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Ruggero Leoncavallo - I Pagliacci - Maria Callas, Orch del Teatro alla Scala di Milano, Tullio Serafin (1954/2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Сomposer: Ruggero Leoncavallo 1857–1919
Artist: Maria Callas, Orch del Teatro alla Scala di Milano, Tullio Serafin
Title: Leoncavallo - I Pagliacci
Genre: Classical, Opera
Label: © Warner Classics
Release Date: 2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC 2.0 Mono 96kHz/24bit
Source: highresaudio.com
Duration: 1:12:49
Recorded: 12–17. June 1954, Teatro alla Scala, Milan

The role of Nedda in Leoncavallo’s verismo classic never entered Callas’s stage repertoire, and so her recording made with the forces of La Scala, Milan, between 12 and 17 June 1954 represents one of her explorations of an opera made purely within the confines of the studio, rather than developing over a period on the stage. But as in all such cases – this was the first time she recorded a role she had not previously sung – Callas’s desire to explore it to the fullest remains paramount. There is a complete identification between singer and character, down to the smallest detail, that make her Nedda an unusually complex creation that grows throughout the opera as she responds to its desperate emotional thrills and spills.
The result was well received on its release, the editor of Opera magazine, Harold Rosenthal, describing it in November 1955 as ‘the definitive Pagliacci’ and Callas’s performance as ‘most convincing characterisation’ and ‘a joy’; he goes on to single out her scene with Tito Gobbi’s Tonio as ‘one of the most vivid pieces of operatic acting I can recall; and the way she reserves a different voice for Columbine is another sign of her fine theatrical sense’. Callas was working here, of course, with several valued colleagues – notably the distinguished Italian conductor Tullio Serafin, who coached her in so many of her greatest roles. Then there’s Tito Gobbi, the supreme actor amongst Italian baritones of the period; Callas devotee John Ardoin noted of their duet that it is ‘in many ways the heart of Callas’s performance. Again we find the strong dramatic interplay which always permeated a Callas-Gobbi encounter.’ Crucial, too, is her ongoing artistic relationship with Giuseppe di Stefano, here on his most focused form. With strong support from Nicola Monti’s Beppe and Rolando Panerai’s Silvio, Callas brings the opera to life. --GEORGE HALL, 2014
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Jimmy Smith - Midnight Special (1961/2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Artist: Jimmy Smith
Title: Midnight Special
Genre: Jazz, Hard Bop, Jazz Blues, Modern Creative, Soul Jazz, Guitar Jazz, Piano Jazz
Label: © Blue Note Records
Release Date: 1961 (BST-84078/BLP 4078)/2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 36:33
Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on April 25, 1960.

Jimmy Smith's April 25, 1960 session with the perfect cast of Stanley Turrentine, Kenny Burrell and Donald Bailey produced this classic album that is the pinnacle of the organ-tenor style. A perfect selection of material played at the perfect tempo by great musicians who connect on the deepest, most soulful level.
The name Jimmy Smith is practically synonymous with jazz organ, and albums such as Midnight Special are part of the reason. Of course, there is Smith's legendary gospel- and blues-rooted style and brilliant bebop chops, present on SPECIAL in ample doses. Also, one could not ask for a better band: Donald Bailey, one of Smith's regular drummers; Kenny Burrell on guitar; and Stanley Turrentine on tenor sax. As great as Smith is, it's Turrentine's lusciously rich tenor tone and big bluesy honks that makes Midnight Special such a true joy. (Burrell's burr, elegant guitar isn't too shabby either.) In the end, this album is simply a party waiting to happen, for fans of Smith and soul-jazz alike.
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Jan Gunnar Hoff - Stille lys (Quiet Light) (2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Сomposer: Various
Artist: Jan Gunnar Hoff
Title: Stille lys (Quiet Light)
Genre: Jazz, Piano Jazz
Label: © 2L, Lindberg Lyd AS
Release date: December 2014
Recording date: October 2014
Location: Sofienberg Church, Norway
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Original source: DXD (352.8kHz/24bit)
Source: DXD (352.8kHz/24bit)
Duration: 00:53:20

Norwegian pianist Jan Gunnar Hoff has released several albums in the recent years performing original compositions; solo as on LIVING and with his FLY NORTH Quartet. This time Hoff delivers a concept album performing 15 songs and Christmas carols, both Norwegian standards and international classics. Stille lys (Quiet Light) is Jan Gunnar Hoff's commission for Nordnorsk Lederutvikling, a group of Northern Trainees aiming to add an artistic and musical profile to their concept with an atmosphere of tranquility and proximity. Seeking inspiration in the North and at Ingmar Bergman Estate by the Baltic Sea, Hoff continues his solo journey, once again recorded by multi-Grammy nominated Morten Lindberg and 2L.
Hoff has released 14 recordings as a soloartist and co-leader and composed 200 works for different settings. Collaborations with Alex Acuña, Mike Stern, Pat Metheny, Maria Joao a.o. In 2005 he received the prestigious Edvard Grieg-prize for his jazz mass Meditatus and wrote the main commission work for Vossajazz. Highly acclaimed albums are Magma feat Mike Stern, Barxeta with Alex Acuña and Fly North feat Marilyn Mazur, Arve Henriksen, Anders Jormin. In 2014 Hoff received a Buddy, the highest distinction in Norwegian jazz and became an official Steinway & Sons Artist.
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Jan Gunnar Hoff - Stille lys (Quiet Light) (2014) High-Fidelity DXD FLAC Stereo 24bit/352kHz

