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Zedd - True Colors (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Artist: Zedd
Title: True Colors
Genre: Progressive House, Electronic, Club Dance, Dance Pop, EDM
Label: © Interscope Records
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 50:05
Recorded: 2014–15

The second album from electronic dance producer Zedd (born Anton Zaslavski) includes the single I Want You To Know featuring Selena Gomez, a number one hit for four weeks on Billboard's Hot Dance/Electronic chart. The uplifting pop-influenced dance track was named Song of the Week by USA Today in February 2015. Zedd served as executive producer and co-wrote all the songs on True Colors, the follow-up to his debut album Clarity which yielded five singles, including the Grammy-winning title track.
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Zac Brown Band - Jekyll + Hyde (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/48kHz

Artist: Zac Brown Band
Title: Jekyll + Hyde
Genre: Pop Rock, Country Rock, Country Pop
Label: © No Reserve/Republic Records
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 48kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 1:06:01

JEKYLL + HYDE is the Zac Brown Band's fourth studio album featuring the lead single "Homegrown" which hit #1 on Billboard's US Country Airplay chart. "We took more time writing and recording this record than we ever have in the past. We allowed each song to be what it wanted and needed to be. Each song has its own unique identity," said Zac Brown.
"Homegrown," the band's highest chart debut, has earned massive fan support and early praise for its "rock feel" (Country Weekly) and "intricately arranged vocal harmonies" (Billboard); "Dress Blues", written by Jason Isbell, is a somber and stirring tribute to members of the military who have been killed in service; and "Heavy Is the Head", which features Chris Cornell, frontman for Soundgarden. The album also features a collaboration with Sara Bareilles.
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Wilson Pickett - I'm In Love (1968/2012) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Artist: Wilson Pickett
Title: I'm In Love
Genre: R&B, Funk, Deep Soul, Southern Soul, Memphis Soul
Label: © Atlantic Records
Release Date: 1968/2012
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 25:39
Recorded: Memphis, TN, July 1 & 3, 1967

Influential soul icon, Wilson Pickett, soared with his stunning 1968 classic, I’m In Love. A collection of his strongest material, the album highlights Pickett’s expressive vocals and maturing musicianship. The record features the beloved cuts, “Jealous Love,” “I’m In Love” and “She’s Lookin’ Good.” The recording is yet another milestone in an always-consistent career.
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Wilson Pickett - A Funky Situation (1978/2012) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Artist: Wilson Pickett
Title: A Funky Situation
Genre: R&B, Funk, Deep Soul, Southern Soul, Memphis Soul
Label: © Atlantic Records
Release Date: 1978/2012
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 40:00
Recorded: Fame Recording Studios, Muscle Shoals, Alabama

On the rare gem, A Funky Situation, Wilson Pickett blends his trademark soul with elements of disco. Produced by Don Daily and Rick Hall, the effort includes horn arrangements done by the great, Harrison Calloway Jr. Released in 1978, the album features one of Pickett’s all time classics, “Lay Me Like You Hate Me,” the perfect showcase of his musical genius.
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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - The last three symphonies nos. 39, 40, 41 K. 543, 550, 551 - Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, Frans Bruggen (2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/44.1kHz

Сomposer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Artist: Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, Frans Brüggen
Title: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - The last three symphonies
Genre: Classical
Label: © Glossa | Naxos of America
Release Date: 2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 44,1kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 01:31:14
Recorded: live in Rotterdam (de Doelen), Netherlands, on 4 March 2010

More than three decades have elapsed since Frans Brüggen set down his earlier visions of the three final symphonies by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with his Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century. Now, he has chosen to release his new views of these contrasting yet complementary works as part of his Grand Tour series on Glossa. The Dutch maestro has been regularly engaging with the music of the Salzburg genius throughout the time of his musical journey with the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century and the symphonies of Mozart have frequently appeared in their concert schedules.

If the precise, original performing locations for these symphonies remain elusive, the three works – “Jupiter”, K551, the E flat major, K543, and that “evergreen study in the key of G minor”, K550, known by people all around the world as the “Mozart 40” – all clamour for constant and fresh interpretations; these are precisely what Frans Brügge delivers. Recordings on Glossa from Brüggen in recent times – always made whilst on tour – have included Mozart’s concertos for horn, clarinet and violin, as well as the Requiem.

