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Sonny Clark - Cool Struttin' (1958/2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Mono 24bit/192kHz

Artist: Sonny Clark
Title: Cool Struttin'
Genre: Jazz, Hard Bop, Bop, Piano Jazz
Label: © Blue Note Records
Release Date: 1958 (BLP 1588)/2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC 2.0 Mono 192kHz/24bit
Source: acousticsounds.com
Duration: 37:23
Recorded: January 5, 1958 at Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey.

"With the single exception of Kind of Blue, Sonny Clark's Cool Struttin' is almost certainly the coolest jazz album of all time." --100 Greatest Jazz Albums

Cool Struttin' features a constellation of jazz greats: Jackie McLean on alto sax, Art Farmer on trumpet, and two members of Miles Davis' Quintet (Philly Joe Jones on drums and Paul Chambers on bass). While Kind of Blue focused on modal jazz, Cool Struttin' takes its soul from the heart of the blues.
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Simon & Garfunkel - Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (1966/2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Artist: Simon & Garfunkel
Title: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme
Genre: Pop Rock, Folk Rock, Folk Pop, Psychedelic
Label: © Columbia Records
Release Date: 1966/2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 28:47
Recorded: December 1965–August 1966. Mixed And Mastered By Vic Anesini At Sony Music Studios, New York.

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme is the third studio album by American music duo Simon & Garfunkel. Produced by Bob Johnston, the album was released on October 10, 1966 in the United States by Columbia Records. Following the success of their debut single "The Sound of Silence", Simon & Garfunkel regrouped after a time apart while Columbia issued their second album, a rushed collection titled Sounds of Silence. For their third album, the duo spent nine months in the studio, for the first time extending a perfectionist nature both in terms of instrumentation and production.
The album largely consists of acoustic pieces that were mostly written during Paul Simon's period in England the previous year, including some recycled numbers from his debut solo record, The Paul Simon Songbook. The album includes the Garfunkel-led piece "For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her", as well as "7 O'Clock News/Silent Night", a combination of news reports of the day (the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement) and the Christmas carol "Silent Night".
Many critics have considered it a breakthrough in recording for the duo, and one of their best efforts. "Homeward Bound" became a top five hit in numerous countries, while "Scarborough Fair/Canticle" performed similarly. The album peaked at number four on the Billboard Pop Album Chart, and was eventually certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.


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Gioachino Rossini - Il barbiere di Siviglia - Maria Callas, Philharmonia Orchestra, Alceo Galliera (1957/2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Сomposer: Gioachino Rossini 1792–1868
Artist: Maria Callas, Philharmonia Orchestra, Alceo Galliera
Title: Rossini - Il barbiere di Siviglia
Genre: Classical, Opera
Label: © Warner Classics
Release Date: 2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: highresaudio.com
Duration: 2:10:09
Recorded: 7–14.II.1957, Kingsway Hall, London

