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Robbie Williams - The Heavy Entertainment Show (2016) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/44,1kHz

Artist: Robbie Williams
Title: The Heavy Entertainment Show
Genre: Pop
Label: © Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment
Release Date: 2016
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 44,1kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 01:01:12
Recorded: June 2015 – June 2016

Establishing himself as the last of a particular breed, Robbie Williams makes his pop comeback on The Heavy Entertainment Show. Aptly titled, Williams is entertaining as ever, a consummate showman until the end. The album is a grab bag of ideas, darting here and there in its pursuit of a hit. However, this isn't too much of a distraction. Mr. Entertainment and his bombast do not disappoint. The Heavy Entertainment Show is his most invigorated album in years, a truer return to the pop realm than 2012's Take the Crown. Here, Williams dresses up his antics in expert production with plenty of cheekiness to spare. As the show begins, Williams announces "the charisma's non-negotiable" and "I'm about to strip and you're my pole." He's cocky, crass, and utterly engaging as a chorus of backup singers add, "He would sell his children for a hit in Belgium!" Few pop stars can pull this off, yet from Williams, it's almost comforting to see him once again embrace his braggadocious ringmaster persona. Longtime producer Guy Chambers makes his return to Williams' circus, along with a number of high-profile guests. The Killers-penned "Mixed Signals" is an open-road epic that sounds like a Battle Born castaway, while Ed Sheeran and Benny Blanco join forces for the stomp-twang Avicii-lite "Pretty Woman." Rufus Wainwright contributes songwriting and his velvety voice to a trio of brassy tunes, kick-stepping alongside Williams on the aforementioned title track, as well as "Hotel Crazy" and the grand outro "Sensational." "David's Song" -- penned by Jewel and Kara DioGuardi -- is a heart-rending soft rock ballad that overwhelms with a powerful closing guitar solo and orchestral swell. However, it's producer Stuart Price who proves most valuable. In addition to the Killers track, he injects the album with a pair of addictive standout synth numbers. Highlight "Bruce Lee" is a Bowie-stomping glam number that struts its way through the pack, while "Sensitive" amps up the sensuality with echoing synths, handclaps, and juicy bass. Elsewhere, there are a couple love-or-hate tracks that stick out. The Prokofiev-sampling lead single "Party Like a Russian" -- which sounds like something Muse would use to dramatically start a show -- is big on drama and creativity, but might rub some listeners the wrong way with its cultural generalities. Meanwhile, the boldly titled "Motherfucker" seems like it's trying a little too hard to shock, yet it's the finest example of Williams' schtick. A heartwarming dedication to his young son, it is ridiculous yet completely uplifting. As it explodes into a guitar-drenched Oasis B-side, Williams recites a litany of family woes that could affect his offspring. It'll make grandma blush, but at the heart of it all, he's confident that his son will "break the chain" of sin. Despite that title and explicit lyrics, Williams allows some sincerity to shine through the sophomoric, remaining hilarious and full of heart. Eleven albums in and he's still one of the most likable acts around, truly one of a kind. --AllMusic Review by Neil Z. Yeung
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Reger, Busch & Weinreich - Suites for Viola - Roland Glassl (2016) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/44,1kHz

Сomposer: Max Reger (1873-1916), Adolf Busch (1891-1952), Justus Weinreich (1858-1927)
Artist: Roland Glassl
Title: Suites for Viola by Reger, Busch & Weinreich
Genre: Classical
Label: © Audite Musikproduktion
Release Date: 2016
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 44.1kHz/24bit
Duration: 79 min.
Recording: Himmelfahrtskirche München-Sendling, July 20 - 22 2015

