To many, the Lahti Symphony Orchestra has become synonymous with excellence in Sibelius repertoire. Its numerous recordings with the previous chief conductor Osmo Vänskä have received countless distinctions and awards, and the orchestra is universally regarded as having a very special affinity for the music of their great compatriot. (more…)
Martha Argerich – Live form the Concertgebouw 1978 & 1979 (2011) Classical | SACD ISO: DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 00:52:00 | 2,9 GB Label: Warner Music (Japan) | Release Year: 2011
If you wonder why everyone’s so crazy about Martha Argerich, this disc should explain it. Recorded live in recital at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw in May 1978 and April 1979 — but released here for the first time — these performances reveal a pianist with a daredevil spirit and technique to burn. Surely Chopin’s C-sharp Minor Scherzo has never been fired off with such dizzying speed and indomitable power. Even the quieter sections — usually oases of nostalgic solace — have dramatic urgency, and her final dash to the finish line is an adrenaline rush that will leave you breathless. Argerich’s Bartók Sonata is a riot of pounding rhythms and bristling energy that makes the “Rite of Spring” seem well-behaved. But she’s no jackhammer, either. Prokofiev’s Seventh Sonata is just as impressive for its moments of lyrical intimacy as for its savage excitement. And Bach’s C Minor Partita is elegantly austere and poised in her oh-so-capable hands. Alberto Ginastera’s “Danzas Argentinas” — one of the pianist’s rare forays into music from her birthplace — are vibrantly colored, with a magically delicate rendering of the melancholy “Danza de la moza donoza.” An incendiary performance of one of Scarlatti’s most dazzling sonatas and a spry, shapely rendition of the Bourée from Bach’s A Minor English Suite make exquisite and exhilarating encores. Piano playing just doesn’t get any better than this.
Emilia Amper – Trollfageln: The Magic Bird (2012) Classical, Folk | SACD ISO: DSD64 2.0 & 5.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 59:42 | 2,82 GB Label: BIS Records | Release Year: 2012
Emilia Amper, one of Swedens most exciting young folk musicians, is also one of the finest nyckelharpa players in the world today. (Winner of the nyckelharpa World Championships in 2010.) In Trollfågeln, Emilia has devised a programme which demonstrates the numerous facets of her own musical personality, and of her instrument. The nyckelharpa almost died out in the middle of the twentieth century, but has made a remarkable comeback and is attracting an increasing number of performers in Sweden and around the world.
The Moody Blues – Days Of Future Passed (1967) [Deluxe Edition 2006] PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 43:35 minutes | Scans included | 2,49 GB or FLAC 2.0 (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | 41:37 minutes | Scans | 825 MB with the London Festival Orchestra – Conducted by Peter Knight. Features Stereo and Multichannel Surround Sound
The Moody Blues’ 1967 concept album set a new standard for symphonic rock, marrying the band’s early R&B stylings with lush orchestral sounds, complex songforms, and epic interludes by the London Festival Orchestra. This hi-definition release adds even more depth to this essential, brilliantly recorded album. (more…)
The Moody Blues – To Our Children’s Children’s Children (1969) [Deluxe Edition 2006] PS3 Rip | ISO | SACD DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 40:56 minutes | Scans included | 2,53 GB or FLAC 2.0 (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | 40:21 minutes | Scans included | 855 MB Features 2.0 Stereo and 5.1 multichannel surround sound
The band’s most personal album, although the difference is less dramatic than on the other classic seven albums, and fans may miss the lyrics that were formerly included. Oddly enough, this was also the group’s poorest-selling album of their psychedelic era, taking a lot longer to go gold — for all of their presumed connection to their audience, the band was perhaps stretching that link a little thinner than usual here. The material dwells mostly on time and what its passage means, and there is a peculiar feeling of loneliness and isolation to many of the songs. This was also the last of the group’s big “studio” sound productions, built up in layer upon layer of overdubbed instruments — the sound is very lush and rich, but proved impossible to re-create properly on-stage, and after this they would restrict themselves to recording songs that the five of them could play in concert. There are no extended suites on this album, but Justin Hayward’s “Watching and Waiting” and “Gypsy” have proved to be among the most popular songs in the group’s history. The notes in the new edition also give a good account of how and why the Moody Blues founded their own Threshold label with Children’s Children and their growing estrangement from Decca Records. (more…)