Although the bel canto roles of Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti, which Maria Callas had studied in depth with Elvira de Hidalgo at the Athens Conservatory, would form the heart of her repertoire at the turn of the 1950s, Rossini was to come a distant third compared to Bellini (Norma was the role she played most often on stage) and Donizetti (Lucia di Lammermoor being fourth in that list). The first Rossini opera in which Callas took part was Il turco in Italia (Rome, 1950), in which she, a singer known for her portrayals of tragic heroines, revealed a comic gift that left its mark. After that came the 1952 revival in Florence of a forgotten opera seria, Armida. There, pitted against four tenors, she gave the most breathtaking demonstration of bravura singing imaginable. 1955 saw a reprise of Il turco, at La Scala, in a new production by Franco Zeffirelli, and that was followed in February 1956 by a much-criticised staging of Il barbiere di Siviglia.
A range of problems beset Il barbiere – to begin with, it was a stock, old-fashioned production. Then, on a programming level, the five performances of Barbiere were in effect smothered by the revival of Luchino Visconti’s celebrated 1955 production of La traviata: just imagine Callas making her debut as Rosina having sung Violetta the night before! Preserved on disc, the premiere of Barbiere reveals an acrobatic and highly charged Callas, at the heart of a cast where everyone seems to be overplaying – Carlo Maria Giulini was apparently in command of his orchestra but not, perhaps, his singers. In a London studio the following year, by contrast, Alceo Galliera conducted Callas in a version exemplary for its discipline. EMI producer Walter Legge considered this recording one of the singer’s best. Brimming with charming impudence (‘Una voce poco fa’) or anger (a heartbreaking ‘Indietro, anima scellerata!’), Callas’s lively Rosina has a lightness of touch and perfect musicality, the singer here truly finding her place within the role and within the cast, while the drama unfolds with irresistible humour and sparkling wit: a miracle of freshness, harmony and balance. --MICHEL ROUBINET
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Giacomo Puccini - Turandot - Maria Callas, Orch del Teatro alla Scala di Milano, Tullio Serafin (1957/2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Сomposer: Giacomo Puccini 1858–1924
Artist: Maria Callas, Orch del Teatro alla Scala di Milano, Tullio Serafin
Title: Puccini - Turandot
Genre: Classical, Opera
Label: © Warner Classics
Release Date: 2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: highresaudio.com
Duration: 1:58:22
Recorded: 9–13 & 15.VII.1957, Teatro alla Scala, Milan

Maria Callas’s outstanding assumption of the title role was recognised as such by Opera magazine’s important recorded performances series in the 1970s. She was placed alongside Eva Turner as its pre-eminent interpreter to date in a list already including Gina Cigna, Birgit Nilsson and Inge Borkh. Callas had sung the role ‘live’ in Italy (Venice, Rome, Verona, Genoa and Naples) and South America (Buenos Aires) 24 times in 18 months in 1948–9 but then dropped it from her repertoire. So when Columbia’s Walter Legge-produced set was made at La Scala in July 1957, she had not sung a complete Turandot for eight years or recorded even excerpts from it since 1954 (‘In questa reggia’ and the two Liù arias).
Parts of Act III from her last run of performances (at the Teatro Colón) have survived. The voice may have been more forceful – Callas was then a dramatic soprano whose repertoire was based on Turandot, Aida, Leonora (Forza), Norma, Abigaille and Kundry. The commanding presence of a dangerous virgin Empress who will kill for the sake of a centuries-old vendetta is certainly there. But the interpretation lacks the detail that Callas would mine from the motivation of her gradual sexual awakening after Liù’s death or the ecstatic, resolving announcement in Act III (‘Padre augusto, conosco il nome dello straniero! Il suo nome è… Amor!’). Here Callas found the personal psychological colouring that so fascinated her in the parts of Violetta, Lucia or in Act III of Aida, layers often lacking in Puccini performances.
The conducting of Tullio Serafin, Callas’s mentor in this role as in so many others, is a contributing factor to her enhanced view of the title role. Serafin, rather than exploring the relative modernity of Puccini’s harmonies or the ‘oriental’ colouring of his orchestration (as, say, Stokowski would in his Metropolitan performances a few years later), takes an almost Wagnerian, symphonic approach to the score. Line and narrative outrank local colour. Of interest also in the cast are Legge’s wife Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (a close friend of Callas) as Liù and Giuseppe Nessi, who created the role of Pang in 1926, as the Emperor. --MIKE ASHMAN, 2014
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Giacomo Puccini - Tosca - Maria Callas, Orch del Teatro alla Scala di Milano, Victor de Sabata (1953/2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Сomposer: Giacomo Puccini 1858–1924
Artist: Maria Callas, Orch del Teatro alla Scala di Milano, Victor de Sabata
Title: Puccini - Tosca
Genre: Classical, Opera
Label: © Warner Classics
Release Date: 2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: highresaudio.com
Duration: 1:48:55
Recorded: 10–21.VIII.1953, Teatro alla Scala, Milan

