The 'Eight Songs' are essentially a song cycle presented in two groups of 4: the first group preceded by 4 instrumental movements and the second by 6. The texts were written by World War 1 poets all of whom, apart from the English painter-poet David Bomberg, lost their lives during the war. The songs take their starting point from the title of a series of poems by the French poet Gaston de Ruyter (who was shot down in his planes as late as 7 October 1918): ‘Chansons vieilles sur d’autres airs’ (‘Old songs to other tunes’). The ‘chansons vieilles’ are the poems by English, French, German and Hungarian poets (all sung in their original languages apart from ‘Csak Egy Eiszkara…..’ and the ‘autres airs’ are by English, French, German, Austro-Hungarian, Polish and Italian composers of the 17th and 19th centuries.
Pierre Boulez has been an exclusive artist with Deutsche Grammophon for over 20 years; his recording legacy with the label is immense. DG celebrate his 90th birthday with a 44-CD box set of his complete DG 20th century music recordings – an aspect of his work that lies at the heart of his achievement. ”The aim of music is not to express feelings but to express music. It is not a vessel into which the composer distills his soul drop by drop, but a labyrinth with no beginning and no end, full of new paths to discover, where mystery remains eternal.” – Pierre Boulez
For sci-fi lovers the world over, Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is sacred text, so it comes as no surprise that its arrival on celluloid has been met with considerably furrowed brows, especially in the wake of its author's death – Adams suffered a fatal heart attack in 2001 in the midst of writing the screenplay. However, if the film's gloriously skewed and occasionally beautiful soundtrack is any indication, the Guide is in good hands. Director Garth Jennings tapped the considerable talents of award-winning U.K. composer/arranger and Divine Comedy member Jobi Talbot to swing the baton, and his reverence for the source material is evident from the very first note. Using Stephen Fry's wry summary of marine life's misunderstood intelligence to set the stage, Talbot unleashes – along with a chorus that includes a bawdy choir, a little girl, and an opera singer – "So Long & Thanks for All the Fish," a rousing, Broadway-style farewell to the planet (and its befuddled citizens) that's equal parts Rocky Horror and Monty Python.
Handel’s opera Serse is characterised by its ironic libretto, humorous situations, and high number of short arias.
The main character is the unpredictably obsessive and volatile King Xerxes, a historical character who ruled the Achemenid Empire from 486 BC to 465 BC. The plot concerning the rivalry between Xerxes and his brother, Arsamene, for Romilda, however, is entirely fictional, as is the King’s betrayal of his fiancé, Amastre.
Limited edition 100 CD box set on the premiere classical label Deutsch Grammophon. Subtitled from Gregorian Chant to Gorecki. For some it will be the ultimate reference tool. For others a big place to start on something they always wanted to know about. Either way, the idea is to present a comprehensive history of Classical Music from its origins to the present day, covering all periods, including all major composers.