This is Angela Hewitt’s fourth CD in her Hyperion series of Beethoven Sonatas. I did not get a chance to hear the first three. I did listen to her recent Faure and Debussy discs. I was not impressed.

Hewitt is a Canadian pianist based in London. I’ve followed Hewitt’s career for many years. Almost since she graduated from the University of Ottawa from the class of the late, great Jean-Claude Sevilla.

For the longest time she was pigeonholed as a Bach specialist, and damn fine one she was (is). I’ve been a great admirer of her Bach playing since her debut on DGG many years ago. But, with other repertoire, she lost me along the way. Her technique is fine, but I found it served more rhapsodic music poorly.

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Another Russian phenom gets a shot at the Tchaikovsky Piano Concertos. Interestingly, Denis Matsuev, 38 year old winner of the 1998 Tchaikovsky Competition is a gifted musician, too. He’s also under the mentorship of Valery Gergiev, Vladimir Putin’s conductor of choice, meaning he has the benefit of collaboration with Russia’s finest musicians. After listening to this masterful Tchaikovsky CD, add Matsuev’s name to legendary list of Russians who embody this great music.

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In my recent review of the Mojo Audio Mac Mini Music Server With Joule III Power Supply, I mentioned the possibility of using a slightly larger version of the Oyen Digital external hard drive case, in which 2 drives work together inside in a RAID 1 but are specially set by Mojo Audio so as to be powered directly by the Joule III’s power supply and connected to the Mac Mini (for transferring the music files) using a prototype powerless Firewire cable. (The case is here).

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Bruckner’s unfinished final symphony is well represented in the catalogue. The three magnificent movements are completely different and offer a satisfying conclusion to Bruckner’s incredible symphonic canon.

Some conductors tried to finish the unfinished symphony by adding the composer’s Te Deum, complete with voices. I never bothered with it. I did bother with Sir Simon Rattle’s new ‘completed’ version with his Berlin Philharmonic. I was impressed with the finale movement as a whole, but it did nothing to finish what I consider the unfinishable. Basically, detailed Bruckner notes finished by musicologists.

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Jack Stokes enjoys writing about the finer points of speakers and will never pass up the chance to debate the merits of different designs. Having grown up in apartments, he could never enjoy his music without his neighbours complaining and had to move to the country in order enjoy it the way he likes it most: loud.

The Basics:

The method of producing true sound has been debated since the genesis of hi-fi speakers. Each company and party claims to have the best combination of materials and technology for producing the most accurate representation of the music. However, both sides do have their merits and downsides. In order to establish a baseline of terms and concepts, I want to address the basic terms and ideas behind full-range and crossover speakers.

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bobbrahms

Robert Silverman, in a wonderful Indian Summer of recording, continues to release gem after gem on CD. This new CD of two seminal works for solo piano is even better, in fact it’s a treasure.

Longtime readers of Audiophilia will know that I’m an admirer of Silverman’s playing style. He has chops galore, earned the hard way. He’s also an incredibly musical person. This musicality expresses itself the purest in music of the great German Romantics — Beethoven, Schumann and Brahms.

The new Orpheum Masters disc contains Schumann’s 12 Études Symphoniques, Op. 13 (in the 1837 1st edition) and one of my favourite classical works for any instrument, 25 Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Handel, Op. 24 by Brahms. A nice addition to the CD is an early version of the Schumann work — the theme and five posthumous variations (published in 1890).

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For the last several years my reference amplifiers have been the Hephaestus HMA 1000 mono-blocks (now simply called the Hephaestus — see my review August 2010) and have performed absolutely flawlessly. I am always chagrined at the looks of incredulity on many an audiophiles’ face after listening to these audio giant killers. How can these diminutive Class D amplifiers sound so good?

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lso

The multi talented Gareth Davies is the superb Principal Flute of the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO). He’s also a very good writer. His very entertaining and informative book, The Show Must Go On: On Tour with the LSO in 1912 and 2012, is the result of a fortuitous convergence. Davies writes a blog for the LSO website when the band is on tour. His blog, and the recent discovery of detailed diaries written by a few of the members of the 1912 LSO were the inspiration for the book.

The diaries detail the 1912 American tour, a first by an English orchestra. As such, Davies’ book is a tale of two traveling bands, the LSO of 1912 and the LSO of today.

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