This Tosca, made in 1953 with the forces of La Scala, is a landmark in recording history. Conducted with searing intensity by Victor de Sabata, it teams Callas with two of her closest colleagues, the tenor Giuseppe di Stefano and the baritone Tito Gobbi – a performer who could rival Callas in dramatic finesse and power. Tosca’s aria ‘Vissi d’arte’ (I lived for art) has come to be seen as Callas’ personal manifesto.
Tosca,' Giacomo Puccini's 'shabby little shocker,' had its premiere in 1900. The libretto, by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica, was based on the Sardou drama of the same name. The opera has come to be associated with Maria Callas, the most celebrated interpreter of the title role. This recording, which dates from 1953, is THE classic performance, one of two 'official' recordings, as it were. It is a must-have for all Callas fans. (There is another official recording, made in 1964, with a different conductor, Georges Prêtre, and a different Cavaradossi, Carlo Bergonzi, but as the years passed, so did the quality of Callas's voice.) This earlier version is far superior.
Tradition mandates that we hear Callas sing with her fabled partner, the honey-voiced Di Stefano. Here, his sweetness is a wonderful counterpoint to Callas's dramatic, covered voice. Tito Gobbi provides a crafty Scarpia, and De Sabata's conducting is considered by many to be the ultimate reading of this work. But Callas is the diva here, and the listener is treated to the full amalgam of her emotional range. This performance is the myth-making one!
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Giacomo Puccini - Manon Lescaut - Maria Callas, Orch del Teatro alla Scala di Milano, Tullio Serafin (1957/2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Сomposer: Giacomo Puccini 1858–1924
Artist: Maria Callas, Orch del Teatro alla Scala di Milano, Tullio Serafin
Title: Puccini - Manon Lescaut
Genre: Classical, Opera
Label: © Warner Classics
Release Date: 2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: highresaudio.com
Duration: 2:00:45
Recorded: 18–27.VII.1957, Teatro alla Scala, Milan

Columbia’s recording of Manon Lescaut began in July 1957, only three days after the company had completed Turandot. On vinyl the sound was not an unqualified success – perhaps one reason, combined with anxiety about some of Callas’s unsteadier top notes, why the original release was delayed for three years. These problems seemed to vanish, however, once the recording was digitally remastered for CD. Manon is one of four roles – the others being Nedda, Mimì and Carmen – that Callas recorded without having sung them on stage. This does not seem from her performance to have been any barrier to her accustomed method of plundering both music and text of a role new to her for psychological insights. Such interpretative understanding led Callas to present Manon throughout as the simple country girl. This holds whether she is precisely observing Puccini’s frequent ‘con semplicità’ instruction in Act I, transparently acting her new social position as Geronte’s kept woman, yielding to flaming passion at the return to her life of Des Grieux (both Act II) or dying in the Louisiana desert (Act IV). In this final scena, ‘Sola, perduta, abbandonata’, Callas finds the same uncanny empty tone in her voice that she used for other characters on the verge of death, in particular Mimì and Violetta.
The score of Manon Lescaut is frequently criticised for the supposed incoherence of its libretto (no fewer than six hands were involved, including Leoncavallo and Puccini himself) and its over-the-top immaturity. But Callas is careful throughout to reserve her emotional outbursts for where they will best tell a story whose almost filmic gaps anticipate later Puccini. Her way of doing this was often to isolate and concentrate on certain phrases within a set-piece. ‘Un freddo che m’agghiaccia’ catches the freezing cold of Manon’s feelings about loveless aristocratic life, ‘tu, tu, amore tu’ her feelings for Des Grieux (both in Act II) and ‘terra di pace mi sembrava questa’ (‘this seemed a peaceful land to me’) her hopes for salvation even in her final exile. --MIKE ASHMAN, 2014
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Amilcare Ponchielli - La Gioconda - Maria Callas, Orch Sinfonica di Torino della RAI, Antonino Votto (1952/2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Сomposer: Amilcare Ponchielli 1834–1886
Artist: Maria Callas, Orch Sinfonica di Torino della RAI, Antonino Votto
Title: Ponchielli - La Gioconda
Genre: Classical, Opera
Label: © Warner Classics
Release Date: 2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: highresaudio.com
Duration: 2:47:29
Recorded: 6–10.IX.1952, Auditorium RAI, Turin

