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Stevie Wonder - The Christmas Collection: The Best Of Stevie Wonder (2004/2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Artist: Stevie Wonder
Title: The Christmas Collection: The Best Of Stevie Wonder
Genre: R&B, Soul, Pop Soul, Christmas, Holidays, AM Pop, Smooth Soul
Label: © Motown Records
Release Date: 2004/2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 42:36

This assortment of seasonal cheer features Stevie Wonder applying his inimitable vocal technique to familiar and unusual Yuletide songs, with predictably successful results. In "Someday at Christmas" he yearns for a Christmas when "Men won't be boys/playing with bombs like kids play with toys"--this album was recorded during the Vietnam War--striking a plaintive tone not often found on Christmas albums. Other high points include his joyous reading of "Little Drummer Boy," with its steadily building martial beat, and chestnuts like "Silver Bells" and "The Christmas Song," which Wonder delivers with total assurance, as well as a palpable sense of fun. He even brings a measure of soul to more sentimental numbers like "One Little Christmas Tree" and "Twinkle Twinkle Little Me," while "What Christmas Means to Me" invokes the bubbling bass line of the Capitols' "Cool Jerk," and features a blissful harp solo.
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Stevie Wonder - Down To Earth (1966/2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Artist: Stevie Wonder
Title: Down To Earth
Genre: R&B, Soul, AM Pop
Label: © Motown Records
Release Date: 1966/2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 33:22
Recorded: 1965-66

Down to Earth is the sixth studio album by American singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder, released on November 16, 1966 on the Tamla (Motown) label. The album was a departure from Wonder's earlier, teen pop-driven albums, and, along with its predecessor, Up-Tight, it re-established the sixteen-year-old Wonder, whose voice had recently changed, as a Motown hitmaker. The LP features the hit single "A Place in the Sun". Another single, "Hey Love", became a hit for Detroit soul singer Betty Lavette the following year.
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Solveig Slettahjell, Knut Reiersrud & In The Country - Trail of Souls (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Artist: Solveig Slettahjell, Knut Reiersrud & In The Country
Title: Trail of Souls
Genre: Jazz, Vocal Jazz, Mainstream Jazz
Label: © ACT Music + Vision GmbH & Co. KG
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: highresaudio.com
Duration: 51:16
Recorded by Jan Erik Kongshaug at Rainbow Studio, Oslo, April 8 - 10, 2015