With Stefano Russomanno providing a well considered booklet essay, this new release of the three final Mozart symphonies, available on two CDs and recorded live in Rotterdam, provides eloquent testimony to Frans Brüggen’s ability to summon up the expressiveness and spontaneity demanded by Mozart’s masterpieces from 1788.
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Tony Bennett - The Movie Song Album (1966/2013) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Artist: Tony Bennett
Title: The Movie Song Album
Genre: Vocal Jazz, Traditional Pop, Easy Listening
Label: © Columbia Records
Release Date: 1966/2013
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 00:37:26
Recorded: September 26, 1965 (#7), December 14, 1965 (#2, 5, 11) CBS Studio A, Los Angeles; December 27, 1965 (#1, 8-9), December 28, 1965 (#3-4, 6), December 29, 1965 (#10, 12) CBS 30th Street Studio, New York City

The Movie Song Album is a 1966 studio album by Tony Bennett. The album consists of songs from films, opening with the theme from The Oscar, in which Bennett had recently appeared. With this project of such high quality of song material and collaborators, he was to describe the album in his autobiography as his "all time favorite record".
Johnny Mandel was the musical director, and he and Neal Hefti and Quincy Jones arranged and conducted their own compositions on the album. Luiz Bonfá played the guitar on his two songs, "Samba de Orfeu" and "The Gentle Rain". The pianists Tommy Flanagan, Jimmy Rowles and Lou Levy all collaborated, each on one song.
Bennett's recording of "The Shadow of Your Smile" won Mandel and Paul Francis Webster the Grammy Award for Song of the Year at the Grammy Awards of 1966, and Bennett performed the song at the 38th Academy Awards, where it won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
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Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Let Me Up (I've Had Enough) (1987/2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Artist: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Title: Let Me Up (I've Had Enough)
Genre: Rock, Heartland Rock, Rock & Roll
Label: © Geffen Records
Release Date: 1987/2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 00:40:52
Recorded: 1986–87 at Sound City and M.C. Studios, LA

Let Me Up (I've Had Enough) (styled on the cover as "Let Me Up (I've Had Enough)" with quotation marks) is the seventh studio album by the American band Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, released in 1987. This album features more songwriting collaborations between Petty and Mike Campbell than any other Petty album. It is also notable for being the only previous studio album not represented on Petty's 1993 Greatest Hits album, even though the single "Jammin' Me" (co-written with fellow Traveling Wilbury Bob Dylan) was #1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks for four weeks. "Jammin' Me" was later included in the album Anthology: Through the Years, which the RIAA has declared gold. In addition, Let Me Up (I've Had Enough) was made to sound like a live recording, using a technique they borrowed from Dylan.
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Simon & Garfunkel - Simon & Garfunkel's Greatest Hits (1972/2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Artist: Simon & Garfunkel
Title: Simon & Garfunkel's Greatest Hits
Genre: Pop Rock, Folk Rock
Label: © Columbia Records
Release Date: 1972/2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 44:21
Recorded: March 1964 – November 1969

