96kHz/24-bit FLAC, Harmonia Mundi HMC 902096 (supplied by www.highresaudio.com)
You can’t help noticing that Paul Lewis’s recorded repertoire closely follows that of his mentor Alfred Brendel, whose early Vox LPs included Pictures at an Exhibition, a work he redid 30 years later for Philips. Issued with a bold Kandinsky cover, this Teldex Studio coupling is from Nov ’10/Feb ’14 and there’s a real disparity in sound quality. Pictures... receives an outstanding performance and the piano sound is one of the best I have heard: with the instrument seemingly some 16ft away, my Quad ESLs simply ‘vanished from view’. But for the Schumann it’s restricted, jangly, trebly, not unlike ‘pseudo-stereo’ from mono. SQ rating then: 60%/95%. But don’t miss Paul Lewis’s sharply differentiated ‘Promenades’, his quirky ‘Gnomus’, breath-taking ‘Catacombs’ and sonorous ‘Gate of Kiev’. The Schumann? Interesting but unusually introspective. CB
Sound Quality: 75%
Hi-Fi News Lab Report
CB is an acute listener – the three Schumann tracks (11-13) are upsamples from 44.1kHz [green spectrum] while the preceding Mussorgsky Pictures... is a genuine 96kHz recording with excellent response and dynamic range. PM
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