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Sonic Voyager

Posts : 35
Join date : 2018-05-25

PostSubject: Music Reviews    Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:24 pm

Exploring Music of the French Baroque

Sonic has been looking for music of the lesser known French baroque composers.  While we are familiar with the music of Charpentier, the Couperins, Lully and Rameau there were many more composers whose names we would not recognize.  Someone may say that these are the Tier 2 composers from the Courts of Louis XIII and XIV. These composers produced good music nevertheless and given that the “standard repertoire” works of the Baroque and Classical eras have been completely recorded perhaps over recorded (how many versions of the Brandenburg Concertos would you want to own, how many sets of Beethoven’s 9 Symphonies?), many ensembles are now researching and recording these lesser known composers.  

The way Sonic goes about collecting these works is to:

a.          make a list of the composers from the era being studied
b.          look their music up on YouTube -- it is surprising how much there is!
c.          listen and then buy the recordings I like online or through specialist shops.

Here is one Sonic is listening to now:

Louis-Antoine Dornel (c. 1680 – c. 1757) was a Parisian composer of whom not much is known.  He was a Church organist of some prominence and was Master of Music of the Academy of France (Academie Francaise) which had him composing works for choirs and orchestras.  Dornel worked at a time when the centre of music and culture of France was shifting from Versailles to Paris – this happened in Louis XIV’s (the Sun King) twilight years.  At this time, the first decades of the 18th century, French audiences were getting into new works and sounds, with Corelli and Vivaldi being BIG in Paris.

Dornel’s works on this recording for mostly recorders, theorbo, viola da gamba and harpsichord is pleasant and
charming.  The pieces here do not have much dynamic contrast or changes in intensity. Yet they have a calming effect after a hectic day. The recording is competently clear -- you can hear the various lines and nuances of the music.  Sonic had to add 1dB at 5 khz and 2dB at 10khz with the JVC SEA-10 equaliser.  With this lift in the treble, the works on this disk for solo harpsichord came alive Exclamation    Very realistic  Smile  

Passacaglia is one of the new ensembles that is likely to influence original instrument performances in the future. Have a look at this video and the expression on viola da gamba player Reiko Ichise’s face at 2:41:



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Sonic Voyager

Posts : 35
Join date : 2018-05-25

PostSubject: Re: Music Reviews    Tue Jun 05, 2018 6:47 am

Greetings Tunees

Sonic finally found this record – long sought by me -- and added it to my collection  Very Happy

Beautiful performance and recording.  It won the Grand Prix du Disque for good reason Exclamation

This is recording is available in vinyl and also digital as part of a four-CD box set.

Sonic recommends Tuness to buy these recordings in either analog or digital and hear some wonderful, perhaps unaccustomed sounds.


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Sonic Voyager

Posts : 35
Join date : 2018-05-25

PostSubject: Re: Music Reviews    Fri Jun 08, 2018 8:36 am

Hi Tunees

Here are some of LPs that Sonic has been listening as we come to the close of this week:

Indian Ragas played by Ashok Ingle (Sitar)

Enjoyable to listen to though the recording is a little hard in the midrange and the bass from the tablas could have more impact.

James Taylor – Sweet Baby James

A great album and Sonic got this in a “dig” really cheap. The downside is Side 2 has been played more by the previous owners and is a bit more distorted at the inner grooves.  However, a good ultrasonic clean reduced the distortion as much as is practical.

Johnny Cash – Happiness is You

A mono recording, very clean if a bit on the warm side and slightly rolled off in the treble.  This album IMO is not one of Cash’s greatest.  It is similar to his early albums (The Fabulous Johnny Cash and Now There Was a Song) where he was very “country” without the distinctive lurking darkness coupled with the hope of redemption that marked The Man in Black at his best.  

Mozart String Quintets

A great performance and a lovely recording to listen to.

