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Giacomo Puccini - Turandot - Andrea Bocelli, Jennifer Wilson, Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana, Zubin Mehta (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Сomposer: Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924)
Artist: Andrea Bocelli, Jennifer Wilson, Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana, Zubin Mehta
Title: Puccini - Turandot
Genre: Classical, Opera
Label: © Decca is a Universal Music Company
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Duration: 01:56:50
Recording Location: Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía, Valencia

Following last year’s release of Manon Lescaut, Andrea Bocelli stays with Puccini for an emotionally charged account of the composer’s magnificent Turandot. This new complete opera recording, featuring the world-renowned aria “Nessun dorma” (“None shall sleep”), will be warmly welcomed by Bocelli’s army of ardent fans. It is conducted by Zubin Mehta, who has made a speciality of this first-class Puccini opera ever since his landmark 1972 Decca recording, here drawing a stirring orchestral performance from the Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana.
Bocelli takes the lead role of Calaf – the unknown prince – and his powerful tenor tells a compelling story of riddles answered, triumph secured, honour displayed and love deeply felt.
The key role of the ice-cold riddler princess, Turandot, is sung by American soprano Jennifer Wilson.
Completing an impressive cast are Jessica Nuccio as Liù, Alexander Tsymbalyuk as Timur, Pablo García López as Pong and Germán Olvera and Valentino Buzza as Ping and the Gran Cancelliere, the last two coming from Plácido Domingo’s training centre, the Centre de Perfeccionament Plácido Domingo at Valencia’s Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía.
The soprano who created the role of Turandot in Puccini’s final, unfinished masterpiece, Rosa Raisa, described the first night to a biographer: “It was an electrified atmosphere, with the greatest musicians and critics in the world gathered for this world premiere and listening religiously to Puccini’s last creation. At the end of the Third Act [first scene], while the dead Liù is accompanied by Timur, with Ping, Pang and Pong following, and as the chorus continues to intone the motif of the last aria that she sang, until the whole stage is emptied, Toscanini laid down his baton, and in a voice choking with emotion announced that this is where Puccini left off: ‘Here is where the maestro died.’”
Bocelli’s deep-rooted commitment to opera shines through in his moving rendition of “Nessun dorma,” perhaps the best-known and most-loved tenor aria of all time. As the legendary reviewer Edward Greenfield has written, “Bocelli’s great natural gift is a powerful tenor of very distinctive timbre, not conventionally rounded in a Pavarotti-like way but above all virile with a baritonal tinge.”
With sales of more than 80 million records worldwide, Bocelli is the world’s biggest- selling classical artist. Turandotmarks his latest journey into the great Italian master’s operatic canon.
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Sergei Prokofiev, Maurice Ravel - Piano Concertos - Martha Argerich, Berliner Philharmoniker, Claudio Abbado (1967/75/2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Сomposer: Sergei Prokofiev (1891 - 1953), Maurice Ravel (1875 - 1937)
Artist: Martha Argerich, Berliner Philharmoniker, Claudio Abbado
Title: Prokofiev, Ravel - Piano Concertos
Genre: Classical
Label: © Deutsche Grammophon
Release Date: 1967/75/2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 1:10:51
Recorded: #1-6: June 1967, Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin, Germany; #7-9: November 1974, Studio Lankwitz, Berlin, Germany

This is the original Prokofiev/Ravel concerto coupling as it appeared on LP; the Prokofiev has also been coupled with the Tchaikovsky First Concerto. I prefer this edition since superb performances of the Ravel are less common. The young (1967) Martha Argerich plays the Prokofiev for maximum brilliance but leavens the Ravel with the composer's ironic lyricism. It's very effective. The bonus is one of the greatest performances of the Ravel piano suite ever recorded, but it leaves me wondering what will happen to the remainder of the original LP. All those solo Ravel pieces should be in the catalog; as Argerich plays them, they offer a primer on what keyboard color is all about.
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Paul Motian with Bill Frisell, Joe Lovano & Charlie Haden - Standards Plus One (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/44.1kHz

Artist: Paul Motian with Bill Frisell, Joe Lovano & Charlie Haden
Title: Standards Plus One
Genre: Jazz
Label: © Winter & Winter GmbH
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 44,1kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 00:55:05

Leipziger Volkszeitung: "Zum Anlass nun hat [Winter] aus Motians Interpretationen des klassischen amerikanischen Musical-Songbooks acht Preziosen aus den Jahren 1989 bis 1995 ausgewählt, die der filigrane, gelegentlich subtil nach vorn tretende und ansonsten mit immer neuen Konzepten verblüffende Drummer mit einem Allstar-Quartett einspielte […] ausgewogen und wundervoll." May 16, 2015
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Nils Okland Band - Kjolvatn (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/48kHz

Artist: Nils Økland Band
Title: Kjølvatn
Genre: Jazz, Folk, World, Contemporary Jazz, Nordic
Label: © ECM Records GmbH | ECM Player
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 48kHz/24bit
Duration: 49:23
Recorded: June 2012, Hoff Church Østre Toten, Norway