“Connecting the unexpected” is the motto of Jazz at Berlin Philharmonic, a concert series curated and produced by ACT label boss Siggi Loch, which began in December 2012. A carefully selected unifying theme runs through each programme, alongside imaginative juxtapositions of musicians brought together specifically for the occasion, in some cases for the first time. This formula has not just proved a hit with audiences; musicians have also taken to it with a particular zeal. The artists and the spectators who attended the ‘Norwegian Woods’ edition of the series in March 2014 experienced an amazing evening. Loch had assembled the A-team of Norwegian jazz, and created the unexpected by combining them with a guest artist from a different musical realm:
Solveig Slettahjell was one such artist welcomed back into the fold. The ACT label released her early albums, establishing her international reputation as one of Europe’s leading jazz vocalists. Here she was partnered up with In The Country, the piano trio involving her close friend Morton Qvenild, pianist, sonic explorer and also a member of Solveig Slettahjell‘s Slow Motion ensembles. The real surprise that evening, however, came from adding the blues guitarist Knut Reiersrud. He had been on Siggi Loch's radar for quite some time, and on this occasion was having his first ever meeting with Slettahjell and her crew. It turned out to be an ideal combination. The evening was a celebration of everything that had made the Nordic sound so attractive and successful for many decades. On the one hand there was the elegiac, bluesy side, inspired by the spirit of indigenous folk music; on the other the electronic, the rhythmically daring and the experimental.
The participants in ‘Norwegian Woods’ were certain that, somehow, they needed to continue and develop what they had started. Above all, the earthy blues guitar of Reiersrud, with its ethnic influence, had been a revelation all round. Solveig Slettahjell, although signed to Universal, came up spontaneously with the wish to record a studio album with these musicians. Loch already had a suitable idea and concept in his mind's ear, and suggested that they might link the American gospel and spiritual traditions with the Norwegian sound aesthetic under the banner of “Trail of Souls.”
Then followed a huge amount of careful preparation and several rehearsals in Morten Qvenild's private studio, after which all the musicians ended up in the celebrated Rainbow Studio in Oslo to give the original idea a definitive shape. All eleven tracks, with the exception of the final number, a song composed by Reiersrud, are blues and gospel classics in the broadest sense. There are three from stars of pop and soul music - Bill Withers “Grandma's Hand”, Peter Gabriel's “Mercy Street” and Leonard Cohen's “Come Healing” - but beyond those the others are the kind of tunes only familiar to initiates such as Reiersrud. “We did all rummage through our record collections and chose a few old work songs and spirituals together,” says Slettahjell, “but Knut is the really knowledgeable one among us.”
This is something Reiersrud has already proved completely convincingly on his debut album on ACT, “Tears Of The World,” which he made with the amazing blues singer Mighty Sam McClain. Sadly, McClain passed away on 16th June 2015, at the age of just 72, shortly before the album was released. The procession of songs on “Trail of Souls” takes in, for example, the emotional traditional song “Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child,” and that staple of gospel church services, “His Eye Is On The Sparrow,” and the memorable “Don’t Feel Noways Tired” by the King of Gospel, the Reverend James Cleveland. From older pieces by Blind Willie Johnson, James Anderson and Richard M. Jones – with the evergreen song “Trouble in Mind” - the selection comes up to date with the song “Is My Living In Vain?” by Elbernita ‘Twinkie’ Clark, a gospel star and two-time Grammy winner.
All the songs here are given a brand new identity by being taken at a much slower pace than is traditional. Solveig Slettahjell's completely individual soft voice savours every detail of phrasing. Combined with Knut Reiersrud's well-judged voicings, which glitter with their metallic sound, the whole effect is mesmerizing. Morten Qvenild and his trio produce surprising rhythmic accents and a whole panoply of sounds, all the way from wood and clay over spherical surfaces to tough drum'n'bass beats. These musicians' outstanding creativity and their sense of fantasy have shown once again that they truly are Norse Gods.


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Sol Gabetta - Prayer (2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/44.1kHz

Сomposer: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959), Dmitry Shostakovich (1906-1975), Pablo Casals (1876-1973)
Artist: Sol Gabetta
Title: Prayer
Genre: Classical
Label: © Sony Music Entertainment
Release Date: 2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 44,1kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 01:00:06
Recorded: October 2012 – June 2014


The fast-rising Argentine-Swiss cellist Sol Gabetta took the name of this recital from the "Prayer" movement of Ernest Bloch's From Jewish Life, which she has performed as an encore to great success and to an obvious emotional reaction from audiences. She went in search of similar music, found the path partially trodden by Pablo Casals, and put together a program that is actually quite novel -- of the music on the album, only Bloch's Schelomo (track 10) is really common -- and yet seems as though it's always been there. Tribute is paid to Casals not only in the emotive playing, but in the presence of El Cant dels Ocells (The Song of the Birds), one of several Casals compositions deserving of more frequent performance. The most unusual entry here, and perhaps the least successful one, is the selection of pieces from Shostakovich's song cycle From Jewish Folk Poetry, arranged here for cello and orchestra by Mikhail Bronner. It seems to be part of the general mood, but it's not; despite the theme, it's pure postwar Shostakovich, and Gabetta doesn't quite catch its note of tension. The much-recorded Schelomo, however, fares very well here, even with a switch in orchestra, venue, and conductor. As usual, a bracingly fresh program from this charismatic and intelligent cellist. —AllMusic Review by James Manheim
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Snarky Puppy & Metropole Orkest - Sylva (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/44.1kHz

Artist: Snarky Puppy & Metropole Orkest
Title: Sylva
Genre: Jazz, Modern Jazz, Jazz-Funk, Contemporary Jazz, Orchestral Jazz
Label: © Impulse! A Division of Universal Music France
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 44,1kHz/24bit
Source: AcousticSounds
Duration: 00:54:29
Recorded: Dordrecht, Netherlands at Het Energiehuis on April 19 & 20, 2014


