This 6 CD set contains an unrivalled collection of 100 favourite romantic classics, performed by some of the world’s leading artists. Among them are the singers Maria Callas, Natalie Dessay, Angela Gheorghiu. Barbara Hendricks, Luciano Pavarotti and Kiri Te Kanawa; instrumentalists Leif Ove Andsnes, Martha Argerich, Jacqueline du Pre, Yehudi Menuhin, Anne-Sophie Mutter and Maxim Vengerov; plus conductors Mariss Jansons, Riccardo Muti, Antonio Pappano, Andre Previn, Sir Simon Rattle and Herbert von Karajan.
One of the best recordings in Chess Records' 50th Anniverary series is the first of two bookend Muddy Waters collections, His Best 1947-55. Documenting Waters's most creatively and commercially successful years at Aristocrat/Chess, this collection begins with his formative years and ends with Waters at his peak. So you're in for a lot of terrific bottleneck slide guitar work as well as electric Chicago blues; what's to criticize? Superb remasterings of "I Can't Be Satisfied", "Rollin' and Tumblin'," "I'm Ready", and "Mannish Boy" are simply beyond reproach. With simple bass accompaniment from Ernest "Big" Crawford, Waters's bottleneck tracks are spare, haunting and, quite frankly, perfect country blues. And listening to Waters, Little Walter, Willie Dixon, and Jimmy Rogers piece together (and perfect very quickly) the classic Chicago sound is pure blues epiphany. At the very least, this collection shows you why Waters's rollicking stop-time classics like "Mannish Boy" and "I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man" have sparked endless imitations over the years–and why nobody has played them better since.
Released in tandem with Janis Ian's autobiography, Society's Child, this best-of compilation collects all the songs mentioned in the book, as well as several rarities. Ian's first demo, a distorted lo-fi version of "Hair Of Spun Gold," makes a welcome appearance, while "Ginny The Flying Girl" arrives via a 1981 Sesame Street album. Also notable are the handful of re-recorded songs on this two-disc collection, as well as several live tracks. Perhaps this isn't the definitive Janis Ian anthology for casual fans – it's too specialized for that – but Ian enthusiasts should make it a staple of their collections.