Hard on the heels of his critically-lauded - and distortion-saturated - collaboration with rock players in ‘lumen drones’ comes the next fine album from norway’s hardanger fiddle master.
The idiosyncratic Norwegian musician Nils Økland (fiddle / violin / viola d'amore) has had a diverse career. On this sixth album 'Kjølvatn' he has put together a brand new band consisting of some of the leading musicians in Norway: Rolf-Erik Nystrom (saxophone), Sigbjørn Apeland (harmonium), Håkon Mørch Stene (percussion), Mats Eilertsen (double bass).
Økland has played as a solist with several major orchestras, written music for London Sinfonietta, film, ballet and theater and played on records with Christian Wallumrød, Arve Henriksen, Åsne Valland Nordli and Bjørnar Andresen, to mention a few. He has previously published solo album 'Monograph' and the duo 'Lysøen' along with Sigbjørn Apeland on ECM. Before this he released the albums 'Bris' and 'Straum' on Rune Grammofon and the self published debut 'Blå Harding'. Nils plays in rock trio Lumen Drones (ECM), who released a critically acclaimed debut album last October and in the improvisation band 1982. Both as a performer and composer he has built bridges between folk, Jazz and improvised music.
Økland himself describes the music on 'Kjølvatn' this way: 'In my work as a professional violinist in the last 30 years, I have moved between a wide wide range of genres from classical violin to Balkan folk, rock and punk, jazz and free improvisation, to Norwegian folk music. I've always composed my own material inspired by all these expressions; a hybrid between folk music poetry and punk energy. In early baroque music - another musical style I let myself be inspired by - it was common to have sketches as the basis for making music. In this band we work with methods that are inspired by this.'
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Natalie Imbruglia - Male (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/44.1kHz

Artist: Natalie Imbruglia
Title: Male
Genre: Pop, Pop Rock, Indie Rock
Label: © Sony Music Entertainment
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 44,1kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 44:40

Returning from an extended absence -- she hasn't made an album since 2009's Come to Life and hasn't seen a record released in the U.S. since 2001's White Lilies Island, which was the sequel to her 1997 blockbuster Left of the Middle; a long time gone, in other words -- Natalie Imbruglia lands upon an interesting concept for her comeback: take 12 songs written by male singer/songwriters and recast them as feminine. For Imbruglia, this means reviving the hazy focus of her global blockbuster "Torn," a feel created with soft, strummed guitars and clear vocals, a sound that suits a middle-aged singer as comfortably as it does a young one, perhaps even a touch better. Although Male shamelessly evokes Left of the Middle -- the cover itself looks like something of a sequel -- Imbruglia takes pains to show that she's listened to recent music. Not only are there covers of Daft Punk, Death Cab for Cutie, and Iron & Wine, but she grafts a Mumford & Sons folk-stomp onto the Cure's "Friday I'm in Love," then gently pushes Tom Petty's "The Waiting" toward a tapped folk rhythm. Everything is so sweet and light, it's difficult to discern whether Imbruglia's choice of songs is meant to convey something greater than that these are a bunch of nice tunes. Certainly, the concept of Male suggests there might be a conceptual undertow to the album -- Imbruglia finding the femininity in masculine writers -- but Imbruglia chooses songs where sexuality is incidental; these are love songs that are easily retooled for the opposite sex. This safety in song selection and production means that Male certainly doesn't have the bite of Tori Amos' 2001 album Strange Little Girls, a record that wears its sexual politics proudly, but Imbruglia has never been an ambitious artist: she's always been a sweet, pleasant crooner and Male plays to those very strengths. --AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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MS MR - How Does It Feel (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/44.1kHz

Artist: MS MR
Title: How Does It Feel
Genre: Dream Pop, Dark Wave, Indie Electronic
Label: © Columbia Records
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 44,1kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 43:41

Three years after making a name for themselves with the single "Hurricane," on How Does It Feel MS MR balance where they've been and where they're going. The formerly anonymous duo revealed the names behind the music (singer Lizzy Plapinger and producer Max Hershenow, respectively), but also returned to their old home base of Bushwick while recording their second album. Similarly, the pair expands on the smoky mystique of "Hurricane" and Secondhand Rapture on these songs, taking that sound in a more immediate direction with the help of co-writers such as MNDR, Tove Lo, and drummer Zach Nicita. Hershenow and Plapinger's more attention-getting approach reflects the pop trends that cropped up after Secondhand Rapture's release: literally and figuratively, How Does It Feel is a busier, brassier set of songs that feel more active even when they're not aimed at the dancefloor. "Painted" gives the duo's drama a surprisingly kinetic backbone, while "No Guilt in Pleasure" and "Criminals" boast some of their most irresistible choruses yet. Plapinger's voice is just as compelling in these more streamlined surroundings as it was on their debut; where her torchy delivery recalled Adele or Florence Welch on Secondhand Rapture, here she finds kindred spirits in Kiesza and Jess Glynne songs like the house-tinged standout "Reckless." Here and on How Does It Feel's other highlights, Hershenow and Plapinger give their innate drama a pop gloss, with slinkier tracks such as "Wrong Victory" and the MNDR collaboration "Tripolar" sounding like heightened versions of their debut. While a few tracks sound too similar to each other, How Does It Feel's best moments deliver pop accessibility without sacrificing any of MS MR's identity. --AllMusic Review by Heather Phares
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