Courtesy of frequent Audio Asylum classical bulletin-board poster Todd Krieger, here’s an outstanding Brahms violin concerto from a violinist I had been unaware of, Sergey Khachatryan. I should not have been unaware, in that Sergey Khachatryan was awarded first prize at Belgium’s Queen Elizabeth Competition in 2005.
This performance is full of depth, nuance, subtlety, and grace! And the conductor and the orchestra are completely on board with all that. In particular, the dynamic shadings of the interplay between soloist and orchestra are such a revelation. Phrasing is also blessed with such innigkeit. And Khachatryan has amazing technical resources. But exactly which kind of demands this concerto makes upon technical (and musical) resources, I offer an opinion on, after the jump.
I don’t understand much spoken German at all. So it might be surprising that my favorite classical-music internet radio station is Bavarian Broadcasting’s BR-Klassik channel.
The reason is simple. BR-Klassik’s programming is unusually diverse, and therefore more interesting to me. To tune into the “br.de” streaming service, all you have to do is click here: https://www.br.de/index.html. Once you are on the home page, scroll down to here:
And click on the tile with the BR-Klassik logo. A player window will open that connects you to the classical-music channel. Bavarian households pay about $250 a year for public broadcasting, but now you are getting it for free!
More commentary from me, after the jump. Continue Reading →
The Moonriver Audio Model 404 is a solid-state stereo integrated amplifier with a rated output of 50 Watts per channel. The Model 404 combines a preamplifier stage that consists entirely of discrete devices (and therefore, there are no integrated-circuit chips in the preamplifier), and a power-amplifier stage that is Class A/B linear (and therefore, the Model 404 is not a Class-D digital-switching amplifier).
The company name of Swedish high-end-audio newcomer “Moonriver Audio” is a tribute to the song “Moon River,” from the Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993) film Breakfast at Tiffany’s. “Moon River” won for Henry Mancini (music) and Johnny Mercer (lyrics), the 1962 Academy Award (“Oscar”) for “Best Original Song.” (The screenplay was based on a novella by Truman Capote. He cried all the way to the bank.)
Therefore, the first important point is: the Moonriver 404 is hand-built in Sweden, apparently by someone who has fond memories of Audrey Hepburn.
(And so, therefore, the Moonriver 404 is not built in China by people who—most likely—do not have fond memories of Audrey Hepburn.)
The second important point is that the Moonriver 404 (US MSRP $3500; but there are optional modules) is a tremendously serious audio product. As far as I can tell, the Moonriver 404’s only “flaw” is that it never calls attention to itself. However, that’s because it only calls attention to the music.
More on what I mean by “a tremendously serious audio product,” after the jump. And more about Audrey Hepburn!
Continue Reading →