A filmmaker who's Chinese, 22, and gay talks about his work and love life with an unseen friend behind the camera. We also watch four of his short films. "Hysterio Passio" conjures images of men's passions. In "Matricide," a lawyer asks a young gay Chinese why he killed his mother on Christmas morning. In "Key in the Heart," a heroine (an Asian man in drag) pursues vampires. In "Fall, 1990," college students meet their roommates, and Jimmy, an edgy scholarship boy without a family, is slowly brought to an understanding of love by the callow Byron. "Flow" begins with a satiric look at the vectors of viruses and ends with a chat with our fictive filmmaker's hip mother.
It is more than twenty years since Solti last recorded Così for Decca, and if that earlier version was far from ideally cast, this new one more than makes amends. Above all, it has a commanding Fiordiligi in Renée Fleming, who conveys all the tragic vulnerability of this central character. Her performance of the great second-act rondo ‘Per pietà’ would be enough to melt the hardest of hearts. Anne Sofie von Otter and Olaf Bär are in fine form, too; and while Adelina Scarabelli is not exactly a mistress of disguises (she scarcely alters her voice at all for Despina’s part as the mesmeric doctor), her vitality is irresistible. More contentious is the Ferrando of Frank Lopardo. True, he can scale down his voice admirably, but all too often he lacks a genuine sense of line, and his intonation is unreliable.
This is a fine compilation of Jackie Gleason's output for Columbia. Gleason's objective was to make "musical wallpaper" that should never be intrusive, but rather conducive. He was not musically literate, but never had a problem articulating what he wanted to hear from his orchestra. The music here is quiet, melancholy, and often somber, played at mostly moderate to slow tempos. Each selection seems to flow into the next, achieving Gleason's goal of unobtrusiveness. Collectors may be more interested in seeking out the original LPs that comprise the material here, but for those looking for two CDs worth of some of the most relaxing music ever recorded, this is the place to start.
The classic Shakespearean romantic tragedy is updated by director Baz Luhrmann to a post-modern Verona Beach where swords are merely a brand of gun and bored youths are easily spurred toward violence. Longtime rivals in religion and business, the Montagues and the Capulets share a page from the Jets and Sharks of West Side Story when they form rival gangs. Romeo (Leonardo DiCaprio) is aloof toward the goings-on of his Montague cousins, but after he realizes that Juliet (Claire Danes) is a Capulet at the end of one very wild party, the enmity between the two clans becomes the root of his angst. He relies heavily – and with serious consequences – on his rebel gender-bender of a friend, Mercutio (Harold Perrineau Jr.), and Father (not Friar) Lawrence (Pete Postlethwaite) for protection and support. Romeo is, of course, exiled, and it looks like Juliet will be forced into an arranged marriage with the bland Paris (Paul Rudd). It ends, as Romeo and Juliet must, when Romeo hears a tragic piece of misinformation and brings his suicide wish to what was meant to be Juliet 's temporary tomb.
These chamber works bring Sony's adventurous, timely Ligeti series to a natural pinnacle. Long the challenger of stylistic stasis and customary demonstrations of excellence, Ligeti has outdone himself here (as he did with the fantastic Mechanical Music release). The Trio for Violin, Horn, and Piano (1982) challenges its players to stay in step with each other even while expanding virtuosity to the breaking point. Marie-Luise Neunecker plays such full horn parts that they roll flow over the tonal bounds, as does Saschko Gawriloff's violin and Pierre-Laurent Aimard's piano… –Andrew Bartlett..
A Sunday in Autumn (1994). Jon Mark uses his electronic keyboards to produce a CD filled with incredibly evocative music. The melancholy and reflection that flow through every song on this recording are indicative of the time of year when trees go bare, the air grows cold, and winter begins to appear. Some of the songs are tinged with bittersweet memories, others are more minor-key and somber.
Asia Journey (1996). Blending his unique warm and melodic yet still distinctly ambient keyboards with a subtle yet tangible Far Eastern texture, Jon Mark has once again delivered the goods. This man can, apparently, do no wrong…
An important man in the German electronic scene, Zurich-born musician and producer Thomas Fehlmann brought several diverse acts to Germany to record and collaborate. Beginning in the early '80s, his group Palais Schaumburg fused dance rhythms to the experimentalist flair of '70s German rock. A Detroit-Berlin cultural exchange through the Tresor label originally brought Underground Resistance to Germany, and Fehlmann did his part by recording separately with Blake Baxter, Eddie Flashin' Fowlkes, and Juan Atkins (as 3MB). A longtime association with another electronica institution, the Orb, gave him a chance to record and produce the group in Berlin…
Tomás Luis de Victoria was the greatest composer of the Spanish sixteenth-century ‘golden age’ of polyphonic music. This recording is of the six-voice Missa Dum complerentur, the five-part motet on which the Mass is based, and six further hymns and sequences including the great Popule meus, a setting of the Improperia (Reproaches) which form the heart of the liturgy for Good Friday. This is music of compelling beauty, which illustrates well Victoria’s extraordinary capacity to create through simple homophony extremely moving music of great expressiveness.