You may or may not have noticed that over the past months NativeDSD has been on the hunt for the most excited and opinionated DSD listeners out there! This blog features 3 reviews of one the 8 newly appointed NativeDSD Reviewers: Jorge Capadocia. More soon!
Let us introduce you to Jorge’s Audio System
1-) Sony UHP-H1 Audio and Video Disc Player, wired connection to Audioengine HD6
2-) Sony CAS-1 Audio System
3-) Headphones: Sennheiser HD598, Audio-Technica ATH-A900X
Yuko Mabuchi Trio: Some Standards and some nice surprises
On this album, Yuko Mabuchi is joined by Del Atkins on bass and Bobby Breton on drums to perform some jazz standards and some nice surprises. The repertoire is varied with respect to style. We get to listen to pensive songs such as Valse Noire (which is borderline melancholic), medleys, Latin Jazz and spirited tunes.
This live recording starts with What Is This Thing Called Love and Yuko’s playing, along with Bobby’s drum solo, immediately engages the audience. Throughout the album, Yuko is very sensitive and lyrical in her playing and does not go for bombast unless the music demands. When it does though, likein Sona’s Song (a composition of her own), we are in for a real treat: a very intense outburst erupts, breaking a simple delicate melody. Del Atkins and Bobby Breton are supportive in their playing, with very occasional and well executed solos. The musical rapport among them is evident in Seriously, in which the ornamented piano playing is executed over a repetitive and rhythmic bass – roles are switched for a moment and the transitions sound very fluid.
Other highlights include a Japanese medley that goes from delicate to psychedelic (!) to spirited, and the Latin rhythm St. Thomas that concludes the show. In the latter, we get the piano instead of the usual sax and Yuko does complete justice to the tune.
Recorded at the intimate Cammilleri Hall at USC – a venue where Yarlung’s engineers have expertise in recording – the sound is natural and detailed. The album features a particularly impressive soundstage and ambiance. Audience noise is negligible, except for resounding and resonant applause at appropriate moments. Yarlung’s engineers have succeeded in putting us in the first row.
What a beautiful Stabat Mater!
Ars Nova Copenhagen and Paul Hillier’s own Theatre of Voices join forces with the NYYD Quartet and organist Christopher Bowers-Broadbent in this recording of some of Part’s chamber music (instrumental and vocal) pieces.
The main attraction is the Stabat Mater, scored for soprano (sung by Else Torp), alto (sung by countertenor William Purefoy), tenor (sung by Chris Watson), and string trio. Composed in Part’s tintinnabuli technique, it’s a musical setting of a 13th-Century Catholic hymn that portrays the emotions of the Virgin Mary as she stood at the foot of the Cross. The performance is magnificent, with Else Torp delving perfectly into the high notes (she also beautifully sings the solo vocal piece My Heart’s in the Highlands). A very ethereal piece but be prepared for the outbursts of emotion (and sound!) that will be manifested.
Religious themes are also portrayed in the other pieces in this recording: Veni Creator; The Deer’s Cry; Most Holy Mother of God; Peace Upon You, Jerusalem; Ein Wallfahrtslied; Morning Star. While they are all interesting works, I’m personally fond of Morning Star (the text is prayer written above the tomb of St Bede) and The Deer’s Cry (prayer composed by Saint Patrick in the year 433). They’re both and relatively new compositions (2007) and Ars Nova Copenhagen performance doesn’t disappoint.
Recorded at Garnisonskirken (a church in Copenhagen, Denmark) the sound is warm and clear with just a subtle amount of reverberation. Those who like Part’s works need not hesitate. Those who are newcomers to his music will be very pleased if they start their journey with this recording, although I’d recommend starting from the album Arvo Pärt – Da Pacem (also available from NativeDSD in Stereo and Multichannel DSD 64 at https://harmoniamundi.nativedsd.com/albums/arvo-part-da-pacem ) as it features some of Part’s more familiar works, such as Salve Regina, Nunc Dimittis, and Magnificat.
The informative booklet notes in English, French, and German, penned by Hillier himself, presents a short general introduction and some comments about each of the pieces included. Sung texts in English, French, and German (and Latin when applicable).
A remarkable recording in upfront and detailed sound
Two years after releasing Mahler’s Symphony No.1 (Titan), Thierry Fischer with the Utah Symphony continue their traversal of Mahler’s symphonies. On this album, they are joined by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Choristers of the Madeleine Choir School and a team of soloists to tackle the heroic Symphony No.8, a.k.a. Symphony of a Thousand (a nickname never sanctioned by Mahler).
Being the last of Mahler’s works to be premiered in his lifetime, the Symphony No. 8 is a large-scale work that calls for a large orchestra (that includes an organ), large choir, and vocal soloists. It’s composed of two parts; the first – Veni, creator spiritus – is based on the text of the eponymous 9th Century hymn. Structured in a sonata form, this part’s thematic material constitutes a plea for creative inspiration. Fischer conducts at a brisker pace than my reference recordings from Solti (1971) and Abbado (1994), but it’s not rushed. While Solti emphasizes a sense of urgency and is somewhat bombastic in his approach, Fischer is more like Abbado in his treatment and brings to the fore the poetic aspect. The choir handles the music well and is precise in its delivery, even in the more delicate moments (just listen to the short passage that begins the Gloria).In the second part, the final scene from Goethe’s Faust, Fischer makes slower tempi choices. I was particularly impressed by the beginning adagio, in which he patiently leaves room for the music to breath (and for the orchestra to shine!). The soloist’s performances are top class and are on par with those from the stellar rosters in Solti’s and Abbado’s recordings. You can get a taste of it by listening to the sample track of track 13 on the NativeDSD website (album page) – Amy Owens as Mater Gloriosa and Barry Banks as Doktor Marianus sing just gorgeously! The music was recorded live by Soundmirror at Salt Lake Tabernacle.
Recorded sound is very upfront, closely mic; bass lines are strong, especially in organ passages – you’ll notice that since the very first bar. Terrific dynamics, detail, and instrument separation. Booklet contains detailed notes in English and all recording data, but not the role of each soloist.