Copland – Morton Gould – Billy the Kid & Rodeo Suite & Grofé – Grand Canyon Suite (1960/2006){SACD ISO + FLAC 24/88,2}

Aaron Copland – Billy the Kid & Rodeo Suite / Ferde Grofé – Grand Canyon Suite
Morton Gould & His Orchestra
SACD ISO (2.0/5.0): 3,16 GB | 24B/88,2kHz Stereo FLAC: 1,39 | Full Artwork | 3% Recovery Info
Label/Cat#: RCA Red Seal “Living Stereo” # 82876-67904-2 | Country/Year: Europe 2006, 1960
Genre: Classical | Style: Contemporary

I’m familiar with two other major interpretations on RBCD of the Copland ballets: Bernstein’s with NY Phil and Slatkin’s with St. Louis. While the Slatkin rendition was very satisfying in its simple approach, Morton Gould and his orchestra play these works as if it were for an old classic western movie. The style is very old fashioned but highly effective, and listening made me feel nostalgic even though I’m too young to have grown up in that just-after-WWII era. The Grand Canyon Suite by Grofe has that same cozy nostalgic feel further enhanced by some UNusual instrument placement and editing. A serious recording technician would probably laugh at the approach used by this orchestra and Living Stereo, but to me it’s a silly but highly enjoyable masterpiece. The SACD Stereo sound is fantastic, and this is one of my SACD Top Picks! sacd_fan @

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10cc – The Original Soundtrack (1975) [Japanese SHM-SACD 2010] {SACD ISO + FLAC 24/88,2}

10cc – The Original Soundtrack (1975) [Japanese SHM-SACD 2010]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 41:40 minutes | Scans NOT included | 1,68 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans NOT included | 824 MB
Genre: Rock

10cc’s third album, The Original Soundtrack, finally scored them a major hit in the United States, and rightly so; “I’m Not in Love” walked a fine line between self-pity and self-parody with its weepy tale of a boy who isn’t in love (really!), and the marvelously lush production and breathy vocals allowed the tune to work beautifully either as a sly joke or at face value. The album’s opener, “Une Nuit a Paris,” was nearly as marvelous; a sly and often hilarious extended parody of both cinematic stereotypes of life and love in France and overblown European pop. And side one’s closer, “Blackmail,” was a witty tale of sex and extortion gone wrong, with a superb guitar solo embroidering the ride-out. That’s all on side one; side two, however, is a bit spottier, with two undistinguished tunes, “Brand New Day” and “Flying Junk,” nearly dragging the proceedings to a halt before the band rallied the troops for a happy ending with the hilarious “The Film of Our Love.” The Original Soundtrack’s best moments rank with the finest work 10cc ever released; however, at the same time it also displayed what was to become their Achilles’ heel — the inability to make an entire album as strong and memorable as those moments.

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10cc – Deceptive Bends (1977) [Japanese SHM-SACD 2014] {SACD ISO + FLAC 24/88,2}

10cc – Deceptive Bends (1977) [Japanese SHM-SACD 2014]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 51:22 minutes | Scans included | 2,1 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Scans included | 1,02 GB
Genre: Rock

When Kevin Godley and Lol Creme left 10cc in 1976 to pursue a solo career, many thought it was the death knell for the group. However, Eric Stewart and Graham Gouldman kept the group alive as a duo (with the assistance of percussionist Paul Burgess) and turned in a surprisingly solid album with 1977’s Deceptive Bends. It may lack the devil-may-care wackiness that popped up on previous 10cc albums, but it makes up for it by crafting a series of lush, catchy pop songs that are witty in their own right. Deceptive Bends also produced a pair of notable hits for the group: “Good Morning Judge” told the comical tale of a career criminal over a hook-laden, surprisingly funky pop backing while “The Things We Do for Love” was an irresistible Beatles pastiche that showcased 10cc’s mastery of pop vocal harmonies. “People in Love,” a surprisingly straightforward ballad built on a gorgeous string arrangement, also became a modest chart success. The remainder of the material doesn’t stand out as sharply as these hits, but each of the tracks offers up plenty of naggingly catchy pop hooks, oodles of catchy riffs, and surprising twists in their arrangements. Highlights among the non-hit tracks include “Marriage Bureau Rendezvous,” a satire of dating services set to a lilting soft rock melody, and “You’ve Got a Cold,” a portrait of illness-influenced misery set to a percolating pop melody. The only place where Deceptive Bends slips is on “Feel the Benefit,” the lengthy medley that closes the album. Its excessive length and hazy lyrics make it less satisfying than the album’s shorter tunes, but it is kept afloat by a catchy, mock-Spanish midsection and some lovely string arrangements. All in all, Deceptive Bends is the finest achievement of 10cc’s post-Godley and Creme lineup and well worth a spin for anyone who enjoyed Sheet Music or The Original Soundtrack.

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Erich Kunzel & Cincinnati Pops Orchestra – On Broadway (1999) {SACD ISO + FLAC 24/88,2}

Erich Kunzel & Cincinnati Pops Orchestra – On Broadway (1999)
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 74:17 minutes | Scans included | 3,04 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 1,32 GB
Telarc # CD-80498-SA | Genre: Musical , Soundtrack

The Cincinnati Pops is one of America’s favorite orchestras, playing classical hits, orchestral versions of pop and jazz, movie themes and show tunes.

