Five examples of classical recordings with superb sound quality from albums that were reviewed by The Classic Review in the past year (2019).
Classical music, Jazz and blues were few of the early genres that were caught by the microphone, from the beginning of the twentieth century onward. Whether orchestral, choral, chamber or instrumental, it seems the classical genres always put forward enormous demands on a recording production. Here are some fine examples of classical recordings that exhibit superb sound quality which have been recently reviewed by The Classical Review!
Mahler: Symphony No. 2 (“Resurrection”) – Minnesota Orchestra – Osmo Vänskä (Amazon)
Mahler wrote his 9 Symphonies for huge orchestras, incorporating some instruments which, in the late 1890s, were a rarity. The second, “resurrection” Symphony includes special mutes for the brass, oriental percussion instruments and clever usage of players perform from backstage during the performance. All of this requires a skillful recording engineering, as we have in this performance, an SACD by the Swedish company BIS Records. The recording catches all aspects of this gigantic piece, from the individual soloists to the blend of the full ensemble. The dynamic range in the dramatic crescendos is nothing but spectacular.
Read the full review on The Classic Review
Stravinsky: Le Sacre du printemps; Debussy: La Mer – van Zweden, New York Philharmonic (Amazon)
Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” (“Le Sacre du printemps”) was one of the most outrageous debuts in the history of music, with the opening performance causing such an uproar it was the talk of Paris for many years. This revolutionary ballet music, which includes traditional peasant dances, still manages to shock over 100 years after this first performance. The New York Philharmonic is presenting live performances from their first series with their new chief conductor, Jaap van Zweden. The recording is an almost perfect representation of what a listener can hear sitting from a good sit in a resonant hall.
Read the full review on The Classic Review
Rachmaninov: 24 Preludes – Boris Giltbureg, Piano (Amazon)
The grand piano is a tricky instrument to record. Being a percussive instrument, its mechanism can produce a variety of sounds and tone colors, partially because of the strings affecting each others overtones. Sergei Rachmaninov, one of the greatest pianists of all times, composed extremely demanding pieces for the instrument, with thick chords, rapid finger work, and mesmerizing singing lines. Boris Giltburg’s latest album is an ideal representation of a piano recording, at once intimate but with enough breathing space to catch all of this music’s intricacies. He plays one of the world’s superb instrument – An Italian Fazioli concerto grand. Read the full review on The Classic Review
Salonen: Cello Concerto – Yo-Yo Ma, Cello, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Composer (Amazon)
Esa Pekka Salonen was the L.A. Philharmonic’s chief conductor for 17 years, and this album, containing his own Cello Concerto with soloist Yo-Yo Ma, makes a wonderful testament of this close partnership. This fascinating concerto is an interchange of music ideas and ingenious orchestration, with the orchestra acts as a partner, accompaniment or chamber-like partner to the main soloist. The second movement even includes an electronic looper, with Ma making a sort of dialogue with himself. All of this is caught with an atmospheric recording that catches the soloist up close while keeping the orchestral accompaniment transparent. Read the full review on The Classic Review
“Bach Inspiration” – Thibaut Garcia, Classical Guitar (Amazon)
From the first few seconds of this album by the young French classical guitarist Thibaut Garcia, we were blown away by the quality of his tone and the impressive recording. The album contains music by few composers, all looking back at Johann Sebastian Bach as an inspiration. Slow movements as well as virtuosic segments are met with the superb recording quality, close and intimate but keeping enough space around the guitarist to maintain proper resonance. Read the full review on The Classic Review
This article was published in collaboration with The Classic Review, a website dedicated to classical music, covering new albums, reviews, and guides to classical music. Visit The Classic Review!
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