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Oscar Peterson – Exclusively for My Friends (1968/1992/2014) [Official Digital Download 24bit/88.2kHz]

Oscar Peterson – Exclusively for My Friends (1968/1992/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88.2kHz  | Time – 03:56:18 minutes | 4.27 GB | Genre: Jazz
Official Digital Download – Source: | © MPS Records

Recorded: 1963 – 1968
Digitally remastered from the original master tapes.

Exclusively for My Friends’ is widely seen as the centerpiece of any Oscar Peterson collection. Peterson himself went into raptures about the MPS recordings, stating that, thanks to the intimate recording atmosphere in Hans Georg Brunnder-Schwer’s living room and his pursuit of perfection as a sound engineer and producer, they belonged to his best. The private recordings were made between 1963 and 1968 and are the impressive result of the long-standing friendship between the exceptional Canadian pianist and the label owner from the Black Forest. They serve to document Peterson’s exquisite playing style in high profile trios as well as Brunner-Schweer’s keenness to create almost audiophile sound characteristics.

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Omer Avital Quintet – Live at Smalls (2011/2014) [Official Digital Download 24bit/48kHz]

Omer Avital Quintet – Live at Smalls (2011/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48kHz  | Time – 1:10:48 minutes | 835 MB | Genre: Jazz
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | © SmallsLIVE
ecorded: April 5 & 6, 2010 at Smalls Jazz Club, Greenwich Village NYC

Omer Avital, hailed by the LA Times as “a pioneer in combining jazz with myriad world music elements,” is a composer, a virtuosic bassist, an oud player and an active force on the world music scene for well over a decade. This recording features Omer Avital’s quintet performing several jazz pieces Live at Smalls Jazz Club in Greenwich Village.

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Carl Nielsen – Symphonies Nos. 4 & 5 – London Symphony Orchestra, Sir Colin Davis (2011) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Carl Nielsen – Symphonies Nos. 4 & 5 – London Symphony Orchestra, Sir Colin Davis (2011)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz  | Time – 01:06:38 minutes | 1.34 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: | © LSO Live
Recorded: May 2010 & October 2009 at Barbican, London, United Kingdom

Symphony No 4 ‘The inextinguishable’ (1914–16) :: Denmark remained neutral throughout the international upheaval of the 1914–18 War; but its citizens have always been acutely sensitive to the activities of its large and powerful neighbour to the south. For Carl Nielsen there was an added dimension of philosophical crisis. It may be hard to believe now, but many European artists initially welcomed the prospect of war: here was a grand opportunity for ‘spiritual cleansing’, and a celebration of the traditional masculine virtues of courage, loyalty and devotion to one’s country. Before the hostilities Nielsen had been an enthusiastic nationalist. But as he began to realise the horrors men could inflict on each other for Kaiser—or King—and Country, his faith was rocked to the core. Nationalism, he wrote not long after the war, had been transformed into a ‘spiritual syphilis’, the justification for the expression of ‘senseless hate’.
Nielsen’s faith in humanity may have suffered a setback, but rather than give in to despair he felt strongly driven to make some kind of affirmative statement: belief, if not in human beings (still less in nationhood), then perhaps in life itself. This is an important clue to the meaning of the title of the Fourth Symphony (1914–16). Nielsen added an explanatory note at the beginning of the score. ‘Under this title’, he tells us, ‘the composer has tried to indicate in one word what music alone is capable of expressing to the full: The elemental Will of Life. Music is life, and like it, inextinguishable’.
The motion of that elemental will can be felt throughout the Fourth Symphony. Although the broad outlines of the four conventional symphonic movements can be made out, the ‘Inextinguishable’ is really conceived in a single sweep. Nielsen normally identifies the movements of his symphonies with numbers, but here it would be difficult to know exactly where to put them. Transitions between movements are so skilfully dovetailed that it isn’t always easy to see where one movement ends and another begins. And while each movement has its own themes, the more one gets to know the symphony the more the family resemblances begin to reveal themselves. One senses that the basic thematic material, presented in the symphony’s early stages, is in a state of continual evolution. As the Ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus put it: ‘All is flux, nothing is stationary’.
The Fourth Symphony begins in chaos, violence and tonal instability, with massed woodwind and string figures clashing aggressively. But as the fury subsides a calm, singing woodwind tune (initiated by clarinets) emerges that will be lifted up magnificently in the bright key of E major at the end of the symphony. After many upheavals, the initial Allegro claws its way to a massive anticipation of that final outcome (only based on the tune’s final phrase—the full glory is yet to come). But this fades into a gentle, intermezzo-like Poco Allegretto, dominated by woodwind. This has plenty of folkish charm, yet it also has its moments of mystery.
This too seems to fade, then a sudden anguished outburst from strings and timpani begins the Poco adagio. After more fraught struggles this heaves itself up to another massive anticipation of the symphony’s final E major triumph. A moment of wonderfully atmospheric, pregnant stillness (oboe and high strings), and a hurtling string passage lead—after a dramatic pause—into the final Allegro. This music seems determined to sing of hope, yet it meets powerful opposition, as a second timpanist joins the first to lead a destructive onslaught. After a quiet but tense section, the timpani begin their attack with redoubled energy, but somehow the first movement’s hopeful tune manages to reassert itself through the turmoil, now in full E major radiance. And yet the timpanists are not silenced. Their final hammer blows suggest that the struggle to affirm must go on—there can be no final, utopian resolution.

