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Johann Sebastian Bach - Matthaus Passion, BWV 244 (St. Matthew Passion) - Academy of Ancient Music, Richard Egarr (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Сomposer: Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Artist: Academy of Ancient Music, Richard Egarr
Title: Johann Sebastian Bach - St. Matthew Passion (1727 version)
Genre: Classical
Label: © AAM Records (Academy of Ancient Music)
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 02:24:32
Recorded: at Saint Jude-on-the-Hill, London, UK, 20-27 April 2014.

Since 1727, JS Bach's "Great Passion" has gripped the hearts and uplifted the minds of audiences all over the globe. Nearly three centuries after its premiere, the work has lost none of its power to evoke feelings of compassion for all those who suffer. Its mix of urgent story-telling, meditative arias and mighty choruses sets St Matthew's account of Christ's betrayal, trial and execution eloquently and emotionally.

Over the past 40 years the AAM has made over 300 recordings of baroque and classical music, winning Brit and Gramophone Awards along the way, however – remarkably – this is our first recording of the St Matthew Passion. With a superlative cast including James Gilchrist, Sarah Connolly, Thomas Hobbs, Elizabeth Watts, Christopher Maltman and Matthew Rose, and directed by Richard Egarr, this is a landmark project.
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Johann Sebastian Bach - Six Partitas - Andras Schiff (2009) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Сomposer: Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 –1750)
Artist: András Schiff, piano
Title: J.S. Bach - Six Partitas
Genre: Classical
Label: © ECM Records GmbH
Release Date: 2009
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Duration: 2:12:49
Recorded: September 21, 2007, Historischer Reitstadel, Neumarkt

After completing his highly praised Beethoven cycle, pianist András Schiff returns to Bach in this spot-on live recording of the Six Partitas. Though published as his Opus 1, the Partitas were Bach’s last compositions for keyboard. Both reasons make it a keystone in the mythical Bach pantheon. Although “partita” is essentially a euphemism for “suite,” in Bach’s hands the form was opened to a freer and more complex sense of infrastructure and performative demands.

The introductions show both composer and performer at their best. The Praeambulum of Partita V is a tour de force of rhythmic urgency and dynamic control. The Fantasia of Partita III is another astounding inauguration, its resplendence cluing us into the genesis of the music to follow. The meditative Praeludium of Partita I contrasts sublimely with the Sinfonia of Partita II, the latter a stately lead-in to the courtliest of the Partitas. The accompanying Allemandes overwhelm with their sparks, conflagrating our souls into rapt attention. The pacing throughout is nothing short of extraordinary. Schiff’s sprightly Correntes glisten like rain-drenched leaves, tempering their surrounding flames with a quiet power.
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Johann Sebastian Bach - Johannes Passion, BWV 245 (Passio secundum Johannem, St. John Passion) - Ricercar Consort, Philippe Pierlot (2011) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/88.2kHz

Сomposer: Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Artist: Ricercar Consort, Philippe Pierlot
Title: Johann Sebastian Bach - Passio secundum Johannem
Genre: Classical
Label: © Mirare | Harmonia Mundi Label Group
Release Date: 2011
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 88,2kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 01:53:31
Recorded: 27 au 30 septembre 2010 dans la Salle Philharmonique de Liège

« Il y a dans cette Passion, des moments d’une beauté déchirante, admirablement interprétés, admirablement joués. Dès le début, le choral d’ouverture « Herr, unser Herrscher » possède une cadence de battement de 150 – c’est quelque chose, suite à quoi le sportif a besoin d’endurance. Saisissante, immédiate et sans concession, cette interprétation est admirablement menée par un excellent Evangéliste. Philippe Pierlot démontre qu’il a la main heureuse lorsqu’il choisit les solistes, les tempi et du génie dans la dramaturgie. Pour résumer : ce disque est la meilleure interprétation de la Passion selon saint Jean du moment ! »

