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"German label Tacet began their hi-res releasing with only DVD-A, but recently have been reissuing many of their DVD-A albums as well as brand new ones in a SACD series. Label CEO and engineer Andreas Spreer has, like many other recording engineers, been interested in vacuum tube microphones for some time. He decided a few years back to make an all-tube LP, using tube mics such as the Neumann U47, tube amps powering the cutter, and so on thru the chain. This is now his third Tube Only recording, and of course all three are now on CD or one of the hi-res formats. So since there isn′t any tubed SACD-mastering gear, this disc is not quite as all tube as its predecessor, but benefits from the synergistic combination of solo violin and tube microphones. One of the most annoying sounds when recorded with normal digital gear can be the violin′s special timbre. Even though the SACD format reduces that artifact greatly, I am still hearing some violin discs that suffer from a bit of digititus, and I believe it to be due to the solid-state mics and mixers being used early in the recording chain.
Gaede has a lovely tone to begin with and it is beautifully captured on this disc. The surround mix is subtle but adds to the realism of the two soloists on the frontal soundstage. (This is not one of the one-player-per-speaker hi-res discs which Tacet has also done.) If you have tubes anywhere in your playback system it certainly won′t hurt the rich and very musical sonics of this disc. Usually such a program of violin-piano encores would be the same old same old, but aside from Ave Maria and the Mediation from Thais most of these 15 selections are a bit unusual and all are delightful to hear. The Kreisler work is a short three-movement concerto in the style of Vivaldi, heard with the Polish Chamber Orchestra, and in the Hellmesberger Romanze the two performers are joined by three guest violinists. The subtitle of the disc is "Captivating Violin Pieces," and that about sums it up."
John Sunier

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