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Category: Studio Masters

Johann Sebastian Bach – Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 – The Netherlands Bach Society, Jos van Veldhoven (2003) [Official Digital Download 24bit/192kHz]

Johann Sebastian Bach – Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 – The Netherlands Bach Society, Jos van Veldhoven (2003)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 02:25:06 minutes | 4.48 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: channelclassics.com | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © Channel Classics Records B.V.
Recorded: Muziekcentrum Frits Philips, Eindhoven, the Netherlands, December 2002.

Bachs Christmas Oratorio Johann Sebastian Bachs Oratorium Tempore Nativitatis Christi, a cycle of six cantatas for the Christmas season, had its collective premiere from Christmas Day 1734 through Epiphany Sunday 1735 in Leipzig. One of Bachs reasons for these performances was his search for a more permanent home for the music of three large-scale occasional works. The music involved was that of the three cantatas (Drammae per Musica) for members of the princely house of Saxony: Hercules auf der Scheidewege BWV 213 (September 1733) (Hercules at the Crossroads), written for the eleventh birthday of Prince Friedrich Christian of Saxony; Tnet, ihr Pauken! Erschallet, Trompeten! BWV 214 (December 1733) (Sound, ye drums! Burst forth, ye trumpets!), written for the birthday of Maria Josepha, Crown Princess of Saxony and Queen of Poland, and mother of Friedrich Christian; and Preise dein Glcke, gesegnetes Sachsen BWV 215 (October 1734) (Praise thy good fortune, o blessed Saxony), written for the first anniversary of the accession of Augustus II, Crown Prince of Saxony and King of Poland. These cantatas provide the lions share of the arias and choruses for the first four cantatas of the Christmas Oratorio. The fifth cantata, in contrast, is almost completely composed of original material, and the sixth is based as a whole on a single church cantata, which has not survived in its original form. The choice may well have been due to the fact that BWV 213-215, in a sense, comprised a sort of cyclic whole, making use of similar styles of text and music. But the most important reason for this large-scale parody composition was, of course, the musical quality and festive atmosphere of the three Saxon cantatas, which could easily be translated to the Christmas story. Bach commissioned his (unknown) librettist to rewrite the chorus and aria texts in such a way that this music could essentially be re-used unaltered, but as might be expected, he could not resist the temptation to introduce numerous improvements to the original compositions as he rewrote them. Bachs surviving clean final copy of the 1734 full score provides fascinating documentation for this process. He also had a handsome libretto printed separately, above all to make it clear to his fellow citizens of Leipzig and the audience that this was a major Oratorio, in spite of its performance being spread out over the course of six Sundays and two weeks. In later years, some have been uncomfortable with the secular origins of the Christmas Oratorio: the concept that music from a group of princely birthday cantatas could also serve to celebrate the birth of Christ was difficult to accept. But in the period before the Enlightenment, reigning heads of state were seen in a theological context: their office was conferred by God and was seen as completely separate from their physical bodies and good (or bad) deeds. For this reason, music written for these Kings was by its very definition highly suitable for the birthday of that other King, Christ, and most fit to sing the praises of the Ruler of the Heavens. –Pieter Dirksen

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Johann Sebastian Bach – Cantatas BWV 170 & 35, Trio Sonata BWV 527, Fantasia & Fugue BWV 542 – Le Banquet Celeste, Damien Guillon (2012) [Official Digital Download 24bit/88.2kHz]

Johann Sebastian Bach – Cantatas BWV 170 & 35, Trio Sonata BWV 527, Fantasia & Fugue BWV 542 – Le Banquet Celeste, Damien Guillon (2012)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88.2 kHz | Time – 01:13:05 minutes | 1.24 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Front Cover | © Zig-Zag Territoires , Outhere Music
Recorded: du 23 au 27 Novembre 2011 à L’Église Réformée Du Bouclier, Strasbourg

It would be hard to conceive of more annoying graphic design that proffered on this release from the Zig Zag Territoires label, identified with a big “ZZT” (no, that’s not an electric shock warning). There, however, the list of complaints pretty much ends. This little program of solo cantatas and organ works by countertenor Damien Guillon and his historical instrument group Le Banquet Céleste was beautifully recorded in a small Strasbourg church and it’s an intimate gem. Front and center is Guillon’s singing, which is sweet, nicely rounded in the high tones, and couched in an attitude of relaxed calm. Organist Maude Gratton offers a trio sonata and a sparkling rendition of the Fantasy and Fugue in G minor, BWV 542, which ends the program on a unique rousing note. The instrumentalists have a sensuous sound and are so well coordinated with Guillon that they seem like extensions of his singing. With the emphasis in recordings of Bach cantatas having long been on the grand conceptions of the charismatic figures who have undertaken complete Bach cycles, a small, unified, and beautifully executed recording like this one comes as a breath of fresh air, and it represents the French way with Bach at its best.

