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BARBER: Adagio for Strings – BRUCKNER: String Quintet in F Major – Konzerthaus Kammerorch., Berlin- Cugate Classics

BARBER: Adagio for Strings – BRUCKNER: String Quintet in F Major – Konzerthaus Kammerorch., Berlin- Cugate Classics

BARBER: Adagio for Strings, Op. 11 – BRUCKNER: String Quintet in F Major – Konzerthaus Kammerorchester, Berlin- Cugate Classics CG013- two multichannel SACDs (5.0), 50:26 [Distr. by Naxos] (10/14/16) *****: A lovely paring of moving works for strings by Barber and Bruckner. Back in 2004 the BBC asked its radio listeners to vote for the saddest music ever written, Barber’s Adagio For Strings won hands down. It’s a lovely piece, and the outcome of the poll is not a great surprise. It’s been recorded many times, and it’s especially nice to have a well-played SACD of this work. The disk also offers Bruckner’s String Quartet in F Major. The work was composed at the suggestion of the famous Viennese violinist Joseph Hellmesberger. Written about the time of the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies, it is a surely a Romantic work, symphonic in scale but rather intimate in character. The Adagio, in contrast to Barber’s sadness, expresses transcendent bliss. Both pieces are very well played by Konzerthaus Kammerorchester of Berlin. Sayako Lusaka and Michael Erxleben are the Concertmasters. In terms of sonics, I find no fault. The realism of the strings, the dynamic range, and the lower registers are all served well by […]

Ray Charles – Swiss Radio Days Vol. 41/ Zurich 1961 – TCB

Ray Charles – Swiss Radio Days Vol. 41/ Zurich 1961 – TCB

The jazzy side of Brother Ray… Ray Charles – Swiss Radio Days Vol. 41/ Zurich 1961 – TCB 02412, 78:43 [Distr. by Naxos] (11/11/16) ****: (Ray Charles – piano, vocals; Marcus Belgrave, Wallace Davenport, Phil Guilbeau, John Hunt – trumpets; Henderson Chambers, Dickie Wells, Keg Johnson – trombones; Rudy Powell – alto sax; Hank Crawford – alto sax, band leader; David “Fathead” Newman – tenor sax and flute; Don Wilkerson – tenor sax; Leroy Cooper – baritone sax; Elbert Forriest – guitar; Edgar Willis – bass; Bruno Carr – drums; Quincy Jones – arranger {#1, 2, 9-11, 17}. With the Raelettes: Pat Lyles, Margie Hendricks, Gwen Berry, and Darlene McCrea – vocals) Although Ray Charles had been recording for Atlantic Records since 1957, his impact had primarily been in the United States as a rhythm-and-blues artist. In October, 1961, Ray took his full orchestra to Europe in order to expand his stature worldwide. At the beginning of the tour he played in Zurich on Oct. 18, 1961. As part of the Swiss Radio Days Series (now 41 volumes strong), TCB is releasing this date in great digitally-remastered sound. Ray brought an outstanding orchestra to Europe. Four trumpets, three trombones, and […]

Editorial for November 2016

Editorial for November 2016

The complete pipe organ works of Max Reger in hi-res stereo, surround & binaural (17 SACDs) is the November free drawing here, as furnished by Cybele Records. It comes with a complete bound book and an interview with the organist. We reviewed it here. All you need to do is click on the Register To Win banner on the Home Page and fill out our simple form. We will list below the winner of the November drawing in early December. EDITORIAL AUDIOPHILE AUDITION began as a local program in San Francisco and then in 1985 as a weekly national radio series hosted by John Sunier, and aired for 13½ years on up to 200 public radio and commercial stations. In September 1998 its web site for program listings was expanded to this free Internet publication. November 2016 is our 212th issue! All disc reviews are added thru the month as written and received, often daily, amounting to nearly 100 a month. The Home Page lists the latest published reviews. Vinyls, Pure Audio Blu-rays and other hi-res formats are included in the SACD/Hi-Res Section. We are staying with physical discs rather than downloads. The site has been redesigned and improved. Please […]

Audio News for October 21, 2016

Musical America 2017 Awards – went to pianist Juja Wang for Artist of the Year, to Andrew Norman for Composer of the Year, to Finnish Susanna Mälkki for Conductor of the Year. to bass-baritone Eric Owns for Vocalist of the Year, and to Eighth Blackbird for Ensemble of the Year. Noisy Audiences and Music – The Irish Times has a current article on Noisy Audiences and Classical Music. A couple in front of the reporter kept up an intermittent conversation thruout the entire concert. A few seats away a man was constantly swigging water from a large plastic bottle, while others here and there were busy texting away with their phones in silent mode.  Irritating clapping – applause for the sake of applause – broke out after each movement of a symphony only added to the overall atmosphere of casual inattention.  And the article didn’t even mention movies, where many of the audiences act just as they do at home watching TV, with everyone talking out loud. Ah, the advantages of listening to recorded music… Bluetooth Audio Set for Big Improvements – The people behind Bluetooth will move all audio applications into a new low-energy radio, called BLE for Bluetooth […]

