May 31

Medtner & Rachmaninov – Piano Sonatas – Steven Osborne (2014) 
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 01:11:59 minutes | 0,99 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: hyperion-records | Digital Booklet | © Hyperion Records
Recorded: December 2012, Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom

Steven Osborne has become increasingly admired for his performances and recordings of Russian Romantic piano music, playing with a remarkable level of authority and a rare combination of technical ease, tonal lustre and idiomatic identification. Here he presents an impressive selection from two masters who lived and worked contemporaneously. Both were renowned concert pianists, and both wrote superbly for their instrument. Yet their reputations could not be more divergent. Rachmaninov utterly loved; Medtner only now becoming rehabilitated.

Medtner’s ‘Sonata Romantica’ was composed in 1930 in Paris, and first performed by the composer in Glasgow the following year. It was the twelfth of his fourteen piano sonatas. Not only its title but also the expressive content of its four movements, played without a break, make it virtually a manifesto for Medtner’s art. Apart from sonatas, Medtner’s favourite genre was the Skazka (‘Tale’). It has been pointed out that the usual English translation of ‘Fairy tale’ does not do justice to the power and depth of many of these pieces, some of which almost approach Chopin’s Ballades in their expressive scope. The two Skazki of Op 20 recorded here were composed in 1909.

In a recent performance of Rachmaninov’s Piano Sonata No 2, a great Romantic showpiece, Osborne was described by the Washington Post as ‘a master of momentum and color, a wielder of power and a sure navigator through huge landscapes: his Rachmaninov was both coherent and daringly free’.

I hope I don’t come across as unforgivably philistine when I say that Medtner is a composer I’ve often struggled to enjoy. He has sometimes struck me as one who can be unduly dour in some of his most serious works, but this new recital has proved something of a revelation. Steven Osborne’s recording of the expansive Sonata Romantica, Op. 53 No. 1, reveals colours, and light and shade, that made me listen to the work anew. Lasting almost 25 minutes, this is a big piece, and what’s so impressive about Osborne’s account is not only the superlative technical command but the musical imagination he brings to the work – finding a range of nuance and expressive depth that makes the most urgent and compelling case for large- scale Medtner that I’ve ever come across.

Written in 1930, the Sonata Romantica is in B flat minor – like Rachmaninov’s Second Sonata – and it is the twelfth of Medtner’s piano sonatas. As we learn from David Fanning’s excellent booklet note, it was first performed by the composer in Glasgow in 1931. Fanning also tells us that Medtner himself wanted to record the Sonata before his death in 1951, but this project was never realized. Osborne’s tremendous performance is preceded by engaging accounts of two Skazki (‘Tales’), Op. 20, from 1909 – engaging pieces that have a more obvious affinity to the world of Rachmaninov than some of Medtner’s grander pieces. Marc- André Hamelin’s recording of this work (also on Hyperion) is also excellent, but Osborne’s performance has a concentration and imagination that sets it apart – so much so that I’ve been forced to ditch some of my preconceptions about Medtner.

Rachmaninov’s Variations on a Theme of Corelli have a singular place in the composer’s output as the only major work for solo piano that he composed after leaving Russia in 1917 (aside, that is, from the revised version of the Second Sonata that had originally been written in 1913). They also have a misleading title, since they are variations on La Folia, an ancient theme that was used by Corelli – as well as by Lully and Vivaldi among (many) others – but certainly wasn’t composed by him. Still, this is a work that shows Rachmaninov at his most concentrated: while there’s a certain austerity to several of the variations, there’s no lack of musical interest. Osborne’s performance seems effortlessly to encompass the expressive span of this deeply impressive piece, and it is among the best I’ve heard.