The Moody Blues – Seventh Sojourn (1972) [2007 Remaster with bonus tracks] PS3 Rip | ISO | SACD DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 39:10 minutes | Scans included | 2,68 GB or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | 63:25 mins | Scans | 1,22 GB Remastered Reissue 2007 | Features 2.0 Stereo & Surround Mix, manipulated from original Quadrophonic Master
Despite the presence of a pair of ballads — one of them (“New Horizons”) by Justin Hayward the latter’s most romantic number since “Nights in White Satin” — Seventh Sojourn was notable at the time of its release for showing the hardest-rocking sound this band had ever produced on record. It’s all relative, of course, compared to their prior work, but the music is comparatively stripped down here, and on a lot of it Graeme Edge’s drumming and John Lodge’s bass work comprise a more forceful and assertive rhythm section than they had on earlier records, on numbers such as “Lost in a Lost World,” “You and Me,” and “I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock & Roll Band).” The latter, authored by Lodge, was — along with Lodge’s “Isn’t Life Strange” — one of two AM radio hits that helped drive the sales of this album, issued in early November of 1972, past all previous levels. Indeed, it was with the release of this album that the Moodies achieved their great commercial success in America and around the world, with a “Grand Tour” that kept them on the road for much of the year that followed. The irony was that it was all about to end for them, for years to come, and the signs of it were all over this record — Seventh Sojourn took a long time to record, and a lot of the early work on it had to be junked (“Isn’t Life Strange” was one of the few early songs to get completed); it was clear to all concerned except the fans that, after six years of hard work in their present configuration, they all needed to stop working with each other for a time, and this was clear in the songs — many have a downbeat, pensive edge to them, and if they reflected a questioning attitude that had come out on recent albums, the tone of the questioning on songs like “Lost in a Lost World,” “You and Me,” and “When You’re a Free Man” had a darker, more desperate tone. Perhaps the group’s mostly youthful, collegiate audience didn’t notice at the time because it fit the mood of the times — the album hit the stores in America the day before Richard Nixon’s landslide presidential re-election victory (the culmination of events behind the scenes that would subsequently drive him from office). But the members were not working well together, and this would be the last wholly successful record — difficult as it was to deliver — that this lineup of the band would record, as well as the last new work by the group for over five years. And oddly enough, even amid the difficulties in getting it finished, Seventh Sojourn would offer something new in the way of sounds from the group — Michael Pinder, in particular, introduced a successor to the Mellotron, with which he’d been amazing audiences for six years, in the form of the Chamberlain, which is all over this album. (more…)
The Moody Blues – On The Threshold Of A Dream (1969) [2006 Remaster with bonus tracks] PS3 Rip | ISO | SACD DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 38:47 minutes | Scans included | 2,76 GB or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | 67:57 mins | Scans | 1,27 GB Remastered Reissue 2006 | Features 2.0 Stereo & Surround Mix, manipulated from original Quadrophonic Master
On the Threshold of a Dream was the first album that the Moody Blues had a chance to record and prepare in a situation of relative calm, without juggling tour schedules and stealing time in the studio between gigs — indeed, it was a product of what were almost ideal circumstances, though it might not have seemed that way to some observers. The Moodies had mostly exhausted the best parts of the song bag from which their two preceding albums, Days of Future Passed and In Search of the Lost Chord, had been drawn, and as it turned out, even the leftover tracks from those sessions wouldn’t pass muster for their next long-player project — but those albums had both been hits, and charted well in America as well as England, and had overlapped with a pair of hit singles, “Nights