Eleven boundless tracks with organic music for open minds. A 40-year anniversary is actually rather on the small. Back in 1967 the guitarist Bo Anders Persson had already started his Terry Riley-inspired underground band Parson Sound with the bass player Torbjorn Abelli and drummer Thomas Mera Gartz, amongst others. They evolved into International Harvester, then Harvester, and finally striking root as Trad Gras och Stenar in 1969. The following year they arranged, end performed at, the legendary Swedish Gardes-festivals that pioneered the Swedish alternative music movement. Trad Gras och Stenar creates their own contemporary music, even if they have been compared to Krautrockers like Can and Faust internationally…
Gretry's "Richard Coeur De Lion" (1784), a rousing tale about the rescue of the crusader king Richard the Lionheart by his faithful troubadour Blondel, is a minor masterpiece, the greatest French opera comique of the Ancien Regime. Gretry wasn't an eighteenth century composer of the calibre of Mozart, Rameau or his contemporary Gluck, but his music seduced audiences with its charm and tunefulness and in this opera he provided a great deal more. Blondel's stirring aria of loyalty to his king, "O Richard, oh mon roi", was so powerful it was used as an anthem by the royalists in the 1790s and promptly banned by the revolutionary authorities. The romance "Une fievre brulante" (which recurs throughout the opera in a very early anticipation of the Wagnerian leitmotif) is a superb melody too, sentimental in the best sense of the word. The only aria most people today are likely to be familiar with is "Je crains de lui parler la nuit", the song the old countess sings to herself just before she is murdered in Tchaikovsky's "Queen of Spades", but there are also lively peasant dances and choruses, catchy duets and trios and a barnstorming finale in which King Richard's loyal followers overrun the castle where he is being held and free him from its dungeon.
Peter the Great was staged to celebrate the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg.
In order to understand the needs and sorrows of his people the young and dashing Tsar Peter decides to live and work incognito among the working classes. He falls in love with Catherine, a commoner's daughter and, still preserving his real identity, wants to marry her. (Operacritic.com)