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Shai Maestro Trio - The Stone Skipper (2016) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Artist: Shai Maestro Trio
Title: The Stone Skipper
Genre: Jazz
Label: © Sound Surveyor Music
Release Date: 2016
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 00:59:59
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Lars Nilsson and Michael Dahlvid at Nilento Studios


Avec The Stone Skipper, Shai Maestro et ses complices Jorge Roeder et Ziv Ravitz signent une pure merveille ! Se jouant des frontières de ce que l’on appelle communément le jazz, le trio du pianiste israélien n’hésite plus à s’aventurer sur des territoires autres, mariant les touches électroniques élégantes et l’apparition de voix en osmose avec son univers singulier. Depuis ses débuts en trio en 2011, la trajectoire musicale de ce bien nommé Maestro semble accompagner la recherche d’une humanité pleine et entière. Enregistré à Nilento au milieu de la campagne suédoise, The Stone Skipper, quatrième album de ce trio plus soudé que jamais, est construit comme un récit qui se déploie et s’appuie sur un motif musical central, fil rouge garant d’une unité scénaristique prégnante connectant les morceaux entre eux. « Cet album est, de loin, le plus personnel que nous ayons fait. Nous n’avons pas cherché à jouer les virtuoses sur nos instruments mais plutôt à se mettre au service de ce récit du mieux possible. » Un disque qui accueille quatre voix habitées et envoûtantes. Celles de Gretchen Parlato, Theo Bleckmann, Neli et Kalina Andreeva, comme quatre respirations, amples, qui ne prennent jamais le dessus sur le récit musical qui mélange instruments acoustiques et électroniques. A l’arrivée, avec un tel outil, Shai Maestro et ses complices viennent de franchir un nouveau cap, humain sans aucun doute, artistique assurément...
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Robert Schumann - Pieces for Oboe and Piano - Alexei Utkin, Igor Tchetuev (2010) High-Fidelity DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz

Сomposer: Robert Schumann (1810–1856)
Artist: Alexei Utkin, Igor Tchetuev
Title: Schumann - Pieces for Oboe and Piano
Genre: Classical
Label: Caro Mitis/Essential Music
Release Date: 2010
Quality: DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz
Source: nativeDSDmusic
Duration: 00:48:59
Recorded: 5–8.09.2008, 5th Studio of The Russian Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (RTR), Moscow, Russia


In his youth Schumann was reputed to be a tender-hearted and desperate Romantic. This is undoubtedly true. We need only recall his ardent love for future wife Clara and how passionately he fought for her, how fervently he poured his feelings into numerous piano pieces and spared no effort in writing critical articles, where he furiously attacked Philistines and waxed lyrical about talented young composers such as Berlioz and Chopin.
When Schumann later found family happiness and his life became more tranquil, at least to outward appearances, characteristics that had previously lain hidden finally surfaced. The pieces recorded for this album give an idea of what the mature Schumann was like as a person and what interested him. Nearly all of them (except the violin sonata) were composed in Dresden, where he lived from 1844 to 1849. It should be mentioned that the change in Schumann’s place of residence which involved leaving Leipzig, the epicentre of musical activity, and moving to quiet, peaceful Dresden was undertaken on the advice of his doctors. The composer suffered from bipolar affective disorder. He was overcome by bouts of terrible depression which, in the end, also led to his death. Initially the move brought no relief: ‘I am still badly afflicted and often quite despondent. I am not allowed to work at all, only to rest and take walks, but often I lack the strength even for a stroll,’ wrote the composer in October 1844.
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Robert Schumann - Pieces for Oboe and Piano - Alexei Utkin, Igor Tchetuev (2010) High-Fidelity DSF 5.0 Surround DSD64/2.82MHz

Сomposer: Robert Schumann (1810–1856)
Artist: Alexei Utkin, Igor Tchetuev
Title: Schumann - Pieces for Oboe and Piano
Genre: Classical
Label: Caro Mitis/Essential Music
Release Date: 2010
Quality: DSF 5.0 Surround DSD64/2.82MHz
Source: nativeDSDmusic
Duration: 00:48:59
Recorded: 5–8.09.2008, 5th Studio of The Russian Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (RTR), Moscow, Russia


