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OX BOX #11 - Sibelius, Beethoven, Respighi, Mozart, and More…

Sibelius: Symphonies, #2 in D, Op. 43 and #5 in E flat Op. 82 BIS SACD 1986“I took a considerable length of time listening to and reflecting on the Sibelius 5th. Let me write about it first, as there will be some things as a recording and performance that it shares with the rest. Let’s begin where many classical music reviews finish, with consideration of the sound. From their inception BIS have considered the way they record (with the simplest setups possible) to be as important as what they record. I would contend this is a big reason for their success…”

A Trialogue on Historical Recording Restoration by AM, JEB, & BO

“Even the process of removing recording noise that often obscures the first and second overtones ensures that they cannot be synthesized out of thin air, again, literally. In a mono recording all the noise and distortion are part and parcel of the production, and cannot be removed except at a cost…”

Audio Ideas, December 2011 - Recent SACDs, CDs, Blu-rays, & Other Confections (Or Not)!

Peter Gabriel - New Blood“These two titles couldn’t be any different from each other, I’m sure, but they share an excellence of production and execution, and each focuses on a major musical talent whose careers started more than 40 years apart. Chasing Sound is a look at the career and guitar and recording innovations of Les Paul, not to forget his spectacular musical dexterity with the electric guitar he invented. Paired with the irrepressibly pitch-perfect Mary Ford, they became a hit machine in the early 50s, his development of overdub recording the perfect way to showcase her singing and unique harmonies…”

Ox Box #10 - Music from Jimmy Cobb, Mozart, Martinu and Robert Plant

Jimmy Cobb - Jazz in the Key of Blue“Most collectors will be attracted to the Chesky discs because of great care the Chesky team takes to get the most “natural” sound they can obtain. On the end of a horizontal arm they attach a single microphone around which the musicians gather, except when Roy Hargrove is part of the group. Because of the sound stage is so clearly defined you know he likes to move around….”

Bain’s Blog, June 2010, The Jazz Loft

The Jazz Loft Project (small)“Those jam sessions encompassed a “Who’s-Who” of Jazz at that period. The loft, where Hall Overton had installed pianos and drum kit, became an after-hours magnet for local and touring musicians. Regulars included: Zoot Sims, Charles Mingus, Roland Kirk, Jim Hall, Bill Evans, Bob Brookmeyer, Jimmy Giuffre, and Steve Reich. Visitors: Doris Duke, Norman Mailer, Salvador Dali, Bob Dylan, Robert Frank, Diane Arbus, and Henri Cartier-Bresson. Smith recorded and photographed everything until 1965…”

Bain’s Blog, April 2010

Train (small)“I rode my first train in 1950, give or take a year. Harry Patterson was taking his two sons, Jim and Will—childhood friends— and me, fishing on the “Little Mississippi” just north of Kingston. This was a half-hour or less by car, but as he did not drive, we took the Canadian Pacific train from the downtown Kingston station.This was in fact the old Kingston-Pembroke Railway: what was affectionately—or otherwise— known as “The Old Kick and Push”…

Hy End, April 2010 - The Guarneri Quartet: Music by Mendelssohn, Schumann, Dvorak, Kodaly, and Dohnanyi

guarhung-small.jpg“The Guarneri String Quartet (so named because of the instruments they play - Guarneri was a rival of Stradivarius in 17th Century Italy) were for many years the “house” quartet of RCA/BMG/Sony in its various iterations over the years. They were responsible for recording a substantial chunk of the conventional string quartet repertoire. Now, 45 years after their founding, they have decided to retire, and Sony has done them proud by re-releasing a great deal of the music they recorded over their long career…”

Bain’s Blog, by John Edward Bain

Lute“John Edward Bain is a photographer, music lover, and guitarist, and a frequent correspondent to yours truly about these matters and others of mutual interest. Our paths first crossed in Kingston Ontario as part of the folk scene there in the mid 60s. He plays, in his own words, “folk and blues: what John Fahey coined ‘American primitive Guitar’”. He now lives in Halifax with his wife Colette, “in quiet and somewhat reclusive retirement, surrounded by books, records, musical instruments, and cameras.” This is his first blog for AIG, combining music and book reviews, insights into the lute, and interesting related links…”

OxBox, January 2010: Pro-Ject, Furutech, Ortofon and music by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms and more

Tallis Singers - The Flemish Masters (small)In my original review of this turntable cartridge combination I said the results were pleasing but, but I thought that going for the more costly Ortofon Kontrapunkt B cartridge would offer better value for money. In the event, I was dead wrong. I tried to like the 2Xperience-Rondo Blue. It was so nice to spin some vinyl and hear some old favourites again. But, the longer I listened the closer I came to realizing that the sound just wasn’t as good as it should be…”

