For fans of the classical mandolin, here is a disc of the best works for the instrument by Antonio Vivaldi, the best friend the mandolin ever had. And for the rest of the world, here is a disc of colorful Baroque concertos by Antonio Vivaldi, the best friend the Baroque concerto ever had. After all, Vivaldi may have been the mandolin's best friend, but even he could only compose so many mandolin concertos.
It's not clear why Telemann called these works "concertos" when they are really sonatas for transverse flute and harpsichord, with no tutti instrumental group involved. Annotator Jean-Claude Thériault works up an argument that it was due to the "concerted" nature of the music, with the flute and harpsichord playing generally equal roles instead of assigning ritornello-like music to the keyboard. It's hard to say whether he's right, but it's precisely the departure from the Baroque trio sonata and concerto models that makes this music so interesting. It is strikingly modern for the late 1710s, when the first edition of the music was published.
Too often, CDs that are mostly originals offer more preening than melody. This isn't the case with The Soccerball, a delightful collection that is 76.9-percent original and 100-percent interesting. Bill Mays, Martin Wind, and Matt Wilson have recorded together before, notably on Out in PA, another fine showcase for the trio's compositional talents. Here Peter Weniger brings his soulful, funky, tenor voice to their explorations, which sometimes involve tinkering with familiar themes: the joyous title tune is loosely based on the chord progressions of Nat Adderley's "Work Song," while Weniger's "Garrigue" is an inversion on the changes of "What Is This Thing Called Love?"
The early music ensemble Anthonello is named after the 14th century composer Anthonello da Caserta, and was founded with the view to performing early music in the spirit of the period. Each of the members is a soloist in her or his own right, and also has wide experience of performing with leading musicians in various parts of the world. Since its inception in 1994, the ensemble has gained a worldwide reputation for the excellence of its playing and for its interpretative flair.
Originally released on Atlantic as Ella Loves Cole and then reissued on Pablo with two extra cuts from 1978, this set features the great Ella Fitzgerald (still in excellent form) backed by an orchestra arranged by Nelson Riddle performing an extensive set of Cole Porter songs. Fifteen years earlier Fitzgerald had had great success with her Cole Porter Songbook and this date, even with a few hokey arrangements, almost reaches the same level. Trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison and pianist Tommy Flanagan are among the supporting cast. Highlights include "I Get a Kick out of You," "I've Got You Under My Skin," "All of You," "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" and "Just One of Those Things."