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Nigunim, Hebrew Melodies – Gil Shaham, Orli Shaham (2013) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44.1kHz]

Nigunim, Hebrew Melodies – Gil Shaham, Orli Shaham (2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44.1kHz  | Time – 01:07:04 minutes | 618 MB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | © Canary Classics
Recorded: 92nd Street Y, New York City, NY, USA on April 13 and 25, 2011

Jewish folk music has always played an integral part in Gil and Orli Shahams’ lives. This release includes masterpieces by Ernest Bloch, Joseph Achron, and Leo Zeitlin, and as their idiomatic writing for the violin suggests, they all started their musical lives as child prodigy violinists. Also included is music from the wonderful Schindler’s List score by John Williams.
The centrepiece of this release comes from the work sharing the album’s title Nigunim, commissioned by Gil and Orli from Israeli composer Avner Dorman. Dorman’s composition shares the universal appeal of the wordless melodies on which it was named. ‘He has created a masterpiece and in my experience everybody who hears the piece falls in love with it they’re electrified by it,’ Gil explains. Indeed, when he recently toured the work, San Diego Today affirmed that ‘it was hard to miss [its] visceral excitement and structural elegance,’ the Boston Globe admiring the ‘uncommonly intriguing sounds’.

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Nightwish – Endless Forms Most Beautiful (2015) [Official Digital Download 24bit/48kHz]

Nightwish – Endless Forms Most Beautiful (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48kHz  | Time – 01:18:51 minutes | 955 MB | Genre: Metal
Official Digital Download – Source: | © Nuclear Blast
Recorded: July–September 28, 2014 in Eno, Finland; October 2014 in London, UK

Endless Forms Most Beautiful is the upcoming eighth album by Finnish symphonic power metal band Nightwish. It is due to be released on March 27, 2015 in the EU and Argentina, on March 30 in the UK and on March 31 in the USA. It is the band’s first album with new singer Floor Jansen, as well as the first to feature Troy Donockley, who played uillean pipes and various other instruments on Dark Passion Play and Imaginaerum, as a permanent member.
It is also their first album without drummer Jukka Nevalainen, who had to take a temporary break from the band due to suffering of strong insomnia, leading him to step away from both the album and its subsequent tour. All the drum parts on the album were consequently played by Kai Hahto from Wintersun and Swallow the Sun. Due to this, the album features only five Nightwish members, despite being their first album released with the band being a sextet.
The first single from the album, titled “Élan”, was leaked on February 9, four days before its planned release date of February 13, 2015.

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Muse – Psycho (2015) (Single) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Muse – Psycho (2015) (Single)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz  | Time – 05:28 minutes | 126 MB | Genre: Rock
Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | © Warner Bros. Records

3 Psycho 05:28

Matthew Bellamy – vocals, guitars, keyboards, synthesizers, keytar
Christopher Wolstenholme – bass, backing vocals, keyboards, harmonica
Dominic Howard – drums, percussion, synthesizers

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Mozart 5, Vieuxtemps 4 – Violin Concertos – Hilary Hahn, Paavo Jarvi, The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen (2015) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Mozart 5, Vieuxtemps 4 – Violin Concertos – Hilary Hahn, Paavo Jarvi, The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz  | Time – 01:03:48 minutes | 1.2 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | © Deutsche Grammophon
Recorded: Mozart: 4 & 5 December 2012: Kammer-Philharmonie, Bremen; Vieuxtemps: 7 & 8 August 2013: Gut Varrel, Stuhr