Shirley Horn, vocals – Live at the 4 Queens – Resonance

Shirley Horn, vocals – Live at the 4 Queens – Resonance

Shirley Horn – a unique vocal talent… Shirley Horn – Live at the 4 Queens – Resonance HCD-2015 (1988), 52:43 ***1/2: (Shirley Horn – piano and vocals; Charles Ables – bass; Steve Williams – drums) For far too long Shirley Horn’s fame was confined to the greater Washington, D.C, area, where she resided and raised her daughter. That changed, however, in the mid 1980s, when she began recording for the Verve label. At that time, Verve was a major player on the jazz scene, and Shirley’s unique talents were shown off to a much larger audience. She was a favorite of Miles Davis, and her 1997 album, I Remember Miles, earned her a Grammy for Best Vocal jazz album. Horn recorded nearly 30 albums (mostly for Verve), but it has been almost a decade since new material has been issued. Coming to the rescue, once again, is Zev Feldman, of  Resonance Records, super sleuth in discovering live unreleased gems largely from radio sources. As part of a syndicated weekly broadcast at station KNPR (Las Vegas), Shirley was recorded on May 2, 1988 at the 4 Queens club in Vegas. The sound restoration by George Klabin and Fran Gala, is exceptional, […]

Beecham ABC, Vol. 4 – Pristine Audio

Beecham ABC, Vol. 4 – Pristine Audio

The last of the Beecham ABC Network concerts evokes thunderous applause at every piece. Beecham – The ABC Blue Network Concerts, Vol. 4 = HAYDN: Symphony No. 102 in B-flat Major; MOZART: The Impreasario – Ov., K. 486; SAINT-SAENS: Omphale’s Spinning Wheel, Op. 31; BERLIOZ: Les Troyens: Royal Hunt and Storm; Hungarian March from La damnation de Faust – Blue Network Sym. Orch./ Sir Thomas Beecham – Pristine Audio PASC 480, 53:37 [avail. in various formats from www.pristineclassical.com] ****: The Haydn 1795 Symphony No. 102 in B-flat Major provides the centerpiece for this high-energy concert from 28 April 1945, the fourth and last of Sir Thomas Beecham’s concerts sponsored through the ABC network. The onrush of musical dynamism begins earlier, with Beecham’s thoroughly spontaneous approach to Mozart’s 1786 singspiel The Impraesario, whose Overture permits all sorts of interior colors as well as witty rhythmic subtleties not lost on our engaged conductor.  Even narrator Milton Cross seems delighted to announce it as his prelude to the Saint-Saens symphonic poem that depicts the Lydian queen’s “humiliation” of the Greek hero Hercules – for the fatal fall of Iphitos – in the form of “women’s work.” A brilliant piece of orchestration – set […]

Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead – The Story of the National Lampoon, Blu-ray (2016)

Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead – The Story of the National Lampoon, Blu-ray (2016)

Documentary on an amazing monthly magazine and it’s extremely unusual staff. Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead – The Story of the National Lampoon, Blu-ray (2016) Cast: Chevy Chase, Judd Aptow, John Belushi, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Doug Kenny, Kevin Bacon, Christopher Guest Director: Douglas Tirola Studio: History Films/ Magnolia Home Ent. 10947 [4/19/16] Video: for 16:9 screens, 1080p HD color Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 Subtitles: English, Spanish Dubbed: French Extras: Bonus Interviews (over an hour), John Goodman reads Doug Kenny, Thoughts on Animal House, Drugs in the office, Thoughts on SNL, Working in NYC, “Jaws,” “Reading John Hughes,” Favorite Nat. Lampoon Pieces, Artists of Nat. Lampoon, Chevy Chase bit, more… Length: 95 min. Rating: **** From the 1970s thru the 1990s, the most outrageous comedy in print was the National Lampoon. It really pushed the limits of good taste and acceptability and branched out into radio shows, stage presentations, records and even movies such as Animal House and National Lampoon’s Vacation. I personally love John Belushi’s take-off on Joe Cocker and while he doesn’t wear a bumble-bee outfit in this one, that cracks me up every time. The office was a wild and free party all the time, with plenty […]

Audio News for April 5, 2016

Guide to Immersive Sound – It’s getting quite complex what with Auro 3D, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X on the scene and your having to install new height speakers. (The last one has been vaporware until just now.) The former 7.1 horizontal system with two center back speakers was a big mistake, and Auro 3D requires a different speaker set up than the other two. The idea now is to have “object-oriented” sounds rather than channel-based audio, that take the surround experience to an entirely new level. The small speakers that sit on top of your present speakers and direct sounds to bounce off the ceiling are not as good as height speakers near the ceiling or ceiling speakers. You are expected to have four ceiling channels, not just two, with all three of these.  Aperion says if you do a Dolby Atmos or DTS:X setup, you’ll really enjoy the films Gravity, John Wick and San Andreas. They have an excellent Guide to Immersive Sound here which answers most of the questions of those preferring music in surround. Wireless Home Theater Audio Now a Reality – B & O, Klipsch and Enclave Audio all now have wireless audio systems for home […]

Audio News for April 10, 2015

Stan Freberg Dies at 88; All Six Star Wars Films Now Available on Digital HD Internationally; Harman and Quirky Developing “Headphones of Tomorrow”; URC Adds New Home Controller

Editorial for April 2015

Editorial for April 2015

This April we are awarding a single boxed 50-CD set which is the most comprehensive selection of the compositions of George Philip Telemann ever offered. A flurry of interest has grown around this composer over the past 30 years, even though his popularity fell away in the 19th century. He was active in both Hamburg and Paris and sensitive to all the styles of the time. Many brilliant Baroque performers are heard on the recordings. The complete set will go to one of our readers who registers this month using our simple form. The winner will be listed below in early May. [More details on the 50 discs here.] The lucky winner of the $699 Oppo MP-2 headphones, our March free drawing, is Len Laviolette, Beaverton OR. EDITORIAL AUDIOPHILE AUDITION began as a local program in San Francisco and then in 1985 as a weekly national radio series hosted by John Sunier, and aired for 13½ years on up to 200 public radio and commercial stations. In September 1998 its web site for program listings was expanded to this free Internet publication.April 2015 is our 193rd issue. All disc reviews are added thru the month as they are written and received, usually daily. […]