The Second Sonata is always a rather problematic proposition: the revised version is preferred by some pianists for its greater conciseness and more transparent textures, while the original version has an opulence that is hard to resist, and several passages that it seems a shame to lose. Vladimir Horowitz was the greatest advocate for the work, but he played it in a hybrid version that combined the best elements of both versions – something he did with the composer’s blessing. Osborne has gone down the same path, making his own ‘ideal’ performing version of the work. Whatever ethical issues there might be about this rather à-la-carte approach to musical texts, I have to say that it works spectacularly well (as does Horowitz’s version in his matchless 1968 Sony recording). Anyone wanting to hear Rachmaninov’s first thoughts should listen to Zoltán Kocsis’s wonderful Philips recording of the original version. Osborne – consistently sensitive, spirited and technically dazzling – is extremely persuasive in his own version of the work.

This is an impressive disc in every way. With fine recorded sound and excellent notes, it deserves the warmest recommendation. From a purely personal point of view, it is a disc that has opened my ears to Medtner’s Sonata Romantica and for that I shall always be grateful. –Nigel Simeone, International Record Review

Nikolai Medtner (1880-1951)
Skazki Op 20
1  Allegro con espressione[2’49]
2  Campanella: Pesante, minaccioso[3’45]

Sonata in B flat minor ‘Sonata Romantica’ Op 53 No 1
3  Romanza: Andantino con moto, ma sempre espressivo –[6’55]
4  Scherzo: Allegro[4’34]
5  Meditazione: Andante con moto[3’20]
6  Finale: Allegro non troppo[8’37]

Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
7  Variations on a theme of Corelli Op 42[17’48]

Piano Sonata No 2 in B flat minor Op 36
8  Allegro agitato[9’57]
9  Non allegro[7’32]
10  Allegro molto[6’42]

Steven Osborne, piano

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May 30

產品名稱: 執迷不悔 (SACD)
歌手名稱: 王菲
推出日期: 2004-09-09
語言: 粵語, 國語
光碟格式: Super Audio CD


* Hybrid Stereo, Plays on ALL SACD and CD Players

01. 紅粉菲菲
02. 執迷不悔(國)
03. 可愛眼睛
04. 季候風
05. 不再兒嬉
06. 我永遠珍惜你我
07. 情敵
08. 從明日開始
09. 夜半醉
10. 執迷不悔(粵)

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May 30

Sadao Watanabe – Paysages (1971/2007) {SACD Sony Japan} 
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | Full Scans 600dpi | 1.99 GB
FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Scans 600dpi | 970MB
Genre: Jazz, Fusion

Paysages is a French word that roughly means “landscapes.” In this 1971 album, Sadao Watanabe & his bandmates’ music reflected the sign of the times in their use of electric piano, strong emphasis on rhythms – realized, in part, by employing 2 drummers – & a freer approach to improvisation.

1. Paysages Part 1 & 2
2. Out-Land
3. Space Is Not A Place
4. Green Air
5. Provincial

Sadao Watanabe – alto sax, flute, sopranino
Masabumi Kikuchi – electric piano, acoustic piano
Gary Peacock – bass
Masahiko Togashi – drums
Hiroshi Murakami – drums

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May 30

The Tiptons – Surrounded By Horns (2004)
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 49:18 minutes | Scans included | 3,37 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Scans included | 1,01 GB
Features Stereo and Multichannel surround sound | Stockfisch Records # SFR 357.4034.2 | Genre: Jazz

THE TIPTONS from Seattle, USA. These are Amy Denio, Jessica Lurie, Tobi Stone, Sue Orfield and Elizabeth Pupo-Walker. Elements of swing, klezmer, big band, pop and Eastern European nuances interwoven with occasional strains of gypsy music are blended together to craft that ultimate, inimitable TIPTONS’ sound. Four Saxophones plus percussion.

The music is not your typical mix of jazz standards and light classical fare of most sax ensembles. These are mostly originals by members of the ensemble, though things are kicked off with a piece from the unique Raymond Scott. Meandering among big band swing, klezmer, gypsy music, pop and various European folk elements, the quintet provides a refreshing take on the usual sax quartet. The sonic side also provides something new: The DSD format was retained throughout the entire recording/editing/mixing/mastering. An eight-track SADIE system was used, with six channels comprising the SACD surround setup and the remaining two for a mixed-on-the-spot stereo mix. No EQ or reverb was added to any of the mixes, so the surround option sounds terrifically alive and with great presence. This is a winner both musically and sonically – especially surroundingly.

