Author Topic: The Italian Invasion  (Read 20869 times)

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Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: The Italian Invasion
« Reply #80 on: February 12, 2017, 12:48:19 AM »
Beatrice Rana is surely a force to be reckoned with. She was 18 in 2011:

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Offline Todd

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Re: The Italian Invasion
« Reply #81 on: February 12, 2017, 06:27:20 AM »
Have you heard the Beethoven violin sonatas he recorded for DG in Japan? I enjoyed those much more, and I'm not normally much interested in middle period Beethoven.


Not yet, but it's in the queue after I first listen to Oistrakh/Oborin.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2017, 06:31:05 AM by Todd »
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Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: The Italian Invasion
« Reply #82 on: February 19, 2017, 08:07:41 PM »
Beatrice Rana is surely a force to be reckoned with.

A force to be reckoned with for sure. See my post here.

Below is another Rana disc worth mentioning. Here she's partnered with more Italians: the orchestra Santa Cecilia. 

In some quarters Tchaik 1 may be derided as an overexposed warhorse but to me it's just great music. I purposely don't gorge myself on the piece so whenever I do listen to it it always sounds fresh. And here Rana and crew give this piece exactly that: a fresh take.

There's nary a hint - anywhere - of a blasé attitude toward the piece, nothing which spells "why us Lord??". Rather, the concentration and intensity are of the highest order. Obviously everybody involved went in to this project with 100% commitment, including the recording engineers. This is a stunner of a recording.

As far as pianist, for those familiar with Rana's playing there are no surprises here: her big, full sound is complemented by a keen dexterity, overlaying every big phrase with one delicate sub-phrase after another. It's remarkable how few pianists can play with this well-balanced mixture of "big" and "miniature". Of pianists of old the ones that come to mind are Fiorentino and Agustin Anievas, neither of whom recorded much (Anievas far less). (Latterly Cynthia Raim fits the bill but she records even less, still!).

Obviously, though, this is a collaborative affair. Pappano and orchestra walk the tightrope with Rana and hone the give-and-take to the tightest of tolerances. The Santa Cecilia orchestra has a full, rich sound yet it never swallows Rana, not that that would be an easy task anyway with her big sound. But the orchestra, too, is right in league with Rana in that they play "big" yet they don't shut out the finer details, with warmth, color, etc, at the ready. Everybody sounds well rehearsed and energetic with an eagerness which is infectious.

Next up: the Prokofiev.

 


« Last Edit: February 20, 2017, 04:53:22 AM by Dancing Divertimentian »
Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Offline Brian

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Re: The Italian Invasion
« Reply #83 on: February 19, 2017, 08:15:34 PM »
Hey Don

APRIL 12-15 | 2018
NICHOLAS MCGEGAN CONDUCTS
BEATRICE RANA PIANO
HAYDN Symphony No. 83, “The Hen”
PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto No. 3
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 2

Dallas Symphony!

Offline Wanderer

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Re: The Italian Invasion
« Reply #84 on: February 20, 2017, 12:46:48 AM »
Next up: the Prokofiev.

 




That's sensational, too.

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: The Italian Invasion
« Reply #85 on: February 20, 2017, 04:58:56 AM »
Hey Don

APRIL 12-15 | 2018
NICHOLAS MCGEGAN CONDUCTS
BEATRICE RANA PIANO
HAYDN Symphony No. 83, “The Hen”
PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto No. 3
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 2

Dallas Symphony!

!!

Hey, Brian. Will send PM tonight!
Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: The Italian Invasion
« Reply #86 on: February 20, 2017, 04:59:44 AM »
That's sensational, too.

Thanks, good to hear!
Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Offline Todd

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Re: The Italian Invasion
« Reply #87 on: February 20, 2017, 08:07:20 AM »



Alessandra Ammara playing Chopin.  The disc opens with a loud left hand note announcing the open of the first Ballade.  (Proper volume took a little bit to arrive at on first listen.)  Ammara's approach is generally big and bold, and she adopts a generally brisk tempo, and throws in rubato that might be considered mannered.  Her dynamic range is good, but none of the playing really sounds gentle, and at times one may long for a bit more lyricism.  There are a few moments where Ammara seems to lack ideal composure, but these moments are rare.  Too, she seems too studied in her approach, and she lacks the tonal and technical flexibility of Seong-Jin Cho to pull it off as successfully.  The Fantasie retains the big, bold approach overall, though it sounds a bit hard and inflexible as a result.  Better is the Barcarolle, which finds Ammara playing with more sensitivity and lyricism, and her rubato works well.  The Op 30 Mazurkas close the disc, and they are a bit overdone from a dynamics and accents standpoint and a bit lacking in rhythmic flexibility, though they are enjoyable enough.  So good, occasionally very good, Chopin, but not a disc to rival established favorites.

