Ole Bull – Annar Follesø / Norwegian Radio Orchestra – Violin Concertos (2010) [Official Digital Download 24bit/192kHz]

Ole Bull – Violin Concertos
Annar Follesø / Norwegian Radio Orchestra
WV (image) 24 bit/192 kHz: 2,47 GB | Artwork | 5% Recovery Info
Label/Cat#: 2L # 2L-067-SABD | Country/Year: Norway 2010
Genre: Classical | Style: Romantic | Source: 2L

Ole Bull (1810-1880) was an adventurer, violin virtuoso, composer and international star who brought the name of Norway to worldwide attention. Within music and drama he was a pioneer in the development of a national identity, and on the concert stage his fabulous playing skills and intense charisma early won him the sobriquet “the Scandinavian Paganini”.
Some of his most attractive tunes, as well as the rural potpourri Et Sæterbesøg have remained part of Norway’s cultural heritage; on this recording they can be heard alongside his two virtuosic violin concertos and the fiery Spanish fantasia La Verbena de San Juan. The concertos and the fantasia were rediscovered only a few years ago, and this is the first recording ever made of these attractive works. The A major Concerto was written in Italy in 1834 and boasts everything one could ever dream of when it comes to attractive tunes and giddy virtuosity. No. 2, Concerto Fantastico, lives indisputably up to its name and confirms what Franz Liszt wrote in 1840: “He is a sort of savage’s genius, possessing an abundance of original, enchanting ideas. In brief, he has moved me; it is a long time since that has happened to me.” 2l.no

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Mozart – Marriner & Marriner – Clarinet Concerto, Clarinet Quintet (2004) [Official Digital Download 24bit/88,2kHz]

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Clarinet Concerto K. 622, Clarinet Quintet K. 581
Academy Of St. Martin In The Fields – Andrew Marriner – Sir Neville Marriner
FLAC: 977 MB | Artwork | 3% Recovery Info
Label/Cat#: Pentatone # PTC 5186 048 | Country/Year: Europe 2004
Genre: Classical | Style: Viennese School, Clarinet | Source: HDTracks

I’ve been hesitating about writing the review for the Bis release or this one, and seeing that there were much more recommendations for the Bis recording, I’ll go with Pentatone!
Apart from Ray Kimber and Isomike that still surprise me, Pentatone is soudwise a reference and still is in my opinion at the top of the mountain. As others already pointed, some companies such as Bis, Hyperion, Chandos and others that still record in PCM never quite get to the same point in terms of relaxed and natural sound, richness of harmonics, and also hall sound reproduction (even in stereo).
It is that little something that makes the others sound a bit analytic in comparison. Of course DSD-PCM might not be the reason, and my guess is that there is just a little extra expertise from Polyhymnia. Slight thing.
And this recording is a top five from Pentatone IMHO, which says a lot. I also enjoy the reverberation of the hall which is a pure delight. Due to the hall too, the bass reproduction is impressively clear. On some systems it might sound a little too much but on mine it is perfectly natural. Those things vary in a live environment too according to the hall or even your position in the hall.
The performance is where Bis has the edge. Especially in the quintet, because you hear more clearly the interpretation level of each player. Fröst is the better clarinet player with no doubt, with such a great phrasing and a wonderful creativity. On this Pentatone recording the orchestra in the concerto sounds good, but I will qualify the players in the quintet as average. Jonty in the dicussion said “boring”, I think if I was listening on a cheap system I would say that. But at least the interpretation overall is fluid and does not prevent from enjoying the music (doesn’t look like it, but to me this is some sort of a compliment).
Anyway, with this recording and the Bis release of the same works, we have hours of absolute pleasure ahead of us. I would advise anyone to get both.
As a player myself I feel a little strange about prefering the Pentatone for the so relaxed and realistic sound quality in spite of the better performance on Bis.
I would say that if I’m close, I tend to prefer the Pentatone version because the sound brings so much more (the sound on Bis is too close-miked, not as natural and realistic as I explained above. Still outstanding, but the Pentatone standard is too high…). And if I’m further or in the other room, Bis is the choice. SA-CD.net

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