Although not quite at the level of profundity of his teacher Gustav Leonhardt's recording, Kenneth Gilbert's 1983 recording of Book 1 of Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier does have a style and polish that Leonhardt's too often lacked. Thus, while Leonhardt goes further into some of the minor-key fugues to find intellectual and spiritual depths that Gilbert does not plumb, Gilbert's playing is so much more elegant and graceful than Leonhardt's that it is difficult to choose between them. For listeners who approach The Well-Tempered Clavier as a volume of virtuoso works whose success depends on the effortless refinement of the player, the Gilbert, with its superbly remastered sound, will be the one to get. For listeners who approach The Well-Tempered Clavier as a volume of prayers written as preludes and fugues, the Leonhardt will be preferable. Both are superb and both belong in any Bach collection.
With the possible exception of Richard Pinhas' Heldon, Gilbert Artman's Lard Free was probably the premier French progressive group of the '70s. The prolific Heldon might win in terms of amount of material, but the three near-perfect albums by Lard Free (despite the truly wretched band name) probably have them beat in terms of overall quality. Although Artman, a drummer who also dabbles in synthesizers and piano, called Lard Free a group, he was the only constant member; all three albums have different lineups. 1973's Lard Free consists of relatively short pieces with prominent piano and saxophone parts, and as such is the most jazz-oriented of the three. The following year's I'm Around About Midnight consists of three long pieces with much more synthesizer; at times, it sounds almost like early (pre-ambient) Tangerine Dream, or perhaps Clear Light, the French collective Artman and the then-current lineup of Lard Free occasionally worked with around this time. 1977's Lard Free III, also known as Spirale Malax, is Artman's best work, a pair of side-long experiments that combine space music, jazz, and King Crimson-style heavy progressive rock better than many groups (including King Crimson) could ever hope to manage.
Peppered with unforgettable melodies and tongue-twisting songs, The Pirates of Penzance is one of the most popular operettas ever written. Opera Australia's new production is an effervescent smash hit with a national tour and jubilant sellout seasons everywhere.
With tangos and Ellingtonia under his belt, this ever-curious occasional crossover classicist takes another break from the Berlin Staatsoper, the Chicago Symphony, and Bayreuth to dabble in an unfamiliar (to him) idiom. Though the results are about as spontaneous as a sunrise, this collection does cover a wide range of brief bits of Braziliana from inevitable tunes by Ary Barroso, Luiz Bonfá, and Antonio Carlos Jobim to songs by Milton Nascimento and Caetano Veloso and classical selections by Heitor Villa-Lobos and Darius Milhaud.
No collaboration is unlikely when the end goals are the same. A meeting of two artists who illustrate different corners of the musical landscape, come together to create a new statement that takes their collective strengths to higher elevations and encompasses new terrains. So it is on the first collaborative journey of Canadian musicians Venetian Snares and Daniel Lanois. What started as mutual respect for one another’s work, led to several years of a creative germination. Recorded live in a former Buddhist temple-turned-studio in Toronto, 'Venetian Snares x Daniel Lanois' travels to new zones in what Lanois describes as “a body of work driven by exploration”…