JAN GUNNAR HOFF : Stories – Jan Gunnar Hoff, p. – 2L Blu-ray & SACD

JAN GUNNAR HOFF : Stories – Jan Gunnar Hoff, piano [Tracklist follows] – Pure Audio Blu-ray – 11.1 Dolby Atmos + 9.1 Auro-3D + 5.1 surround + stereo + mShuttle /SACD multichannel and stereo; 2L-131 TT: 57:03 ea. (2 discs) [Distr. by Naxos] *****:

A terrific recital on both audio-only Blu-ray & multichannel SACD.

Recorded during August 2016 in the fine acoustics of Sofienburg Church, this is Jan Gunnar Hoff’s third recording for the Norwegian label, 2L, and his sixteenth in total. The package includes both a Pure Audio Blu-ray and a multichannel SACD, as well as mShuttle for accessing the Blu-ray’s music on your computer.

Hoff (b. 1958) is a composer-pianist with wide interests, including classical, rock and jazz idioms; he’s an academic at the Universities of Tromsø and Agder, and finds time to organize festivals and camps, and to tour as a solo artist. And to make fine recordings, such as this one.

The works on this release are largely his own works, and link together in a nicely varied fashion, alternating the introspective and musing with the more upbeat energetic works. The whole program is a remarkably satisfying hour’s listening. The recital opens with Värmlandsvisan a Swedish folk tune; this will be especially familiar to those who love the work of Billy Mayerl who used this in his Song of the Fir Tree.

From the thoughtful The Elder to the more upbeat Playground the listener is made aware of the variety to come, and the ability of Hoff to communicate with immediacy the varying moods. Brian Wilson’s God Only Knows is most effectively done. The three Figments make interesting listening, and Journey Home and Reminiscence bring the recital to a peaceful and satisfyingly relaxed end.

Jan Gunnar Hoff had a lovely instrument at hand for these sessions, a Steinway Model D. Morten Lindberg has captured the sound of this glorious piano in a thoroughly realistic way. Listening in 5-channel surround I found the results quite marvelous in its accuracy, not only of the instrument but also of the acoustic. Recordings of the piano do not come better than this; it really is a stunningly good sound whether auditioned via Pure Audio Blu-ray or through SACD.

TrackList:

1. Värmlandsvisan
2. The Elder
3. Playground
4. God Only Knows
5. Absence
6. Figment I
7. Good Things
8. Answer Me
9. Figment II
10. Within
11. Stranger
12. Blossom
13. Figment III
14. Journey Home
15. Reminiscence

Pure Audio Blu-ray:
Stereo 192kHz/24bit
5.1 surround 192kHz/24bit
9.1 Auro-3D 96kHz/24bit
Dolby Atmos 48kHz
Plus multichannel SACD disc
Produced in 7.1.4 DXD (Digital eXtreme Definition 352kHz/24bit) by Lindberg Lyd, Norway

—Peter Joelson

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