On Broadway features Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra’s typically robust readings of favorites from the Great White Way: focusing primarily on latter-day stage hits, the collection includes rousing renditions of “He Lives in You,” “Seasons of Love,” “This Is the Moment,” “Cross the Line,” and “Hookers’ Ball. .

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Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky – Symphony 6 in B minor "Pathétique" Op. 74 (2006) {SACD ISO + FLAC 24/88,2}

Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky – Symphony 6 in B minor “Pathétique” Op. 74
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – Daniele Gatti
SACD ISO (2.0/MCH): 3,98 GB | 24B/88,2kHz Stereo FLAC: 1,21 GB | Full Artwork | 3% Recovery Info
Label/Cat#: Harmonia Mundi USA # HMU 807394 | Country/Year: Europe 2006
Genre: Classical | Style: Romantic

By now, the most you can hope for from a new recording of one of Tchaikovsky’s symphonies is not originality of conception but a performance that seizes on a particular (if familiar) element of the work and successfully runs with it. In his live recording on Naïve, Riccardo Muti makes the anguish in the first movement of Symphony 6 seem an end-of-the-world crisis. Herbert von Karajan’s outings with the Berlin Philharmonic on Deutsche Grammophon give the first-movement rhythms the pulsing regularity of a heartbeat that abruptly stops, with bone-chilling effect.

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Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky – Symphony No. 5 & Romeo & Juliet (2004) {SACD ISO + FLAC 24/88,2}

Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky – Symphony No. 5 & Romeo & Juliet
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – Daniele Gatti
SACD ISO (2.0/MCH): 3,12 GB | 24B/88,2kHz Stereo FLAC: 1,04 GB | Full Artwork
Label/Cat#: Harmonia Mundi USA # HMU 807381 | Country/Year: Europe 2004 | 3% Recovery Info
Genre: Classical | Style: Romantic

Considering that the marketplace is saturated with too many recordings of the same masterpieces, there ought to be compelling reasons to record works as overplayed as Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and Romeo and Juliet. Daniele Gatti takes the position that Tchaikovsky’s original tempi and dynamics have been ignored for generations and that restoration of these markings presents the works in a dramatically different light. Faster tempi make a real difference, and the music sounds less tortured and maudlin at Gatti’s brisk clip. The symphony has a clear trajectory, and Romeo and Juliet is more combative and driven without the usual languid pacing. But the speed of the performances is possibly less interesting than Gatti’s close attention to dynamics, for this is where the works benefit most. Tchaikovsky’s orchestration is brilliant in Gatti’s lucid and finely gauged readings, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra offers great depth of sound and vivid timbral distinctions. Is the restoration Earth-shattering? Perhaps not to the extent that Baroque works sound radically changed in authentic re-creations. With Tchaikovsky, the differences are subtle and may be less obvious to the untrained ear. Even so, these are refreshing alternatives to the commonplace performances of the past, and Gatti’s reappraisal of these warhorses opens a new area for debate. — Review by Blair Sanderson ,allmusicguide

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Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky – Symphony No. 4 & Capriccio Italien op. 45 (2005) {SACD ISO + FLAC 24/88,2}

Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky – Symphony No. 4 & Capriccio Italien op. 45
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – Daniele Gatti
SACD ISO: 2,89 GB (Stereo + MCH DSD) | FLAC @ 24bit/88.2kHz: 930 MB | Full Artwork
Label/Cat#: Harmonia Mundi USA # HMU 807393 | Country/Year: Europe 2005 | 3% Rec. Info
Genre: Classical | Style: Romantic

This is really good! No matter how little faith one has in the possibility that anyone could breathe life into a warhorse like Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony, Daniele Gatti has done it with the Royal Philharmonic in this 2005 recording for Harmonia Mundi. Coupled with the equally venerable and equally successful Capriccio Italien, Gatti turns in performances that rip and roar, that excite and inspire, performances so cogent and compelling, so strong and sincere that they even make the doubter believe that Tchaikovsky knew what he was doing as a composer after his nearly fatal nervous breakdown after his spectacularly failed marriage attempt. But Gatti’s control of tempo and texture and his attention to color and line do more than breathe life into Tchaikovsky’s Fourth, his conducting puts some backbone into it. Gatti’s rhythms have real muscle, his developments have real point, and his forms have real power, and when combined with the composer’s glorious melodies and expressive harmonies, this Fourth shakes, rattles, and rolls. The Royal Philharmonic’s performance is first class with sweeping strings, warms winds, bold brass, a percussion section of tremendous might and majesty, and an ensemble both characterful and unified. If old timer stereo buffs still hold to the iron-handed Mravinsky or the leather-gloved Abbado, even they will have to admit that only Jansons of digital recordings comes close to Gatti in making the case for Tchaikovsky’s Fourth as a masterful symphony. Harmonia Mundi’s English-based recorded sound is just as clear and bright as its French- or American-based recorded sound, but also warmer and lusher and more vivid. — Review by James Leonard, allmusicguide

