… A critic once wrote: “Fleet- fingered pianists are a dime a dozen today – where are the musicians?” From the haunting opening measures of the Rachmaninoff Etude-Tableau Op.33 No.2, it’s clear that Sa Chen is a musician of the first-rank, one who combines a flawless technique with an innate musicality. She presents 6 Etudes in all, drawn from Opp.33 and 39, and throughout, her playing is marked by a delicacy of shading with never a moment of bravura for its own sake.
…I greet this stunning performance as the way to hear this masterpiece. ~ J.F. Weber, Fanfare
… If you are sold on the SACD format and own a high end system, then by all means grab this disc in its latest incarnation. If you already own it and enjoy it in normal stereo, there's no need to rush out and replace it. But either way, you should own it: you'll find the best available recordings of the music from Psycho, Torn Curtain, and above all, a truly shimmering and mesmerizing account of the suite from Farhenheit 451. I guess the lesson here is simple: great performances and great sound manifest themselves in any format. Period.
…Challenge Classics' Die Schöne Mullerin with Christoph Prégardien and Michael Gees is a recording worthy of taking pride of place on the shelf alongside such "classic" versions as those by Richard Crooks, Aksel Schiøtz, and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, and is in considerably better recorded sound than any of them.
Fire Burning in Snow, the third volume in Ex Cathedra's series of Baroque music from Latin America, is strong testimony to the vitality of the musical scene in South America in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. (…) Conductor Jeffrey Skidmore is to be commended for bringing this repertoire, much of which has never been recorded, to light, and for delivering such lively realizations and energetic and full-bodied performances. This SACD should be of strong interest to anyone who loves Renaissance and Baroque polyphony and fans of choral music with a Latin flavor.
This Mercury Living Presence SACD of orchestral works by Chabrier and Roussel presents, for the first time, Paray's celebrated recordings in their original 3-channel (left, right & centre) versions. In addition to this direct-to-DSD 3-channel stereo, the disc includes a new DSD stereo, plus the original CD transfer.
Conductor Philippe Herreweghe returns to the helm of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic for another set of Beethoven symphonies on the PentaTone label, this time the First and Third. Again presented as a multi-channel SACD hybrid disc, PentaTone's sound is clean and detailed without too much digital sterility. Unlike the album that included the Fifth Symphony and was fraught with many rhythmic peculiarities, Herreweghe's reading of the First and Third symphonies seems diligently respectful to every nuance of the score…
As it says on the back cover, Michael Feinstein With the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra is the first recording he's made with a symphonic orchestra. For this special occasion, Feinstein and Alan Broadbent decided to stick to celebrated songs from the great American popular songbook, ranging from "Stormy Weather" and "Laura" to "On a Clear Day (You Can See Forever)."…