Michael Leser Johnson

Michael Leser Johnson  |  May 16, 2022  |  0 comments
In my previous review of the Korppoo Trio by the Sibelius Piano Trio and Yarlung Records, I spoke a great deal about the recording philosophy of this boutique classical outfit and their AAA, 45rpm chamber music records. From the same recording sessions that brought us that exquisite romantic delight, we have another outing with musicians Petteri Iivonen, Juho Pohjonen, and Samuli Peltonen, this time with a decidedly different program.

Michael Leser Johnson  |  Mar 20, 2022  |  5 comments
Grammy award winning Yarlung Records out of Los Angeles California has been releasing classical music albums on CD, LP, and R2R tape since as far back as 2006, but they had somehow managed to escape my radar. Better late than never, as they possess all the ingredients necessary to delight readers of this website; including a dedication to minimalist analog recording techniques, and the curation of the finest up-and-coming classical talent working today. This label is run by people (primarily producer and engineer Bob Attiyeh) who care deeply about classical music, and are connected to first rate performers, particularly those who orbit the many concert halls of the greater Los Angeles area. In addition to running a record label, Yarlung also has an associated nonprofit called Yarlung Artists which focuses on getting promising new artists started on their touring career.

Michael Leser Johnson  |  Jan 24, 2022  |  8 comments
Last year Deutsche Grammophon surprised me by releasing a double 45rpm pressing of American violinist Hilary Hahn’s latest album Paris. For those not familiar, Hahn is one of the violinists of our day, selling out concert dates with major symphony orchestras around the world, and releasing a slew of well received solo albums over the last 25 years. I first heard violinists singing her praises when I was a 16 year old student at Interlochen Arts Camp, and have enjoyed countless recordings by her in the years since, particularly her 2003 Bach Concertos recording with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, which has never really left my rotation since I bought it a decade ago.

Michael Leser Johnson  |  Sep 24, 2021  |  19 comments
Those browsing the classical vinyl reissues on various audiophile websites may have encountered a few peculiar releases from a Korean label known as Analogphonic. The small label has been pumping out limited reissues of vintage classical recordings since 2012. The records are mastered by various engineers in Europe or North America but are always AAA and pressed at Pallas records in Germany.

Michael Leser Johnson  |  May 16, 2021  |  20 comments
In May of 1913, just one year before the start of the first World War, Igor Stravinsky premiered his third ballet with the Ballets Russes in Paris: Le Sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring). The premiere would go down in history for a number of reasons, primarily due to the unruly Parisian audience that descended into what could be referred to as a riot. What was so scandalous about the Rite? Stravinsky, along with choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky, wanted to evoke a picture of Russia from the distant, pagan past. A story of an ancient pagan rite where a young maiden would be chosen to dance herself to death to appease the ancestors and secure a bountiful harvest. The music, while stylistically not a huge departure from Stravinsky’s two previous and successful Parisian ballets, was dissonant, brutal, and rhythmically disorienting. Likewise, Nijinsky’s choreography was rigid, and was meant to mimic the flat, two-dimensional style of prehistoric paintings. The audience that night was not having it, but their uproar helped launch the Rite into infamy, helping it to become one of the most talked about and often performed works of the 20th century.

Michael Leser Johnson  |  Feb 23, 2021  |  1 comments
Over the last 40 years, Giulio Cesare Ricci’s Fonè record label has been slowly churning out limited audiophile “one stage” (the same basic process as MoFi’s one-step) records using an all-analog chain. These Pallas-pressed recordings of classical, jazz and various other types of acoustic music are limited to 496 copies each. Why 496 specifically? Because Ricci is fond of the number, that’s all. Fonè is clearly a labor of passion and love for Ricci as he not only runs the label, but serves as his own recording and mastering engineer.

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