When Snarky Puppy won a Grammy in January of 2014, the question I was asked most was, Was this on your bucket list of things to do before you die? And my answer to each of them was, actually, no. I have only one thing on my list. The only thing I want to do before I die is make an album with an orchestra.
It had been a topic of discussion for three months at that time. During the October 2013 recording sessions for We Like It Here in Utrecht, our good friend Friederike Darius had invited two of the Metropole Orkest s managers to join us as guests. Within ten minutes of the performance s end, we had already crafted a plan to make a record together. Sometimes life is that easy. Not always, not most of time, but every once in a while, it is.
The last thing I wanted to do with this opportunity was turn it into a Snarky Puppy With Strings situation. While on tour in Germany in November, I snuck off to Berlin for a night to meet with conductor Jules Buckley and discuss possibilities for the material. We both agreed that a brand new piece of music written specifically for this hybrid ensemble would be the ideal scenario. I asked Jules, could I customize the instrumentation of the Metropole a bit? Of course I could. How about a lot more than a bit? No problem. Is it okay if I do the arranging on my own despite the fact that I ve never arranged for an orchestra and then just have you clean it up and make it sound like I know what I m doing? Perfectly fine with me. Is there anything I could ask you right now that would elicit a negative response? No.
If there were any way to sum up the tone and attitude of the entire experience, this conversation with Jules would just about do it. It went like that from start to finish. I wrote the music while on tour, in buses and on planes and in dressing rooms backstage before and after shows. Throughout the whole process, my governing concept was to try to capture the many sides and personalities of the only place where I feel truly connected to the earth as a human being. A place that is at once innocent, frightening, awe-inspiring, impenetrable, fragile, stoic, telling, a shelter, a labyrinth, a temple, a tomb, a sanctuary, a parliament, a prison. The forest.
I wanted it to be a suite, a single piece of music connected by a thread that could highlight the strengths of the Metropole- specifically, their stylistic versatility and incredible sense of groove and feel (a rarity in the orchestral world). Each movement is about a different forest I ve spent time in, from the mountains of Portugal to the swamps of Louisiana to the giant redwoods of northern California to the land behind my neighbor s house in Virginia to the dark wood that lived all of our heads as children, the one that we dreamt of being lost in, consumed by, and then woke up sweating, running to our parents room for reassurance.
My desire was to make everything about the album different from what we ve ever done and also from what is expected of an orchestral album. It was recorded 100% live, with no overdubs or studio magic to make things sound cleaner or thicker. 300 audience members joined us for four performances over two nights, wearing headphones in order to hear the music exactly as we, the performers, were hearing it. We stacked the low end of the orchestra with bass and contrabass clarinets and low brass and expanded the string section. We arranged set pieces and the physical bodies of the musicians to form a kind of integrated human-floral forest within which the audience would sit (I m still jealous of the people whose seats were inside of the string section). We tried to create a place where one could forget where they were and simply be surrounded by sound. --Michael League
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Jean Sibelius - Symphony No. 2 - New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein (1968/2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/44.1kHz

Сomposer: Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)
Artist: New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein
Title: Sibelius - Symphony No. 2
Genre: Classical
Label: © Columbia Records/Sony Music Entertainment
Release Date: 1968/2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 44,1kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 00:44:33
Recorded: 1968


