Who doesn't love a lullaby? As a tribute "to all mothers and children", singer Montserrat Figueras offers this unusual program of 18 such songs from diverse sources and anonymous composers–Portuguese, English, Greek, Catalan, Hebrew, Sephardic, and North African–as well as pieces written by the likes of Byrd, Mussorgsky, Reger, Falla, Milhaud, and Pärt (two lullabies composed for this recording). Accompaniments show the stylish hand and always-tasteful imaginings of Jordi Savall and the instrumentalists of Hesperion XXI–viols, guitar, flutes, psaltery, harp–and, in three tracks, the piano of Paul Badura-Skoda. Although the liner notes prime us to expect very simple, repetitive tunes, Figueras transforms these ostensibly sleep-inducing songs into high, mind-and-ear-engaging art, embellishing, shaping, and imbuing them with deeply felt expression, sometimes wistful and at others fervent, but always delivered as if in intimate, personal touch with her listener(s).
DG will release Jóhann Jóhannsson’s critically-acclaimed debut album in a newly-remastered version - now with much fuller and improved sound, and combined with a complete album of brand-new reworks!
This is in short a really good recording. Gerdes' handling of the opera is very good (though his tempo in the Pilgrims' Chorus theme of the Overture is almost disturbingly fast), the orchestra is well controlled and very expressive. Birgit Nilsson, one of the greatest Wagnerian sopranos of the 20th Century, sings the two principle female roles - Venus and Elisabeth; Wolfgang Windgassen, who sings the role of Tannhauser, is one of the greatest Wagnerian tenors of the century. And Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, who sings Wolfram, is virtually undisputed as THE baritone of the century.Highly recommend this recording.
In many cases, collections of musical odds and ends - a live rarity here, an alternate take there - can be uneven and inconsistent. And the people they're aimed at - mainly diehard fans and serious collectors - are willing to live with that. They have more than just a casual interest in the artist's work, and even the less-from-essential stuff excites and intrigues them. Assembled in 2002 - five years after Luther Allison's death - Pay It Forward is the sort of odds-and-ends collection that tends to appeal to diehard fans rather than casual listeners. This CD, which spans 1985-1996, contains an abundance of previously unreleased material and ranges from various live performances to an alternate version of the dark, brooding "Cherry Red Wine."
This volume in the Chronological Classics Ben Webster series is a fascinating slice during a wildly transitional period for the saxophonist. In the years between 1946-1951, Webster made numerous jumps as evidenced by these tracks, from the glorious jumping big swing of "The Jeep Is Jumpin'" while he was with Bill De Arango to the searing bebop of "Dark Corners" (with some blazing guitar work by De Arango) to the small-combo hard bop of "Randle's Island" to the bluesy, near soul-jazz balladry of "You're My Thrill." In Webster's company are some masters to be sure, including Maynard Ferguson, Al Haig, Big Sid Catlett, Bill Coleman, Benny Carter, Tony Scott, Buster Moten, and Gerald Wiggins, to name a few. This is varied set in terms of style, but these performances (and sound) are consistently fine.