With his seven symphonies the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius marks a high point in the symphonic repertoire of the 20th century. The music evokes the ghostliness of the Finnish landscape, carries an inner strength and depth and proves itself full of technical fi nesse that still poses a challenge for both conductors and performers. For Sibelius “a symphony is not a ‘composition’ in the ordinary sense. Rather, it is a declaration of faith at different stages of one’s life.”
Dean Martin's first album for pal Frank Sinatra's Reprise label was ignored at the time of its initial 1962 release, but it's one of his lighthearted best. As you'd imagine from the leering cover shot of Martin in a beret, French Style is a breezy and tongue-in-cheek but ultimately romantic collection of American standards about Paris and actual French favorites such as "La Vie en Rose." It would still be a couple of years until Martin would be a major seller for Reprise, but the material on the album is actually much better than his later MOR hits. Neal Hefti, the excellent big band arranger who helped craft Count Basie's streamlined "atomic" style, handles the lounge-y charts, but they're in a swank lounge style…
…The Burwell lute tutor states: "[On] other instruments we sing, but on the lute we speak". That is exactly what Bailes does, and in a very eloquent manner.
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