In his youth Schumann was reputed to be a tender-hearted and desperate Romantic. This is undoubtedly true. We need only recall his ardent love for future wife Clara and how passionately he fought for her, how fervently he poured his feelings into numerous piano pieces and spared no effort in writing critical articles, where he furiously attacked Philistines and waxed lyrical about talented young composers such as Berlioz and Chopin.
When Schumann later found family happiness and his life became more tranquil, at least to outward appearances, characteristics that had previously lain hidden finally surfaced. The pieces recorded for this album give an idea of what the mature Schumann was like as a person and what interested him. Nearly all of them (except the violin sonata) were composed in Dresden, where he lived from 1844 to 1849. It should be mentioned that the change in Schumann’s place of residence which involved leaving Leipzig, the epicentre of musical activity, and moving to quiet, peaceful Dresden was undertaken on the advice of his doctors. The composer suffered from bipolar affective disorder. He was overcome by bouts of terrible depression which, in the end, also led to his death. Initially the move brought no relief: ‘I am still badly afflicted and often quite despondent. I am not allowed to work at all, only to rest and take walks, but often I lack the strength even for a stroll,’ wrote the composer in October 1844.
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Schulhoff, Dvorak - Cesko - Ragazze Quartet (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/44,1kHz

Сomposer: Erwin Schulhoff (1894-1942), Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904)
Artist: Ragazze Quartet
Title: Schulhoff, Dvořák - Česko
Genre: Classical
Label: © Channel Classics Records B.V.
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 44,1kHz/24bit
Source: channelclassics.com
Duration: 01:05:04
Recorded: December 2014, Doopsgezinde Kerk Deventer, The Netherlands


On Česko we go on a musical journey across Europe to the extraordinary land of Bohemia (popularly known as Česko, but officially means Czech), the homeland of two composers we have come to love so much. It doesn't seem to matter that we hardly know their country: the indescribable energy of the music, with its folk melodies and harmonies, revealing the essence of a nation steeped in a deep cultural history, takes us there instantly. These composers are the much celebrated and revered Antonín Dvořák, along with the younger and lesser-known Erwin Schulhoff, whose life and career was tragically cut short by the Nazi regime. Both were masters in harnessing the old to the new, fusing a rich musical heritage with the influence of new worlds. Their works take us through the full range of emotions, from the tranquil to the fiery, from the elated to the melancholic. A reflection of human life.
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Schubert Sessions - Lieder with guitar - Philippe Sly, John Charles Britton (2016) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Сomposer: Franz Schubert (1797–1828)
Artist: Philippe Sly, John Charles Britton
Title: Schubert Sessions - Lieder with guitar
Genre: Classical, Vocal Music
Label: © Analekta
Release Date: 2016
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Source: analekta.com
Duration: 00:59:20
Recorded: January 2016 at the St-Augustin-de-Mirabel Church, Québec


A shy, modest genius, Franz Peter Schubert never held an official musical position, unlike his contemporaries. Living frugally, surrounded by friends from the artistic and literary worlds, Schubert was the focal point of occasional informal artistic gatherings dubbed “Schubertiades”. These meetings were an occasion for him to show off his most recent compositions, foremost among them his lieder. Many of these – he wrote over 600 in all – may very well have taken shape at the guitar; Schubert learned to play the instrument early on in life, and he owned several instruments, which he would play before breakfast, occasionally honouring the impromptu visit of a friend with the performance of a freshly composed lied. Schubert’s financial situation meant he could not afford a piano, so the guitar was one way he could hear how his compositions sounded. Since at the time, the instrument enjoyed great popularity, many music publishers, including Schubert’s publisher Diabelli, offered transcriptions of his works for guitar. It is unsurprising, then, that the first edition of the lieder cycle Die Schöne Müllerin – from which Der Müller und der Bach on this recording is taken – was published with a guitar accompaniment. Uncontestably a master of the lied, Schubert may also be considered as one of the forefathers of the modern song. From the time of Ars nova (new art) – the 14th century musical style of which the poet and musician Guillaume de Machaut was among the principal proponents – lyric forms underwent numerous poetical and stylistic innovations that ultimately led to the first strophic songs for solo voice in the early 16th century. Gradually, lyric forms from the age of the troubadour – when the lute, cousin of the guitar, was a preferred means of expression – converged into the German lied.
This meeting of Philippe Sly and guitarist John Charles Britton (who made the arrangements for this recording) is defi nitely not coincidence. Collaborators for a number of years, the two artists see these Schubert Sessions as a way to broaden and heighten Schubert’s place in popular culture, in particular in terms of his infl uence on modern popular song. The recording also fulfills a need to revisit these lyric masterpieces in a form that emphasizes not only their idiom (many of these pieces, including Wohin? and Auf Dem Wasser zu singen, exhibit writing that is more guitaristic than pianistic) but their polymorphic essence. A seemingly simple task, yet a daring one: to present, in its most natural form, a collection of pieces whose expressiveness allows them to fly free of basic principles, or to avoid a certain dogmatism – fictional or real – present in the world of classical music. It would be impossible to conclude without mentioning friendship, a value dear to Schubert’s heart that Sly and Britton also share. Compared with the piano, the guitar gives the accompanist greater proximity to the singer. This artistic rapport will be even more perceptible to the attentive listener. The composer Albert Stadler wrote about his friend Schubert: “If Schubert was with us, we shut him in the ‘Kamerate’ [living room and study] during this time, gave him a few scraps of manuscript paper, and any volume of poetry which happened to be at hand, so that he could while away the time. When we returned from church there was usually something fi nished, and this he gladly let me have… He faithfully brought us what he composed at home, and we rushed, with or without him, to a far-off room that had a pianoforte – we were enthusiastic and admiring. And when we expressed our feelings thus, he sat quietly at the instrument, smiled, or told a joke. But he was nevertheless pleased that we had understood him.”* This last sentence alone conveys the breadth of sensitivity and generosity that was Schubert’s genius. © Claudio Pinto
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Franz Schubert - String Quartets #1: Live in Barcelona - Cuarteto Casals (2016) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Сomposer: Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
Artist: Cuarteto Casals
Title: String Quartets #1: Live in Barcelona
Genre: Classical
Label: Neu Records · Neu Música Contemporània, S.L.
Release Date: 2016
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 01:12:38
Recorded live at L’Auditori Sala Oriol Martorell Barcelona, Spain, 5th of November, 2013


