88.2kHz/24-bit, FLAC; Yarlung Records YAR52635 (supplied by www.highresaudio.com)
This is an intended celebration of the music of Clara Schumann – five pieces – and the Schumanns’ relationship with the young Brahms, represented here by his Op.9 Variations (where Sasaki is quite outclassed by Barry Douglas on Chandos). So why is the young Japanese-American pianist’s debut recital entitled Obsidian? Because it includes a seven-part dramatic piece, Obsidian Liturgy, composed for her last year by Max Grafe – 2016 marking 140th/160th anniversaries of the Schumanns’ deaths. As a private gesture, fine, but 10.5m here that would have been better allocated to more by Clara. The pianoforte used has rather an odd timbre for a Steinway and is close set in an absorbent acoustic, while the three Romances with violin deserved better than with this edgy, uningratiating player. Yarlung’s producer states that the final takes were not subsequently edited. CB
Sound Quality: 65%
Hi-Fi News Lab Report
Recorded onto tape with AKG mics and tube electronics, the stereo mix was digitised with a Merging Technologies DSD ADC before being downsampled to 88.2kHz LPCM. The download has plenty of headroom and no compression. PM
Want the latest issue of Hi-Fi News? Use our magazine locator link to find your nearest stockist!