Bernstein – Remastered Edition: Sibelius – The Symphonies collects Bernstein’s complete Sibelius recordings, newly remastered from the original analogue tapes using 24 bit / 96 kHz technology in a 7CD limited original jackets collection.
Bernstein regarded Sibelius alongside Mahler as one of “the key turning points” in the development of the 20th century symphony, though his reputation as a Mahler exponent has overshadowed a lifelong dedication to the Finnish composer. His advocacy goes back to the time of his association with Koussevitzky, with whom he studied at Tanglewood in 1940, later becoming his assistant. At Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute in 1941, he conducted the Second Symphony. And following his sensational New York Philharmonic debut in November 1943, one of Bernstein’s first engagements was a Montreal Symphony Orchestra concert in March 1944 that included his first performance of the First.
The Finnish composer’s centenary year, 1965, brought a flurry of activity. In New York, Bernstein conducted all the symphonies in a single season (only his mentor Serge Koussevitzky had done that in the US, three decades earlier in Boston). For his efforts, Bernstein was made a Commander of the Order of the Lion by the president of Finland. By this time, he was already well into his recorded Sibelius cycle, begun in February 1961 with the Fifth Symphony, completed in May 1967 with the Sixth.
Bernstein’s Sibelius, like his teacher’s, was “warm like the sun” rather than a more orthodox evocation of cold northern soundscapes. He once called Sibelius “a great and strange kind of genius”, but in his New York cycle he favors visceral excitement over strange remoteness.
This set also contains his recording of Sibelius’s Violin Concerto with the French virtuoso Zino Francescatti. Also included are Valse triste, The Swan of Tuonela, a rather brash Finlandia, a thrilling performance of Pohjola’s Daughter and Luonnotar – Sibelius’s haunting setting of words from the Kalevala, the Finnish national epic (with American soprano Phyllis Curtin) – as well as Bernstein’s only recording of Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suites. But it’s the Sibelius symphonies that are the chief attraction here, and this often stunningly well-played, first completed stereo cycle has lost none of its freshness and authority in the half century since it was recorded.
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Jean Sibelius - Symphony No. 1 & Luonnotar - New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein (1968/2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/44.1kHz

Сomposer: Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)
Artist: New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein
Title: Sibelius - Symphony No. 1 & Luonnotar
Genre: Classical
Label: © Columbia Records/Sony Music Entertainment
Release Date: 1968/2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 44,1kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 00:44:46
Recorded: 1968


Bernstein – Remastered Edition: Sibelius – The Symphonies collects Bernstein’s complete Sibelius recordings, newly remastered from the original analogue tapes using 24 bit / 96 kHz technology in a 7CD limited original jackets collection.
Bernstein regarded Sibelius alongside Mahler as one of “the key turning points” in the development of the 20th century symphony, though his reputation as a Mahler exponent has overshadowed a lifelong dedication to the Finnish composer. His advocacy goes back to the time of his association with Koussevitzky, with whom he studied at Tanglewood in 1940, later becoming his assistant. At Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute in 1941, he conducted the Second Symphony. And following his sensational New York Philharmonic debut in November 1943, one of Bernstein’s first engagements was a Montreal Symphony Orchestra concert in March 1944 that included his first performance of the First.
The Finnish composer’s centenary year, 1965, brought a flurry of activity. In New York, Bernstein conducted all the symphonies in a single season (only his mentor Serge Koussevitzky had done that in the US, three decades earlier in Boston). For his efforts, Bernstein was made a Commander of the Order of the Lion by the president of Finland. By this time, he was already well into his recorded Sibelius cycle, begun in February 1961 with the Fifth Symphony, completed in May 1967 with the Sixth.
Bernstein’s Sibelius, like his teacher’s, was “warm like the sun” rather than a more orthodox evocation of cold northern soundscapes. He once called Sibelius “a great and strange kind of genius”, but in his New York cycle he favors visceral excitement over strange remoteness.
This set also contains his recording of Sibelius’s Violin Concerto with the French virtuoso Zino Francescatti. Also included are Valse triste, The Swan of Tuonela, a rather brash Finlandia, a thrilling performance of Pohjola’s Daughter and Luonnotar – Sibelius’s haunting setting of words from the Kalevala, the Finnish national epic (with American soprano Phyllis Curtin) – as well as Bernstein’s only recording of Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suites. But it’s the Sibelius symphonies that are the chief attraction here, and this often stunningly well-played, first completed stereo cycle has lost none of its freshness and authority in the half century since it was recorded.
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Jean Sibelius - Symphonies Nos. 3 & 4 - New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein (1968/2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/44.1kHz

Сomposer: Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)
Artist: New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein
Title: Sibelius - Symphonies Nos. 3 & 4
Genre: Classical
Label: © Columbia Records/Sony Music Entertainment
Release Date: 1968/2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 44,1kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 01:05:54
Recorded: 1968

