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Cole Porter On A Steinway, Vol. 1

Release Date: 12/06/2019
Label: Steinway & Sons Catalog #: 30116
Composer:  Cole Porter Performer:  Jed Distler ,  Simon Mulligan ,  Adam Birnbaum Number of Discs: 1

This release in the Steinway Standard series is the first of a collection of American Songbook sets that celebrates the immortal Cole Porter in arrangements for solo piano. Steinway artists Simon Mulligan, Adam Birnbaum and Jed Distler start our survey.

Well, here’s a real winner!

R E V I E W S:

Steinway & Sons’ piano recordings—especially the ones that they themselves produce and engineer at the new Steinway Hall performance and recording facility in New York City—are of reliably superb audio quality. That said, I hasten to point out that Steinway’s releases that were not recorded in Steinway Hall are often (but not always) just as good in terms of sound quality; they are merely “different.”
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I think that the Steinway recordings made at the Shalin Liu performance hall in Rockport, Massachusetts are objectively as “good” as the Steinway Hall ones. Subjectively, I have a (slight) personal preference for the slightly more distant and bloom-y sound of Shalin Liu. If anyone prefers the slightly more in-focus Steinway Hall sound, I will not lose any sleep.

I also must point out that the sonic differences I am noting (and such is the case with many audio differences) are minor; they might not reveal themselves to casual listeners who only give a casual listen.

By this point, Steinway has released well over 100 CDs. Not all of them have totally won me over to their artistic standpoints (of course, such are matters of taste, and you are free to disagree). But… when the stars and planets line up as they do here… Wow!

This collection of solo-piano treatments of famous Cole Porter show tunes (by three different pianists, Adam Birnbaum, Jed Distler, and Simon Mulligan) presents, in spot-on high-resolution (24/96) sound, standout Cole Porter interpretations that range from the wistful and pensive to the liltingly bouncy. All delivered via sloshingly-full buckets of piano technique and always with a refined musical taste that might have made Cole Porter smile.

-- John Marks, The Tannhäuser Gate

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