Sound is close and weighty and clear, but the piano tone is a bit monochrome and sometimes the upper registers are a bit metallic.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2017, 03:09:31 PM by Todd »
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Online Mandryka

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Re: The Italian Invasion
« Reply #88 on: March 07, 2017, 07:54:18 AM »
Someone recommended a Debussy etudes recording to me yesterday which I've been exploring today - by Mariangela Vacatello.




The vision is totally fresh. Is it immature? I don't know. What I do know is that like Craig Sheppard's recording, it's communicative, and for that reason engrossing.
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Offline Todd

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Re: The Italian Invasion
« Reply #89 on: March 19, 2017, 07:05:36 AM »



I enjoyed Muzio Clementi's symphony set on Sony so much that I felt like trying at least some of his piano music.  As it happens, Pietro De Maria's debut recording was of Clementi's Op 40 sonatas, so picking the right disc was a cinch.  The three somewhat showy sonatas may never plumb the depths of Beethoven's contemporaneous works, but they are eminently entertaining, filled with verve and a sense of fun in the lighter, major key sonatas, and a fine sense of drama in the minor key work.  The young De Maria's playing strikes me as a perfect match.  He glides effortlessly along the keyboard, applying his beautiful touch with great frequency, throwing in some effective rubato, and playing with more than enough energy and strength when needed.  Having heard all but one of his later recordings, he has fulfilled the promise he shows here. 

Sound is near SOTA for the mid-90s, and is notably better than most of Naxos' other offerings from the era that I have heard.  A peach of a disc.

I may explore more of Clementi's piano output.  It sure would be helpful if Warner would reissue Maria Tipo's ten disc set, either on its own or in a big box.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2017, 03:02:29 PM by Todd »
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Offline André

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Re: The Italian Invasion
« Reply #90 on: March 19, 2017, 03:03:00 PM »
My own experience is that I never tire of Clementi. I have the complete sonatas on Arts with Pietro Spada, as well as 2 volumes of Costantino Mastroprimiano's integral set on Brilliant. Both differ in their approach to sound production, style, articulation. I like them both, especially Spada's. I also have a few single discs. Each pianist seems to have a different voice in this repertoire. Possibly because it has not been trudged to death ? They have to find their own technical and interpretive solutions.

Coincidentally, I put this same Pietro di Maria's op 40 in my cart at JPC today ! They sell it for 1.99€, and I love this pianist's Chopin and Bach. That will be my 3rd italian pianist in this repertoire. I guess this is music they relate to.

Offline Spineur

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Re: The Italian Invasion
« Reply #91 on: March 21, 2017, 10:33:35 PM »
I came across this CD, through my interest in music of the classical era and Cherubini in particular.  Cherubini is best known for his lyric and sacred music output, but he composed also string quartets (see the Cherubini thread) and keyboard music.



Gregorio Nardi plays both the Haydn and the Cherubini beautifully and conveys deep emotions.  I checked his discography.  There are several Liszt CDs, a Schoenberg, a Schumann and more rarely recorded composers.  Well worth checking IMO.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2017, 05:19:26 AM by Spineur »
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Offline Todd

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Re: The Italian Invasion
« Reply #92 on: March 26, 2017, 06:55:32 AM »



This disc marks the first time I can recall that I've heard any of Mendelssohn's Piano Quartets.  The two quartets offered here, plus the world premiere recording of the brief Largo e Allegro in D minor for piano and strings, are the works of the precocious, young Mendelssohn, having been penned when he was between the ages of 11 and 15.  The pieces are not heavy, ponderous, deep explorations of emotion or musical structure or theory.  They are light, quite fun (No 3), and lightly dramatic (No 1) works that flow along nicely, and make for delightful entertainment.  Apparently, the First was even good enough to leave a positive impression on no less a figure than Goethe when he heard it in private performance.  Roberto Prosseda and the string players all do splendid work, and make what sounds like no flubs in this concert recording.  And what a recording.  It was made in a performance size room in Palazzo Chigi, and the room sounds quite sympathetic to chamber ensembles.  There's weight and warmth and a compression effect similar to that audible in Lina Tur Bonet's recording of Biber's Mystery Sonatas.  Good stuff, and sure to lift a listener's, any listener's spirits.

