When a motley crew of strangers find themselves trapped in an isolated tavern, they must band together in a battle for survival against a family of flesh-hungry creatures. Terrifying and full of surprises, "Feast" turns the screen blood red as the group is devoured one-by-one.
…The performances, sung without a chorus but played with a string complement numbering 4-4-2-2-1, are, if not overwhelming, entirely convincing. The four soloists manage their roles admirably, and the recorded sound is excellent. (…) Incidentally, buried in the notes is an eye-popping statement that Montréal Baroque “has undertaken Bach’s complete cantatas in a pared-down version, with a one-per-part choir, as was the practice in Lutheran Germany of the time.” That would be a first, since all of the other complete and on-going series employ small choirs. There was no mention of boy sopranos.
The second cello concerto, entitled: Y: la fiesta está en pleno apogeo – And: The feast is in full progress (1993), is based on a poem by the Chuvash poet Gennadi Aigi. The vision of a raging mass of people awaiting the last Judgment is transformed into music by the composer with gripping, immediate, expressive force, free of graphic patterns. A moment of glory not for Gubaidulina only, but for David Geringas on cello, too. And as a bonus on this CD: Diez Preludios –Ten Preludes for Cello, in Vladimir Tonkha’s equally inspired interpretation. Both cellists are the dedicatees of the works they perform.
Georg Philipp Telemann's Fortsetzung des Harmonisches Gottesdienstes is a sprawling published collection of sacred cantatas, one cantata for every Sunday and feast day in the church calendar, 72 cantatas in all. This colossal project made its bow in 1731, and is actually a sequel to an equally huge collection that Telemann published in 1725, Harmonischer Gottesdienst. About the only small thing in Fortsetzung are the performance dimensions of the individual cantatas, scored for solo voice, an instrument or two, and continuo.
Most of Vivaldi's operas were composed for Venice, but between 1718 and 1720, he was in the employ the Austrian governor of Mantua, and he composed Tito Manlio for the governor's wedding celebration. The wedding never took place, but the opera was performed in 1719. The Mantuan court was very wealthy, and this is clear from the lavish scoring of Manlio: in addition to the usual strings, Vivaldi uses horns, trumpets, oboes, bassoon, two different registers of flutes, timpani and viola d'amore. The plot is concerned with Tito, the leader of the Romans, and his battles with the Latins, led by Gemino, whose sister, Servilia, was engaged to Manlio, Tito's son. Gemino was engaged to Tito's daughter, Vitellia. Manlio goes on a reconnaissance mission to the Latins and kills Gemino despite his father's instructions not to do so; Tito therefore sentences Manlio to death. Interwoven loves and angers make for emotion-laden arias, many with superb obbligato instruments. Bass Nicola Ulivieri is a powerful Tito, and soprano Karina Gauvin sings with great heart as his son, Manlio, while mezzo Maijana Mijanovic's Vitellia offers a full-range of feelings and superb singing, both plaintive and vengeful. The rest of the cast is fine, and Ottavio Dantone leads a crisp, dramatic performance. There are acres of good music here. Highly recommended, and a feast for Vivaldi fans. –Robert Levine
The gathering of Arena's famous musicians makes a super-group: Mick Pointer (Ex-Marillion) plays the drums, Clive Nolan (Pendragon) the keyboards, and Keith More (Asia) played the guitar until replaced by John Mitchell (Ex-Kino). Vocalist Rob Sowden has been with the band since Immortal? and the bass player is Ian Salmon. There have also been some guest appearances by Tracy Hitchings (singer of Quasar, Strangers on a Train & Landmarq) and Steve Rothery (Marillion's gifted guitarist)…