Although Maria Callas is perhaps most closely associated with the roles of Norma, Violetta and Tosca, Ponchielli’s passionate, generous, and ironically named heroine Gioconda played a major role in the diva’s life and career. Following the war, Callas came from Greece to New York in an attempt to launch a major career. After several setbacks, including the cancellation of a high-profile debut as Turandot, the 23-year old soprano auditioned for retired tenor Giovanni Zenatello, who was casting about for a Gioconda for the Verona Arena’s summer season. Callas landed the part, and made her Italian debut on 3 August 1947. Although Richard Tucker, the Enzo on that occasion, walked away with most of the reviews, this engagement effectively launched Callas’s career in other ways: she met and married Giovanni Battista Meneghini, who gave the penniless singer the financial security to pursue her art, and she first worked with conductor Tullio Serafin, who became her mentor and supplied subsequent bookings before Callas’ extraordinary gifts were recognised.
In July 1952, Callas returned to Verona in the role, and in August it became her first complete opera recording, before unveiling her Gioconda in December at La Scala. After 13 performances in total, she abandoned the role, returning to it only in the recording studio in 1959. But with two records of the opera, Gioconda became a ‘Callas role’, and a fascinating vehicle in which to study her artistic development.
This early Gioconda features Callas in enormous, free vocal estate, infinite colours pouring out of her with volcanic power. The chest voice is huge, employed with searing intensity – witness the definitive reading of ‘Suicidio!’ – the high notes secure and steady. Memorable phrases and definitive line readings abound and, partnered by Fedora Barbieri, Callas delivers a white-hot Gioconda/Laura duet, surpassing any on disc. Callas’s Gioconda is ablaze throughout with the spontaneity of a staged performance, transcending the studio surroundings, capturing her at her youthful best. --IRA SIFF, 2014
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Amilcare Ponchielli - La Gioconda - Maria Callas, Orch del Teatro alla Scala di Milano, Antonino Votto (1959/2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Сomposer: Amilcare Ponchielli 1834–1886
Artist: Maria Callas, Orch del Teatro alla Scala di Milano, Antonino Votto
Title: Ponchielli - La Gioconda
Genre: Classical, Opera
Label: © Warner Classics
Release Date: 2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: highresaudio.com
Duration: 2:46:31
Recorded: 4–11.IX.1959, Teatro alla Scala, Milan

Maria Callas sang the role of Gioconda on stage a total of 13 times – five in 1947, eight more in 1952–3. It may therefore come as a surprise that Ponchielli’s ironically named street singer played such a pivotal role in the soprano’s life and career. After numerous setbacks in her effort to launch an American career in the mid-1940s, Callas struck gold when she auditioned for retired tenor Giovanni Zenatello, searching for a protagonist for a Gioconda he was casting for the Verona Arena’s summer season of 1947. The 23-year-old soprano got the part, and during those performances met two men who changed her life – Giovanni Battista Meneghini, whom she married, and Maestro Tullio Serafin, who became her artistic mentor. Fast forward five years, and we find Callas recording Gioconda, her first complete opera release, and another seven years to sessions for this more artistically mature second studio Gioconda – during which time she announced her separation from Meneghini, mentioning her ‘profound friendship’ with Aristotle Onassis.
In addition to the importance Gioconda played in her life and career, the role served Callas’s art – but perhaps not nearly as much as she served it. This document of her portrayal came at a perfect moment, when artistic maturity and vocal glory coincided maybe for the last time for this magnificent artist. 1959 was the final year of her vocal prime, and the year after which Callas’s relationship with Onassis consumed the time and energy previously spent on her work.
Callas arrived at the sessions in Milan, radiant, in love – and in glorious voice. Her first Gioconda boasts a volcanic verismo voice; this one offers myriad interpretative details, coupled with such elegant singing as to eradicate any condescending remarks about Ponchielli’s ‘potboiler’. Throughout the opera, Callas imbues the heroine with a tragic grandeur. Many phrases are indelible, seem inevitable, and are unforgettable – making it difficult to accept anyone else in the role. The entire final act is a Callas masterpiece, from a searing ‘Suicidio!’ to the heroine’s final phrase. This is Callas at her greatest – and that’s saying something. --IRA SIFF, 2014
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Maria Callas - The Callas Rarities (2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Сomposer: Various
Artist: Maria Callas
Title: The Callas Rarities
Genre: Classical, Opera
Label: © Warner Classics
Release Date: 2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: highresaudio.com
Duration: 1:56:49