Сomposer: Various
Artist: Jan Gunnar Hoff
Title: Stille lys (Quiet Light)
Genre: Jazz, Piano Jazz
Label: © 2L, Lindberg Lyd AS
Release date: December 2014
Recording date: October 2014
Location: Sofienberg Church, Norway
Quality: High-Fidelity DXD FLAC Stereo 352kHz/24bit
Original source: DXD (352.8kHz/24bit)
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 00:53:20

Norwegian pianist Jan Gunnar Hoff has released several albums in the recent years performing original compositions; solo as on LIVING and with his FLY NORTH Quartet. This time Hoff delivers a concept album performing 15 songs and Christmas carols, both Norwegian standards and international classics. Stille lys (Quiet Light) is Jan Gunnar Hoff's commission for Nordnorsk Lederutvikling, a group of Northern Trainees aiming to add an artistic and musical profile to their concept with an atmosphere of tranquility and proximity. Seeking inspiration in the North and at Ingmar Bergman Estate by the Baltic Sea, Hoff continues his solo journey, once again recorded by multi-Grammy nominated Morten Lindberg and 2L.
Hoff has released 14 recordings as a soloartist and co-leader and composed 200 works for different settings. Collaborations with Alex Acuña, Mike Stern, Pat Metheny, Maria Joao a.o. In 2005 he received the prestigious Edvard Grieg-prize for his jazz mass Meditatus and wrote the main commission work for Vossajazz. Highly acclaimed albums are Magma feat Mike Stern, Barxeta with Alex Acuña and Fly North feat Marilyn Mazur, Arve Henriksen, Anders Jormin. In 2014 Hoff received a Buddy, the highest distinction in Norwegian jazz and became an official Steinway & Sons Artist.
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Johann Sebastian Bach - Orchestral Suites BWV1066-9 - Academy of Ancient Music, Richard Egarr (2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Сomposer: Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750)
Artist: Academy of Ancient Music, Richard Egarr
Title: J.S. Bach - Orchestral Suites BWV1066-9
Genre: Classical
Label: © AAM Records (Academy of Ancient Music)
Release Date: 2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 01:33:46
Recorded in the Apex, Bury St Edmunds on 4–7 February 2013.

Announcing AAM Record's newest release, AAM003 JS Bach Orchestral Suites, available worldwide from 4 November 2014. Bach's Orchestral Suites are a series of grand and graceful dances, paying homage to the French baroque style as championed by the ballet-obsessed King Louis XIV. Written during Bach’s years in Leipzig, where he had a wider range of instruments at his disposal than ever before, the Suites revel in new sonorous possibilities and employ varied combinations of wind, brass, stringed instruments and timpani.
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Johann Sebastian Bach - In tempore Nativitatis: Christmas Cantatas BWV110,151,63 - Ricercar Consort, Philippe Pierlot (2013) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/88.2kHz

Сomposer: Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Artist: Ricercar Consort, Philippe Pierlot
Title: J.S. Bach - In tempore Nativitatis: Christmas Cantatas BWV110,151,63
Genre: Classical
Label: © Mirare | Harmonia Mundi Label Group
Quality: Studio Master FLAC Stereo 88,2kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Release Date: 2013
Recorded: novembre 2012 en l’église de Beaufays (Belgique)
Duration: 1:07:52

As every year, the Lutherans celebrate Christmas with splendor as well as the two days that follow. After the "Magnificat" composed for these same circumstances, the Ricercar Consort presents three festive works by JS Bach. The whole work is an admirable achievement, right from the mosaic of highly contrasted vocal and instrumental episodes that structures the opening chorus, in which three groups are combined or set against each other: the trumpets and drums, the three oboes, and the strings, always with the support of the continuo. The first duetto sounds like a duet from a Passion, while the second, in complementary fashion, brings the comfort that will culminate in the exultation of the final chorus.
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Horace Silver - Horace Silver Quintet (1954/2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Artist: Horace Silver
Title: Horace Silver Quintet
Genre: Jazz, Hard Bop, Piano Jazz
Label: © Blue Note Records
Release Date: 1954 (10" BLP 5058)/2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC 2.0 Mono 192kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 23:37
Recorded: December 13, 1954 at Van Gelder Studio in Hackensack, NJ.

Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers is a 1955 album by jazz pianist Horace Silver with drummer Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. It was an important album in the establishment of the hard bop style, and was the studio first album released under the band name The Jazz Messengers, which Blakey would use for the rest of his career. Scott Yanow on Allmusic describes it as "a true classic". Originally released as an LP, the album has subsequently been reissued on CD several times.
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Claude Debussy - La mer / Igor Stravinsky - The Firebird - Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel (2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Сomposer: Claude Debussy (1862-1918), Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)
Artist: Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel
Title: Claude Debussy - La mer / Igor Stravinsky - The Firebird
Genre: Classical
Label: © Deutsche Grammophon
Release Date: 2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: highresaudio.com
Duration: 1:15:52
Recorded: Walt Disney Concert Hall February 28, March 1, March 2, March 3, 2013


The Los Angeles Philharmonic and music director Gustavo Dudamel present this vivid take on two masterpieces of orchestral colour: Debussy's well-known work La Mer and Stravinsky's breakthrough The Firebird. These performances were recorded live in 2013 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
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Johannes Brahms - Symphony No.4 - Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel (2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Сomposer: Johannes Brahms (1833–1897)
Artist: Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel
Title: Brahms - Symphony No.4
Genre: Classical
Label: © Deutsche Grammophon
Release Date: 2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: highresaudio.com
Duration: 44:26
Recorded: Walt Disney Concert Hall June 2, 3, 4, and 5, 2011

Although his catalog lists just four symphonies, Brahms wrote several other works that come close to that genre: his First Piano Concerto was indeed planned as a symphony, and the Second (which is in four movements) has been called a symphony with piano obbligato. Although the Second and Third Symphonies were introduced in Vienna, Brahms decided to give his Fourth Symphony an out-of-town tryout. He himself conducted the premiere (in October 1885) with the Meiningen Court Orchestra, where the audience was enthusiastic. Vienna was not so receptive when the work was introduced there a few months later. As it turned out, a mere ten years after his First Symphony had been given its premiere, Brahms had written his last symphony. Two years later came the Double Concerto, whose two solo parts (violin and cello) remind us of the old sinfonia concertante form, but there were to be no more symphonies.

For his final essay in symphonic form, Brahms produced a monumental work whose first movement grows from the simplest of materials, a simple rising and falling interval, out of which he develops long lines of powerfully emotional, yet unsentimental grandeur. The relentless organic development, which begins even as themes are being stated, leads to a complex interaction of motives and melodic fragments. The composer’s friend Elisabeth von Herzogenberg wrote to him of her fears that he was dwelling too much on creating intricate thematic connections that would obscure his musical communication for the untrained listener: “…one rejoices with all the excitement of an explorer or scientist on discovering the secrets of your creation! But there comes a point where a certain doubt creeps in…that its beauties are not accessible to every normal music-lover.”

". . . an inspired and inspiring performance of Brahms's most powerful symphonic masterpiece.“ --Amanda MacBlane, Time Out, New York
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Art Blakey - A Night At Birdland, Vol. 2 (1956/2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Artist: Art Blakey
Title: A Night At Birdland, Vol. 2
Genre: Jazz, Bop, Hard Bop, Mainstream, Saxophone Jazz
Label: © Blue Note Records
Release Date: 1956 (BLP 1522)/2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC 2.0 Mono 192kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 37:50
Recorded live on February 21, 1954 at Birdland, New York City.

On this follow-up volume of recordings done live at Birdland from the second-edition "Jazz Messengers" (officially the Art Blakey Quintet), there are extraordinary high points, along with low points that either result from tiredness or a lack or preparation. With trumpeter Clifford Brown taking over briefly for Donald Byrd, and alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson in the fray post-Hank Mobley, the band has a very different sound, though pianist Horace Silver, Blakey, and bassist Curly Russell (sitting in for Doug Watkins on these recordings only) are solid as a rock. There's some quintessential bop and hard bop in this set, inspired and hard-charging as one might expect, but the Latin tinge of the original band is gone. Because of Donaldson's predilection for the sound of Charlie Parker, the pure bebop sound is unrelentingly infused into the music. Where "Now's the Time" works well in a relaxed harmonic stance from Brown and Donaldson, you can't help but notice that the amped-up "Confirmation" has sloppily missed notes in the melody, while "The Way You Look Tonight" (included on later reissues) is really loose as the horns come in tentatively and unsure. "Wee-Dot" fares much better in an assertive, bright sound that clearly is more practiced, representing hard bop at its finest. Donaldson is clearly the dominant player here, with Brown surprisingly taking a back seat, as the strong ballad "If I Had You" has the altoist alternately singing, sighing, and brilliantly extrapolating on his horn à la Bird. They play together quite well on the signature version of Silver's jaunty hard bop anthem "Quicksilver," which famously quotes "Oh You Beautiful Doll," and "Lou's Blues" (another bonus track) is a quick unison bop for the appropriate end game. The additional tracks expose the flaws in this very short-lived edition of the Blakey-led combo, but the rest is good enough to carry the estimable reputation of this legendary band. --Michael G. Nastos
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