Why, one might ask, would a Spanish string quartet make a live recording in Barcelona of the complete quartets of a long-dead Viennese composer for a label which insists upon working with living composers? What binds Cuarteto Casals, Franz Schubert and Neu Records together?
Outward perception and inward imagination: these hallmarks of Schubert’s style could serve equally well as the distillation of a string quartet’s ideals. We look above all inward: it is our very private and personal conversation that you, the listener, happen upon, a given concert only one more step in our individual and collective evolution. And at the same time the concerts documented here, performed in the hall we inaugurated and know best, depend on outside perception – on the audience in the hall or the listener alone at home. We have lived with these great works for well over a decade; indeed Cuarteto Casals was founded so as to be able to play ‘Death and the Maiden.’ What we present to you here is a snapshot of our experience with these masterpieces, hopefully bringing the unfamiliar listener into our collective imagination.
When we began performing the Schubert cycle (Barcelona was the last stop on a tour that included London, Schwarzenberg, Florence, Lisbon and Madrid, among other cities) a colleague asked why we agreed to this massive undertaking. Are the early Schubert quartets worthwhile in the way that the Opus 18 Beethoven quartets undeniably are? Of course the comparison is inherently unjust: at around the same age that Beethoven was publishing his first quartets, Schubert was writing his late masterpieces.
The unfair comparison notwithstanding, the early Schubert quartets are rich with so many of the characteristics with which we identify his mature style: daring harmonic turns, an elegant yet unpredictable sense of meter and phrasing and his assimilation of myriad styles from Ländler to overture, from fugal intricacies to folksong. That is to say, to discover the young Schubert is to find a treasure trove of materials, waiting to be moulded into their most perfect form.
Schubert remains a ‘modern’ composer even nearly 200 years after his death. The Schubert we experience in this great body of quartets, ‘wandering into far-off lands’ and ‘divided by love and pain’ has as much to say about our condition in the 21st Century as it did to his close circle of friends in Vienna. It was in this spirit that we set about making this live recording, in hopes that a listener beyond the limits of that hall on those nights would join us in discovering these great works anew. --Vera, Abel, Arnau & Jonathan
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Saxon - Battering Ram (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/48kHz

Artist: Saxon
Title: Battering Ram
Genre: Rock, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal
Label: © UDR GmbH
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 48kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 02:07:00
Recorded: January—March 2015


UK rockers Saxon release their 21st album entitled „Battering Ram“. The release sees the band return to their NWOBHM roots and builds on their previous heavier releases in recent years but with more of a classic sound.
With Biff Byford singing as well as he ever has, Paul Quinn and Doug Scarratt making full use of the term ‘shredding’ with their guitars and the lock-steady rhythm of Nibbs Carter’s bass and Nigel Glockler’s drums, the future and the past crash together in an ear-scintillatingly engaging, raucous, melodic-yet-classically heavy ten songs collection which will instantly be hailed as a Saxon classic. The title track, with its delectable twin guitar assault heralding the album’s commencement, gives the listener an instant crack around the chops, whilst traditionalists will be delighted to hear such a perfect marriage of old, classic Saxon with the newer, fresher invective in such riff-fronted fare as “Destroyer” and “Stand Your Ground”, but there are still moments of space and exploration which fans will love. “This one’s a natural progression from Sacrifice,” says Byford, “There’s a bit less rock’n’roll and a bit more ‘heavy’ on it. We wanted to keep focused on a style rather than moving around too much.”
Produced by Andy Sneap (Megadeth, Testament, Exodus Accept) at his Backstage Recording Studios in rural Derbyshire, Saxon were able to hone in and whittle down any excess, finding the sonic space and balance to let Battering Ram's riffs and melodies get the necessary space to scream front and center. Saxon have once again established their rightly-venerated credentials as Kings and vanguards of heavy metal music.
'Some of it is quite brutal, but there's quite a lot of melodic stuff on there as well. Every SAXON album is different to the one before because we like to entertain people and we don't really like to write the same song all the time.' --Biff Byford
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Sarah McLachlan - Wonderland (2016) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/48kHz