The first two tracks heard here are tests made for the producer Walter Legge to get the feeling of working with Maria Callas in a studio and to find good microphone placings in an acoustically difficult venue for recording Lucia di Lammermoor immediately afterwards. In the mono version of the Sleepwalking Scene from Macbeth one hears the character moving off into the distance as instructed in the score, unlike the stereo take where the voice remains centre stage.
In 1960, Callas began a series of ‘working’ sessions in London under Antonio Tonini. The intention was to enable Callas retrain her voice after the vocal problems that had beset her at the end of the 1950s and in the process, produce some recordings suitable for commercial release. A substantial amount of the material included here comes from those sessions, from which the only item approved by Callas was the scene from Act I of Il pirata included in the LP Callas by Request. Most of the other arias were remade later in Paris with Rescigno for the albums Mozart, Beethoven and Weber Arias and Rossini and Donizetti Arias.
When Callas made her two recitals of French arias in Paris in 1961 and 1963, she formed a strong musical relationship with the conductor Georges Prêtre, who would go on to conduct most of her final live performances and the 1964 recordings of Carmen and Tosca. In June 1964 she and Prêtre began a recording of operatic duets with the tenor Franco Corelli, but the chemistry between Corelli and Prêtre proved explosive and the duet ‘Pur ti riveggo’ from Aida was all that could be rescued from the first and only session. The concluding part of the programme is devoted to Verdi arias recorded with Rescigno at the Paris sessions of 1964–5 and 1969 for a planned third Verdi album. These tracks, unapproved by Callas, are released because they form an important part of the recorded legacy of this unique artist. --TONY LOCANTRO, 2014
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Maria Callas - Mad Scenes (2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Сomposer: Gaetano Donizetti 1797–1848; Ambroise Thomas 1811–1896; Vincenzo Bellini 1801–1835
Artist: Maria Callas
Title: Mad Scenes
Genre: Classical, Opera
Label: © Warner Classics
Release Date: 2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: highresaudio.com
Duration: 47:30
Recorded: 24–25.IX.1958, Kingsway Hall, London

Callas had already triumphed at La Scala with Anna Bolena and Il pirata (the first real success of Bellini’s early career) in 1958. She wanted to record both works complete, but the producer Walter Legge was not convinced that either was marketable and persuaded the soprano to settle for their final scenes – which he believed to contain the essence of both pieces. Callas followed his judgement. ‘We are the only two people who know what bel canto is,’ she was to tell Legge years later when attempting to persuade him to share the platform at her Juilliard masterclasses. Posthumously she was to get her wish when EMI took into its catalogue a live broadcast of each opera from La Scala.

For this recital’s mixed repertoire Callas insisted (as she would for several similar ventures) on being accompanied by the Italian-American conductor Nicola Rescigno, with whom she had been working regularly since a Chicago Norma in 1954. Rescigno was an adventurous editor of opera scores for concerts and records. His cuts and tightenings helped Anna’s ‘mad scene’ to work dramatically and musically when shorn of the rest of the opera. He also rehearsed particularly with the Philharmonia’s cor anglais on the long solo which opens the cavatina, work in which Callas enthusiastically joined.
The Hamlet scena – which had long featured in Callas’s concerts in Italian – was added to the programme, now in French as a preview of the new (and more mezzo-ish) repertoire that the soprano was beginning to consider. All three of the central figures in the recital – Donizetti’s Anna, BeIlini’s Imogene and Thomas’s Ophélie – share aspects of the character that most fascinated Callas in her stage work. They are women who are on the verge, not so much of madness but of being pushed by men they love (or who have power over them) into a state of being unable to live any more. --MIKE ASHMAN, 2014
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