MA Recordings - M024A-V - 180 Gram Virgin Vinyl -
Pressed at QRP - 20th Limited Edition
She brings an elegance to the performance that I thought was lacking in all the other interpretations.The sonics on this recording is also exemplary (as with most MA Recordings titles)
Although many people subconsciously and rather erroneously consider this work the "Glen Gouldberg" Variations, one must never forget that this profoundly beautiful work was created by Johann Sebastian Bach and is open to a vast world of interpretation.
Japanese pianist Ito Ema's masterful performance on her own magnificent 1903 Steinway D Concert Grand Piano will surely be appreciated by the true music lover. Known as the definitive audiophile version, this pure analog recording was realized with 2 Bruel and Kjær 4006 mikes and a custom made microphone amplifier.
Tape: 3M 996, Half inch Recorder: Studer A-820, tape speed: 30ips
There is no doubt that the MA Recordings represent a labor of love and their sound quality is above and beyond reproach. You could just say they sound glorious and I wouldn't argue that point either.As I sit and listen to these MA Recordings I find myself fantasizing - what if all of our music sounded this good?
This recording offers revelatory clarity, from bottom to top, making another powerful case for the piano as presenter of this peerless monument of baroque music. A wonderful balance of lyricism and formality, there are no wayward or 'personal' moments here. Ito Ema plays as a medium, with an especial appreciation for momentum in Bach: how each phrase must strike us as falling directly from the one preceding it and impelling the one that follows
This is one of the best sounding piano recordings I know of. I have heard more physically present pianos on a few LPs. (An analogue version of this performance was made—on all analogue equipment; but, as we might expect, it sold out quickly.) That said, this recording (I have the gold one, which is available as an option.) begs no indulgence from analogue. It does what digital at its best does superbly well: create a stunning artifact, a brilliant and absolutely resolved document of a musical performance. done right has always struck me as the loudspeaker equivalent of Harbeth monitor speakers with their RADIAL drivers: resolution as absolute. The venue, Harmony Hall in Matsumoto, Japan, seems mainly to lend space to the occasion. All we hear is the instrument, which is entirely appropriate. Positive Feedback
Although many people subconsciously consider this piece the "Glen Gouldberg Variations," one must never forget that this profoundly beautiful work was created by Johann Sebastian Bach. Japanese pianist Ito Ema's masterful performance on her own magnificent 1903 Steinway D Concert Grand Piano will surely be appreciated by the true music lover. Known as the definitive audiophile version, this recording was realized with 2 separate recording systems: one pair of handmade, titanium capsule DC powered, high output mikes for the CD and 2 Bruel and Kjær 4006 mikes for the 1/2 inch analog tape
Analogue Recording, February 1994
The Harmony Hall, Matsumoto, Japan
Microphones: Brüel & Kjær 4006 (one pair)
Microphone amplifier custom built by Junichi Yonetani
Cables: Cardas 300-B Micro; from mikes to mike amp
Furukawa PC-OCC; from mike amp to recorder
Recorder: Studer A-820 with 1/2 inch tape head assembly
Magnetic Recording Tape: 3M 996
Tape Speed: 30 ips/76 cps
Monitored on QUAD ESL-63 pro loudspeakers and Stax Omega Earspeakers
Director: Takashi Sakurai
Piano Technician: Koki Mizushima
Analog tape editing: Yukio Kojima
Analog cables from Ampex ATR-102 to Korg MR2000S were Crystal Cable Ultra (3 meter pair) custom fitted with Switchcraft Connectors at the Crystal Cable factory.
Produced and Engineered by Todd Garfinkle
And..... finally..... my preferred interpretation - by Ito Ema recorded by Todd Garfinkle on MA Recordings. She brings an elegance to the performance that I thought was lacking in all the other interpretations. Perhaps it's just my opinion, but this particular piece might be difficult to play and hence these men use the piece to show off their piano skills, is the wrong piece to be pianistic about. It needs a smooth lyrical flow and a sensitive yet assertive touch. Under Ema's fingers, I can imagine being the Count cheered up during sleepless nights.
The sonics on this recording is also exemplary (as with most MA Recordings titles). The pianists own 1903 Steinway & Sons Model D Patent Grand is used. What's fabulous is that Todd made 2 different versions - the CD was digitally recorded using custom titanium capsule microphones; a second version was recorded onto 1/2-inch analog tape with B&K 4006 omnidirectional microphones. A high-rez version is available on a DVD-ROM and that is a 24bit/176.4kHz transfer off the analog tape. MonandStereo