Influences - Stefanovich

Influences - Stefanovich

PentaTone Classics  PTC 5186741

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Instrumental

Ives: Piano Sonata No. 1
Bartók: Improvisations on Hungarian Peasant Songs, Op. 20
Messiaen: Cantéyodjayâ
Bach: Aria variata alla maniera italiana in A Minor, BWV 989

Tamara Stefanovich (piano)


On her first PENTATONE album, pianist Tamara Stefanovich presents a highly personal selection of solo works by Bach, Bartók, Ives and Messiaen. Influences shows how these extraordinarily original and idiosyncratic composers let themselves be inspired by the exterior world, thereby demonstrating how authenticity comes from looking outside as well as inside. The repertoire spans from Bach’s embrace of Italian musical elements in his Aria variata alla maniera italiana, Bartók’s incorporation of folk elements in his Improvisations on Hungarian Peasant Songs, and Messiaen’s use of Hindu rhythms in Cantéyodjayâ to the collage of marching bands, sounds of trains and machinery, church hymns, ragtime and blues in Ives’ first piano sonata. In all cases, the exterior influences lead to deeply original and personal sonic galaxies. In that respect, the pieces presented here underline how identity results from a constant dialogue with our surroundings, ever changing and enriching our perceptions of ourselves and the world.

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PCM recording
Comments (9)

Comment by Longjohns and Wifebeaters - March 31, 2019 (1 of 9)

One of Gramophone's Best New Classical Albums the Month (April 2019). This should be awesome (my copy is on its way).

Comment by SteelyTom - April 3, 2019 (2 of 9)

A PCM recording-- is this a trend for PentaTone?

Comment by AOS - April 9, 2019 (3 of 9)

I have read many times about the prejudice that PCM is not good. Be aware that it is not possible to mix DSD recordings. Almost all of the recordings we have today are multi mics recording. Eventually all DSD recordings have to be converted in PCM files. I discussed the issue with Jens Schünemann, who for example mixed the Mahler cycle with Markus Stenz, and he confirmed this issue. It is really an illusion if you think you can hear any differences between a PCM or DSD recording. Every position of a mic or which kind of mic you are using, will have a greater influence of the result. The same is true for the sampling frequence.

Comment by hiredfox - April 11, 2019 (4 of 9)

Sorry AOS but simply put you are wrong. There is no illusion about the differences in SQ between DSD and PCM recorded material and it is not true that all DSD recordings are processed via PCM. Try telling that to Jared Sachs and a few others.

In any case even if some DSD recordings have been processed in DXD at 384kHz that is still 4 x the sampling frequency at which most PCM recordings are made these days. It is self evident that the former will sound better as there is 4 x the musical information available to be heard.

... and what about the myriad re-recordings of old analogue tapes direct to DSD without any form of editing?

Comment by hiredfox - April 11, 2019 (5 of 9)

Steely Tom won't this be dependent only upon the equipment available at the venue. If recording an orchestra affiliated to a radio station it is likely they will have their own recording systems in place for broadcasting (probably PCM) and so for convenience Pentatone just piggy-back on that technology to capture particular recordings. Little point in doubling up as Everett Porter explained to us once when challenged about changes at the Het Concertgebouw I Amsterdam.

In situations where Pentatone are commissioned to record an orchestra that does not have its own recording facilities then they would likely use their own DSD recording equipment.

Pentatone normally monitor this site so any clarification would be welcomed chaps.

Comment by AOS - April 12, 2019 (6 of 9)

@hiredfox Sorry, but we are talking about different things. I talked about multi track recordings. Indeed these recordings can not be mixed in DSD. You are talking about processing and mastering from old analogue tapes. Minor edting (like cutting and volume) is possible with DSD. And it also not true that someone can really decide from a converted file, if it was recorded in PCM or DSD. There are some studies about this issue. The most important one is a master thesis from the Music University in Detmold (Germany), which included also professionals from the industry. Sometimes it can sound different, but even the results from the experts have not been better than pure guessing what kind of source it was. Depending on the kind of music, it is really hard to here differences even between an AAC 320k/bit converted file and the original recording in 24 Bit (PCM). I do recordings myself and it could be also helpful for you to know someone who has a DAW and you could hear the results of different conversions. It is almnost impossible to hear a difference between 24/48 and 24/96. Everything above is vodoo!!

Comment by Adrian Quanjer - April 13, 2019 (7 of 9)

I guess that some ears are better than others. Pentatone’s not so very hi-res (24/48) recordings are audibly worse than 24/96. Above is not voodoo, but difficult, depending on ears, equipment and, yes, listening experience. The Norwegian 2L has a Hi-Res test site: Why not try it out?
BTW I know of at least one study designed to prove that one cannot hear the difference...

Comment by SteelyTom - April 13, 2019 (8 of 9)

Hiredfox, thanks for the informative background/clarification. In my subjective and highly fallible opinion, DSD is particularly well-suited to piano recordings, but we trust the good folks at PentaTone to deliver a good result in any event. (When it comes to the first Ives sonata, beggars can't be choosers.)

Comment by hiredfox - April 15, 2019 (9 of 9)

AOS, we will have to agree to disagree but that's fine.

Throughout the history of high fidelity music reproduction self-styled experts of the hi-fi and music recording industries have tried to impose their particular world view of their subject - most often unsupported by a complete lack of evidence - on a largely naive and susceptible audience of music buyers and listeners. Except that most experienced audiophiles are neither naive or susceptible.

Of course, as Adrian has observed wisely we all hear things quite differently in quite different environments and there is no way that any of this can be measured individually or collectively so it all remains very much individual views unsupported by evidence.

The only test that matters to an individual is how a recording sounds in their own homes on their own systems and surely this is evidence enough! If SQ difference patterns emerge over time who is to say that they are not real?