Roland Glassl, the longstanding violist of the Mandelring Quartet, presents his debut solo album performing suites for solo viola. Bach's works for solo string instruments were the model, the stylistic and virtuosic possibilities around 1900 the gauge: the works by Max Reger, Adolf Busch and Justus Weinreich were written between 1894 and 1925, so before the great twentieth century flowering of solo and concerto repertoire for the viola. Weinreich's suites of 1894 are the pioneers: a wonderful discovery and now available as a recording for the first time. Max Reger did not manage to write his planned fourth suite for the violist of the Busch Quartet: Adolf Busch, the leader of the ensemble, fulfilled his friend's project by composing his own suite.
Roland Glassl has established his reputation as a soloist and chamber musician. Numerous prizes at international competitions (including first prize at Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition; first prize at Washington International Competition for Strings; winner of the first International Viola Competition Vienna) as well as sixteen years of playing in the Mandelring Quartet have taken him to many of the great international concert stages and festivals. Roland Glassl studied the violin with Prof. Ana Chumachenco at the Munich Musikhochschule and the viola at Indiana University, Bloomington, USA, with Atar Arad. After his return to Germany he began his career as a chamber musician and soloist. Alongside his intensive involvement with the Mandelring Quartet he has given many concerts with the Trio Charolca and has also continued performing as a soloist. Roland Glassl teaches at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Frankfurt am Main, whose staff he joined as professor of viola in 2004.
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Einojuhani Rautavaara - Modificata, Towards the Horizon & Incantations - Colin Currie, Truls Mork, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, John Storgards (2012/2016) High-Fidelity DSF Stereo DSD128/5.64MHz

Сomposer: Einojuhani Rautavaara (1928)
Artist: Colin Currie, Truls Mørk, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, John Storgårds
Title: Rautavaara: Modificata, Towards the Horizon & Incantations
Genre: Classical
Label: © 2xHD/Ondine Oy, Helsinki
Release Date: 2012/2016
Quality: DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz
Duration: 01:02:16
Recorded: Helsinki, Finlandia Hall, 15.1.2011 (Incantations), Music Centre, 10.–12.8.2011. A 24-bit recording in dXd (digital eXtreme definition)

This new recording couples Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara’s latest concerto works with an orchestral piece from his early Modernist period (Modificata; 1957/2003). The virtuoso Percussion Concerto Incantations (2008) features the Scottish percussion soloist Colin Currie, who is the dedicatee and première performer of this work. Currie wrote himself the virtuoso cadenza to the final movement. Rautavaara’s Second Cello Concerto Towards the Horizon (2009) was written for cellist Truls Mørk and plays continuously in one 20-minute movement. Reviewing the premiere the Star Tribune noted that the composer “acknowledges a ‘taste for eternity’ and a vain of mysticsm runs through his work.” Einojuhani Rautavaara is recognized as one of the most notable Finnish composers after Jean Sibelius. His recordings on Ondine have been bestsellers and garnered numerous awards (including a recent GRAMMY nomination for his opera Kaivos). Under their chief conductor John Storgårds, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra builds on long-time pedigrees of performing their compatriot’s music.
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Raffaele Genovese Trio - Anamnesi (2013) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Artist: Raffaele Genovese Trio
Title: Anamnesi
Genre: Jazz, Modern Jazz, Piano Jazz
Label: © Alfa Music
Release Date: 2013
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: e-Onkyo
Duration: 00:51:58
Recorded at AlfaMusic Studio, Roma, Italy by Alessandro Guardia

Dove conduce il viaggio mentale nel passato musicale di Raffaele Genovese, il trentenne pianista siciliano che ci propone in trio la sua personale anamnesi? L'ascolto di questo nuovo album può lasciare spazio a diverse considerazioni in merito, ma sarebbe fuorviante pensare solo alla personale genealogia di influenze che hanno prodotto il suo linguaggio, perchè ciò che ci viene proposto è il frutto maturo di un percorso nel quale, a soli trent'anni, questa nuova realtà del jazz italiano dimostra di aver già metabolizzato un ampio spettro di riferimenti. Il trio che presenta ha le caratteristiche della mobilità, del dinamismo interno, con il basso che, ancor più del pianoforte, crea i collegamenti e la regia, mentre il piano e la batteria si muovono in completa sintonia (e a volte anche sincronia), con un gioco di rimandi continui da cui si origina un interplay creativo che rappresenta il vero cuore della musica. La pregevole coerenza interna della musica, ottenuta senza soffocare la libertà individuale, nasce anche dalla logica compositiva in cui prevale la brevità dei brani, talvolta quasi aforistici e portatori di idee che si riverberano nella creazione del momento, dove, a volte, si segue la strada della variazione estemporizzata se non, persino, dello sviluppo della composizione stessa all'interno della performance. Un album meditato e sorretto da un'energia interiore che come un fiume carsico sparisce e riappare tra le pieghe della musica.
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Rachmaninov & Tchaikovsky - Piano Trios - Trio Testore (2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/44,1kHz

