Stradivarius on gold CD

I write about music I love, design with, and demo with. So far, the majority has been on vinyl - but that's that I listen most to. Here are a couple of digital pieces that stand out from my CD/SACD/DAD library.

One of my most well-recorded violin albums is a digital one done by Cisco Music to commemorate the 250th Anniversary of the demise of Antonio Stradivari. The violin performed on is one of the most famous violins Stradivarius made - Le lever du soleil or "Sunrise". This particular name was said to originate from the radiance of its amber varnish, or from the beautiful glittering tone it produces when played.

Stradivarius built this particular instrument in 1677 - and it was one of the earliest of the "named Strads". The back of the violin's body is made from a single magnificent piece of maple. It is one of the most highly decorated of his instruments - with an arabesque pattern on the ribs and the curl, and "purflings" set in two layers of ivory and bone on both the front and the back.

"Sunrise" is also a particularly difficult instrument to play, and it has a particular tonality. While it is known to have a remarkable transparent, crystalline tone color on all 4 strings, in the wrong hands it can sound awkward and lightweight.

Ms Yoko Fujita was the artist hired to make this recording, and she literally had to "warm it up" for a month before the execution of this CD. The hall was carefully selected to capture the natural tonal color of the instrument without too much of a sound imposed of its own. Neumann U87 microphones were used, and the microphone output was directly fed to the recording system to avoid human control (and the tendency to interfere I guess). On the last 3 tracks (Beethoven's Spring Sonata), a different microphone (Schopps 56U) was used to enjoy the variation in tonal color achieved. Every aspect of the sonic reproduction of this CD was carefully considered - down to the quality of the gold plating and pressing.

A re-issue was produced by Impex Records in 2011 (available on Impex Records for about $20). Another re-issue was pressed in the US in 1997, but those who are in the know will search out the original 1994 Japanese-pressed CD.

Mono & Stereo friend Gary Koh of Genesis Advanced Technologies, Inc.