THE COMPLETE COLUMBIA STUDIO RECORDINGS compiles all of Miles Davis' collaborations with composer/arranger Gil Evans. Included are the original and alternate versions of the four albums that Davis and Evans made together–MILES AHEAD, PORGY AND BESS, SKETCHES OF SPAIN and QUIET NIGHTS–as well as various outtakes and unreleased tracks. More than half of the material is previously unreleased. THE COMPLETE COLUMBIA STUDIO RECORDINGS won 1997 Grammy Awards for Best Historical Album, Best Album Notes (by George Avakian, Bob Belden, Bill Kirchner and Phil Schaap), and Best Recording Package - Boxed.
These fine performances constitute the only complete cycle currently available of the 17 string quartets that pepper Villa-Lobos' entire career. The suite-like, five-movement No. 1, with its adorable "like a jumping bean" finale, is deceptive. Most of these are resoundingly neo-classical works full of acerbic harmonies and typically busy counterpoint, with few overtly nationalistic elements. Of course they sound just like Villa-Lobos, who was himself something of a "nationalistic element" when you come right down to it. The series reaches its culmination in the large works composed around the time of the Second World War, Nos. 7-11, which really do constitute landmark 20th century contributions to the form on a par with those of Shostakovich and Bartók.
Released between 1991 and 2005, the selections in The Warner Recordings encapsulate the period when Pierre-Laurent Aimard was signed to Erato and Teldec, performing mostly 20th-century fare and some music from the 19th century. Aimard is famous for his contributions to the modernist catalog, and his performances of works by Pierre Boulez, Elliott Carter, György Ligeti, and Olivier Messiaen are regarded as scrupulously executed and authoritatively interpreted. Aimard also recorded early 20th century pieces by Charles Ives, Alban Berg, Maurice Ravel, and Claude Debussy, as well as Romantic masterpieces of Beethoven and Liszt. A pianist's pianist, Aimard is well-rounded in his repertoire and a true master of keyboard technique, yet he has received considerably less fanfare than many of his flashier colleagues. Yet connoisseurs of piano recordings know that Aimard is indispensible, especially for his special feeling for French music, and his recordings are important documents that serious students and newcomers should appreciate.
At the end of his life, Horowitz had chosen to record for Deutsche Grammophon. The Hamburg label reissues all of its recordings, 6 CDs, commemorating the centenary of the birth of the pianist.