In France, during the reign of Louis XIV, the religious service known as Tenebrae was one of the most distinctive ceremonies in the liturgical year. Gradually, in the course of the office, the candles were extinguished, recalling the darkness that covered the earth when Jesus died on the cross. Charpentier composed Tenebrae settings throughout his career, thirty-one lessons in all. The three presented here, written for the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of Holy Week, are scored for a solo bass voice, accompanied by an orchestra composed of recorders, oboes, strings, bassoon and organ.
The main body of this disc is made up of a concert held to honor British blues legend Alexis Korner in the early 1980s, featuring Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts, and Ruby Turner. From the opening, which heavily features the trombone and saxophone section, one can see the special brand of British blues that Korner represented, some distance from the Rolling Stones and most of the other acts that followed in his wake. This concert represents just about the best showcase that Korner ever had for his brand of blues, demonstrating just how taut and precise this type of big-band blues could be in the right hands.