The Latin rock band Del Castillo started in the winter of 2000 in Austin, TX, as a family CD project for singer/guitarists and brothers Mark del Castillo and Rick del Castillo, who eventually added Alex Ruiz on lead vocals, guitar, and harmonica; Albert Besteiro on bass; and Mike Zeoli on drums. That CD turned out to be Del Castillo's debut release, Brothers of the Castle, in 2001. Vida followed in 2002, and Brotherhood (with special guest Willie Nelson) in 2006. The group's self-titled fourth album appeared in April 2009. Del Castillo also has contributed to several films directed by Robert Rodriguez, including Spy Kids 3D, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Sin City, and Grindhouse. Performing with Rodriguez under the name Chingon, they recorded a version of the traditional Mexican song "Malaguena Salerosa" used in the Quentin Tarantino film Kill Bill Vol. II.
The English, historical-instrument, Baroque ensemble La Serenissima (the term was a nickname for the city of Venice) has specialized in somewhat scholarly recordings that nevertheless retain considerable general appeal, and the group does it again with this release. The program offers some lesser-known composers, and some lesser-known pieces by famous composers like the tiny and fascinating Concerto alla rustica for two oboes, bassoon, strings, and continuo, RV 151. What ties the program together formally is that it covers a range of Italian cities that were becoming cultural centers as they declined in political power: not only Venice (Vivaldi, Albinoni, Caldara), but also Padua (Tartini), Bologna (Torelli), and Rome (Corelli). There are several works by composers known only for one or two big hits, and these are especially rewarding. Sample the opening movement of Tartini's Violin Concerto E major, DS 51, with its unusual phrase construction and daringly chromatic cadenza passage: it has the exotic quality for which Tartini became famous, but it does not rely on sheer virtuosity. That work is played by leader Adrian Chandler himself, but he also chooses pieces for a large variety of other solo instruments: the Italian Baroque was about more than the violin. Each work on the album has something to recommend it, and collectively the performances may make up the best album of 2017 whose booklet includes footnotes.
Before delving into the music on this collection, it's important to offer a note of caution to Chet Baker fans: Italian Movies is not a really a compilation of the trumpeter's work, so much as a series of film scores by the great composer Piero Umiliani between 1958 and 1964 on which he is featured either as a soloist or as part of the orchestra. It might better have been marketed to Umiliani fans, but it's tough to fault label Moochin' About for a little creative license when repackaging a previous issue of this music that appeared on Liuto Records – that one was co-billed to the pair. Other than on disc three – where Baker doesn't get to solo until track nine in the score for 1962's Smog, yet is still featured for 20 minutes – there is plenty of him to go around as he works amid his Italian contemporaries.
…Now then: FIVE CDs of one male alto singing Baroque cantatas? If you suppose this would be too much of a good thing, you haven't yet grasped the expressive virtuosity of Gerard Lesne. The man sings every phrase with such engagement that you forget you're listening to a singer and imagine that you're hearing a passionate human 'speaking' musically just to you. There is also an immense range of compositional resources in baroque music - a bag of tricks, if you will - which only the finest performers like Lesne can fully exploit. And just in case you suffer from a short musical attention span, the generous producers oat Virgin Classics have built in a couple of instrumental sonatas to let your ears re-set…
The Pavarotti and Friends Collection celebrates the internationally renowned charity concert series that brought together the world's greatest pop performers with the greatest international classical star, Luciano Pavarotti.
The "100 Years of Italian Opera" series released by Opera Rara is unique in the annals of opera recordings. However, this installment is especially exciting as it documents the evolution of Italian opera during the 1820's, the decade when romanticism truly began to come into its own on the operatic stage. Opera Rara has lovingly compiled a variety of arcana written by composers famous and forgotten. Included is everything from overtures to arias, duets, ensembles, and entire scenes.