Category Archives: Classical Music News

High Definition Recording Gets Higher

I’ve just attend an impressive demonstration of some “3D” recordings given by German producer Werner Drabinghaus. The playback system supplements the modern home theater surround configuration with four additional speakers placed high up in a room (in the present case, some 5 meters up in the Gasteig’s “Black Box” venue) on the right and left, front and rear. The results were quite stunning, particularly from recordings where some of the instruments and choirs are placed on risers or a cathedral organ is high above the congregation. Most interestingly, the additional speakers increased the sense of both staging and imaging along with the vertically expanded aural canvas. Drabinghaus is on to something big, especialy given that good quality surround speakers and amplification are a relative bargain, standards that include elevated speakers are beginning to find standardization (including Blu-Ray playback) in the consumer audio community, and multichannel formats are beginning to get traction among the download community.

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, 1925-2012

He was a giant of the music world, and a particularly important figure in Germany’s postwar era. There’s a terrific biography/obituary at The Telegraph. EMI’s new SACD release sporting high-definition transfer of his four groundbreaking early HMV LPs of Schubert lieder with the incomparable Gerald Moore arrived at my office last week; these are among the most important classical recordings of the postwar era.

Lucerne Festival Shake-Up: Mahler Out, Mozart and Beethoven In

I’m hugely disappointed:

Change of program:
LUCERNE FESTIVAL hereby announces that on 8 August as well as on 10 and 11 August, Claudio Abbado will conduct Beethoven’s Incidental music to “Egmont” and Mozart’s Requiem. For artistic reasons, this program replaces the originally scheduled Eighth Symphony by Gustav Mahler.

I had been planning to attend what was to be the culmination of Abbado’s Lucerne Mahler symphony cycle. Interesting that as of the hour of this post seems to be having technical problems (style sheets and javascript are offline). I will post more information as soon as I know more.

The Great Classical/Jazz Metadata Crisis Solved

After the Worst Air Travel experience Ever® (bottom line: never fly Alitalia), I’ve hit the ground running at MIDEM, and had a terrific breakfast with occasional partner in crime the music biz Todd Landor and musichi‘s CEO/inventor/metadata genius Philippe Watel. If you’re a serious classical music geek or computer audiophile who loves jazz, you know what a pain int the butt it is to find music on Amazon, iTunes, and most other services. Philippe may have hit on a solution – and a cool new player for your media center or netbook! More to follow the middle of next week; stay tuned…

Quasthoff Bows Out

What a shame: Von heute auf morgen (via Boulezian) reports that Thomas Quasthoff, one of my favorite singers, has abruptly announced his retirement from the concert stage, cancelling all forthcoming appearances. The baritone cited health reasons for the decision; thankfully, he will continue to teach. And Quasthoff threw in this zinger when he confirmed the story to “Moreover, in my view the classical music industry has become superficial. One gets the impression that there is no one left except David Garrett.” Ouch