I don't always read liner notes, or pay much attention to them, but I feel compelled to mention the quality and detail of violist Francesco Fiore's writing here.
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Offline Todd

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Re: The Italian Invasion
« Reply #93 on: March 30, 2017, 10:34:09 AM »



Another serendipitous "why not?" purchase from the archives of Decca Italy.  This still recent recording (ca 2012) of Bach's Sonatas and Partitas by Syrian-born, ethnic Armenian, but all-Italian violinist Sonig Tchakerian is quite something.  In the perhaps not ideally translated notes, the author mentions that Tchakerian says "Bach has to be set free".  No, she doesn't go batty and play like a violinist version of Tzimon Barto, but within standard playing practices, playing a very nice sounding 1760 Gagliano, she plays with a very alluring rhythmic and dynamic freedom, almost always sounding fluid.  Sometimes she plays gracefully, but sometimes she really digs into the music, playing with an attractive gruffness, seeming to live the music rather than merely play it.  There's an energy to some of the playing that I haven't always heard in other recordings.  No, she's not as precise as Christian Tetzlaff in his Virgin recording, the last version I listened to, but I prefer this recording.  Maybe she doesn't quite match or beat Artur Grumiaux - how does one better perfection? - but she doesn't really need to.  This is another way to play Bach, and one I really dig.

Tchakerian has recorded a variety of other works, mostly on smaller labels.  She also recorded three Beethoven Violin Sonatas with Roberto Prosseda, which now is one of my unicorn CDs I will hunt for on occasion. 

Sound is superb, and the Armenian church in Venice used as the recording venue is a noticeable part of the success, seeming to be just the right size and to have just the right acoustic properties. 

Kick-ass.
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Offline Todd

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Re: The Italian Invasion
« Reply #94 on: April 06, 2017, 01:15:05 PM »



Vanessa Benelli Mosell goes all core rep.  And she enters a crowded field.  In Rach 2 she's up against some super-heavyweights (eg, Rachmaninoff, Richter, Zimerman, Rubinstein, etc).  She does not join them.  She does indeed display nimble fingerwork, with the opening of the finale especially nifty.  She projects skewed dynamics and power, though.  The left hand playing is notably powerful in some passages, whereas some of the fastest playing is much quieter in volume and smaller in scale, indicating perhaps some post-production knob twiddling was used for effect.  Her playing also generally doesn't include a lot of gooey legato, but is cleaner, clearer, brighter.  The orchestra plays superbly, and Mosell is closer to properly sized than often occurs in concerto recordings.  Overall sonics for the concerto are superb.  The production team hired Tony Faulkner as the engineer, so this is not surprising.

In the Corelli Variations, with Mosell the sole credited producer, she is up against fewer great recordings of the past, but she is up against a titanic recording of the here and now: Daniil Trifonov, who is easily my go-to.  He remains my go-to.  He handily outclasses Mosell in every regard.  Now, Mosell on her own is good enough, in a sort of non-standard way.  Her brighter tone serves her more modern approach.  No rich romanticism for her; this is flinty, cold steel playing.  Sonics are not as good as for the concerto, either.  The production team did not hire Tony Faulkner as the engineer, so this is not surprising.

So, a decent disc, but one that will almost certainly fade from memory.  The glamour photography is pretty much world class, though, as one can expect from this artist, who once again gives a shout out to a fashion designer. 
« Last Edit: April 06, 2017, 01:46:36 PM by Todd »
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Offline Todd

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Re: The Italian Invasion
« Reply #95 on: April 09, 2017, 08:25:09 AM »



