Stereophile returns to Blue Heaven

Story by John Atkinson

In September of last year, Stereophile recorded Rendezvous: Jerome Harris Quintet Plays Jazz at BHS. Engineer/ Producer John Atkinson was so happy with the results of this recording, he returned in May to record a classical quintet featuring Antony Michaelson on clarinet.

Clarinetist Antony Michaelson was educated at Trinity College of Music in London, where he studied with Keith Puddy and John McCaw. His love of music was the driving force behind his search for a "better stereo system": in the late 1970s, unable to find such a stereo, he founded his first hi-fi company, which made tube amplifiers. He then put his hi-fi knowledge to good use as founder and managing director of Musical Fidelity. His equipment is available from Audio Advisor (800-942-0220). Realizing that he missed the joy of making music, Michaelson resumed serious practice of the clarinet several years ago and currently studies with Thea King.

First violinist Adrian Levine has performed in more than 40 countries worldwide, and has appeared as Guest Concertmaster for many major London orchestras. In 1985, he became co-concertmaster of the Academy of Saint Martin-in-the-Fields, where he often directed the orchestra and appeared as a soloist. He then moved to the Philharmonia Orchestra in 1990, and in 1992, was Concertmaster of the Opera House in Rome. He plays on the "Wilmotte" Stradivarius, made in 1734.

Second violinist Kathy Andrew holds an M.M. in violin from the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. She currently performs with the Springfield Symphony, the Berkshire Symphony, Opera North, the New England Bach Festival Orchestra, and the Bella Rosa String Quartet. She also teaches at Bennington College, the Putney School, and the Brattleboro Music Center.

Cellist Judith Serkin began her studies with Marta Casals Istomin, and continued with David Soyer of the Guarneri Quartet at the Curtis Institute of Music. Serkin was a founding member of the Soldier Creek Music Festival in Nevada, and has been on numerous Music from Marlboro tours. She has performed across the United States and Canada, and has toured extensively throughout Japan.

Michaelson, Levine, Andrew, and Serkin were joined by violist Stephen Tees for an evening of classical music, featuring the Mozart and Brahms Clarinet Quintets.

These two works were recorded just before the Show by Stereophile editor John Atkinson at Chad Kassem's Blue Heaven Studios in Salina, Kansas, for a CD to be released in the late fall of 1999 on the Stereophile label.

The superb church acoustics of Blue Heaven Studios provided sympathetic support for these intimate chamber music works, and John Atkinson was able to use minimal miking: a coincident pair of Neumann M147 tube microphones and a spaced pair of B&K omnis. For maximum signal purity, no mixing console was used; instead, the outputs of the four mikes were amplified with ultra-low-noise solid-state preamps from Millennia Media and converted to digital at 24-bit/88.2 kHz resolution and sample rate.

Posted by Acoustic Sounds on 07/01/1999 at 9:08 PM | Categories: General