And it is not played by this ensemble:

Source: I cannot recall

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Sonic Voyager

Posts : 35
Join date : 2018-05-25

PostSubject: Re: Music Reviews    Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:45 am

Something Sonic found on twogoodears blog

Joni Mitchell

[Quoted text starts]

Thanking Roy Alan Firestone

She attended the James Taylor concert at the Hollywood Bowl last night, sitting discreetly at the back of the Garden section wearing a ball cap and wrapped in warm clothing in a wheelchair. Most people didn't notice her, some people wouldn't even recognize who she was if they did see her.

Joni Mitchell doesn't make music anymore.

That simple fact is sad enough, because at 74, had she not smoked for 61 years, she STILL might've sung her sweet and beautiful songs like"Both sides now", "Big Yellow Taxi" "Woodstock", ""Help me", and "A case of you" somewhere on some stage on some tour.

But it wasn't to be.

Her voice has been ravaged, and her life has been tormented with battles with polio, paranoia and her struggle with a rare and controversial disease called Morgellons.

Joni Mitchell remains, to me, perhaps the greatest singer/artist/ songwriters of the 20th century...or at least one of the elite. Yet, she welcomes obscurity and shuns publicity after a near death stroke that many believed would be her final curtain.

Joni Mitchell has lived with much heartbreak...she abandoned her career for two years and 'cried for a year' after a bad marriage and giving her daughter away for adoption. When she re-united with her daughter about a decade ago, Joni also became an instant grandparent..and the joy washed away so much sorrow and guilt.

Her friends visit her, and she still paints, brilliantly, but not with the frequency she once did.

Her artistry is so diverse and her work so varied on canvas and acrylic that she might've been an even more acclaimed artist as a painter or sculptor.

She grants no interviews, but remains a passionate environmentalist, speaking only publicly on that subject.

Last night she was escorted slowly and quietly in her wheelchair and few if any paid attention to her. By any standard, this woman has led an amazing creative and productive life. But there is still sadness in seeing her something like her own self portrait she painted that was inspired by her hero Van Gogh. She is alone, but not lonely, quiet but not muted, challenged but not defeated.

There is a special place in my heart for Joni Mitchell and millions have that place too.

No doubt she visited with her former lover and friend James Taylor after the show...or before it, and she might've recalled old times, music, art, or just small talk.

Joni Mitchell is alive.

She's not what she was, but she is alive and trying to live a somewhat reclusive life free from pain, anguish, and illness.

Cherish her, remember her while she is here.

A Joni Mitchell public sighting is rare, like seeing some endangered species. But her art and her music will outlive her and remain vibrant and alive for hundreds of years.

Hope you enjoyed the show Joni.

We certainly enjoyed yours.

Stay well.

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Sonic Voyager

Posts : 35
Join date : 2018-05-25

PostSubject: Re: Music Reviews    Fri Jun 15, 2018 8:05 am

The Music of Mr Demachy

A recording of works from one of the lesser-known baroque composers in Sonic’s collection:

These are beautiful solo pieces for Bass Viol with 7 strings dating from 1685.

Le Sieur de Machy (we do not know his full name) was a French viol player, composer, and teacher remembered for his Pièces de Violle en Musique et en Tablature (1685).

This recording by Jordi Savall is worth a listen – you can preview the music here:

If you like the music, go order it online.  Support the making of rare music!


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Sonic Voyager

Posts : 35
Join date : 2018-05-25

PostSubject: Re: Music Reviews    Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:23 am

The Paetzold Contrabass Recorder

Recorders are usually associated with renaissance and baroque music.  However while the majo0ity of the repertoire for both solo and ensemble recorder music is indeed from those eras, there are also modern works written for recorder.  Sonic has some in my collection played by David Munrow.

A recorder ensemble looks like this:

(Source: Texas Early Music)

Notice the large recorder on the Right.  That is the bass recorder.  Historically all recorders were made as tubes and this has been the design for centuries.

Recently Paetzold of Germany developed recorders with square cross sections. And their bass recorders look like this:

Here is a video by Sarah Jeffery who gives a very animated description and demonstration of these odd looking recorders:


Fascinating isn’t it?

Listen to some modern music composed for the contrabass Paetzold recorder:


This is Susanne Froelich performing Oscar Bianchi’s Crepuscolo (2004).