Can a recording sound too good?  I sort of pondered that question while listening to this recording of the two Brahms Cello Sonatas and Schubert's Arpeggione Sonata played by regular duo partners Maurizio Baglini and Silvia Chiesa.  (The recording was made in Fazioli Concert Hall, which explains a lot.)  From the opening notes, where Chiesa's 1697 Grancino sounds so big and fat that it threatens to engulf the listening room before one can adjust, right on through to the end, the listener's ears are bathed in sonic goodness.  Chiesa's tone varies throughout as needed, but generally it is warm and rich and big.  One can revel in her delicate bowing, her forceful bowing, her lovely vibrato.  It's just splendid.  Behind her is Baglini's equally big sounding Fazioli, weighty down low and crisp and colorful up top.  From time to time, his playing assumes a scale that dwarfs Chiesa's.  I can hear why they perform together, and the back and forth indicates long working familiarity.  The sonic goodness on display at all times almost threatens to distract from the interpretations.  How could it not?  This sounds more detailed than I hear in person, and is just as clear, though audiophile soundstaging isn't the best ever (though that's a trait I don't concern myself with).  Fortunately, the interpretations themselves are excellent.  To the extent I have favorites in these works - probably Fournier/Firkusny for the Brahms and Perenyi/Schiff for the Schubert - that hasn't changed, but I will return to this disc just to hear some world class playing in great sound.
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Offline Todd

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Re: The Italian Invasion
« Reply #96 on: April 15, 2017, 07:45:45 AM »



Maria Perrotta's Schubert.  Perrotta has varied qualitatively in her prior three Decca Itlay discs, sounding sublime in late Beethoven, excellent in Bach, but not so hot in Chopin.  Fortunately, the Schubert is much closer to the Beethoven.  Looks like she might be a Germanic core rep type pianist.  Ain't nothin' wrong with that.

Anyway, Perrotta starts off with D784, and hers is no wimpy version focused on beauty.  She brings out the anger and the bite in the sonata, especially the first movement.  No, she is not as hard hitting as someone like Lupu or Dalberto, but she shows she has got power.  She also displays a wonderful cantabile style when appropriate.  She follows with D960.  She omits the first movement repeat, which is a strike against it, and the bass trills aren't the deepest or darkest, but she plays with both tonal beauty and tenseness.  There's more than lyricism here.  As often happens with versions where the first movement repeat is excluded, the Andante sostenuto becomes the true heart of the work.  It is not particularly dark or bleak, but rather sounds quite beautiful and displays a sort of grim, accepting mien, a Schubertian take on Es muß sein, if you will.  The Scherzo is quick, lovely, and maintains some of the tension audible in prior movements.  The final movement is brisk and ratchets up the tension until finally some D784 style power erupts.  A strong ending to a strong performance.  The disc wraps up with the relatively rarely recorded Grazer Fantaisie, D605a.  The works makes for a nice contrast, being lighter, funner, and filled with moments of wonderful lyricism.  Being live, the recording lacks the sheen of perfection, and perfectionism, that Michael Endres brings to his effort, but that is more a difference of style I would think.  I do think it may have made more programmatic sense to put this work between the two sonatas, and end with the big one, but I'll take it as is.

The recording was taken from a single recital last year, and it shows.  Lots of audience noise intrudes, and Perrotta can be heard vocalizing on multiple occasions.  (Turns out I prefer female vocalizing to male vocalizing.)  There are also some passages of less than perfect command.  None of that really matters, though.  Sound quality otherwise is not quite SOTA, but is superb and fully modern.  This is Perrotta's second best disc.

Now, when will Perrotta record some Mozart?
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Online Mandryka

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Re: The Italian Invasion
« Reply #97 on: April 15, 2017, 09:52:12 AM »



Another serendipitous "why not?" purchase from the archives of Decca Italy.  This still recent recording (ca 2012) of Bach's Sonatas and Partitas by Syrian-born, ethnic Armenian, but all-Italian violinist Sonig Tchakerian is quite something.  In the perhaps not ideally translated notes, the author mentions that Tchakerian says "Bach has to be set free".  No, she doesn't go batty and play like a violinist version of Tzimon Barto, but within standard playing practices, playing a very nice sounding 1760 Gagliano, she plays with a very alluring rhythmic and dynamic freedom, almost always sounding fluid.  Sometimes she plays gracefully, but sometimes she really digs into the music, playing with an attractive gruffness, seeming to live the music rather than merely play it.  There's an energy to some of the playing that I haven't always heard in other recordings.  No, she's not as precise as Christian Tetzlaff in his Virgin recording, the last version I listened to, but I prefer this recording.  Maybe she doesn't quite match or beat Artur Grumiaux - how does one better perfection? - but she doesn't really need to.  This is another way to play Bach, and one I really dig.

