On 01/06/2012, Steven Smolian wrote:

> I recently heard the last 2 movements of the Beethoven 3d Piano
> Concero on the radio and was amazed. I had no idea who was before the
> public at present who played the piece this well. What particularly
> grabbed me was how rich the piano tone was, how clear the various
> piiano voices and orchestral parts were and how well the whole thing
> sounded together.
> Imagine my surprise. It was Leon Fleisher, George Szell and the
> Cleveland Orchestra, made in 1959.
> After a bit of investigation, I learned it was a new, 2012 24 bit
> ransfer from Sony. I orderd the box of the 5 Beethoven and two Brahms
> Concerti that night. When it arrived, it also proved to contain the
> Brahms Handel Variations, the op. 39 Waltzes and Mozarrt's 25th
> Concerto.
> I'm playing the 3d now through my office listening set-up. It's far
> more than the radio disclosed.
> Though I've yet to see a review that addresses it, this is clearly (!)
> a huge improvement over all previous releases in any format.
> I am assuming they've used Capstan as there is no wow or flutter-
> something to which my my ear is particulary sensitive. The crispness
> of the sound indicates corrections to problems caused by slight
> misphasings, firmly and distinctly positioning the instruments within
> the orchestra. A slight cut made here at about 2700 cycles allows the
> piano to sound completely equalized throughout its range with no notes
> suddenly sticking out. The occassional buzzy noise I used to think
> were defects in the recording are now revealed as piano problems. I
> can't hear any tape hiss at all. The only negative is that the time
> between movements is often too short and unrelated to the music's
> pulse.
> Oh, yes. Setting aside a few missed notes in a few of the more
> elaboate passages, the 3d is a terrific performance. They are well
> enough known by now not to require a review.
> The digital millenium has arrived.  More!  More!
> Steve Smolian

Better transfers often seem to improve the performances. I guess they
make it easier for the ear/brain to detect phrasing and the structure of

This is noticeable in jazz as well as classical.

Conversely I remember the outspoken Ivor Tiefenbrun complaining, when
the first CDs came out, that you couldn't hear the tune. Now that the
sound of CDs is (or can be) so much better than those early attempts,
one sees what he meant.

Don Cox
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