The epic grandeur of Der Rosenkavalier stems not just from its immense length (over three hours) but from the all-too-human complexity of its characters–each of whom is smitten with someone else–and the endless stream of graceful melodies the composer conjures. After the tonality-stretching dissonance of Salome and especially Elektra, Strauss moved onto a different musical path here: the music's sheer gorgeousness has given this most heartbreaking of 20th-century operas its pride of place in the repertory.
October 21, 2012 marks Sir Georg Soltis centenary and Decca is celebrating this with several important reissues.
Sir Georg was an exclusive Decca artist for 50 years. In 1947 he signed his first contract with Decca - as a pianist and that same year he made his first record as a conductor (with the Zurich Tonhalle in Beethovens Egmont Overture). His last public concerts took place just a few weeks before his death in 1997 and were with the Zurich Tonhalle.
Götz Friedrich’s 1981 Elektra film sets Richard Strauss’ opera in a dark and dingy abandoned 20th-century factory populated by grungy denizens in psuedo-Greek garb. Elektra herself appears like some deranged homeless woman reeking with sweat and slime (in the rain). And the depravity doesn’t stop there. Friedrich plays up the work’s sado-masochistic elements, with bloody whippings and an orgy sequence involving nude lesbians bathing themselves in the blood of a sacrificial ram. Now you might think that all of this detracts from the score, but on the contrary, the production matches image to music so brilliantly that anyone seeing this opera for the first time would think they were created for each other (which allows you to ignore the occasional useless, almost silly gesture, such as the frequent and prolonged shots of Agamemnon’s bloodied visage during Elektra’s opening monologue).
This is such an awesome and unique album. Linda recorded this music right after she adopted a child. The love and tenderness of these amazing songs is so refreshing. Queen's "We Will Rock You" is done in a way you would never imagine. You can hear the heartbeat, almost as if you were inside the womb and listening to your own mother's heartbeat. It's just simply amazing. All of the songs a beautiful and Linda's incomparable voice is exquisite.
Master of the Art is the studio companion to the album Night Music, also reissued on Wounded Bird records from the original Elektra Musician masters, with the same band as on the live date, but with completely different songs and a short interview from the trumpeter. At a time when Shaw was one of the most consistently brilliant trumpeter's of the modern era, this effort did nothing to hurt that estimable reputation. Vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson and trombonist Steve Turre being on the front line made for an arresting sound, while the emerging pianist Mulgrew Miller was asserting himself as a major force, with drummer Stafford James and drummer Tony Reedus sounding like they had worked together for decades. The four tracks include here are quite lengthy, allowing for stretched melody lines and beefy solos, showing the inventiveness and stamina of this mighty sextet.