-63650 (hybrid multichannel SACD/CD). 2007. Elaine Martone, prod.; Robert Friedrich, eng. DDD. TT: 60:03
Performance ****½
Sonics *****
Thomas Conrad  |  Apr 14, 2008  |  0 comments
ENRICO RAVA/STEFANO BOLLANI: The Third Man
Enrico Rava, trumpet; Stefano Bollani, piano
ECM 2020 (CD). 2007. Manfred Eicher, prod.; Stefano Amerio, Gabriele Kamm, engs. DDD. TT: 72:06
Performance ****1/2
Sonics ****
Robert Baird  |  Apr 10, 2009  |  0 comments
JASON ISBELL: Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
Lightning Rod/Thirty Tigers LRR-99682 (CD). 2009. Jason Isbell, prod.; Matt Pence, prod., eng. AAD? TT: 52:09
Performance ****½
Sonics ****
Robert Baird  |  Apr 12, 2010  |  0 comments
London Concertante: Piazzolla and Beyond
Works by Astor Piazzolla, David Gordon, Adam Summerhayes
London Concertante; Adam Summerhayes, dir.
Harmonia Mundi HMU 907491 (CD). 2009. Chris Grist, prod.; Matt Butler, eng. DDD. TT: 52:01
Performance ****
Sonics ****
Robert Levine  |  Apr 08, 2011  |  1 comments
MOZART: Piano Concertos 22 & 25
David Fray, piano; Jaap van Zweden, Philharmonia Orchestra
Virgin 5099964196404 (CD). 2010. Etienne Collard, prod.; René Möller, eng. DDD. TT: 66:04
Performance *****
Sonics *****

From 1782 to the end of 1785 were successful, fertile years in Vienna for Mozart. He was sought by the aristocracy and the upper classes as a pianist, teacher, and composer. Throughout this period—and the following year, during which he ran out of money—he composed piano sonatas, songs, marches, wind serenades, a horn quintet, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, arias, quartets, works for violin and/or viola, horn concertos, the C-minor Mass, symphonies 35, 36, and 38 (37 was written by Michael Haydn), piano concertos 14–25, Le Nozze di Figaro, and dozens of other works.

Richard Lehnert  |  Apr 04, 2012  |  0 comments
Tord Gustavsen Quartet: The Well
Tord Gustavsen, piano; Tore Brunborg, tenor saxophone; Mats Eilertsen, bass; Jarle Vespestad, drums
ECM 2237 (CD). 2012. Manfred Eicher, prod.; Jan Erik Kongshaug, eng. DDD. TT: 53:19
Performance *****
Sonics *****

The first time I heard J.S. Bach's Well-Tempered Klavier, I heard an endless sameness, lovely but undifferentiated. Only over many hearings did each pairing of prelude and fugue begin to emerge from the background, as what Bach did in each iteration of the same received form began to be revealed as an inexhaustible richness of difference. Gradually, I was learning Bach's musical language; only then did I begin to get an idea of what he might be saying.

Thomas Conrad  |  Mar 28, 2013  |  First Published: Apr 01, 2013  |  3 comments
Around the last decade of the previous century, something significant happened in jazz. Suddenly, many of the best players were no longer Americans. Actually, it was not sudden. It was a gradual flowering that achieved critical mass and could no longer be overlooked.
Robert Levine  |  Mar 26, 2014  |  First Published: Apr 01, 2014  |  3 comments
Beethoven: The Symphonies and Reflections
Symphonies 1–9; works by Giya Kancheli, Misato Mochizuki, Raminta Šerkšnyte, Rodion Shchedrin, Johannes Maria Staud, Jörg Widmann
Mariss Jansons, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Christiane Karg, soprano; Mihoko Fujimura, mezzo-soprano; Michael Schade, tenor; Michael Volle, baritone.
BR Klassik 900119 (6 CDs). 2013. Wilhelm Meister, prod.; Ulrike Schwarz, Peter Urban, Sunao Shimazaki, engs; Mechtild Homburg, Elisabeth Panzer, Bernadette Rüb, asst. engs. DDD. 6:27:31
Performance ****
Sonics *****

These live performances of Beethoven's nine symphonies were recorded mostly in Tokyo's Suntory Hall, October through December 2012 (except 3 and 6, recorded in Munich's Herkulessaal); the ancillary material—the Reflections of this set's title—are works by contemporary composers commissioned by conductor Mariss Jansons and recorded in Munich and Tokyo in 2008, 2009, and 2012. Intended as homages to Beethoven (as if he needed any), they are supposed to reflect what these composers feel Beethoven might be writing if he were alive today. Each new work is meant to denote an aspect of a specific symphony, and the CDs are (mostly) arranged so that we can hear each after the symphony that inspired it. Some of these pieces are daring and innovative, and add value to these marvelous performances of the symphonies themselves.

Robert Baird  |  Mar 16, 2015  |  First Published: Apr 01, 2015  |  5 comments
Sasha Matson: Cooperstown: Jazz Opera in Nine Innings
Julie Adams (Lilly Young), soprano; Carin Gilfry (Jan Green), mezzo-soprano; Daniel Favela (Marvin Wilder), Daniel Montenegro (Angel Corazon), tenors; Rod Gilfry (Dutch Schulhaus), baritone; Jason Rigby, saxophones; Russ Johnson, trumpets; Sean Wayland, keyboards; Rich Mollin, double bass; Gernot Bernroider, drums; Sasha Matson, conductor
Albany TROY1553/54A (2 CDs). 2015. John Atkinson, prod., mastering; Mike Marciano, eng., mix; Bill Schnee, Kenton Fukuda, engs. DDD TT: 101:63
Performance ****½
Sonics *****

A jazz opera about baseball? Uh-huh. Sung in colloquial English? A recording produced by the editor of this magazine? Sounds like the kind of situation where I should have nodded politely and just said No. What about ethics—all the folks who already think that review-based outlets like Stereophile are bought and paid for? Pony up and we'll write you a rave, right? Well, no. Absolutely not. But—Recording of the Month?

Thomas Conrad  |  Mar 22, 2016  |  First Published: Apr 01, 2016  |  5 comments
Avishai Cohen: Into the Silence
Avishai Cohen, trumpet; Bill McHenry, tenor saxophone; Yonathan Avishai, piano; Eric Revis, bass; Nasheet Waits, drums
ECM 2482 (CD). 2016. Manfred Eicher, prod.; Gérard de Haro, Nicolas Baillard, engs. DDD. TT: 53:08
Performance ****½
Sonics ****½

In the new millennium, no country other than Cuba has exported more important jazz musicians to the United States than has Israel. But even though the Israeli jazz phenomenon has been much discussed in the jazz press, critics have been late to recognize that Avishai Cohen is one of the best trumpet players alive. Cohen has two siblings who also play jazz, and his charismatic older sister, Anat, who has been winning major jazz polls on clarinet for several years, gets most of the attention in the family. And then there is Avishai's name problem: One of the best-known Israeli jazz musicians, a bassist of the same name, got to New York first.

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