“The First Seven Years” – Yarlung Records Sampler [TrackList follows] – Yarlung 96821 [Distr. by Naxos] *****:
Yarlung Records has produced in just seven years a varied catalog of terrific performances of well known and obscure music, in audiophile-level sonics. They even won a GRAMMY award, press all their CDs as gold-plated discs, and are now releasing audiophile vinyls of some of their albums, as well as providing hi-res downloads and MP3s. Founder and CEO Bob Attiyeh usually records with a single stereo mic or a pair of mics, except for larger ensemble where he sometimes uses four mics, but never a forest of individual mics as used by the major labels. Their slogan is “Breaking the Sound Barrier,” and their logo and the cover this album shows a monastery tower in Tibet.
Among the label’s excellent young performers are pianists David Fung and Orion Weiss, the Janaki String Trio, mezzo Sasha Cooke, cellists Antonio Lysy and Frederic Rosselet, the Ciaramella Ensemble, violinist Martin Chalifour and the Smoke & Mirrors Percussion Ensemble. The 16 tracks on the sampler are all complete selections or movements, and one—the fascinating Canticle No. 3 of Lou Harrison, runs 13 minutes. Sasha Cooke is heard in songs by Mahler and John Adams, and pianist Orion Weiss performs two Bach selections. There is even one track of East Indian music, as tabla player Badal Roy—who played with Miles Davis and Ornette Coleman—is heard in a selection of violin and tabla which combines cultures of the East and West. Altogether this is the most enjoyable sampler CD I’ve heard in years.
1 Jácaras – Ciaramella Ens.
Janaki String Trio
2 Beethoven: Adagio con espressione
3 Barabba: Anamnesis
4 Liebst du um Schönheit
5 Am I in your light?
Bach: French Overture
8. Lutoslawski: Dialoghi 8 – Grave
9 Canticle No. 3 – Smoke & Mirrors
10 La spagna – Ciaramella Ens.
11 Lalo Schfrin: Pampas
12 Calcutta sunrise – Badal Roy
13 Músicas dormidas – Martin Chalifour, v.
14 Martin: Distances
Bach: Suite No. 3 for cello solo – Frederic Rosselet
16 Animé – percussion ens.