01. The Penguin
02. Calder’s Circus
03. Gypsy Wedding
04. Sahel
05. Vorrei dire due parole
06. After Before
07. Dreamsville
08. 12 Days
09. Crni Vlak (Black Train)

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May 30

Simon Shaheen, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt – Saltanah (1996) [Reissue 2001]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 40:15 minutes | Scans included | 3,08 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Scans included | 1,14 GB
Genre: World

Two master musicians engage in a fascinating dialogue, blending the Indian rag with the Arabian maqam. These two musical forms are beautifully complementary, but also contrast enough to make things interesting.

01. Dawn
02. Ghazal
03. Saltanah
04. Mists
05. Dusk

Simon Shaheen – ud & violin
Vishwa Mohan Bhatt – mohan veena
Ronu Majumdar – flute
Sangeeta Shankar – violin

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May 30

Hiromi – Spark (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:12:18 minutes | 1,57 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Artwork: Digital booklet |  © Telarc Records

All great human passions whether romantic, creative, inventive, or transformative begin with a single spark. On her tenth album as a leader, Japanese pianist/composer Hiromi traces the path of the flame ignited by that spark as it consumes and inspires. Over the course of nine expressively charged songs, the listener is carried away on an impassioned spiritual journey that might tell the story of a personal discovery, a love affair, or the creation of the music itself. Set for release April 1st, Spark showcases the always thrilling sound of Hiromi’s Trio Project with her most narratively sweeping and emotionally overflowing set of music to date. The pianist finds her own spark in her interaction with her triomates of the last five years, contrabass guitarist Anthony Jackson (Paul Simon, Steely Dan, Chick Corea, The O’Jays) and drummer Simon Phillips (The Who, David Gilmour, Judas Priest, Toto, Jack Bruce).

Japanese pianist and composer Hiromi is one of the more unpredictable, captivating talents in modern jazz. Her Trio Project with drummer Simon Phillips and contrabass guitarist Anthony Jackson, now into its sixth year, has matured into one of the most fluidly inventive on the scene. Spark, recorded over four days in October of 2015, is the group’s fourth offering. Like its predecessors, it has a loosely connected thematic scheme. In this case, it’s the spark of inspiration that leads to creation, risk-taking, spiritual connection, and development via an album-length dream sequence. The established hallmarks of the trio are abundant — tight, twisting, turning, sometimes incendiary dialogue in constantly evolving themes and motifs that embrace everything from post-bop to proggy rockisms to funky soul-jazz. The title track is introduced by an inquisitive, nocturnal piano figure before a wash of electric keyboards enters underneath, and the band is off, playing one theme after another in widening circles. Hiromi’s invention in the lower and middle registers resonates with Jackson’s roiling bass patterns, Phillips’ syncopated breaks, and insistent fills that never lose the pocket. “Take Me Away” has a trance-like repetition in its intro. It expands its textural foundation with Jackson playing guitar-esque fills and Phillips riding the snare and cymbal as agents of hypnosis. A sweeping refrain, followed by a knotty bridge that leads to a crescendo, introduces a souled-out groove that recalls Ahmad Jamal. The trio swings on a vamp played by Jackson. The percussive pulse of “Wonderland” gives way to something approaching a classical fugue before opening wide into expansive post-bop then folds back again before Hiromi takes her solo. It’s rife with emotive arpeggios and fluid harmonic investigation. The rhythm section swings hard, adding dimension via extension and extrapolation. Phillips uses octobans — high-tuned tom-toms — to create a near theatrical fantasia that the pianist answers with high-wire lyricism and choppy chords. Drama and dynamic are in constant conversation on “Dilemma.” Pulse, speed, and force are balanced by moments of near sublime inquiry as the lines between jazz, prog, and classical crossover vanish. The uptown electric jazz funk of “What Will Be, Will Be” feels light in contrast. A careful listen reveals the influences of Stevie Wonder and Herbie Hancock in its finger-popping groove consciousness. Closer “All’s Well” is based on a swinging midtempo blues. It pushes boundaries on all sides yet never sacrifices feel. Spark integrates each element in this band’s arsenal to create a whole that is provocative and seamless. Hiromi’s band challenges modern music norms with authority. Their spirit of restless creativity is expressed with as much warmth and humor as technical acumen. The tunes here, though rigorous musical workouts, all reach the level of song — not an accomplishment most piano trios can claim. ~~ AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek

