LATEST ADDITIONS

Richard Lehnert  |  Aug 28, 2018  |  2 comments
Bruckner & Wagner
Andris Nelsons, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Bruckner: Symphony 4. Wagner: Lohengrin Prelude
Deutsche Grammophon 479 7577 (CD). TT: 79:24
Bruckner: Symphony 7. Wagner: Siegfried's Funeral March
Deutsche Grammophon 479 8494 (CD). TT: 76:48
Both: Everett Porter, prod., eng.; Lauran Jurrius, eng.; Polyhymnia International, mastering. DDD.
Performance ****½
Sonics ****½

In works as vast and challenging as the symphonies of Anton Bruckner, near perfection of interpretation and execution can come in different, even opposed forms. The slow meditations of Celibidache, the crisp classicism of Schaller, the precise power of Skrowaczewski: each is uniquely fulfilling and true to the scores, and none sounds anything like the others—or anything like the Bruckner of Andris Nelsons. Deutsche Grammophon has contracted with Nelsons and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra to record, in concert, Bruckner's symphonies 1–9. After beginning last year with a polished if impersonal account of Symphony 3, Nelsons's cycle is rapidly advancing in quality and pace of release.

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Aug 26, 2018  |  1 comments
From John McCormack, Kathleen Ferrier, and Dame Janet Baker through today's Bryn Terfel, Alice Coote, and Roderick Williams, some of our greatest English and Irish singers have become indelibly associated with the art of English song. To that exalted list we must now add mezzo-soprano Dame Sarah Connolly, whose recent recording of 120 years of English song from the Royal College of Music, Come to Me in My Dreams (Chandos 10944), with the superb pianist Joseph Middleton, is so deeply felt and gorgeously voiced that it earns a 5-star recommendation.
Art Dudley  |  Aug 24, 2018  |  34 comments
The 301Wpc Hegel H590 is MQA-ready, and its USB input supports up to DSD256 and PCM 32/384. It's also Hegel's most powerful domestic amp to date: "The idea was to make a reference, a big power amp," the company's Anders Ertzeid said, "but we thought, who really wants just a power amp when we can make an integrated amp?"
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Aug 24, 2018  |  7 comments
The Cable Company's 23rd annual "Summer of Hunger" CARE campaign, which extends through August 31, donates up to 100% of purchase cost directly to the CARE. Made possible by agreements between The Cable Company (1-800-FATWYRE) and 70 of its cable, audio, and headphone brands, the charitable program expects to donate up to $300,000 to CARE by the end of the month.
Ken Micallef  |  Aug 23, 2018  |  24 comments
Designed in New York City, manufactured in Poland, and barely bigger than a thick paperback, the Brooklyn Amp ($2495) is Mytek's first power amplifier. Like all of their products, it's sleek to behold, with a powerful look that suggests the company's pedigree: in addition to high-end consumer electronics, Mytek makes gear for the pro-audio market, where exceptional build quality and space-saving design are the norm.

Consistent with that last characteristic is the Brooklyn Amp's output architecture: it operates in class-D, a technology that remains controversial.

Herb Reichert  |  Aug 23, 2018  |  15 comments
The trouble with a classicist he looks at the sky
He doesn't ask why, he just paints a sky
—John Cale and Lou Reed, "Trouble with Classicists," from Songs for Drella

Left brain/right brain, yin/yang, male/female, Apollonian/Dionysian, classical/romantic, painterly/linear, dark/light, hard/soft, warm/cool...I use these contrasting adjectives in my reviews because I feel some confidence in their ability to convey the nature of what I experience while listening to recordings with whatever new audio box sits before me in the listening studio.

I also use: accurate (I hate that word), neutral (what's that?), colored, clean, transparent, open, musical. Sadly, I have little confidence in their ability to describe my experiences.

Jim Austin  |  Aug 21, 2018  |  45 comments
I listen to music in all formats, but my most ecstatic home listening experiences have always involved vinyl. It's probably something to do with the fact that, like most people my age and older, I grew up listening to LPs—in my case, played on a Technics SL-210 turntable, and through an Aiwa receiver with beautiful green tuner lights and a pair of early Polk Audio studio monitors. I'm drawn, surely, to an improved version of the sound I heard back then. It's a powerful sentimental connection.
John Atkinson  |  Aug 21, 2018  |  19 comments
The dingy green-and-ochre poster on the subway-station wall, advertising events at Queens's Forest Hills Stadium, didn't draw attention to itself. But what else is there to do on a subway platform but look at posters? I looked at it. There, near the bottom of the left column, I read: "SEPT 12: VAN MORRISON AND WILLIE NELSON & FAMILY."

Van Morrison. In concert. In Queens.

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Aug 20, 2018  |  12 comments
How many of us, when asked to name great American symphonists, typically start and stop with Copland, Ives, Bernstein, Barber and, among living composers, Glass and Adams? In doing so, we often ignore a host of others from the mid-to-late 20th century, including Schumann, Piston, Diamond, Cowell, Hanson, Harris, and Hovhaness (to name but a few)...Perception could very well change with the release of Lance Friedel and the London Symphony Orchestra's recent SACD for BIS, American Symphonies (BIS-2118).
Art Dudley  |  Aug 16, 2018  |  80 comments
Some of my reviewer colleagues would have you believe that negative reviews are the most difficult of all to write, and that positive reviews fairly write themselves. What nonsense!

As I write this, my copy deadline is three days away, yet I've succeeded at crafting little more than my heading (easy enough: it's just the product's name, followed by my name) and my Associated Equipment sidebar (also easy), leaving a great expanse of nothing in between. That's mostly because the Kalista DreamPlay One, a two-box CD player whose $43,000 price might once have kept me from even considering it as a real-world product, has stunned me into a sort of paralysis: I feel that anything I write will be inadequate to the task.

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