Hundreds of years before the birth of Christ, a collection of love songs grew up. Under the title of the “Most beautiful of songs”, they found a home in the Old Testament-it was Martin Luther who first gave them the name of “Song of songs”-and since that time they have inspired and fascinated a vast number of theologians, mystics, philosophers, poets, painters, and, last but not least, composers. Particularly during the Baroque period, these poetic, sensual, vividly descriptive texts were set over and over again to music, and they inspired librettists to expand on the original texts.
Country-folk singer/songwriter Fred J. Eaglesmith was one of nine children born to a farming family in rural southern Ontario. Often employing his difficult upbringing as raw material for his heartland narratives, he issued his self-titled debut LP in 1980. He recorded infrequently throughout the remainder of the decade, releasing only two more albums, The Boy That Just Went Wrong and Indiana Road.
A full 25 favorites from this institution of a singer-songwriter, whose songs have been borrowed by Clapton, Santana, Skynyrd and so many others. You get Cocaine; After Midnight; Lies; Call Me the Breeze; Sensitive Kind; Magnolia; Crazy Mama; Cajun Moon, and more!
Au début, vous regardiez vos mails une ou deux fois par jour. Combien de fois aujourd’hui ? Ne vous est-il jamais arrivé de consulter vos messages, puis de les consulter à nouveau cinq minutes plus tard comme si votre vie en dépendait ? Parfois ne cherchez-vous pas votre mobile avec plus de fébrilité que les clés de chez vous ? …
This long-deleted Essential Classics reissue (available again courtesy of Arkivmusic.com’s on-demand reprint program) comprises the first CD remastering of two separate Bach piano releases. One disc features Rosalyn Tureck’s Bach Album, an early-1981 digital production made up mostly of short pieces, plus the Aria and Variations in Italian Style. The close-up yet warm sonics capture the full measure of Tureck’s technical specificity, subtle use of color, and micromanaged dynamics. Notice her absolute linear control in the F minor suite’s Prelude (first sound clip), or how her seemingly over-detached articulations (the seventh Italian variation) always maintain a lilting presence.
The popular Prelude & the so-called Liebestod (“Mild und Leise”) from Richard Wagner’s music drama Tristan und Isolde are the most familiar parts orchestras play, most often in the 1859 concert arrangement by Wagner. (He preferred that the term Liebestod be applied to the Prelude only, & originally titled his concert version Liebestod und Verklärung, or “Love-death & Transfiguration.”) The featured work of this Chandos SACD is the 1994 suite arranged by Henk de Vlieger, fashioned from key parts of the entire opera, not just the beginning & end. Tristan und Isolde: An Orchestral Passion is a lengthy tone poem that includes key passages, in much the same manner as de Vlieger’s other symphonic syntheses on Der Ring des Nibelungen, Parsifal, & Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.
Medieval Baebes and other far greater shocks to the bourgeoisie have come along. Wild adventures placed under the rubric of performances of Vivaldi's Four Seasons are commonplace. Yet Nigel Kennedy continues to roost atop the classical sales charts in Europe, and even to command a decent following in the U.S. despite a low American tolerance for British eccentricity. How does he do it? He has kept reinventing himself successfully. Perhaps he's the classical world's version of Madonna: he's possessed of both unerring commercial instincts and with enough of a sense of style to be able to dress them up as forms of rebellion. Inner Thoughts is a collection of slow movements – inner movements of famous concertos from Bach and Vivaldi to Brahms, Bruch, and Elgar. Actually, the only composer falling into the middle of that large chronological gap is Mendelssohn; Kennedy apparently needs a sort of otherworldly serenity for this project, which Baroque and post-Romantic slow movements may have, but Mozart does not. At any rate, this is no radical idea; it's a softball straight up the middle.
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.
No fan of classic funk (or of the "rare groove" school of dance music) will be able to look at this album without starting to drool – the period-piece cover art; the Jimmy Walker hats and bell-bottoms; and the presence of such magic names as Fred Wesley, Pee Wee Ellis, Bobby Byrd and Clyde Stubblefield (not to mention the insanely funky bassist Bootsie Collins who is better known as a charter member of Parliament/Funkadelic but is also a J.B.'s alumnus) – all of it will lead the perceptive groovehound to anticipate an hour or so of irresistibly booty-shaking funk. And that's exactly what you get: no frills, no synthesizers, basically no acknowledgement of change in the pop music world. From the greasy "Do the Doo" to the CD bonus track, "Mistakes and All," which ends the program, Bring the Funk on Down delivers almost nothing but hardcore, horn-heavy old-school funk (with a couple of brief and uninspiring excursions into ballad territory another James Brown tradition). Highlights include the slowly simmering title track and the archetypal "Born to Groove" but the album is really pretty consistent. The only downside is the absence of Maceo Parker who plays only on the final track. Highly recommended.
This two-CD set is actually part of an ambitious undertaking: ESS.A.Y Recordings recorded these sonatas in two different versions, this one featuring Ms. Tenenbaum on a modern violin and accompanied by a modern piano played by Richard Kapp; the other recording (reviewed below) features Ms. Tenenbaum playing an older violin and accompanied by a harpsichord played by Gerald Ranck.