Сomposer: Sergey Vassilievich Rachmaninov (1873-1943), Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-93)
Artist: Trio Testore
Title: Rachmaninov & Tchaikovsky: Piano Trios
Genre: Classical
Label: © Audite Musikproduktion
Release Date: 2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 44.1kHz/24bit
Duration: 01:04:44

After the successful release of the Brahms Piano Trios, audite is now presenting a second SACD with the Trio Testore. It sheds light on a special side of Russian chamber music: Tchaikovsky's and Rachmaninov's works for piano trio are conceived as dedications and memorials.
Pjotr Tchaikovsky composed his only Piano Trio in memory of Nikolai Rubinstein, his mentor and friend. He paid tribute to Rubinstein's pianistic brilliance with the work's demanding piano part, but integrated it also into the communicative context with two equal partners: symbolically, the virtuoso receives resonance, support and stimulation from them. Sergei Rachmaninov took this two-movement work and its fundamentally elegiac character as a model when he composed his First Piano Trio at the age of seventeen. In it, he was already able to mould essential elements of his style, his type of melodic invention and the development of further correlations.
The history of the dedications of the works determines their individual form and their personal, passionate tone. They are thus exemplary for a tradition that continued to make its effect far into the 20th century.
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Rachmaninov & Chopin - Cello Sonatas - David Jalbert, Denise Djokic (2013) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Сomposer: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943), Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)
Artist: David Jalbert, Denise Djokic
Title: Rachmaninov & Chopin: Cello Sonatas
Genre: Classical
Label: © ATMA Classique
Release Date: 2013
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: ATMA Classique
Duration: 01:12:21
Recorded: Salle Françoys-Bernier, Domaine Forget, Saint-Irénée, (Québec) Canada May 2011

Canadian cellist Denise Djokic has earned world-wide acclaim for her sincere, powerful interpretations and her bold command of the instrument. For her second solo CD on ATMA, she has chosen works for cello and piano by Chopin and Rachmaninov; she is joined by her regular chamber music partner, pianist David Jalbert.

Chopin and Rachmaninov are alike in several respects: both were great pianists with high-strung temperaments, and both were Slavs who were inescapably constrained to exile by revolution. Composed early in the 20th century, Rachmaninov’s music is in many ways a continuation of Chopin’s art, as this recording demonstrates.
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Sergei Prokofiev - Works for Violin & Piano - Franziska Pietsch, Detlev Eisinger (2016) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/44,1kHz

Сomposer: Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)
Artist: Franziska Pietsch, Detlev Eisinger
Title: Prokofiev: Works for Violin & Piano
Genre: Classical
Label: © Audite Musikproduktion
Release Date: 2016
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 44.1kHz/24bit
Duration: 68 min

Following the successful release of the Grieg Violin Sonatas, Franziska Pietsch and her piano partner Detlev Eisinger now present music by Sergei Prokofiev on the audite label. His works reflect facets of her own biography to a significant degree. As an emerging talent in the GDR, Franziska Pietsch enjoyed special state support; her musical training was thus initially shaped by the Eastern European school, bringing Prokofiev's music close to her heart. His two Violin Sonatas appear as two contrasting poles within his oeuvre - her life has also moved between extremes. The state support led to early success in the GDR. However, her father's escape to the West in 1984 was followed by two years of reprisals by the regime, intensively shaping Franziska Pietsch's understanding of music: deprived of any possibility of playing concerts or taking lessons, her chosen path towards hope - against desperation, refusal, fear and despotism - led inwards. Music became the only language in which she was able to express herself freely and which gave her the necessary strength to withstand external circumstances, continuing to hope for freedom. These were the origins of the intensity and artistic depth which characterise Franziska Pietsch's playing to the present day.
The two Violin Sonatas, written largely between 1938 and 1946 after Prokofiev's return to the Soviet Union, could not be more contrary: No 1 in F minor, Prokofiev's "Appassionata", is a tragic piece, whilst No 2 in D major, originally conceived for flute and piano, is predominantly joyful and serene. Prokofiev arranged it himself, with David Oistrakh advising him. The reworked version of the Cinq mélodies, composed in 1919/20 for voice (without text) and piano accompaniment, was also produced by Prokofiev himself. These chamber works expose three intrinsic aspects of his artistry: his ability to create a seamless, emotionally intense melodic line; his often concealed tragic side; and his classicist inclination.
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Orchester Erwin Lehn - Color in Jazz (1974/2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/88,2kHz