1 Spark 09:04
2 In A Trance 08:54
3 Take Me Away 07:27
4 Wonderland 05:43
5 Indulgence 08:15
6 Dilemma 08:51
7 What Will Be, Will Be 07:42
8 Wake Up And Dream 08:51
9 All’s Well 07:31

Hiromi, piano, keys
Anthony Jackson, contrabass guitar
Simon Phillips, drums

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May 30

Charles Earland – Black Talk! (1970/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 38:36 minutes | 468 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Digital Booklet | © Prestige Records
Recorded: December 15, 1969 at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ
Remastered: 2006, Rudy Van Gelder at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ

The young organist Charles Earland converted the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” into an anthem called “Black Talk” and came up with one of the huge soul-jazz hits of the early Seventies. In this album, Earland worked the same magic with two other pop songs, “Aquarius” and “More Today than Yesterday,” giving them the urgency and forward movement of R&B but managing to inject them with jazz values. He was greatly aided by a pair of soloists—trumpeter Virgil Jones and tenor saxophonist Houston Person—who added fuel to Earland’s fiery concept. Guitarist Melvin Sparks and the quintessential soul jazz drummer Idris Muhammad helped keep the blaze going. It is not coincidence that his blues composition, and Earland himself, were called “The Mighty Burner.”

Black Talk! went on to become an enormous hit, spending most of 1970 on the best-seller charts.

with Virgil Jones, Houston Person, Melvin Sparks, Idris Muhammad, Buddy Caldwell

This CD reissue of a Prestige date is one of the few successful examples of jazz musicians from the late ’60s taking a few rock and pop songs and turning them into creative jazz. Organist Charles Earland and his sextet, which includes trumpeter Virgil Jones, Houston Person, on tenor and guitarist Melvin Sparks, perform a variation of “Eleanor Rigby” titled “Black Talk,” two originals, a surprisingly effective rendition of “Aquarius,” and a classic rendition of “More Today Than Yesterday.” Fans of organ combos are advised to pick up this interesting set. ~~ AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow

1. Black Talk 7:50
2. The Mighty Burner 3:04
3. Here Comes Charlie 8:15
4. Aquarius 8:00
5. More Today Than Yesterday 11:10

Charles Earland, organ
Virgil Jones, trumpet
Houston Person, tenor saxophone
Melvin Sparks, guitar
Idris Muhammad, drums
Buddy Caldwell, congas (#2,5)

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May 29

產品名稱: 最美精選 (SACD)
歌手名稱: 甄妮 (歌手)
推出日期: 2015-11-19
語言: 粵語, 國語
製作來源地: 中國香港
光碟格式: Super Audio CD


Legendary Voices
甄妮 Jenny
Super Audio CD

*嚴 選國語經典金曲、電影主題曲–誓言/我家在那裡/可愛的玫瑰花…
*輯 錄全港首張粵語數碼錄音大碟重點宣傳作品–木頭人/童真/憶夢…
*三 首劉家昌絕版作品首度CD化–霧中夢/小雨/上帝喝醉了

01. 木頭人(粵)
02. 我家在那裡(電影「晚秋」主題曲)
03. 童真(粵)
04. 玫瑰玫瑰我愛你
05. 為什麼
06. 憶夢(粵)
07. 午夜街頭(粵)
08. 天涯芳草(「明日話今天」國語版)
09. 海誓山盟(電影主題曲)
10. 春曉(粵)
11. 月滿西樓(電影主題曲)
12. 楓葉情(電影主題曲)
13. 海鷗(電影「愛的天地」主題曲)
14. 再見我的愛人(再見吾愛)
15. 秋歌(電影主題曲)
16. 可愛的玫瑰花
17. 水悠悠
18. 五月的花
19. 誓言(電影「白屋之戀」插曲)
20. 上帝喝醉了*
21. 小雨*
22. 霧中夢*

