96kHz & 192kHz/24-bit, FLAC; Winter & Winter 9102342 (supplied by www.highresaudio.com)

This set may take its title from Erik Satie’s decidedly strange cantata, based on a translation of Plato’s Dialogues, but it opens with the composer’s romantic early love-songs, ‘Trois Mélodies’, setting the ravishingly beautiful tone of the entire album. If you’ve ever wondered what reviewers mean by an ‘intimate’ recording, here’s your benchmark: the gorgeous voice of Canadian soprano Barbara Hannigan sounds like it’s not just in the same room but quite possibly on the same sofa as the listener. It’s so close-up you can almost feel every breath to spine-tingling effect, while accompanist de Leeuw maintains a discreet distance, seemingly to avoid breaking the mood. In the title work – which is either written straightfaced or a fine piece of deadpan humour – Hannigan may take a step back from the close-up magic, but this is still a glorious recording. AE

Sound Quality: 90%

Hi-Fi News Lab Report

Tested here in 192kHz guise, the 96kHz rendering should suffer no perceived loss in bandwidth as, even at full tilt, Barbara Hannigan’s soprano voice stretches out no further than 30kHz [still no mean feat – see Graph, above]. PM