Bernstein – Remastered Edition: Sibelius – The Symphonies collects Bernstein’s complete Sibelius recordings, newly remastered from the original analogue tapes using 24 bit / 96 kHz technology in a 7CD limited original jackets collection.
Bernstein regarded Sibelius alongside Mahler as one of “the key turning points” in the development of the 20th century symphony, though his reputation as a Mahler exponent has overshadowed a lifelong dedication to the Finnish composer. His advocacy goes back to the time of his association with Koussevitzky, with whom he studied at Tanglewood in 1940, later becoming his assistant. At Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute in 1941, he conducted the Second Symphony. And following his sensational New York Philharmonic debut in November 1943, one of Bernstein’s first engagements was a Montreal Symphony Orchestra concert in March 1944 that included his first performance of the First.
The Finnish composer’s centenary year, 1965, brought a flurry of activity. In New York, Bernstein conducted all the symphonies in a single season (only his mentor Serge Koussevitzky had done that in the US, three decades earlier in Boston). For his efforts, Bernstein was made a Commander of the Order of the Lion by the president of Finland. By this time, he was already well into his recorded Sibelius cycle, begun in February 1961 with the Fifth Symphony, completed in May 1967 with the Sixth.
Bernstein’s Sibelius, like his teacher’s, was “warm like the sun” rather than a more orthodox evocation of cold northern soundscapes. He once called Sibelius “a great and strange kind of genius”, but in his New York cycle he favors visceral excitement over strange remoteness.
This set also contains his recording of Sibelius’s Violin Concerto with the French virtuoso Zino Francescatti. Also included are Valse triste, The Swan of Tuonela, a rather brash Finlandia, a thrilling performance of Pohjola’s Daughter and Luonnotar – Sibelius’s haunting setting of words from the Kalevala, the Finnish national epic (with American soprano Phyllis Curtin) – as well as Bernstein’s only recording of Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suites. But it’s the Sibelius symphonies that are the chief attraction here, and this often stunningly well-played, first completed stereo cycle has lost none of its freshness and authority in the half century since it was recorded.

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Dmitry Shostakovich - Symphony No. 14 - Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Vasily Petrenko (2013) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Сomposer: Dmitry Shostakovich (1906-1975)
Artist: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Vasily Petrenko
Title: Shostakovitch - Symphony No. 14
Genre: Classical
Label: © Naxos Rights International Ltd
Release Date: 2009
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 00:49:19
Recorded at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, England, on 4th and 5th May, 2013


At its première in June 1969 Shostakovich described his Symphony No. 14, in effect a symphonic song cycle, ‘a fight for the liberation of humanity…a great protest against death, a reminder to live one’s life honestly, decently, nobly…’ Originally intending to write an oratorio, Shostakovich set eleven poems on the theme of mortality, and in particular early or unjust death, for two solo singers accompanied by strings and percussion. This is the penultimate release in Vasily Petrenko’s internationally acclaimed symphonic cycle.
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Dmitry Shostakovich - Symphony No. 4 - Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Vasily Petrenko (2013Dmitry Shostakovich - Symphony No. 4 - Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Vasily Petrenko (2013) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Сomposer: Dmitry Shostakovich (1906-1975)
Artist: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Vasily Petrenko
Title: Shostakovitch - Symphony No. 4
Genre: Classical
Label: © Naxos Rights International Ltd
Release Date: 2013
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 01:04:44
Recorded at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, England, on 9th and 10th February, 2013


Completed in 1936 but withdrawn during rehearsal and not performed until 1961, the searing Fourth Symphony finds Shostakovich stretching his musical idiom to the limit in the search for a personal means of expression at a time of undoubted personal and professional crisis. The opening movement, a complex and unpredictable take on sonata form that teems with a dazzling profusion of varied motifs, is followed by a short, eerie central movement. The finale opens with a funeral march leading to a climax of seismic physical force that gives way to a bleak and harrowing minor key coda. The Symphony has since become one of the most highly regarded of the composer’s large-scale works.
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