Under the baton of James Levine, Gotterdammerung ("The Twilight of the Gods") has a narrative drive that reminds us that, of all the individual operas in Wagner's Ring cycle, this is the one most about human emotions and the one in which its heroes are pulled into a world where they are most vulnerable to them. Siegfried Jerusalem as Siegfried and Hildegard Behrens as Brunnhilde never, in a sense, stand a chance: they are innocents who allow themselves to be manipulated not merely by the villainous Hagen, but by the ordinary venality of Gunther and his sister Gutrune, who goes along with a dirty little scheme to get what she wants, and is destroyed by it.
DAS RHEINGOLD, the prelude to Wagner's drama DER RING DES NIBELUNGEN, is the shortest work in the series, and at times it can be forgotten. Of the four pieces that make up the Ring Cycle, it probably would not be a stand alone opera, as the other three would be, and with the exception of "The Entry of the gods into Valhalla" it does not have the memorable highlights of the other three longer works of the cycle.
Poco’s biggest-selling album of all time also presented the biggest personnel change at one time for the then-decade-old group, whose lineup had hardly been a model of stability up to that time. Co-founding drummer/singer George Grantham and longtime bassist/singer Timothy B. Schmit were both gone, the latter off to the Eagles. Listening to parts of this album, one gets the sense that, with the arrival of Charlie Harrison (bass, harmony vocals) and Steve Chapman (drums) in the group, Poco was deliberately adopting a change in sound similar to what the Eagles went through when Joe Walsh joined, into much harder rocking territory, at least part of the time.
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music
“Aqualung” isn’t only a great album, it’s somehow a feel of live from the early 70’s. Maybe not as ambitious and essential in progressive rock terms as “Thick As A Brick”, but in terms of folk prog an absolute masterpiece concept record, too. I always feel like I am travelling back in the 70’s when I listen to classic tracks like “Locomotive Breath”, “Cross-Eyed Mary”, “Mother Gose” or the title track.