La publication de 'Manuel à l’usage des femmes de ménage' révèle un grand auteur et un destin exceptionnel : Lucia Berlin, mariée trois fois, mère de quatre garçons, nous raconte ses multiples vies en quarante-trois épisodes. Élevée dans les camps miniers d’Alaska et du Midwest, elle a été successivement une enfant solitaire au Texas durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale, une jeune fille riche et privilégiée à Santiago du Chili, une artiste bohème vivant dans un loft new-yorkais au milieu des années 50 et une infirmière aux urgences d’Oakland.
A major change of direction for Berlin, Count Three & Pray was an artistic triumph but a commercial disappointment. After making a name for itself playing very European-sounding synth pop, the L.A. trio recruited producer Bob Ezrin (known for his work with Alice Cooper and others) and unveiled a more hard-edged, guitar-oriented sound. From the rockin' "Trash" (which features none other than Ted Nugent – the last person one would expect to work with Berlin!) to the ballad "Pink and Velvet" (a tale of two heroin addicts' romance that is as poignant as it is disturbing), Count Three & Pray leaves no doubt just how much lead singer Terri Nunn and her colleagues were enjoying this radical change. But sadly, record buyers weren't ready for it. Despite the inclusion of the hauntingly pretty number one hit "Take My Breath Away" (included in the film Top Gun) the album didn't sell nearly as well as Pleasure Victim or Love Life. Geffen was bitterly disappointed, and Berlin soon broke up.
The young Kissin was able to work wonders in Prokofiev–above all the Sixth Sonata (Kissin in Tokyo - Yevgeny Kissin). Regrettably, the mature Kissin recently delivered highly disappointing live performances of the Second and Third Concertos (Prokofiev: Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 3), indeed, regardless of the predictable rave in the British press. This 1994 recording of the First and Third Concertos is unquestionably very good, especially the youthful First, although competition is very strong–from Graffman/Szell (Prokofiev: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 3) and Argerich/Dutoit (Prokofiev: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 3 / Bartok: Piano Concerto No. 3) in this coupling, and from the complete sets by Berman/Gutierrez/Järvi, Toradze/Gergiev and Krainev/Kitaenko.