If you listen to this on the tiny speakers of your laptop/iPad, it will be a mess of honking, quacking and clicking noises.  But play it back via your full frequency range music system (preferably Tuned  Very Happy ) or at least a good pair of headphones plugged into your laptop, you will really hear what the Paetzold can do.

As always, please support the composers and performers of unique music by buying their CDs, LPs, official downloads or attending their concerts if they come to your town.


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Michael Green

Posts : 3659
Join date : 2009-09-12
Location : Vegas/Ohio/The Beach

PostSubject: Re: Music Reviews    Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:18 am

Hi Sonic

Great stuff! That's pretty wild.

michael green
PH 702 762 3245
Email mgtune@yahoo.com
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Sonic Voyager

Posts : 35
Join date : 2018-05-25

PostSubject: Re: Music Reviews    Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:25 am

Prince Charles knights Barry Gibb

(Source: Fox News)

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Sonic Voyager

Posts : 35
Join date : 2018-05-25

PostSubject: Re: Music Reviews    Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:18 am

The HMV 510 Lumiere Gramophone

We often associate the acoustic playback of 78 rpm records with large horns. Here is something of an alternative approach to horns – the Lumiere Gramophone.

Have a look, route the signal of this youtube clip through your system (preferably Tuned) and enjoy a selection of music of an age past:


Look at that contraption, especially the arm… (if you must rush, Zonees can see more of the arm from 4.00… and more through the video)…but Sonic played this through my system, all 52 minutes of this “Lumiere Broadcast”. You might have to EQ the sound a bit with some lift below 400 hz to make the sound of the gramophone less thin and midrangey (possibly due to the recording equipment being used to make this video -- you can tell this also with the recorded tone of the "DJ's" voice).


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Sonic Voyager

Posts : 35
Join date : 2018-05-25

PostSubject: Re: Music Reviews    Fri Jul 06, 2018 8:53 am

Robin Gibb’s Odessa

The final album of the first generation Bee Gees as the trio of Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb was the double LP Odessa.

Source: Uncut

The recording of this album was fraught with tension and when the recording sessions were being done, the Bee Gees as a functioning group was over.  The songs on the album were great, some brilliant but with a properly resolving system (Tuned the Michael Green way) you will hear the patchwork of instrumental and vocal tracks laid separately with different spatiality, reverb.  This so the band members could minimize face to face meetings during the making of the album.  Soon after this album’s release in March 1969, Robin quit and the Bee Gees became a duo. They eventually re-formed in two years as the Generation 2 Bee Gees but that is another story.

The title track Odessa is a typically melodramatic piece by Robin.  And two versions exist.

Here is Odessa as it was released:

There is also a “demo” version which has far more of Robin Gibb’s creative stamp on it. It is fascinatingly different. Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-DUhJpz9K8

This alternative version again shows the creative tension within the group and partly answers the question of what the Bee Gees might have sounded like if Robin emerged as the dominant creative force of the group instead of Barry.  

For new Zonees, Sonic is a fan of Robin Gibb’s early recorded works and I wrote about his underestimated genius in my post here:

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Sonic Voyager

Posts : 35
Join date : 2018-05-25

PostSubject: Re: Music Reviews    Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:01 am

Peter Lang and Macyn Taylor – Extraordinary Acoustic Guitar Players

Peter Lang is one of the greatest fingerstyle guitarists of our time up there with Leo Kottke.

See him making very fine music in this video clip:


And from a new generation of guitarists is this young lady: Macyn (pronounced “Mason”) Taylor. Here she is playing Ragamuffin on a Martin D28. Given that Macyn says she was playing without using the pickup on the instrument and that it was just externally miked -- think of the power she is applying to create this sound!


In Sonic’s opinion, the Martin D28 is a somewhat formidable guitar to play complex fingerstyle on when unamplified. While I love my HD28 for its deep tone, shimmering treble plus snap and punch, I find the Taylor dreadnoughts to be instruments that are easier to pick up and play. They dance with you and invite you to improvise, encouraging you to take musical chances in a live performance and then helping you get away successfully to audience applause even when you are playing right at the edge of where your skills are about to “clip”.


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