A Guide to Period Instruments: 200 pages full colour book + 8 CDs. Languages: French/English/German. This Guide to Period Instruments endeavours to answer the questions that every lover of early music has about the instruments used in these periods of music history. Text and recorded excerpts describe the origin and the development of every musical instrument from the Middle Ages to the end of the 18th century and place them in their historical context. There is a completely new presentation booklet, over 200 pages long and abundantly illustrated, as well as eight CDs of recorded examples of the instruments that shed new light upon major periods of music history.
This disc is another installment in the Naxos Barber series, conducted by Marin Alsop. It has some interesting, little-heard music: Die Natalie, variations on Christmas carols, and the Commando March. Both show Barber's versatility and Die Natalie contains some deft counterpoint as Barber creates some remarkable music on those themes. The Piano concerto is well played by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the soloist, Stephan Prutsman.
While Gil Shaham's interpretation of Barber's violin concerto may have been more soulful, or David Zinman's interpretation of his Music for a Scene From Shelley more dramatic, no one would say that James Buswell's interpretation of the concerto is anything less than heartfelt or that Marin Alsop's interpretation of the Shelley music is anything less than affecting.
Since 1987, Dan Laurin has released some thirty titles on BIS. On his latest disc, Sonates et Suites he has chosen to visit France at an exciting point in time. In the early 18th century, when all of the sonatas and suites included here were composed, the system of censorship that ensured that nothing was printed without royal permission was beginning to crumble, at least in the field of music.
Among contemporary composers of orchestral music, Christopher Rouse is a prominent figure, noted for his extremely virtuosic scores as well as for his dark subject matter. Such fantastic – some might say nightmarish – pieces as the ultra-violent Gorgon (1984) and the enigmatic Iscariot (1989) are true to form in their evocation of mythology or religion, and even the elegiac Trombone Concerto (1991) has its suggestions of otherworldly things, particularly in its quotation of Leonard Bernstein's "Kaddish" Symphony and the haunting, dirge-like adaptation of the folk song Tsintskaro at the opening of the third movement. Yet Rouse's music is much more than its allusions, however meaningful, and it's possible to enjoy these works for their raw power and ethereal beauty without knowing anything about their references.
The coronation of Charles II was the glorious celebration of the restoration of the monarchy following a coup d'ètat, civil war and an 11-year government of the Commonwealth under Oliver Cromwell. The return of the monarch was sealed in early 1660 and the official coronation took place in London just a year later. It was a large-scale political spectacle and a festive patriotic statement. The sequence of the coronation festivities is well documented in texts and pictures, but contemporary statements concerning the music that was played are imprecise.