Elgar - Enigma Variations
Vaughan Williams - Greensleeves/The Wasps

Michael Stern
Kansas City Symphony


A Magnificent New Symphonic Recording!

"This very fine CD is about as good as it gets. Reference Recordings has long made some of the finest sounding records in the business, and this recent release is no exception. None of that would matter if the music making wasn't exceptional, but it is. These wonderfully played, entirely convincing performances easily earn a firm recommendation for anyone interested in this repertoire." --Brian Wigman, classical.net

"Throughout the disc, recording engineer Keith Johnson and producer David Frost provide both warmth and clarity, with sharp stereo location of each solo instrument and considerable impact in the tutti passages...These Enigma Variations are well worth hearing, especially as realized by RR's engineering. Surely few listeners will fail to be thrilled by the final bars, with organ capping the thunderous conclusion of the piece...it's so superbly performed and recorded that readers are advised to snatch it up without delay." —Joe Millicia, enjoythemusic.com

"In its openhearted commitment to letting Elgar's orchestration serve as the interpretative guide, and so moving mostly at a leasirely pace where everything that's going can be properly heard, this performance could also serve as any person's guide to the instruments of the orchestra...It's one of those satisfying instances where the recording engineer has caught perfectly the sound and sense of being there...with the sheer presence and weight that real sound possesses." —Laurence Vittes, Gramophone

SAN FRANCISCO -A new symphonic tour-de-force from the Kansas City Symphony! This colorful, beloved English music has been captured in brilliant HDCD sound by GRAMMY®-winning engineer Keith O. Johnson.

The Kansas City Symphony garnered tremendous critical acclaim for their first project on Reference Recordings, incidental music for The Tempest by Sullivan and Sibelius (Shakespeare's Tempest, RR-115). Their second release on RR, Britten's Orchestra, received a GRAMMY for Best Surround Sound for both the engineer and producer, as well as rave reviews everywhere! (Britten's Orchestra, RR-120 is now unfortunately out of print).

We are thrilled to work again with Conductor Michael Stern, the son of famed violinist Isaac Stern. Now in his eighth season as music director, the Kansas City Symphony has been much praised for its remarkable artistic growth and development since his tenure began. He is also the founder of the Iris Chamber Orchestra in Memphis, Tennessee, and in addition to RR, has recorded for Sony, Hyperion, Denon, Arabesque and Naxos.

Producer David Frost has won Grammy awards in 2005,2009 and 2011 for Classical Producer of the Year. He has produced a large roster of stars and Grammy-winning titles. We are most honored to work with him again on this project.

NOTE: This album has been released in the following formats: 200-gram half-speed mastered LP- Order Now! AND HRx high-resolution DVD Data Disc containing 176.4 kHz/24 bit WAV files and surround-sound hybrid SACD - Order Now!.


""Stern characterises each variation with great skill...the eloquent cello playing in Variation XII and the superb room-shaking organ in the Finale makes this a performance and recording to relish... A most desirable release."" —Graham Williams , Classical CD Choice - complete review

"Stern characterizes [the Enigma Variations] unerringly...The finale is extremely impressive, aided by state-of-the-art sonics that offer the finest integration of organ and orchestra yet captured in this work on disc...The disc is worth hearing for the final minute alone." --David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday

"Do not, I mean this absolutely, let this one pass you by. It is a treat at all levels, and just you wait till you hear the string section’s technical finesse and execution throughout." --Harry Pearson, HPSoundings

"These [are] splendid American performances of Elgar and Vaughan Williams, with Michael Stern adopting an utterly persuasive approach to this music, stressing (if anything) its internationalism. What makes the disc particularly cherishable is the typically luxurious 24-bit sound quality afforded by Prof Johnson." —Barry Forshaw, Classical CD Choice

Enigma Variations: "This new recording engineered by Keith Johnson is typical of the Professor's natural sound, accorded transparency and depth. He records the Kansas City Symphony beautifully —Elgar's very particular orchestration and dynamic markings have not been captured better on record. The Wasps, especially the fantastic overture, is underrated Vaughan Williams. That this new Reference CD has such a wonderful 'filler' is a very musical bonus...The pairing of these two works on one CD in the most modern sound is cause for celebration. Recommended." —Anthony Kershaw, Audiophilia.com - complete review


Track Listing: RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS - The Wasps—Aristophanic Suite: 1 Overture, 2 Entr'acte, molto moderato, 3 March Past of the Kitchen Utensils, 4 Entr'acte, andante, 5 Ballet and Final Tableau; 6 Fantasia on "Greensleeves" (pub. Oxford University Press, U.K.)
SIR EDWARD ELGAR- 7-20 Variations on an Original Theme: "Enigma," op. 36

RR-129HDCD - Elgar / Vaughan Williams
Michael Stern / Kansas City Symphony- $16.98 - NEW RELEASE - Order NOW!

RR-129SACD - Elgar / Vaughan Williams - Stern / KCS - HYBRID SURROUND SOUND SACD (also plays on CD players) - $22.98