Artist: Orchester Erwin Lehn
Title: Color in Jazz
Genre: Jazz, Big Band, Fusion, Space-Age
Label: © MPS - Musik Produktion Schwarzwald | Edel Germany GmbH
Release Date: 1974/2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 88,2kHz/24bit
Duration: 42:19
Recorded: May 1973 at Tonstudio Bauer, Ludwigsburg

From 1951-92 Erwin Lehn conducted one of Germany’s leading swing big bands, the Radio Stuttgart Dance Orchestra. The band included top names from the international jazz scene, including American trombonists Bob Burgess (Stan Kenton and Woody Herman bands) and Donald Beightol (Oliver Nelson), Swedish trumpeter Rolf Ericson (Duke Ellington, Buddy Rich Sextet), German Saxophonist Joki Freund (Albert Mangelsdorff, Hans Koller), and Dutch trumpet great Ack Van Rooyen. Composed by either band saxophonist Bernd Rabe or Lehn, the vibrant pieces cover a wide range of contemporary jazz. On Alfredo, bop horn lines, Van Rooyen’s sweet singing solo, along with Freund’s crisp improv stand out. Burgess highlights the trombonist’s layered depth, from ballad to rock to swing and back, whereas Atlantik 2 displays brassy, sophisticated chording, Van Rooyen’s trumpet in all its muted elegance, and hip sax and piano solos. Rabe’s moody sax opens El Cuervo Nuovo before the piece moves into a mix of Latin and swing with Van Rooyen’s majestic trumpet soaring above the band. Lift Up features Rabe on alto and Ericson’s blistering trumpet, and the aptly named Color may be portrayed as the album’s highlight. It offers a kaleidoscope of moods and hues, with just about everyone contributing to the composition’s overall texture. Funf Zu Vier (Five to Four) plays around with 4/4 and 5/4 time signatures. Despite having been one of the best and most popular big bands in Germany, Lehn’s Orchestra made surprisingly few records, especially in such a pure jazz setting. This 1974 album is possibly their best, and as such is a classic of the genre.
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Nicki Parrott - Autumn Leaves (2012) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/88,2kHz

Artist: Nicki Parrott
Title: Autumn Leaves
Genre: Jazz, Vocal Jazz, Straight-Ahead Jazz, Smoot Jazz, Christmas
Label: © Venus Records, Inc. Manufactured by Venus Records, Inc., Tokyo, Japan
Release Date: 2012
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 88,2kHz/24bit
Source: e-Onkyo
Duration: 01:06:01
Recording: Avatar Studios, NYC, July 18, 19, 23 & 24, 2012

This is the third album in vocalist and bassist Nicki Parrott's four-part seasonal series. Autumn Leaves follows the spring-themed Sakura Sakura and Summertime. Similar to those two albums, an excellent group of musicians support Parrott on the album. John Di Martino is featured on piano and Nicki's sister Lisa shines on the baritone sax. Harry Allen on tenor saxophone is an added bonus. These well-known autumn themed songs are refined and cleverly arranged with determined sensibilities and performed with loving lyricism.
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Neil Diamond - All-Time Greatest Hits (2014/2016) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Artist: Neil Diamond
Title: All-Time Greatest Hits
Genre: Pop Rock, Soft Rock, AM Pop, Singer/Songwriter
Label: © Capitol Records, LLC
Release Date: 2014/2016
Quality: HDTracks
Duration: 01:18:51

All-Time Greatest Hits was released on Capitol Records, a label Neil Diamond never recorded for, but Universal -- who owned the recordings Diamond made for both Uni and MCA -- selected this as the imprint for 2014's All-Time Greatest Hits, a generous collection of 23 hits from the '60s and '70s. A consistent bugaboo with Diamond compilations has been licensing, but this one does a very nice job of sampling from all of Neil's major labels, including Bang, Uni, MCA, and Columbia. The late-'70s hits -- "Forever in Blue Jeans," "Beautiful Noise," "America" -- are scattered throughout the compilation; the Uni/MCA sides ("Cracklin' Rosie," "Sweet Caroline," "Holly Holy," "Shilo," "Play Me") are the anchor of the comp, and the Bang singles are grouped together toward the end. True, the collection might've been better served if it was sequenced chronologically, but this has the vast majority of the big hits on a single disc, and that's been hard to find in Diamond's catalog. --AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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