Renée Fleming’s rock album comes out today. I almost gnawed off my fingers trying not to write about it, but after seeing the New York Times carefully dance around its glaring flaws not once but twice, (see also the LA Times and WSJ) it’s time for a review. (more…)
Remember how I said I’d remind you when Christina Pluhar’s Via Crucis was released in the US? Well, I did.
You may also recall that I made a convincing case for you to buy it. It’s time folks. Click on the picture or type “Pluhar Crucis” into the search engine of your favorite online record store and see what happens.
There’s a big long video after the jump, in case you’ve no idea at all what I’m talking about: (more…)
I spend a lot of time bemoaning the mediocrity of much of the music that crosses my desk. It’s only fair, then to point out that Yuja Wang is extremely good at the piano, and she has a new album out. Here are some videos. The first is just ridiculous. The second piece is actually on the album. (more…)
Traditionally the first quarter is a weak period for album releases, but here we are, three months into the year, and some really wonderful album covers are starting to pile up. I love all of these. They represent music packaging done well, eschewing cliché to communicate something useful about the album in an original, stylish way. Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m not going to make fun of them…
There are a small number of occasions when old pictures are exactly the right thing to put on your cover. If you want to make sure everybody knows your record isn’t one of those cheery but insubstantial Passions, or some lightweight piece of fluff like “Die Sieben letzten Worte unseres Erlösers am Kreuze,” that your new telling of the gruesome political execution of a peace-loving prophet and self-proclaimed son of God would make Mel Gibson flinch, then Rembrandt is your man. Accept no substitutes. (more…)
James Rhodes is a classical pianist. Warner Brothers Records is a rock label. Can any good come from their unholy union? Proper Discord caught up with James to ask all sorts of impertinent questions. He was very patient.
You’ve just signed a deal with Warner Brothers Records. That’s the same label that has Metallica, R.E.M. Linkin Park and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, isn’t it? Are you sure that’s a good idea? (more…)
Seriously. ALL DAY. It’s Christina Pluhar’s Via Crucis.
It’s a magnificently unusual sound. It’s like a classier version of Il Divo meet the “Hey Nonny Nonny” early music crowd in a jazz club, although that doesn’t remotely do it justice, which is why I should stop talking and you should watch the video.
I love how the cornett player throws down what sounds a lot like a Clifford Brown trumpet solo in the middle on an instrument that went out of fashion about 350 years ago. In case you’re wondering, it’s completely normal for cornett players to go that color, which might explain why it’s not a popular choice among the kids today. There’s a longer video with the oh-so-dreamy Philippe Jaroussky after the jump. The album is already out in France, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. US customers will have to wait until April 20. Don’t worry. I’ll remind you.
The first single from Renée Fleming’s rock covers albumDark Hope is out today, but according to Decca I’m not allowed to make fun of it yet. It’s like it’s Christmas morning and I’m not allowed to open any presents.
Luckily for them, I just stumbled upon this. 86 orchestral versions of rock songs and weird classical remixes for the low, low price of $11.99. Don’t say “cheap”. It’s “great value”.
Here’s a simple scientific experiment. Please listen to this audio file* and answer the question below. The file (all 56mb of it) contains three versions of the same 1’15” excerpt of Mozart’s Piano Concerto K.491. One is the original uncompressed CD-quality audio, the other two are compressed, like you’d download from iTunes or Amazon. Can you tell which is which?
EDIT: Did you get it right? Did anybody else? The results are now in.
* The sample is from this album, which I heartily recommend. I picked it because it contains all the things that typically encode badly: piano and strings, loud and soft. It’s a big file. It has to be, because the whole thing’s gotta be at CD quality for the science to work. I’m sorry if it takes a while to download. This is what music would be like on the Internet without compression, because CD quality audio is quite a bit bigger than the stuff you’re used to downloading. There are formats that make CD-quality audio a bit smaller, but they don’t work on many of the popular players.
Is there a glaring hole in my methodology? Use the comments. I’ll close the poll and post the answers (and results) when we’ve got enough votes.