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In 1925, Béla Bartók told interviewer Dezso Kosztolanyi that his first instrument was not, as might have been expected, the piano, but a drum he was given at the age of 2. At the age of 4, he was attracted to the piano, picking out Hungarian folk songs with one finger. These twin instrumental influences converged in one of the composer's most remarkable works, the Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion (1937), composed on a commission from the Basle chapter of the International Society for Contemporary Music. Bartók had previously explored similar instrumental combinations: the middle movement of the Piano Concerto No. 1, for instance, is a dialogue between the soloist and percussion. In this work, however, Bartók decided that, for purposes of balance, the percussion section was better offset by two pianos.
The Second Piano Concerto, written specifically for Bartok’s concert tours, was strongly influenced by the style of the composer-as-pianist – that style which Louis Kentner (the soloist under Otto Klemperer, in the first Hungarian performance of the work) has thus characterised: “ a relentless logic, an unwavering rhythm... such fire, such somber passion and eloquence as to make the performance…an unforgettable experience.”
This audiophile album was recorded using A-B Stereo techniques without support microphones, creating extremely convincing depth in the stereo image and capturing a realistic room impression. The sound sources, i.e. musical instruments and room reflections, are picked up with the correct time alignment relative to the placement of the main stereo pair, which explains why this method is often regarded as the PURIST’S CHOICE. The 2xHD Fusion mastering further contributes to the pureness, by bringing out all hidden information, without altering the music in any way, uncovering and conveying the nuances, warmth, depth of field and even the air around the musicians.
THE 2xHD FUSION MASTERING SYSTEM
The 2xHD logo on an album cover indicates that the recording was carefully selected and that the high resolution mastering was done using the 2xHD process. Created by producer/studio owner André Perry and prize-winning audiophile sound engineer René Laflamme in collaboration with several high-end audio equipment manufacturers, the 2xHD music mastering system combines the best of vintage analog with state-of-the-art DSD and DXD digital technology – a ‘Back to the Future’ approach. Each musical project is treated with individual attention to the selection of equipment.
In the constant evolution of its proprietary mastering process, 2xHD has progressed to a new phase called 2xHD FUSION integrating a selection of high-end vacuum tube equipment in the mastering chain. For this album, the original ¼” 15 ips NAB master tapes were played using a Nagra-T tape recorder which was modified with such tube playback electronics and connected from the playback head directly to a Nick Doshi tube head preamplifier using OCC silver cables. The Nagra-T, with its four direct drive motors, two pinch rollers and a tape tension head, has one of the best transports ever made. A custom-built carbon fiber head block and a head damping electronic system permit 2xHD FUSION to obtain a better resolution and 3D imaging. The resulting signal is then transferred into high resolution formats by recording it in DSD 11.2 MHz using a Merging Technologies’ Horus A to D converter. All analog and digital cables that are used are state of the art. The 2xHD FUSION mastering system is powered by a super capacitor power supply, using a new technology that lowers the digital noise found in the lowest level of the spectrum. A vacuum tube NAGRA HDdac (DSD) is used as a reference digital playback converter in order to A and B with the original analog master tape, permitting the fusion of the warmth of analog with the refinement of digital. 2xHD was created by producer/studio owner André Perry and prize-winning audiophile sound engineer René Laflamme.
|Sonata for 2 Pianos and Percussion, BB 115: I. Assai lento - Allegro molto|
|Sonata for 2 Pianos and Percussion, BB 115: II. Lento, ma non troppo|
|Sonata for 2 Pianos and Percussion, BB 115: III. Allegro non troppo|
|Piano Concerto No. 2, Sz. 95, BB 101: I. Allegro|
|Piano Concerto No. 2, Sz. 95, BB 101: II. Adagio|
|Piano Concerto No. 2, Sz. 95, BB 101: III. Allegro molto|