Various Artists

Classical Comfort

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Previously released in 2001, Berlin Classic's Classical Comfort is a respectable collection of slow movements and quiet pieces that are similar enough in their subdued moods and unhurried tempos to be good for relaxation, but varied enough in tonality, coloration, and texture to sustain interest. The changing mix of piano and chamber works prevents aural fatigue and allows the listener to rest easily without falling asleep, something that can happen with CDs that are too homogenous in instrumentation, and the variety of Classical and Romantic styles keeps the program from slipping into boring uniformity. With exceptional performances by the label's leading artists and high-quality audio reproduction, this CD represents some of the fine performances originally recorded for the German label Edel Classics; now as part of the budget Berlin Classics Moods line, this disc also serves as a sampler to direct people to the full-length recordings. But on its own terms, the program is intelligently laid out, and the volume levels of the tracks are remarkably consistent, so there are no rude surprises to disrupt the even flow of the music. One might wish that all the selections could have been digitally recorded, but the analog recordings have been digitally mastered and the slight tape hiss that remains is hardly detectable.

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