in White Satin” and “Tuesday Afternoon,” on both sides of the Atlantic. Their success had earned them enough consideration from Decca Records that they could work at their leisure in the studio through all of January and most of February of 1969; what’s more, with two LPs under their belt, they now had a much better idea of what they could accomplish in the studio, and write songs with that capability in mind. Equally important, they’d just come off of an extensive U.S. tour (opening for Cream) and had learned a lot in the course of concertizing over the previous year, achieving a much bolder yet tighter sound instrumentally as well as vocally, and they could now write to and for that sound as well. So this album is oozing with bright, splashy creative flourishes in two seemingly contradictory directions that somehow come together as a valid whole. On the original LP’s first side (which was the more rock-oriented side), the songs “Lovely to See You,” “Send Me No Wine,” “To Share Our Love,” and “So Deep Within You” all featured killer guitar hooks (electric and acoustic) and fills by Justin Hayward; beautiful, muscular bass from John Lodge; and vocal hooks everywhere. It’s also a surprisingly hard-rocking album considering the amount of overdubbing that went into perfecting the songs, including cellos, wind and reed instruments, and lots of vocal layers — yet it even found room to display a pop-soul edge on “So Deep Within You” (a number that the Four Tops later recorded). (more…)
The Moody Blues – In Search Of The Lost Chord (1968) [2006 Deluxe Edition] PS3 Rip | ISO | SACD DST64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 42:17 minutes | Scans included | 697 MB or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 836 MB
In Search of the Lost Chord is the album on which the Moody Blues discovered drugs and mysticism as a basis for songwriting and came up with a compelling psychedelic creation, filled with songs about Timothy Leary and the astral plane and other psychedelic-era concerns. They dumped the orchestra this time out in favor of Mike Pinder’s Mellotron, which was a more than adequate substitute, and the rest of the band joined in with flutes, sitar, tablas, and cellos, the playing of which was mostly learned on the spot. The whole album was one big experiment to see how far the group could go with any instruments they could find, thus making this album a rather close cousin to the Beatles’ records of the same era. It is all beautiful and elegant, and “Legend of a Mind”‘s chorus about “Timothy Leary’s dead/Oh, no — he’s outside, looking in” ended up anticipating reality; upon his death in 1996, Leary was cremated and launched into space on a privately owned satellite, with the remains of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry (another ’60s pop culture icon) and other well-heeled clients. (more…)
The Moody Blues – Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (1971) [2007 Remaster with bonus tracks] PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 39:47 minutes | Scans included | 2,4 GB or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | 47:25 mins | Scans | 917 MB Remastered Reissue 2007 | Features Stereo & Surround Mix, manipulated from original Quadrophonic Master
The Moody Blues’ first real attempt at a harder rock sound still has some psychedelic elements, but they’re achieved with an overall leaner studio sound. The group was trying to take stock of itself at this time, and came up with some surprisingly strong, lean numbers (Michael Pinder’s Mellotron is surprisingly restrained until the final number, “The Balance”), which also embraced politics for the first time (“Question” seemed to display the dislocation that a lot of younger listeners were feeling during Vietnam). The surprisingly jagged opening track, “Question,” recorded several months earlier, became a popular concert number as well as a number two (or number one, depending upon whose chart one looks at) single. Graeme Edge’s “Don’t You Feel Small” and Justin Hayward’s “It’s Up to You” both had a great beat, but the real highlight here is John Lodge’s “Tortoise and the Hare,” a fast-paced number that the band used to rip through in concert with some searing guitar solos by Hayward. Ray Thomas’ “And the Tide Rushes In” (written in the wake of a fight with his wife) is one of the prettiest psychedelic songs ever written, a sweetly languid piece with some gorgeous shimmering instrumental effects. The 1997 remastered edition brings out the guitar sound with amazing force and clarity, and the notes tell a lot about the turmoil the band was starting to feel after three years of whirlwind success.