Although it is not noted on the outside cover and is even difficult to discern from the inside liner notes, this is a live recording of the short-lived group, caught at a show at an unnamed venue in 1997. Regardless of the rather mysterious nature of the disc, it's a terrific representation of the foursome's phenomenal instrumental chops. The triple guitar/drums lineup cherry-picks tracks from their studio albums, both of which are out of print as of this disc's appearance in early 2004. Hence, it's the only way to hear this adventurous quartet deconstruct/reconstruct and mix and match the funk, jazz, and avant-garde qualities of the music of James Brown, Thelonious Monk, and Rahsaan Roland Kirk.
This fine work, in the perfect Classical tradition, is from late in Piccinni’s French period. It was composed in 1783 and was performed in Paris regularly until 1836 and throughout the rest of Europe until about 1830. Piccinni keeps the plot moving at a fine clip, running one number into the next without a glitch and (especially in the third act) effectively using the chorus to add to the excitement. His writing for the solo voices is stirring in a Gluckian way, but elements of his Italian roots show up in the vocal line and melodic inspiration as well.
The musical works on this disc are all quite lovely and moving; yet somehow, they seem oddly incongruent with the festival they are intended to celebrate. The one song most closely associated with Hannuka is Ma 'oz Tzur (aka Rock of Ages and/or O Mighty Fortress, references to the Holy Temple), and it is universally sung to a well-known traditional melody. Here, in a setting by Aaron Miller (1911-2000), arranged by Neil Levin, it is not only the shortest track on the disc, but it is presented in Yiddish rather than Hebrew, and in a Klezmer-like setting that is nothing at all like its familiar tune. Not until the concluding section of Samuel Adler's The Flames of Freedom do we hear the traditional melody, but set against a piano accompaniment that takes a decidedly non-traditional turn in its harmony.
Stumbling by chance across this recording, you could be forgiven for assuming that it probably represents yet another foray into long lost repertoire by an insignificant composer. In reality, however, Jacquet of Mantua (1483-1559) was actually one of the most distinguished composers of sacred polyphony in the generation between Josquin and Palestrina, with a vast output comprising 23 masses, over 100 motets and many other sacred works (including a St John Passion).
Reissue of the album recorded with Dusko Goykovich, et al. 24bit digitally remastered. Cardboard sleeve (mini LP). This is one of the rarest of all Blue Note albums, and one that is a must for record collectors. The Francy Boland/Kenny Clarke big band was one of the most exciting orchestras of the 1960s and ‘70s. Much less known but also brilliant was a unique octet co-led by Boland and Clarke just prior to the big band.
First recorded collaboration between one of the leading sopranos of our time, Juliane Banse, and the incomparable pianist András Schiff. The programme is a fascinating combination of two different worlds of 'Liedgesang' - in language as well as musical style and historicity.
This Renée Fleming disc, By Request, is mostly a compilation of previously released material. There are three new tracks, "Ah fors' è lui" from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata, the song "Cäcille" by Richard Strauss, and "You'll Never Walk Alone" from Rogers & Hammerstein's musical Carousel. The new recordings all sound fine, and Fleming is outstanding in the re-issued pieces as well. If you have the prior incarnations of these recordings, you may elect to pass on this collection unless you want the three new tracks.