Hilary Hahn’s newest album, Mozart 5, Vieuxtemps 4 – Violin Concertos, is her first recording with The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and Paavo Järvi, after performing and touring with the ensemble and conductor for many years. The disc releases on March 31, and is Hahn’s first orchestral offering since her 2010 pairing of Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto and Jennifer Higdon’s Pulitzer-prize winning violin concerto, which was written for Hahn. With this new album, she returns to core violin repertoire, hot on the heels of her critically-acclaimed, Grammy-winning album of 27 commissioned short pieces, In 27 Pieces: the Hilary Hahn Encores, and an improvised recording with prepared pianist Hauschka, titled Silfra.
Mozart 5, Vieuxtemps 4 also brings Hahn full circle, after more than three decades of violin playing, to two concertos that have been part of her repertoire since she was ten years old. Vieuxtemps’s Violin Concerto No. 4 was the last large piece she learned with Klara Berkovich, her teacher from ages five to ten. Several months later, Mozart 5 was the first concerto that Jascha Brodsky taught her at the Curtis Institute of Music. Berkovich began her violin studies in Odessa and went on to teach in St. Petersburg (then Leningrad) before emigrating to the States. Brodsky was one of the last pupils of the legendary Eugène Ysaÿe, who, coincidentally, was a star student of Vieuxtemps, making Vieuxtemps Hahn’s musical great-grandfather in the violinist family tree.
Both concertos are part of Hahn’s active performance repertoire, and both were written by composers who were violin virtuosos in their own right. Hahn writes, “It’s fun to delve into [Mozart’s] ingenuity and emotional directness, his writing speaking directly to listeners while performers delight in his myriad clever phrases. As a result, Mozart improves moods; when I look around the stage at people playing his works, I always see smiles.” On this recording, Hahn plays the cadenzas by Hungarian violinist Joseph Joachim.
Like Mozart, Vieuxtemps initially learned violin from his father and toured Europe as a prodigy. When he wrote Concerto No. 4, he was living in St. Petersburg, where he was a court violinist to Tsar Nicholas I and taught violin at the Conservatory. “This concerto is operatically lyrical and demands flexibility, panache, focus, a flair for drama, and chamber-music-style unity even in its most symphonic dimensions,” Hahn explains.
Of the collaboration for this album, Hahn writes, “One of my favorite things about working on a piece over many years is the chance to experiment broadly with expression, concepts, and technique — on my own and with my colleagues. When those colleagues have been musical partners for a long time, as is the case with Paavo Järvi and The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, our shared access to the imaginative aspects of music is immediate and honest. Trying a new idea is as natural as breathing, and challenging each other’s musical inclinations is like conversing with your oldest and closest friends.”

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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Violin Concertos Nos. 1, 3 & 4 – Frank Peter Zimmermann, Kammerorchester des Symphonieorchesters des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Radoslaw Szulc (2015) [Official Digital Download 24bit/48kHz]

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Violin Concertos Nos. 1, 3 & 4 – Frank Peter Zimmermann, Kammerorchester des Symphonieorchesters des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Radoslaw Szulc (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48Hz  | Time – 01:17:31 minutes | 804 MB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: | © Hänssler Classic

Today when Frank Peter Zimmermann says that Mozart has always been easy for him, he needs only call to mind his debut concert at the age of ten – when he played Mozart’s G major Concerto K. 216; or when, some 30 years ago, as a fresh 20-year-old, the same FPZ made his first recording of the five concertos for EMI; and then if one factors in that over the years that each of these Mozart works has passed through his hands nearly 300 times in concert, then one can begin to appreciate the intense physical and spiritual experience that Frank Peter Zimmermann brings to these new recordings.
One will immediately hear on this CD the experience that a master can bring to these works, because no one else plays these works with the same incredible, almost balletic, weightless elegance and rich tone, reaching a degree of intimacy, without any obstacle between the performer and the listener, as does Frank Peter Zimmermann. Mozart’s every wish is perfectly fulfilled! The Chamber Orchestra of the Symphony Orchestra of the Bavarian broadcasting company serves both masters admirably.

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Monty Alexander – Harlem-Kingston Express Vol. 2: The River Rolls On (2014) [Official Digital Download 24bit/48kHz]

Monty Alexander – Harlem-Kingston Express Vol. 2: The River Rolls On (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48kHz  | Time – 01:05:41 minutes | 747 MB | Genre: Jazz, Fusion
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | © Motéma Music LLC
Recorded at Avatar Studios and Dubway Studios in New York, NY.

Throughout a career spanning six decades, the New York-based artist Monty Alexander has garnered acclaim for bridging American jazz, popular song, and the music of his native Jamaica. For the new album, Alexander convened the band for its first studio recordings—primarily at New York City’s Avatar and Dubway. “Commander ‘Zander’s” reggae-fied one-love groove jazz party continues in high studio style on this rock-steady follow up to his 2011 Grammy®-nominated, chart topping Harlem-Kingston Express volume 1. The piano genius enters his 70th year with this infectiously grooving reggae/jazz fusion studio project, featuring great live bonus tracks.

They perform a mix of Alexander originals (which are themselves steeped in both Caribbean music and American jazz and R&B) and Alexander interpretations of classics, from the soul hits “People Make the World Go Round” and “What’s Going On” (here with the alias “Wa’a Gwan”) to Jimmy Cliff’s reggae landmark “The Harder They Come.”

Harlem-Kingston Express Vol. 2: The River Rolls On at once encapsulates the current moment in Alexander’s singular career and finds him returning to its earlier stages: both his teenage years, when he played on sessions helmed by pioneering reggae producers Clement “Coxsone” Dodd, Duke Reid and Chris Blackwell, and his first decades in the U.S., when he had the occasion to record and perform with icons such as Frank Sinatra, Milt Jackson and Ray Brown, among countless others.

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Modest Mouse – Strangers to Ourselves (2015) [Official Digital Download 24bit/88.2kHz]

Modest Mouse – Strangers to Ourselves (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88.2kHz  | Time – 57:01 minutes | 1,14 MB | Genre: Rock
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | © Epic Records
Recorded: June 2011 at Potton Hall, UK

Strangers to Ourselves is the sixth studio album by Modest Mouse, and their first since 2007’s We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank.

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