Artist: Sarah McLachlan
Title: Wonderland
Genre: Pop, Traditional Pop, Alternative/Indie Rock, Christmas, Holidays
Label: © The Verve Music Group, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.
Release Date: 2016
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 48kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 00:36:47
Recorded: 2016

For Wonderland, her 2016 seasonal set, Sarah McLachlan takes the opposite tactic than she did for Wintersong, the idiosyncratic holiday album she delivered ten years earlier. That record found the Canadian singer/songwriter exploring songs that were tangentially related to the holiday season, joining Joni Mitchell's "River," Gordon Lightfoot's "Song for a Winter's Night," and Vince Guaraldi's Peanuts theme "Christmas Time Is Here" with a few standards, plus her original title song. Wonderland, in contrast, is nothing but holiday favorites, split evenly between traditional carols and secular tunes. Material-wise, the only curveball here is "Huron Carol," which is a Canadian hymn, and the arrangements are hazily familiar: soft and airy, carrying a bit of Baroque atmosphere but also a fireside coziness. That sense of warmth also differentiates it from Wintersong, an album that could favor the austere, and that also makes it an ideal record for snowy December nights. It's classy and comforting, music that sets a mood and drifts into the background, the kind of Christmas album that's designed to be a holiday perennial. --AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Sam & Dave - Hold On, I'm Comin' (1966/2012) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Artist: Sam & Dave
Title: Hold On, I'm Comin'
Genre: Soul, R&B, Deep Soul, Memphis Soul, Southern Soul
Label: © Atlantic Recording Corp.
Release Date: 1966/2012
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 32:18
Recorded: 1965–1966


Hold On, I’m Comin’ is the debut album by Sam and Dave. The dynamic R&B duo are members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the GRAMMY® Hall of Fame. The album reached #1 on Billboard’s Top R&B Albums and includes the massive single “Hold On! I’m A Comin’.” Hold On, I’m Comin’ features the songwriting team of Isaac Hayes, Steve Cropper, David Porter and more. This is Memphis soul at its finest.
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Salvatore Accardo - Il Cremonese - Stradivari, 1715 (2010) High-Fidelity DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz

Сomposer: Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962), Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904), Johannes Brahms (1833-1897), Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908), Isaac Albéniz (1860-1909), Cécil Chaminade (1857-1944), Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893), Felix Mendelssohn (1809–1847)
Artist: Salvatore Accardo, Laura Manzini
Title: Il Cremonese - Stradivari
Genre: Classical
Label: © Fonè Records/Audiophile Productions
Release Date: 2010
Quality: DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz
Source: nativeDSDmusic
Duration: 00:58:20
Recorded: November 6, 7, 8 1993, Palazzo Cavalcabo, Cremona


The most extraordinary nucleus of the Stradivari Museum is represented by the tools which Antonio Stradivari used to realize his unique masterpieces. These include numerous forms, starting basis for the manufacture of an instrument, which were used to model the ribs and subsequently seal them to the top, bottom and corner-blocks. The forms, usually in walnut and maple, are sometimes accompanied by sets of models in wood or paper, such as, for example, the ones used for the manufacture of the alto Medicean viola or the tenor Medicean viola, the ones used for the making of a violino piccolo, or those used to realize the 1727 twelve string viola d’amore.
When designing his instruments Antonio Stradivari proceeded with extreme meticulousness. Once an instrument had been completed in each of its parts, the set of models that had been used for its realization was marked with a letter of the alphabet, collected and stored up in paper sheet.
The forms for violin exhibited are arranged in chronological order. The first two forms, undated, belong to the period in which Stradivari’s violins showed a clear legacy of Niccolò Amati’s typical style. Simone Ferdinando Sacconi allocated them to the period before 1689. The three successive forms, always according to Sacconi, are also allocated to the period prior to 1689 and they recall the phase following the so called Amati production.
The remaining forms used by Stradivari in the course of his long activity of violin making belong to the years of maturity. These are all dated, with the only exception of the one that Stradivari used to make, along with many other famous violins, the 1715 Cremonese ex Joachim, which is now in the collection “The strings of the Palazzo Comunale of Cremona”. Only three forms for viola are exhibited at the Stradivari Museum: the first one was used for the manufacture of the alto viola of 1672; the second one was used for the alto viola of the 4 October 1690; the third one for the tenor viola also dated 4 October 1690. As far as bassetti and cellos are concerned, no original forms have unfortunately reached us together with the other precious material which is now exhibited
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