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Johann Sebastian Bach – Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1-6 – Munchener Bach-Orchester, Karl Richter (2002/2012) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Johann Sebastian Bach – Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1-6 – Munchener Bach-Orchester, Karl Richter (2002/2012)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 03:32:55 minutes | 4.25 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: Hprestoclassical.co.uk | Front Cover | © Deutsche Grammophon
Recorded: 1960-1980; Musikhochschule; Hochschule Fur Musik, Grosser Saal; Residenz, Herkulessaal, Munich, Germany

Very few conductors have recorded as much Bach as Karl Richter, and none can lay a stronger claim to a legacy based on championing the master. Throughout his prolific though sadly short life (he died at age 54 from a heart attack, though the devoted still steadfastly attribute the burgeoning original-instrument movement for breaking his heart) Richter always returned to Bach and rarely recorded (or performed) the music of other composers. Richter’s reverence for Bach is evinced by the simplicity, splendor, and grandeur with which he consistently imbued his performances. Richter understood that the profound underlying architecture of Bach’s music was critical to its appreciation, enjoyment, and yes, power. As a long-standing Richter fan, I couldn’t be more overjoyed to see these benchmark Archiv performances reissued again (the fourth time for the Brandenburg’s!).
The first CD of this three-disc set begins with a performance of Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 that superbly exemplifies Richter’s remarkable intuitive grasp of Bach’s language. To get an idea of just how ahead of his time Richter was, compare the timing of his first movement (whose “brisk tempos” the Penguin Guide went out of its way to condemn when the cycle was first released in 1987) with the contemporary original-instrument account by Musica Antiqua Köln directed by Reinhard Goebel. Richter’s 1967 modern-instrument performance is two seconds slower. The man was no slouch; he understood that in Bach’s day this was contemporary orchestral music whose success required vitality as well as authority.

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Wiz Khalifa – Blacc Hollywood (2014) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44.1kHz]

Wiz Khalifa – Blacc Hollywood (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44.1 kHz | Time – 53:50 minutes | 624 MB | Genre: Hip-Hop, Rap
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Front Cover | © Rostrum/Atlantic

BLACC HOLLYWOOD marks the third full-length label release from Wiz Khalifa,The GRAMMY® Award-nominated rapper, and includes the hit single, “We Dem Boyz.”

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Santana – Moonflower (1977/2014) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Santana – Moonflower (1977/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:26:54 minutes | 1.81 GB | Genre:Rock
Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Front Cover | © Columbia – Legacy

Santana, which was renowned for its concert work dating back to Woodstock, did not release a live album in the U.S. until this one, and it’s only partially live, with studio tracks added, notably a cover of the Zombies’ “She’s Not There” (number 27) that became Santana’s first Top 40 hit in five years. The usual comings and goings in band membership had taken place since last time; the track listing was a good mixture of the old — “Black Magic Woman,” “Soul Sacrifice” — and the recent, and with the added radio play of a hit single, Moonflower went Top Ten and sold a million copies, the first new Santana album to do that since 1972 and the last until Supernatural in 1999.

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Nickelback – No Fixed Address (2014) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Nickelback – No Fixed Address (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 43:13 minutes | 912 MB | Genre: Rock, Alternative Metal
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Front Cover | © Republic Records

Globally celebrated, multi-platinum rock band NICKELBACK will unleash No Fixed Address, their eagerly awaited eighth full-length album and inaugural release for Republic Records on November 18, 2014.

Produced by NICKELBACK, the album’s stand out lead single “Edge Of A Revolution” is soaring up rock radio charts, becoming one of the band’s fastest rising singles.

Bolstered by thudding guitars and stadium-filling prowess that have been the hallmark of NICKELBACK’s sound, “Edge Of A Revolution” highlights the band’s songwriting and sonic evolution as it moves front and center on the anthemic track.

