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High Fidelity Review is now able to offer targeted DVD-Audio and/or SACD advertising to disc suppliers and hardware manufacturers. Unlike generic audio and video web sites, our content, and therefore your advertising, is specifically aimed at those interested in the latest ‘high-resolution’ music formats. read more…

High Fidelity Review – Writer Biographies

Robert Bienstock

Robert first listened to multichannel audio in 1970 when he and a roommate hooked up two pairs of speakers in a Haffler array. Two years later, he got a quad system and amassed a large collection of quad recordings. He later temporarily reduced the number of channels in his system to two, the better to appreciate the early recordings of the Sex Pistols and the Ramones. He got his first surround sound processor in 1987 and has listened to everything, music and movies, through at least 7 speakers since the late ‘80s. Robert is an ardent supporter of multi-channel sound and firmly believes in mixing techniques that use all channels, most importantly, the center. Robert is most emphatically not an audiophile believing that the technology must serve the music and not the other way around. He would much rather listen to his favorite records or play his guitars than worry about whether his system has the requisite number of magic bricks or green markers.

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Concertgebouw Chamber Orchestra (Boni) – ‘Tchaikovsky: Souvenir de Florence and Serenade for Strings’ An SACD review by Mark Jordan

Is it possible for a composer to have too many well-loved works for yet another one to squeeze itself into listeners’ hearts? How can we otherwise explain the relative obscurity of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s ‘Souvenir de Florence’? read more…

Blood, Sweat and Tears – ‘Blood, Sweat and Tears 3’ An SACD review by Nicholas D. Satullo

If someone asked me who Mobile Fidelity are, I would probably say something like this: They used to make high quality vinyl LPs and Redbook CDs (even turning them into gold discs, literally), and perform some analog mastering tricks that I never really cared to learn, just so long as I subjectively thought the disc sounded better than a true comparator – the non-MoFi disc, as it were. read more…

Hilary Hahn – ‘Mendelssohn and Shostakovich: Violin Concertos’ An SACD review by Mark Jordan

Half of why I dislike the sound of this disc is due to the difficult acoustics of the concert hall, though other companies have recorded in Oslo’s Konzerthus with more success. But the other half is due to a disagreement in recording philosophy: I have boundless admiration for great musical performers, but they are performers, not gods. read more…

Academy of St. James (Pini) – ‘Bach: The Brandenburg Concertos’ A DVD-Audio review by Chris Salocks

To some listeners, this release of the Brandenburg concertos will seem like a throwback to those innocent days before the ascendancy of the Historically Informed Performance (HIP) movement, which now dominates so much of recorded music – especially of the baroque and classic eras. read more…

Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra (Slatkin) – ‘Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition’ An SACD review by Mark Jordan

It depends. That’s my answer to the inevitable question this review will raise: Who will want to rush out and buy this disc? Fans of Mussorgsky may not find any new ground covered in this reissue of Leonard Slatkin’s conservative performance of ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’, and devotees to modern digital sound might find that this analogue recording is smoother than an orchestra really sounds live in concert, but aficionados of fine analog sound will be in heaven to hear the creamy richness of this 1975 recording engineered by the legendary Marc Aubort. read more…

Philharmonia Orchestra (Zander) – ‘Mahler: Symphony No. 3 in D minor’ An SACD review by Mark Jordan

Now this is the real thing. Here is a disc to remind classical lovers why we got so passionately attached to music in the first place. Mind you, this is not to say that this new hybrid SACD from Telarc will be welcomed in all corners… Let us save Benjamin Zander’s detractors the trouble of writing another clucking review by writing it for them: “Though Zander is a committed Mahlerian, his performance of the ‘Third’ misses the long line of the piece, breaking down into a series of dramatic episodes without an overlying architecture. read more…

Burkard Schliessmann – ‘Chopin: Ballades’ An SACD review by Mark Jordan

Fellow composer Robert Schumann once described Frйdйric Chopin’s piano works as “cannons camouflaged with flowers”. With their debut multichannel Super Audio Compact Disc, Bayer Records of Germany gives us a performance by Burkard Schliessmann of Chopin’s ‘Ballades’ which presents those extremes as facets of the unified artistic force of a composer who, despite his extensive fame, is still clearly underrated. read more…

Porcupine Tree – ‘In Absentia’ A DVD-Audio review by Patrick Cleasby

The name Porcupine Tree may not mean much to you now, but trust me, by the end of the year, it will. In an inspired move DTS Entertainment have taken an act that is still relatively underground on both sides of the Atlantic, albeit with a large and devoted following, and transformed their latest album into a stunning DVD-Audio disc using the best surround talent money can buy – just like Steely Dan’s superb ‘Everything Must Go’ DVD-Audio, this mix was created by Elliot Scheiner, and mastered by Darcy Proper. read more…

Kjell Fageus – ‘Brahms: Clarinet Trios’  An SACD review by Mark Jordan

Kjell Fageus – ‘Brahms: Clarinet Trios’ An SACD review by Mark Jordan

One of the hardest difficulties encountered in recordings of the late Brahms chamber works with clarinet is that of finding a soloist with the right temperament. Intense, virtuosic solo stars such as Richard Stolzman are very impressive, but sometimes their individuality is a roadblock to the necessary interaction with the other performers. On the other hand, an orchestral player too used to being restricted by the boundaries of large group playing can come off as not sympathetic enough to the constantly shifting moods of such pieces as the Clarinet Trio, Op.114 and the Clarinet Quintet, Op.115. Or else, he or she too plays the role of haughty star. Swedish clarinetist Kjell Fageus is well situated, however, having a declared preference for small ensemble playing, and his ability to communicate without dominating makes this release enjoyable. read more…

David Bowie – ‘Reality’  An SACD review by Nicholas D. Satullo

David Bowie – ‘Reality’ An SACD review by Nicholas D. Satullo

David Bowie’s recent multichannel SACD release, ‘Reality’, poses the same challenge for a reviewer as many college professors must confront: How do you assess the mixed-bag term paper, the one with just enough high quality elements to flirt with that “A-”… but where the quality of the whole not only fails to exceed the sum of its parts, but may not even equal them. read more…

Coro Della Radio Svizzera, I Barocchisti (Fasolis) – ‘Handel: Messiah’  A DVD-Audio review by Martin Fendt

Coro Della Radio Svizzera, I Barocchisti (Fasolis) – ‘Handel: Messiah’ A DVD-Audio review by Martin Fendt

A new Handel’s Messiah release may not at first seem to be the most ground breaking of developments, especially there are numerous versions of this celebrated oratorio in existence, albeit many of them only “highlights”. However, this latest one from Arts Music seems to raise the bar considerably in technical terms over all others. For the first time ever, here we have the whole 2Ѕ hour marathon recorded from scratch onto one DVD-Audio disc in 96kHz, 24-bit PCM with no compression or equalisation used at any stage during production. Not only that, but with no less than twenty-four channels at the original recording, the engineers have captured the sound of the performers in a fresh and seamless manner. read more…

Beck – ‘Sea Change’ An SACD review by Mark Jordan

While ‘Sea Change’ is surely Beck’s most personal album to date, he characteristically pulls off the feat of being expressive without ever telling specific stories. Beck Hansen the person remains, as a true artist must, elusive. read more…

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