"Music is a single language of the world": interview with Mikhail Mamonov, owner of SmartAudio Studio
SmartAudio Recording Lab is a modern, professional recording Studio based in Kirov and consciously focused on working with analog. About this and not only in an interview with the founder…

Continue reading →

A place in the sun: five albums with a non-trivial interpretation of jazz and classical music
The American Kronos Quartet — one of the most famous chamber groups-released an album with new works by Terry Riley, one of the fathers of American minimalism. Nothing special: they…

Continue reading →

Why is music no longer recorded the way it used to be? [translation]
When the old fans complain about songs that have been nominated for a Grammy this year, there's a reason. It's time for the annual Grammy awards, and as always, Sunday's…

Continue reading →

Camera obscura: four new albums with classics

Let’s talk about the chamber genre. A trio, a Quartet, a quintet-that’s it. The spring of 2019 brought a lot of beauty to this field: the canonical Shostakovich quintet, Eugene Kissin’s only recording with the Emerson String Quartet, as well as a completely non-chamber, Rabelaisian Bruckner.

Chamber music is considered the most difficult genre, and for everyone. The composer has to invent something to get a dense text for a small number of instruments. Musicians-play perfectly and at the limit, because there is no one to hide behind. The listener should follow all the lines, for here every note is like a word in a short story. But in this genre, real masterpieces are born.
Evgeny Kissin & The Emerson String Quartet “By The New York Concert. Mozart, Faure, Dvorak ” Project with intrigue: recording of the only concert at Carnegie hall by pianist Eugene Kissin and Emerson String Quartet. The first is a former Soviet Prodigy, and now just a world star, virtuoso, and so on; the second are from the world’s major chamber ensembles. They have never worked together, and last year, so to speak, “grew up” to each other, or rather, grew together.It should be noted that Kissin very rarely plays the chamber repertoire and participates in chamber compositions. So his “party” with the emersons is an event already on the level of an idea. The concert of five in the giant hall was a success: according to the reviewer of The New York Times, the energy of the musicians in the hall “blew the roof off”.Now we can listen to it in recordings and enjoy the most beautiful works of Mozart (First piano Quartet in g minor), Faure (First piano Quartet in C minor) and Dvorak (Piano quintet No. 2 in A major). Encore-highlight, “Scherzo” from the Piano quintet in g minor by Shostakovich.In interviews, Emerson musicians said that they immediately found some special chemistry of interaction with the pianist. And Kissin is absolutely brilliant, a musician-phenomenon: as he was a bright child Prodigy, so he remained.Apple Music, Yandex.Music, DeezerArtemis Quartet, Elizabeth Leonskaja “Shostakovich: String Quartets Nos 5, 7 & Piano Quintet” Continuing the theme “star Quartet plus star pianist”. This, I won’t lie, is not a new album — it was released on March 15. But it was not included in our reviews for conceptual reasons. And it would not be right to miss it.This is a grandiose work of the Artemis Quartet, famous for its virtuosity, quality, perfectionism, and so on, and their long — time collaborator, the outstanding Russian — born pianist Elizaveta leonskaya. She is the Patriarch (matriarch?) the Russian piano school, and it was she, incidentally, by Joseph Brodsky dedicated a poem with the same ending: “The record of mobiles, so its impossible to finish”.

Shostakovich is nervous, restless, completely cosmopolitan and absolutely Russian. The above-mentioned g minor piano quintet begins with a percussive and bravura phrase of the piano, which is all wound up and does not resolve into anything — like Shostakovich’s fear of the Soviet power and like a premonition of a nightmarish future world.The triumphant premiere of the Quintet took place in 1940 with the Borodin Quartet and Shostakovich himself at the piano. In addition, there are different outstanding Fifth and Seventh quartets, as well as later works (1952 and 1960, respectively).Apple Music, Yandex.Music, DeezerBelcea Quartet “Janáček & Ligeti Quartets” an English string Quartet led by Romanian — born violinist Corina Belci-again, one of the coolest chamber ensembles in the world. In the mid-90s, there were very ambitious young people-such virtuosos who can do anything-even modern, even all the Beethoven quartets. Quartets of twentieth-century European composers, namely Czech Leos Janacek and Hungarian Djordja Ligeti, play here.Two Janacek quartets — elusively beautiful melodica, folklore plus modernism, creating a poignant atmosphere. The Kreutzer Sonata Quartet is inspired, of course, by the  of the same name by Leo Tolstoy. Ligeti’s composition (written by the composer in Hungary, before emigrating to Austria) is, of course, harder. Well, this is Ligeti — everyone has heard his works in the films of Stanley Kubrick.In this particular Quartet, which is played in one piece without pauses, but totals 17 (!) parts, Ligeti, as he himself believed, continues the ideas of chamber music of another great Hungarian, béla Bartok-music lovers even gave the work a strangely flattering nickname “Bartok’s Seventh Quartet”.It is worth saying that Belcea Quartet is well aware of the continuity they are dealing with, since more than a decade ago they recorded a double CD with all Bartok’s quartets, and the profile critics received it with delight. However, the new disk is already beginning to collect praise.Apple Music, Yandex.Music, DeezerMünchner Philharmoniker & Valery Gergiev ” Anton Bruckner: Symphony No. 8 ” the Comparison of classical works of large form with architecture is terribly banal, but it is impossible to get rid of the idea that Anton Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony is a sort of “Sagrada Familia” of the composer.The monumental ambitious work that the composer composed after the resounding success of the Seventh — is already almost in the status of a genius. The Symphony exists in three versions, on the same recording — the one that is considered the most “native”, edited by musicologist Leopold Novak.

Experts say that Valery Gergiev’s Bruckner is “his own”, that the St. Petersburg conductor with a world name takes a little liberties with the tempo and accents. But this is Gergiev, he can do anything.And the work is beautiful, here whimsically interspersed with completely opposite motives: lush and minimalistic to silence, pastoral and sharply angular, romance, pathos and a Grand smooth chorale in the third part.

Madonna's discography as a mirror of digital recording evolution
Madonna's first albums coincided with the distribution of CDs on the market and her subsequent works clearly show how priorities changed in recording. Let's look at them in more detail.…

...

Blues for a better life: five bluesmen for the advanced listener
Dom Martin, a singer, guitarist and songwriter from Belfast, Ireland, talks about the essence of Blues and non — obvious masterpieces. In the summer, Dom Martin, a well — known…

...

Icons, hermits, geniuses: the best jazz releases of winter 2020
As they say, spring has come into its own. And if we continue with cliches, the incredibly warm winter has melted the hearts, souls, and minds of jazz musicians... and…

...

All sorts of art: five new jazz albums with interesting themes
Jazz recording met the spring with a regrouping of forces. Projects come out with unexpected concepts that don't seem to have anything to do with music. New interesting supergroups appear,…

...