Today, I received a large package from Hanover, Germany. The package included three CDs in the most impressive packaging I’ve seen in a while and a detailed information sheet about the German company. The company is about to launch the label in Canada.

I’ll be reviewing the three CDs — vocal recital, harp solo and a unique group of two tenor saxes and rhythm section. I do not know the artists, but from the incredibly detailed information and photographs in the CD book, they receive the very best of audiophile care.

Founder, Ulrich Katzenberger records musicians in ‘natural live concert hall sound, without the addition of artificial compression and other effects that alter or manipulate the original audio’.

Reviews will be appearing soon. In here and now, all the best to a company that on first look, produces a very high quality product.

The music is available on CD, Blu-ray and hi resolution downloads.

website

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I received yet another email from a Kickstarter project designer. But, so polite, I wanted to give our readers a heads up. The $30,000 target is almost complete — just a few bucks shy. Also, the project is based in Toronto at the very cool Planet of Sound store.

Remember the full function receiver? They seem to have gone the way of the Dodo, and with a phono stage? Forget it. So, it was nice to see this cute little box that’ll power your gear and a turntable.

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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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