Tchakerian has recorded a variety of other works, mostly on smaller labels.  She also recorded three Beethoven Violin Sonatas with Roberto Prosseda, which now is one of my unicorn CDs I will hunt for on occasion. 

Sound is superb, and the Armenian church in Venice used as the recording venue is a noticeable part of the success, seeming to be just the right size and to have just the right acoustic properties. 

Kick-ass.

I enjoyed reading this, not the bit about Grumiaux but the stuff about Tchakerian. She's good in the polyphonic music, with ideas about voice leading - even in the big bad fugue in 1005 she managed to tell a good story and create textures and harmonies like I'd never heard before as far as I remember.

She may sometimes get a bit too close for comfort to Barto-style, but I can skip those tracks. It's a sort of romanticism I suppose, to slow down and linger.

In fact, no, I won't skip them.  The violin sounds so glorious: complex, supple, graceful, somehow there's a patina to the sound which is most attractive, I'll listen to her do anything with the music I think.

I hope she'll record some Nono.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2017, 10:07:43 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Todd

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Re: The Italian Invasion
« Reply #98 on: May 04, 2017, 01:34:37 PM »



When I listen to Rachmaninoff, twenty-nine times out of thirty, it's to solo piano music or piano concertos.  I rarely venture beyond that.  While I know I've heard his Cello Sonata and own at least one additional copy, I couldn't name the recording unless I consulted my collection.  I should be able to say I have a go-to now.  I really enjoyed Mrs Gatti's and Mr Baglini's prior Decca outing, so I decided to try this one.  The first thing people who've heard the Brahms and Schubert disc will notice is the decidedly different sound.  It's still SOTA, but it's more distant, offering more of the performance hall resonance (here the Forum Fondazione Bertarelli), and Chiesa's tone is less full and fat, though it is hardly thin.  She also readily displays her ability to power out a rush of notes to exhilarating effect.  Baglini sounds pretty much like he always does, but the more spacious acoustic allows his Fazioli to deliver a fully weighty lower end and a more massive scale, while also sounding less rich than when the instrument is recorded in Fazioli Hall.  The playing is generally very energetic and modern cool, where syrupy romanticism is approximated and stylized.  Haters of vibrato may want to steer clear, but I appreciate the approach here.  The disc contains the main work and an assortment of transcriptions of Rachmaninoff piano pieces.  It's not the deepest, most moving chamber music around, nor is it as good as the Brahms/Schubert disc, but my ratio of piano music may now drop to twenty-eight out of thirty listens when it comes to Rachmaninoff.

The disc is dedicated to two victims of the November 2015 Paris terrorist attacks.
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Offline Todd

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Re: The Italian Invasion
« Reply #99 on: May 15, 2017, 06:42:11 AM »



Last year, I picked up Pietro De Maria's recording of the WTC, and it was superb in every regard and rates as one of my favorite takes.  When I saw he recorded the Goldberg Variations, I had high expectations.  The expectations have been met.  Overall, the set displays playing just about as beautiful as in the 48, but the approach is a bit different in some respects.  First off, there's the slow, restrained opening Aria, played with great beauty and poise, which is followed by a brisk and notably louder first variation.  De Maria does this multiple times throughout the set, following a lovely, slow variation with a pointedly faster and louder approach to the next, though everything is perfectly judged in this regard.  At times, in a slow variation, one might think that this is the pianist really wants to play, as it sounds graceful and gorgeous, but then he'll play some faster variations with superb, clean articulation and zippy tempi and a still lovely tone, and one will think this is how he really wants to play.  Throughout, he embellishes tastefully, varies dynamics basically perfectly (or at least perfectly to my taste), accents notes just right, and often plays with a high level of energy and ebullient lightness.  It is definitely possible that some listeners may find some of his playing too precious, but not me.  While I can't say it displaces my established favorites - Schiff on ECM and Perahia - I can say that it effectively joins them. 

The sound may be just a smidge bright, but is otherwise SOTA.

One amusing item of note, the disc's metadata reports Mahan Esfahani as the artist. 
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