Although it's a dual-leader album, in which oud player Dhafer Youssef's performance is at least as important as that of guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel, one of Glow's chief causes for celebration is Muthspiel's on-form presence. After releasing the shimmeringly beautiful Bright Side (Material Records, 2006)—a little-known masterpiece which may yet take its place alongside such jazz guitar iconographs as Johnny Smith's Moonlight In Vermont (Roulette, 1953, reissued 2004) and Wes Montgomery's Incredible Jazz Guitar (Riverside, 1960)—Muthspiel's project with drummer Brian Blade, Friendly Travelers (Material Records, 2007), was a disappointment, interesting in conception but not entirely convincing in execution.
The Inventions and Sinfonias are fairly low profile works of Bach's and, unfortunately, not often performed. However, we should know that Bach did not reserve all his best composition into his larger scale pieces but also ensured that his shortest, least grandiose, pieces were put together with the same dedication and quality. And so it is with the Inventions and Sinfonias. Invention is the term Bach used here to refer to a short Prelude-like piece with two independent voices - one from the left hand one from the right which are generally working fairly independently.
This 2004 survey of modern settings of the medieval sequence Stabat Mater Dolorosa is part of conductor Marcello Viotti's project to record the little-known but worthy sacred works of the twentieth century, in conjunction with the Munich Radio Orchestra and the Bavarian Radio Chorus for their concert series Paradisi gloria. The four works by Francis Poulenc, Karol Szymanowski, Krzysztof Penderecki, and Wolfgang Rihm are dramatically different in conception and musical content, and may be regarded more as reflections of personal faith than as practical works for ecclesiastical purposes.
The Originals Series offers listeners the opportunity to explore key albums from the Yellow Labels LP era and experience the power and passion of performances by a host of visionary artists. Now DG welcomes ten new titles to the range, including some of Karl Böhms recordings of Mozart wind concertos which have always been considered among the best. Here, the Wiener Philharmoniker principal Gunter Hogner demonstrates his skill and agility on the Viennese horn in Mozarts four horn concertos. Günter Högner plays with much character, and no-one will be disappointed with the DG issue, which is beautifully recorded and has splendid accompaniments from the WP under Böhm.
When Richard Maunder's editions get together with Christopher Hogwood and co, you know instantly that the result will be spot on. The sound of the boy treble line (singing alto as well) is earthy yet in tune, and well complemented by the strong lower parts. The orchestra is supportive yet unobtrusive. The dynamics and phrasing are all well chosen and executed. The choice of soloists is inspired, especially Arleen Auger - such a beautiful voice. It is just a pity that there is not more on the disc - some have argued in the 'Dona ut Kyrie' tradition that an Agnus Dei could be tacked on at the end using the music of the Kyrie. An excellent recording.