Robert Strobl

La Passion selon Saint-Jean, chef d'ceuvre universel de l'histoire musicale occidentale, créée en 1724 (1ère version) à Leipzig, a été de nombreuses fois enregistrée et c'est toujours, aujourd'hui une entreprise considérable (et admirable !) que de désirer la jouer en concert, ou la graver au disque. Philippe Pierlot et le Ricercar Consort s'attaquent à leur tour au monument de Jean-Sébastien Bach. Ils livrent une belle version qui réussit à trouver un point d'équilibre entre une nécessaire dramatisation du livret et une forme d'intimité inhérente à la méditation. Les solistes sont au rendez-vous dans les airs et les récitatifs, les affects baroques qui suivent le cycle traditionnel des stations, de l'arrestation de Jésus à sa mise au tombeau.
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Johann Sebastian Bach - Das Wohltemperierte Klavier (The Well-Tempered Clavier), Books 1 & 2 - John Butt (2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Сomposer: Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Artist: John Butt
Title: Johann Sebastian Bach - Das Wohltemperierte Klavier
Genre: Classical
Label: © LINN Records
Release Date: 2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Source: LINN
Duration: 03:32:23
Recorded: St Martin’s, East Woodhay, Hampshire, UK, 15–18 July 2013

The majority of modern recordings of J.S. Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier are of piano performances, and the few harpsichord versions that come along often attract notice because of their relative scarcity. John Butt's set on Linn warrants attention, not only for being a rarity, but more importantly for the extraordinary quality of his interpretations. An authority on Bach, Butt has written several books on the composer and distinguished himself as an expert on German Baroque music, both as a harpsichordist and conductor. Yet for all of his credentials, his playing of the WTC is far from pedantic or dry. His clear counterpoint, flexible rhythms, brisk tempos, lively ornamentation, and fluid phrasing make the 48 preludes and fugues fully musical and expressive, and at no point does the performance become dry or mechanical. Essential to this set's success is the distinctive character of each piece, which keeps the listener alert to the variety of styles and expressions possible in this compendium of the keyboard art. Butt plays a modern copy of a German harpsichord, and the sound is full and vibrant in the stereo recording, made at St. Martin's, East Woodhay, Hampshire, UK in 2013. Highly recommended.

Review by Blair Sanderson
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Horace Parlan - Movin' & Groovin' (1960/2010) High-Fidelity DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz

Artist: Horace Parlan
Title: Movin' & Groovin'
Genre: Jazz, Hard Bop, Piano Jazz
Label: © Blue Note Records | Analogue Productions
Release Date: 1960 (BLP 4028/BST 84028)/2010
Quality: DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz
Source: ISO SACD
Duration: 43:02
Recorded: February 29, 1960 at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

This 1960 trio date was pianist Parlan's first of many great releases for Blue Note. The Pittsburgh native, who overcame polio as a child that left his right hand crippled, had gained some serious props with his contributions on two of Charles Mingus' best albums the year prior (Mingus Ah Um, Blues And Roots), and was now ready to step out on his own. Choosing to tackle mostly standards, Parlan channels his idol Bud Powell's classic trio dates with the able assistance of Blue Note regulars Sam Jones, bass and drummer Al Harewood. The result is an eclectic mix, interpreting the works of Tadd Dameron, Duke Ellington, Milt Jackson and Burke-Van Heussen plus a Parlan original, "Up In Cynthia's Room," which became one of his signature pieces.
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Michael Haydn - The Complete String Quintets - Salzburger Haydn-Quintett (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Сomposer: Michael Haydn (1737–1806)
Artist: Salzburger Haydn-Quintett
Title: Michael Haydn: The Complete String Quintets
Genre: Classical
Label: © CPO Records
Release Date: 2015
Quality: Studio Master FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Duration: 2:15:55
Recorded: Palais Kuenburg, Sigmund-Haffner-Gasse 16, Salzburg, December 2013

The compositions of Joseph Haydn’s lesser known brother, Michael, have long been a special focus for cpo. Following the symphonies, the label are now dedicating themselves to a group of five works for a quintet ensemble consisting of two violins, two violas, and basso. The score is interpreted by the Haydn Quintet of Salzburg and its first violinist Hiro Kurosaki, on historical instruments in the Kuenburg Palais in the heart of Salzburg.
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