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Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky – Boston SO / Monteux – Symphony No. 6 "Pathetique" (1955/2004) {SACD ISO + FLAC 24/88,2}

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky – Symphony No. 6 “Pathetique”
Boston Symphony Orchestra / Pierre Monteux
SACD ISO: 818 MB | FLAC @ 24bit/88.2kHz: 847 MB | Full Artwork | 3% Rec. Info
Label/Cat#: RCA Red Seal “Living Stereo” # 82876-61397-2 RE1 | Country/Year: US 2004
Genre: Classical | Style: Romantic

Pierre Monteux was one of those conductors who could make the most anguished music sound effortless. You might think that this isn’t an advantage in the Pathétique Symphony, but it is. His innate musicality keeps the allegro sections of the first movement pressing smartly forward, while the lyrical second subject never turns sticky. Other performances may be noisier, but Monteux’s cogency offers its own exciting and perfectly valid argument. Certainly no one would take issue with the idiomatic lilt he brings to the second-movement waltz, or with the rhythmic lift he provides in the ensuing march (this really is Tchaikovsky as his most French, isn’t it?). There have been more intense accounts of the finale, but the beautiful playing of the Boston Symphony and Monteux’s refusal to get hysterical remain all of a piece: it’s a very satisfying reading by any standard. The 1955 Living Stereo recording still sounds excellent both in stereo and on (two-channel) SACD, without a large enough difference between them to make a significant difference. This is a very welcome reissue. –David Hurwitz,

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Lynyrd Skynyrd – (pronounced ‘leh-‘nerd ‘skin-‘nerd) (1973) [MFSL 2012] {SACD ISO + FLAC 24/88,2}

Lynyrd Skynyrd – (pronounced ‘leh-‘nerd ‘skin-‘nerd) (1973) [MFSL 2012]
PS3 Rip | ISO | SACD DSD64 Stereo > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 43:09 minutes | Scans included | 1,36 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 900 MB
Genre: Rock

The Allman Brothers came first, but Lynyrd Skynyrd epitomized Southern rock. The Allmans were exceptionally gifted musicians, as much bluesmen as rockers. Skynyrd was nothing but rockers, and they were Southern rockers to the bone. This didn’t just mean that they were rednecks, but that they brought it all together — the blues, country, garage rock, Southern poetry — in a way that sounded more like the South than even The Allmans. And a large portion of that derives from their hard, lean edge, which was nowhere more apparent than on their debut album, Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd. Produced by Al Kooper, there are few records that sound this raw and uncompromising, especially records by debut bands. Then again, few bands sound this confident and fully formed with their first record. Perhaps the record is stronger because it’s only eight songs, so there isn’t a wasted moment, but that doesn’t discount the sheer strength of each song. Consider the opening juxtaposition of the rollicking “I Ain’t the One” with the heartbreaking “Tuesday’s Gone.” Two songs couldn’t be more opposed, yet Skynyrd sounds equally convincing on both. If that’s all the record did, it would still be fondly regarded, but it wouldn’t have been influential. The genius of Skynyrd is that they un-self-consciously blended album-oriented hard rock, blues, country, and garage rock, turning it all into a distinctive sound that sounds familiar but thoroughly unique. On top of that, there’s the highly individual voice of Ronnie Van Zant, a songwriter who isn’t afraid to be nakedly sentimental, spin tales of the South, or to twist macho conventions with humor. And, lest we forget, while he does this, the band rocks like a motherf*cker. It’s the birth of a great band that birthed an entire genre with this album.

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Lynyrd Skynyrd – Second Helping (1974) [Analogue Productions Remaster 2013] {SACD ISO + FLAC 24/88,2}

Lynyrd Skynyrd – Second Helping (1974)[Analogue Productions Remaster 2013]
PS3 Rip | ISO | SACD DSD64 Stereo > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 37:21 minutes | Scans included | 1,16 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 739 MB
Genre: Rock

Lynyrd Skynyrd wrote the book on Southern rock with their first album, so it only made sense that they followed it for their second album, aptly titled Second Helping. Sticking with producer Al Kooper (who, after all, discovered them), the group turned out a record that replicated all the strengths of the original, but was a little tighter and a little more professional. It also revealed that the band, under the direction of songwriter Ronnie Van Zant, was developing a truly original voice. Of course, the band had already developed their own musical voice, but it was enhanced considerably by Van Zant’s writing, which was at turns plainly poetic, surprisingly clever, and always revealing. Though Second Helping isn’t as hard a rock record as Pronounced, it’s the songs that make the record. “Sweet Home Alabama” became ubiquitous, yet it’s rivaled by such terrific songs as the snide, punkish “Workin’ for MCA,” the Southern groove of “Don’t Ask Me No Questions,” the affecting “The Ballad of Curtis Loew,” and “The Needle and the Spoon,” a drug tale as affecting as their rival Neil Young’s “Needle and the Damage Done,” but much harder rocking. This is the part of Skynyrd that most people forget — they were a great band, but they were indelible because that was married to great writing. And nowhere was that more evident than on Second Helping.

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