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Milt Jackson and Wes Montgomery – Bags Meets Wes! (1962/1987) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Milt Jackson and Wes Montgomery – Bags Meets Wes! (1962/1987)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 55:39 minutes | 1.01 GB | Genre: Jazz, Bop
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Front Cover | © Riverside Records
Recorded: December 18-19, 1961 in Plaza Sound Studios, NYC.

Originally released as Riverside RLP 407 (mono) and RS 9407 (stereo)

When Wes Montgomery made his first amazing impact on the New York jazz scene at the end of the 1950s, a great many established stars actively sought to record with him. Milt Jackson was one of the few for whom the guitarist felt an equal affinity. For one thing, they shared a strong love for the blues; and Wes had learned, through years of playing with his brother Buddy, to value the vibes/guitar sound. To support this memorable meeting of thoroughly compatible jazz masters, Riverside assembled one of the most cohesive recording rhythm sections of its day: Wynton Kelly, Sam Jones, and Philly Joe Jones.

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VA – Miles Espanol – New Sketches Of Spain (2011) [Official Digital Download 24bit/88.2kHz]

VA – Miles Espanol – New Sketches Of Spain (2011)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88.2 kHz | Time – 01:54:04 minutes | 2.07 GB
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Front Cover | © eOne Music
Recorded: Richard King at Sear Sound, NYC, Apr 10-16 2010.

The album is an extension and elaboration on one of the most famous jazz albums of all time: Miles Davis and Gil Evans’ legendary Sketches Of Spain. That album is the third-best-selling album in the Miles Davis catalog, only surpassed by Kind Of Blue and Bitches Brew.

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Miles Davis – Volume 3 (1954/2014) [Official Digital Download 24bit/192kHz]

Miles Davis – Volume 3 (1954/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 26:22 minutes | 915 MB
Official Digital Download – Source: acousticsounds.com | Front Cover | © Blue Note Records
Recorded at the Van Gelder’s Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey, on March 6, 1954.

Miles Davis, Volume 3 (BLP 5040) is a 1954 10 inch LP album by Miles Davis. It consists of the third and last of three sessions recorded for Blue Note Records. Several years later, Davis would once again record at Blue Note, but as a sideman on Cannonball Adderley’s Somethin’ Else (BLP 1595).
The six tracks were recorded at Rudy Van Gelder’s Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey, on March 6, 1954 For the session he used exactly the same quartet he would again record with seven days later for side 2 of the Miles Davis Quartet LP (PRLP 161), released by Prestige. Davis says in his autobiography that these were his first recording sessions after successfully quitting his heroin habit, and that he arranged them both quickly as he needed money fast, and both Blue Note’s Alfred Lion and Prestige’s Bob Weinstock had given him a fair chance earlier when his reputation was in decline. This was also the first of several sessions Davis would record with the young Horace Silver, whom he liked for his funky style of playing.
After the 10″ LP format was discontinued, the tracks would all reappear on the 12″ album version of Miles Davis Volume 2 (BLP 1502), alongside tracks from Davis’ first two Blue Note sessions. In the CD era all six tracks would be reassigned to the CD version of Miles Davis Volume 1.

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Felix Mendelssohn: Symphony No 3 ‘Scottish’ / Robert Schumann: Piano Concerto – London Symphony Orchestra, Sir John Eliot Gardiner (2014) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Felix Mendelssohn: Symphony No 3 ‘Scottish’ / Robert Schumann: Piano Concerto – London Symphony Orchestra, Sir John Eliot Gardiner (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz | Time – 79:17 minutes | 1.62 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: hyperion-records.co.uk | © LSO Live
Recorded: January 2014 at Barbican, London, United Kingdom

Inspired by his travels to the British Isles and full of the influence of the rolling Scottish landscape, both Mendelssohn’s Symphony No 3 ‘Scottish’ and his overture The Hebrides (‘Fingal’s Cave’) are amongst the composer’s most popular and admired works. The London Symphony Orchestra present us with inspiring performances of these works, as well as a performance of Schumann’s Piano Concerto, featuring the celebrated pianist, Maria João Pires.
Sir John Eliot Gardiner writes of this coupling; ‘Even if they spoke with different accents these genial Romantics were united in their ambitious fervour for ‘abstract’ music to be acknowledged as having the same expressive force as poetry, drama or the literary novel. The three works on this album exemplify the endeavour and range of invention of two of them, friends and colleagues in Leipzig’.

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