Acoustic Sounds

Features: Discography

In Part 2 of this special Memorial Day weekend celebration of Benjamin Britten's timeless anti-war statement, we tell the story of the Decca sessions - led by producer John Culshaw and engineer Kenneth Wilkinson - which created one of the acknowledged classics of the gramophone.

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From the moment it was released in 1963, Decca's recording of the War Requiem with the composer conducting was hailed as a supreme achievement of the gramophone. It sold over 200,000 copies in a few months, and is universally acknowledged as a classic. Marking Memorial Day weekend, we tell the story of its composition, recording, and assess the new vinyl and CD/SACD remasterings.

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After spending my previous article gushing over Barenboim’s sonically thrilling Bruckner 4, we’re left with the three remaining Original Source titles for this month, which are some of the most “meat and potatoes” repertoire we’ve seen so far. Any decent classical record collection is going have a copy of these three works: Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6, Brahms Symphony No. 1, and Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra. They are frequently recorded and performed cornerstones of... Read More

The Blue Note Classic Vinyl series has issued nearly 100 records since its inception in 2020 and put back in print many of the long acknowledged classic Miles, Monk, Rollins, Mobley, Morgan, Shorter, and Hancock LPs from the label’s incredible bop/hard bop catalog. The series has also released a substantial selection of funky jazz/R&B organ records from Blue Note’s late period, which have been ignored by fans of “Blue Note jazz” but revered and considered equally... Read More

Last year, when record club Vinyl Me, Please announced their 11LP box set of Miles Davis’ electric period studio albums, I almost immediately preordered it. For hardcore fans, it seemed (and turned out to be) essential: a lavish box set of the albums from In A Silent Way through Get Up With It, cut by Ryan Smith and Joe Nino-Hernes from flat tape copies of the original masters and packaged in laminated tip-on jackets, it’s the perfect document of Miles’ most... Read More

In a web exclusive, we break down the stats behind this momentous release, which represents a game changer in the remastering of recordings from analogue's final golden age.

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Continuing our coverage of this marvelous box set which gathers together a little piece of recording history, when conductor John Mauceri revived the legendary Hollywood Bowl Orchestra for a series of releases highlighting film music and musical theatre from Broadway, Hollywood, and beyond.  This was an important chapter in the ongoing push to give film music and the American musical the respect and exposure they deserved in the catalogue, but didn’t always receive.  In Part 2 I review in more detail the discs contained in this timely reissue. (You can read Part 1 here, where I delve into the history of re-recordings of this often neglected repertoire on vinyl and CD, placing Mauceri’s recordings in context).

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This marvelous box set gathers together a little piece of recording history, when conductor John Mauceri revived the legendary Hollywood Bowl Orchestra for a series of releases highlighting film music and musical theatre from Broadway, Hollywood, and beyond.  This was an important chapter in the ongoing push to give film music and the American musical the respect and exposure they deserved in the catalogue, but didn’t always receive.  In Part 1 I delve into the history of re-recordings of this often neglected repertoire on vinyl and CD, placing Mauceri’s recordings in context.  In Part 2, I review the contents of this timely reissue.

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Deutsche Grammophon has jump-started the New Year with a vengeance, with the announcement of another set of drool-worthy vinyl reissues to tempt the classical listener (and, I hope, many of you seeking to dip your toe into the classical waters). Read on for more details....

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Keb Mo was released in 1994. Good to Be in 2022. One of the frustrating parts of being me is that people who know me (guitarist and Twisted Sister founder) and my history in the music business (and my age—71) think that I must have heard and have an opinion on just about everything (music wise) that was ever released since the 1950’’s! It is even more frustrating when an artist, who seems to have had a long career, especially in a genre that I thought I really knew,... Read More

The third record in the new Original Source Series box devoted to William Steinberg's BSO recordings brings us less well-known works by the great early 20th-century German composer Paul Hindemith. Less well-known they may be, but these recordings make the strongest possible case for this incredibly attractive and original music. Is this the secret gem lurking in the Steinberg box....?

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Johnny Hallyday (1943-2017) was the stage name of Jean-Philippe Léo Smet. In a career spanning nearly 60 years, Hallyday released 79 albums and sold 110 million records. In the year 2000, he sang in front of the Eiffel Tower to a paying audience of about half a million people. And in 2017, nearly one million people showed up to watch his funeral procession. Hallyday's funeral service at the Church of Sainte Marie-Madeleine was attended by French President... Read More

Richard Strauss's epic orchestral tone poem, whose opening "Sunrise" captured the imaginations of millions when it was used in 2001: A Space Odyssey, here receives an outstanding recording. We explore the history of this work, which was written at a time of great change in classical music, and place Steinberg's interpretation within the history of this work on record.

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William Steinberg was never one of the "Big Name" conductors, but he had a stellar career, working with every major orchestra in Europe and America. His recorded legacy is held in high esteem amongst collectors, and no more so than the three records he made for Deutsche Grammophon while Music Director of the renowned Boston Symphony Orchestra in the late 1960s, early 70s. So when it was announced that Deutsche Grammophon and Emil Berliner Studios would be issuing a special boxed edition of all three recordings as part of their ground-breaking Original Source Series of vinyl reissues, hopes for something truly special ran high. In the first of three articles we examine what makes each of these legendary records worthy of the deluxe OSS treatment, beginning with the grand-daddy of all orchestral spectaculars, Holst's The Planets. (For a recap of the background and technical processes behind these Original Source Series vinyl reissues, you can read TA's review of the first two records in this fourth batch of OSS releases).

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Emil Berliner Studios continue to redefine the sonic legacy of Deutsche Grammophon's back catalogue in this latest batch of AAA, deluxe vinyl releases in the Original Source Series. Here we review the two standalone releases from master conductors Herbert von Karajan and Claudio Abbado. (Reviews of the William Steinberg releases to follow, beginning here).

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Every artist announces their end differently. Some make a big deal out of retiring, only to return three to five years later with an album or tour. Others creatively decline until they die, or until no one’s interested anymore. Or, they release their best album, slowly retreat from the spotlight, say that they’re “not currently thinking about a future in the arts,” make sporadic and seemingly random appearances on others’ experimental records, and reissue the entire... Read More