Paola (Tito Gobbi) is a successful, but lonely and aging opera singer in post-war Italy. His thoughts flash back to Florence in the days when he was a struggling student, and of his romance with the beautiful Claritta (Maria Mereader). Their eventual separation through a misunderstanding has resulted in a life of loneliness for both.
Norwegian folk musician Sinikka Langeland, singer and player of the kantele (the Finnish table harp) is a distinctly non-traditional traditionalist, redefining "folk" in successive projects. 'Maria's Song' finds her in the company of two distinguished classical musicians - organist Kare Nordstoga and "giant of the Nordic viola" Lars Anders Tomter - and on a mission to restore Marian texts to sacred music, weaving folk melodies in between the timeless strains of J S Bach. Langeland made a lot of friends with her sparkling ECM debut Starflowers: "There are jewels everywhere on this arresting example of ego-free music-making. One of the albums of this or any other year" raved the Irish Times. Where Starflowers brought Langeland into the orbit of jazz improvisers, Maria's Song is a meeting and cross referencing of folk and 'classical' energies, and also a righting of historical 'injustice': Religious folk songs are amongst the most distinctive elements of the Norwegian folk tradition, yet the Virgin Mary rarely appears in them. Once a much-worshipped figure in the Far North she was, as Sinikka puts it, "reformed" away in 1537, so this album brings Maria back into the music. It was recorded in the beautiful Nidaros Cathedral of Trondheim, famous for its Baroque organ heard here.
For this excellent outing (his third project for JVC), keyboardist Tom Coster performs 11 originals plus "Lover Man." Although his fusion-oriented music is full of funky ensembles, there is more variety than expected. Coster shares the solo space with tenor saxophonist Bob Berg, and the fiery guitarist Scott Henderson, creating a colorful and sometimes unpredictable program of music.
BBC Four's celebration of film music begins with Sound Of Cinema: The Music That Made The Movies, a three-part documentary presented by writer, composer and film music aficionado Neil Brand. Neil tells his alternative history of cinema, putting the soundtrack centre stage. The series features some of the biggest directors of past and present, including Quentin Tarantino, Alfred Hitchcock and Martin Scorsese, alongside film scores of cult and blockbuster movies like Star Wars, Inception, Hitchcock's Psycho, and Gladiator.