#293 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time

This album has had over three decades to make an impact, and it says something for its staying power that, in the face of more recent, more generously programmed, and better mastered compilations of the duo's work, it remains one of the most popular parts of the Simon & Garfunkel catalog -- which doesn't mean it isn't fraught with frustrations for anyone buying it. Its very existence is something of a fluke -- in the spring of 1972, the five original Simon & Garfunkel albums, Wednesday Morning, 3 AM, Sounds of Silence, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme, Bookends and Bridge Over Troubled Water, were still selling almost as well as they had in the 1960s; indeed, Bridge Over Troubled Water had carved out a seemingly permanent place for itself on the charts for years; and between the continued radio play of the duo's biggest hits, and the inevitable discovery of their catalog by successive new waves of junior high and high school students, those five LPs stood among the most profitable parts of the Columbia Records back catalog, rivaling Bob Dylan's much larger library in sheer numbers. Columbia might have gone years longer without compiling the duo's hits, but then, in June of 1972, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel did something totally unexpected -- in the midst of Simon's still-emerging solo career (and the careful crafting of his identity as a single act), and Garfunkel's re-identification of himself as an actor, the two reunited for one night, to do a benefit performance at New York's Madison Square Garden for the presidential candidacy of Senator George McGovern. (The latter event also took on a life of its own, as the first widely available Simon & Garfunkel concert bootleg, with terrible sound but capturing for posterity what had to be one of the funniest moments of their stage history, when Simon, attempting to suppress his laughter, remarks in connection with requests being called out, that someone "wants to hear "Voices of Old People" from Bookends). The performance was widely publicized, both before and after the event -- McGovern had captured the hearts and imaginations of tens of millions of high school and college students around the United States that spring, and this reviewer can attest to the fact that millions of people who were not at that show felt like they were there in spirit. It was inevitable that Columbia would want to put out a new Simon & Garfunkel release to take advantage of the renewed attention and excitement surrounding the duo, and they probably could have gotten away with a straight greatest-hits collection; but thanks to some inspiration and cooperation between the label and the artists, Greatest Hits went far beyond that. Nine of the tracks on the 14-song LP did, indeed, comprise the duo's biggest hits -- including "Bridge Over Troubled Water," "Mrs. Robinson," and "The Sounds of Silence" -- in their familiar studio versions; but interspersed between them were previously unheard live recordings of "For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her," "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)," "Homeward Bound," and "Kathy's Song," plus an alternate take of "America." At that time, Simon & Garfunkel had never released a live album, and as it happened, at least four of those five were among the most personal songs in the duo's repertory -- songs that millions of fans responded to individually (as opposed to the mass appeal of the pair's hit singles). The fact that they were present as excellent live performances made the appeal of this record irresistible to fans at every level, from the most casual to the most serious and dedicated. It was a sign of just how much they were loved and missed (and, perhaps, needed?) that without anything but that one unrecorded and untelevised benefit show to support its release, the record peaked at number five on the Billboard charts. And a couple of years later, it joined their original five albums as a perennial catalog favorite. And it still holds up -- it touches all the right buttons, providing an overview of the duo's most popular songs, but with those live cuts and the "America" outtake to make it essential in its own right, separate from the overview -- indeed, it manages to present both the duo's broader history, and their most widely appealing music, and their most intimate work, all seamlessly; only some interesting and ambitious singles that either hadn't stood the test of time ("Fakin' It") or were artistic blind alleys ("The Dangling Conversation"), were missing, along with "Punky's Dilemma," a perennial FM radio favorite that lay just below Columbia Records' and the duo's radar. All of that is the good part about this collection, which ought to get an unqualified rave -- the bad part, and the reason that it doesn't get that rave, is the sound quality, which was indifferent on the LP and worse on the CD, with sound that audibly cracks on parts of "The Sounds of Silence" and some of the other early studio cuts; Greatest Hits has begged for a sonic upgrade, and remastering from better sources, for two decades, and Columbia somehow missed the obvious opportunity to do this as part of either its Mastersound and SACD catalogs. It's the one caveat that anyone buying it should bear in mind. --Bruce Eder

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Dmitri Shostakovich - Symphony No. 7 in C Major 'Leningrad' , Op. 60 - Russian National Orchestra, Paavo Jarvi (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Сomposer: Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)
Artist: Russian National Orchestra, Paavo Järvi
Title: Dmitri Shostakovich - Symphony No. 7 in C Major 'Leningrad' , Op. 60
Genre: Classical
Label: © PentaTone Classics
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 01:12:59
Recorded: at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory in Moscow, Russia in February 2014

When Paavo Järvi’s Leningrad recording was first announced I really didn’t think it would be a contender. In the past this conductor has struck me as meticulous almost to a fault, and not the most communicative of baton wavers. That said, a Russian orchestra playing Shostakovich usually demands a listen. Factor in PentaTone’s reputation for fine recordings and it would seem this new album is a decent prospect. Even then I must admit to feeling somewhat blasé; with so many potent rivals what more could Järvi bring to the piece?

As it happens, quite a lot. For a start the half-hour first movement, with its long, much-derided march, is full of surprises. There’s a sweetness to the introductory section – an innocence, if you like – that seems very apt in the light of what’s to come. Sunny and unsuspecting this music is played with a simple loveliness that had me hearing the notes anew. Even more impressive is the superb recording, whose perspectives are as close to the concert-hall experience as I’ve heard in a very long time.