Audio Ideas: AM On New Blu-ray Releases - Montreux To Monty From Eagle Rock

Monty Python on Blu-ray (thn)“What a feast for Python fans! Starting with a contextual look at the Python origins, and followed by interviews with members, this series is utterly riveting, even going right back to my undergraduate idols, The Goons, led by Peter Sellers. It was the wild and surreal radio antics of The Goon Show that inspired the first Pythons. They bridged the gap from the unseen and imagined to the visual craziness that amazed and entertained British viewers while mystifying and enraging BBC programming executives…”

AM’s Top 10 Pop/Rock/Folk Surround Discs - SACD, DVD-A, DTS, etc., Part 2

Brothers in Arms“You ain’t heard Money For Nothing until you’ve heard it in 5-channel bedlam! There’s so much going on in the mix that it just picks you up and grabs you by the balls…it’s loud, it’s rude, it’s fantastic! And it’s my favourite crank-the-system song! Of course, it’s the full-length version, not the censored short single…”

OxBox, May 2009 - 2Xperience Followup & More Music

Bruce Cockbrun - Slice O Life“In my most recent column I reviewed the ProJect 2Xperience belt drive turntable with the supplied carbon fibre arm and an Ortofon Rondo Blue cartridge. I can report that the sound from it continues to delight. Although the financial outlay involved is far from chump change, it would be hard to think of a more worthwhile investment if you are at all inclined towards vinyl…”

AM’s Top 10 Pop/Rock/Folk Surround Discs - SACD, DVD-A, DTS, etc…Part 1

Ray Sings, Basie Swings“This album was a project of Concord records producer John Burk, who discovered the tapes from European concert dates in the Fantasy Records archive that contained these unreleased Norman Granz Pablo masters. Burk had spearheaded Ray’s last great recording project, Genius Loves Company (see below), and saw potential in the great vocals in otherwise unreleasable multitrack tapes…”

SuperSounds: IsoMike in Surround SACD from Kimber Kable

Iso Mike SACD“The artists featured in these two releases, consisting of 3 SACD multichannel/CD hybrid discs, comprise the Fry Street String Quartet, who came to these recording sessions with a string of awards and prizes in their young history. Winners of the Milennium Grand Prize at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, the First Prize at the Yellow Springs Competition, and also receiving an award at the Banff International String Quartet Competition, the Fry Streeters have been a busy bunch. They’re currently in residence as the Faculty Quartet at Utah State’s School of the Arts…”

Hy End: Hy Sarick Reviews New Releases of Music from Sibelius, Vivaldi and Mussorgsky

Sibelius Kullervo (Telarc)

“The Kullervo Symphony was the first large orchestral work attempted by Sibelius. Based on a tragic and quite gruesome story from the collection of epic Finnish tales known as The Kalevala, the work was very successful at its first performance. The work is diffuse and rambling at times with definite echoes of Wagner and Tchaikovsky…”

AM Listens to More Vinyl - Mobile Fidelity, Pure Pleasure & EMI’s Abbey Road Rock Classics

The Beatles - LoveWhat interested me in the discography of the Liddypool boys was the compilation done by George and Giles Martin for the Cirque du Soleil show LOVE (0946 379 1 1), which is also available in an incredible surround SACD that takes full advantage of the medium (My 10 Favourite Pop/Rock Surround SACDs are coming soon to this space). Here we have 4 superb stereo sides that reshape and reinvigorate many Beatles tunes…”

Music Reviews by Bob Oxley, March 2008

Radiohead

“I will go into detail about some CDs sent to me for review, but first, let me briefly let you know what I am currently listening to: In Rainbows by Radiohead. It really is a great record from every point of view. Each cut is a sound picture. The engineering, especially of the bottom end, is spectacular. If you have the downloaded version, go to the store and get a full-bit, proper copy. It’s worth it…”

Music Reviews - Debussy, Ravel and Ray Montford

Ravel

“It was all but inevitable that later ninetheenth-century French composers would become interested in the Symbolist poets. The Symbolists sought to duplicate in literature the effects of music by using vague images, elusive syntax, and fleeting ideas”, says Jonathan D. Kramer in liner notes for this recording. The famous Prelude was written as a musical equivalent of Mallarme’s poem, Afternoon of a Faun, while Nocturnes evolved from a violin concerto written for virtuoso and composer Eugene Ysaye that was never played…”

Music Reviews - Beethoven, Mozart & Mendelssohn on SACD

Beethoven Piano Concertos

“The piano is quite prominent in this 1974 recording, but what playing! I think I can forgive the Philips engineers for putting Stephen up front and miking the piano to be quite wide. The orchestra is well heard, with a big soundstage and good depth, typical Philips of the period. The string sound is excellent, with a nice texture on violins, violas, and cellos…”

Music Reviews - Bach, Stamitz and Richter on SACD

Bach

“This hybrid SACD features lovely playing, with quite brisk tempi throughout, and a lack of the kind of rubato and general tempo variety offered by my favourite interpreters of this music, the Chamber Orchestra of the Saare under Karl Ristenpart. It just seems a little preoccupied with momentum rather than musicality. But if you don’t know these Suites well, you�ll probably enjoy this recording with its excellent sound quality. The Ristenpart recordings may have been rereleased on CD, but mine are from LP…”


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