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May 29

The Philadelphia Orchestra, Wolfgang Sawallisch – In Nature’s Realm (1999)
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 55:13 minutes | Artwork | 2,63 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Artwork | 932 MB
Genre: Classical

This splendid disc was taped in early 1999 utilizing a simple pair of microphones, a custom built reel-to-reel tape deck, & a tube console. While the recording technology may be atavistic, the engineering is state-of-the-art. No noise reduction was employed, yet my less-than-golden ears fail to detect residual tape hiss enveloping the opulent analogue sonics. The music, though, is what really matters. Sawallisch leads his well-groomed Philadelphia musicians through a well paced, sensitively balanced Liszt Les Preludes. The Dvorak overtures, undervalued showpieces all, benefit from zippy tempos, sensitive section playing, & intelligent dynamic scaling that points up the music’s symphonic implications. Whether you’re a hard-core audiophile or a music lover with low-end components, this winning release does the Sawallisch/Philadelphia team proud all around. Enthusiastically recommended!

01. Franz Liszt: Les Preludes, Symphonic Poem No. 3
02. Antonín Dvořák: In Nature’s Realm, Op. 91
03. Antonín Dvořák: Carnival Overture, Op. 92
04. Antonín Dvořák: Othello Overture, Op. 93

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May 29

Freddie Hubbard – The Hub of Hubbard (1970/2016)
DSD64 (.dsf) 1 bit/2,8 MHz MHz | Time – 35:03 minutes | 1,38 GB
or FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 35:03 minutes | 704 MB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: | Front Cover | © MPS
Genre: Jazz | Recorded: December 9, 1969, MPS-Studio, Villingen, Black Forrest, Germany

In 1970 Freddie Hubbard’s career reached a crossroads. Ten years after the trumpeter had released his debut album “Open Sesame” he could already take stock in an impressive array of achievements: around a dozen albums under his own name for Blue Note and Atlantic, participation in ground-breaking free jazz albums by Coltrane and Ornette Coleman, the development of an original sound somewhere between hard bop, soul, and fusion. From there he broke out and into his popular phase with CTI Records. At the same time this MPS album loomed on the horizon as a milestone. Hubbard recorded the album at the MPS studios in Villingen, Germany during a break in his European tour, thus we get to experience a musician and his world-class quintet spontaneously interacting in an open setting. Those who are familiar with the many dreamy versions of the standard “Without a Song” will be thrilled with this 13-minute escapade spotlighting the band’s unbridled play. Hubbard’s dialogue with saxophonist Eddie Daniels and drummer Louis Hayes’ powerful impulse crown the piece. The energy and enthusiasm increases on “Just One of Those Things”, as the players unleash an incredible chain of hard-bopping staccato lines. Hubbard dedicates the playful “Blues For Duane” to his son; bassist Richard Davis grounds the piece in a light-hearted, earthy feel. Hubbard reveals his radiant melodic prowess as he interprets “The Things We Did Last Summer” in broadly swinging arcs, congenially supported by Roland Hanna’s piano harmonies. Davis has another shining moment as he brings the piece to an end with just the right pensive touch.

Trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, whose Atlantic recordings had straddled the boundary between hard bop and the avant-garde, sticks to bebop on this excellent recording. Performing in a quintet with tenor-saxophonist Eddie Daniels (no clarinet this time), pianist Roland Hanna, bassist Richard Davis and drummer Louis Hayes, Hubbard is in top form on four selections: “Without a Song,” a ridiculously uptempo “Just One of Those Things,” “Blues for Duane” and a ballad rendition of “The Things We Did Last Summer.” ~~ AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow

1. Without a Song 12:51
2. Just One of Those Things 07:14
3. Blues for Duane 07:34
4. The Things We Did Last Summer 07:19

Freddie Hubbard, trumpet
Eddie Daniels, tenor saxophone
Roland Hanna, piano
Richard Davis, bass
Louis Hayes, drums

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