Camille Saint-Saens – Violin Sonatas Nos. 1 & 2 – Michel Benedetto, Annie d’Arco (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 00:44:01 minutes | 432 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | © Calliope Records

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Franz Schubert – Symphonies Nos. 8 & 9 – Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Thomas Dausgaard (2010)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1kHz  | Time – 01:19:17 minutes | 682 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: eClassical | © BIS Records
Recorded: Recorded in October 2006 (Unfinished) and December 2007 (Great C major) at the Örebro Concert Hall, Sweden

In 2008, to great acclaim, Thomas Dausgaard and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra completed their 3-disc cycle of Schumann’s symphonies. Gramophone described it as ‘riveting’ while the German website klassik.com awarded it the claim of reference recording. The reviewer in Fanfare was struck by the excitement Dausgaard and company offered the listener (‘what a ride . with sawing violins smoking down to the bridge and timpani-like rifle shots’) while his colleague in International Record Review called the result ‘the most perceptive Schumann cycle in over three decades’. Together with a recording of Dvorák’s Sixth and Ninth Symphony released in 2007 the Schumann discs belong to a series entitled ‘Opening Doors’, in which Dausgaard makes a case for performing 19th-century symphonic works with a chamber-sized band. The turn has now come to Franz Schubert and his final works in the symphonic genre: the ‘Unfinished’ (Symphony No.8) and ‘the ‘Great C Major’ (No.9). Both of these are also the most celebrated of all Schubert symphonies, which makes it all the more ironic that the composer never had the opportunity to hear them performed. As for the Eighth, with its distinctive, mysterious opening, it is not known why Schubert didn’t complete it: a few jotted-down bars of a third movement is all that we have. The most likely explanation may simply be that Schubert remained unsatisfied with all of his attempts to match the degree of innovation achieved in the first two movements. The Ninth, on the other hand, does run its full course – and most gloriously so, with a Finale of exuberant festiveness. Unfortunately for the composer, the great (or, as Schumann put it: ‘heavenly’) length of the symphony and the technical demands it placed on the orchestra caused the only performance planned in Schubert’s lifetime to be cancelled. In 1839 the score was found among his papers by Robert Schumann, and received its first performance shortly thereafter by Mendelssohn conducting the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra – eleven years after the composer’s death.

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Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Brain Salad Surgery (1973) [Reissue 2008] {2.0 & 5.1}
PS3 Rip | ISO | SACD DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 44:57 minutess | Scans included | 2,81 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 915 MB
Features 2.0 Stereo and 5.1 multichannel surround sound

Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s most successful and well-realized album (after their first), and their most ambitious as a group, as well as their loudest, Brain Salad Surgery was also the most steeped in electronic sounds of any of their records. The main focus, thanks to the three-part “Karn Evil 9,” is sci-fi rock, approached with a volume and vengeance that stretched the art rock audience’s tolerance to its outer limit, but also managed to appeal to the metal audience in ways that little of Trilogy did. Indeed, “Karn Evil 9” is the piece and the place where Keith Emerson and his keyboards finally matched in both music and flamboyance the larger-than-life guitar sound of Jimi Hendrix. This also marked the point in the group’s history in which they brought in their first outside creative hand, in the guise of ex-King Crimson lyricist Pete Sinfield. He’d been shopping around his first solo album and was invited onto the trio’s new Manticore label, and also asked in to this project as Lake’s abilities as a lyricist didn’t seem quite up to the 20-minute “Karn Evil 9” epic that Emerson had created as an instrumental. Sinfield’s resulting lyrics for “Karn Evil 9: First Impression” and “Karn Evil 9: Third Impression,” while not up to the standard of his best Crimson work, were better than anything the group had to work with previously — he was also responsible for Emerson’s choice of title, persuading the keyboardist that the music he’d come up with was more evocative of a carnival and fantasy than the pure science fiction concept that Emerson had started with. And Greg Lake pulled out all the stops with his heaviest singing voice in handling them, coming off a bit like Peter Gabriel in the process. And amid Carl Palmer’s prodigious drumming, it was all a showcase for Emerson, who employed more keyboards and more sounds here — including electronic voices — than had previously been heard on one of their records. The songs (except for the light-hearted throwaway “Benny the Bouncer”) are also among their best work — the group’s arrangement of Sir Charles Hubert Parry’s setting of William Blake’s “Jerusalem” manages to be reverent yet rocking (a combination that got it banned by the BBC for potential “blasphemy”), while Emerson’s adaptation of Alberto Ginastera’s music in “Tocatta” outstrips even “The Barbarian” and “Knife Edge” from the first album as a distinctive and rewarding reinterpretation of a piece of serious music. Lake’s “Still…You Turn Me On,” the album’s obligatory acoustic number, was his last great ballad with the group, possessing a melody and arrangement sufficiently pretty to forgive the presence of the rhyming triplet “everyday a little sadder/a little madder/someone get me a ladder.” And the sound quality was stunning, and the whole album represented a high point that the trio would never again achieve, or even aspire to — after this, each member started to go his own way in terms of creativity and music. (more…)