When it materialises the march is spine-tingling; it’s well paced, without haste or histrionics, and it’s all the more effective for that. The Russian woodwinds, so naturally caught, are first-rate and those cymbal clashes are powerful but proportionate. That’s very refreshing in a work that’s often presented in a crudely filmic way, not least when so much of the score’s fine detail is allowed to shine through. This is the very antithesis of Elder’s St-Vitus-like version, yet by some unexplained alchemy Järvi never wants for strength or intensity.

The oh-so-pliant start to the Moderato has seldom emerged with such disarming loveliness, its quiet, affectionate recollections accompanied by a wistful smile. The breath-bating hear-through quality of the playing and recording beggars belief; it really is as if one were at a live concert, caught in that almost hypnotic state where one communes with musicians and audience alike. Also, Järvi adds a penetrating chill to this spectral music, the like of which I’ve not heard since Gergiev’s deeply unsettling performance at the RFH some years ago.

In a composer – and a symphony – that’s no stranger to banalities it’s remarkable that Järvi’s discreet, unhurried approach brings with it a sustained coherence and logic that never sell the music short. Even the bleak, upward-winding start to the Adagio has a beauty that far from minimising the underlying grief actually seems to intensify it. The RNO strings sound glorious, the dark-toned woodwinds even more so, and it’s impossible not to be moved – and mightily so – by these spare, artless utterances. Indeed, I can’t recall the score being laid bare in such a way, its beating heart open to the elements.

One might think that such attention to detail is the enemy of purpose and momentum, but in this case it most certainly isn’t. Even the rollicking, circus-like episodes – played without recourse to vulgar emphasis – have a certain dignity that I find most affecting. And that’s the nub of it; this is a performance that eschews the fearsome in favour of the fragile, and favours the individual over the faceless crowd. Indeed, there were times when I wished the ravishing Adagio would never end, such is the heartfelt eloquence with which it’s delivered.

This conductor continues as he began, with a calm, clear-eyed Allegro non troppo. As so often the result is anything but prosaic, with the fleeting jauntiness of the first movement caught to perfection. Järvi also constructs a mean climax, and the music’s underlying jubilation never succumbs to emptiness or anarchy. The nobility here is entirely personal – a tribute to the indomitability of the human spirit, perhaps – and if Järvi seems a tad measured at this point it’s because there’s so much to filter out from the surrounding tumult. At the same time tension builds – quietly, unobtrusively – and all the while one has to marvel at the equally discreet virtuosity of this Russian band.

It’s not just about detail though, for Järvi shapes the music in such a way that hidden rhythms and phrases are disinterred as well. Goodness, is there no end to the revelations of this performance? As for the finale it unfolds with an unforced, passionately voiced grandeur that couldn’t be further from the bombast that some find here. That should come as no surprise, given the number of times Järvi defeats expectations in this paradigm-shifting performance. Even if you prefer cruder, more equivocal accounts of this symphony you simply cannot overlook this extraordinary alternative.

An unaffected, deeply humanising Seventh; quite possibly the best thing Paavo Järvi has ever done.

Dan Morgan

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Dmitry Shostakovich - Cantatas - Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Paavo Jarvi (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/48kHz

Сomposer: Dmitry Shostakovich (1906-1975)
Artist: Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Paavo Jarvi
Title: Shostakovich - Cantatas
Genre: Classical
Label: © Warner Classics/Erato
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 48kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 1:19:51
Recorded live in the Estonia Concert Hall, Tallinn 18-20 April 2012

Estonian-born conductor Paavo Järvi and the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra turn to rarely performed choral works by Dmitri Shostakovich: Song of the Forests Op. 81, The Sun Shines on our Motherland Op. 90, and The Execution of Stepan Razin Op. 119. The new release confirms Järvi’s reputation as a conductor with a deep understanding for the music of Shostakovich, as well as a particular affinity for choral music, which has a strong tradition in his homeland. These cantatas have a particular significance in Estonia – a former Soviet Socialist Republic under Stalinist rule. By the time Shostakovich composed The Execution of Stepan Razin for bass, concert chorus and orchestra in 1964, Stalin had died and the composer felt able to take a few risks under the regime of Nikita Khrushchev. The cantata is set to a grisly poem about a 17th-century Cossack revolutionary. Järvi calls the work an “absolute masterpiece” and a “critical view of the Soviet regime”.
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