The HiFi Starters Club December 22 playlist……find it on Spotify here
1. “When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease” by Roy Harper from HQ
Harper’s impact on his generation can’t be underestimated. Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Kate Bush and others cite him as an influence. A musician’s musician, he resisted the pressure to commercialise much of his output, so is less well known than his peers. It’s worth seeking out his work though, and this is a good place to start. In audio terms it’s a complex mix, so will test your systems ability to resolve detail. Tonally it’s lovely too. Forget all that though, just revel in a songwriter at his finest.
2. “Lucia” by Marta Gomez from Entre Cada Palabra
From everyone’s favourite Columbian singer. Well mine anyway. A complex arrangement that somehow manages to come across as simple. This track will test your systems ability with detail and soundstaging. Above all the beauty in the music should be conveyed though.
3. “I Hear It Through The Grapevine” by Michael McDonald from Motown and Motown II
Gravelled honey sounds like an oxymoron of the first order. That’s Michael McDonald for you though. These two albums of classic Motown tracks are well worth the ride. ‘Grapevine’ is a fantastic cover that will test your system’s low end performance. Listen for the punchy, taught electric bass as it enters mainstage just 18 seconds in.
4. “3rd movement, Tchaikovsky Symphony 6” by Teodor Currentzis & Music Aeterna
Tchaikovsky’s music is heart-on-the-sleeve stuff. Coupled with a truly stirring reading from Teodor Currentzis you have music at its most passionate. Throw in a recording that’s up-front, in-your-face good and this is well worth a listen. This the 3rd movement will test a systems ability to hold it all together when the music gets intense. Better still, play the whole symphony, it’s spellbinding.
5. “Hallelujah” by Sheku Kanneh-Mason from Inspiration
My Roon system shows 1,712 versions of Halleujah to choose from; let’s just say the classic Leonard Cohen song has been covered a few times. And this version is by the current wunderkind of British classical music, Sheku Kanneh-Mason. Which all makes for a potentially saccharine experience, but fortunately Kanneh-Mason rises above it to give a lovely performance (with a great arrangement). Being well-recorded cello, this will test the midrange performance of your system.
6. “Black Coffee” by Beth Hart from Black Coffee
We’ll finish with a bit of good old raucous rock; Beth Hart, supported by Joe Bonamassa, belting it out as she does best. If you get the chance to see her live do, for a rocker her shows drip with emotion (check the lyrics to Leave The Light On). A good test of your systems dynamic abilities, you need to turn the volume up. Then a bit more.