The first volume of Orient Occident - released in 2006 - turned out to be a landmark in Jordi Savall's discography. For the first time, the maestro explored an extra-European repertoire, demonstrating the same musicological expertise he had shown with composers like Marin Marais. The album soon became a best seller. The second volume in this exploration focuses on Syria, alternating instrumental and vocal pieces. Musicians from Syria, Lebanon and Israel play alongside Hesperion XXI and illustrate the artistic and humanist process we have come to expect from Jordi Savall.
Reissue with the latest remastering. Features original cover artwork. Comes with a descripton in Japanese. A tribute to the great European guitarist Rene Thomas – and one that features Thomas himself fronting a sweet small combo with Fender Rhodes from Rob Franken – with a sound that's unlike any other album that Rene ever recorded! Thomas first rose to fame on the bop scene in Paris in the postwar years – but here, he's got a much more longform approach to guitar – really stretching out on these very long tracks that build beautifully with his own richly chromatic lines, and some great solo moments from Franken. The group also features Koos Serierse on bass and Louis Debij on drums – and titles include "My Wife Maria", "Jesus Think Of Me", "Star Eyes", and "Round Midnight".
When in the first decade of the twentieth century, pioneering Russian creative artists turned to the sun for inspiration, they saw this theme as a symbol of liberation from turn-of-the-century decadence. In The Canticle of the Sun the power of the sun celebrates two liberating forces: specifically, the dedicatee, Mstislav Rostropovich, who shed light in the darkness of the later Soviet years (Gubaidulina has even spoken of the work embodying his ‘sunny personality’) and more generally, the spiritual sources which the composer has explored through her own musical journey within and beyond Soviet Russia. The Canticle of the Sun is a response to a text by St Francis of Assisi, in which he humbly glorifies the creator. Gubaidulina, aware that the music should not be ostentatious or complicated, suggests the mysteries of creation and humanity through solo cello and percussion, and places St Francis’s text in the restrained mouths of the choir as a kind of wondering response. The second work on this disc is a setting of five poems by Marina Tsvetayeva for unaccompanied choir.
In January 2015 musicians and listeners converged upon Stuttgart’s Theaterhaus for two consecutive nights to celebrate the 75th birthday of Eberhard Weber. The concerts centered around a specially commissioned 35-minute suite by Pat Metheny, with whom Weber had played and recorded back in the 1970s. Featuring Metheny, the SWR Big Band conducted by Helge Sunde, Gary Burton, bassist Scott Colley and Danny Gottlieb on drums, the composition was arranged around recordings of solos by Weber. Other performers during the two nights playing selections from Weber’s vast body of work were Weber’s longtime companions Jan Garbarek, Paul McCandless and arranger Michael Gibbs, all drawing ovations from the packed house.
The Armenian monk Soghomon Soghomonian, better known by his priest’s name of Komitas, collected hundreds of folksongs around 1900 during the course of his travels through the Armenian highlands between Van Lake, the Black Sea and the southern Caucasus. These songs, handed down orally over the centuries, express all the archaism of this ancient people’s unmistakeable culture – a culture than was nearly extinguished in the genocide of the Armenians during the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1917…
Nils Økland and Sigbjørn Apeland are the first musicians to record an album at Lysøen, the Norwegian island home of iconic violinist-composer Ole Bull (1810-1880). For years they have explored Ole Bull’s musical landscapes with open minds, and found inspiration to develop their own ideas. In this recording they have chosen to emphasise the contemplative elements in Ole Bull’s music. The album presents partly the performers’ own arrangements and improvisations based on tunes that Bull performed, and partly new compositions inspired by Ole Bull.
It comes as no surprise that, a year after Rampal's death, James Galway should dedicate a disc to him. After all, Galway has always cited the Frenchman as his true mentor - and it was with Rampal that Galway first spied a golden flute. The recording actually happened over a year before Rampal died but appropriately enough contains concertos by the French Classical composer François Devienne, of whose music Rampal was a noted interpreter.
Although not as sophisticated as Mozart's flute concertos, Devienne's Nos 7 and 8 are entertaining. Galway takes full advantage of their singing melodies, striking a triumphant attitude with his shrill tone. This works best with No. 8, but the opening Allegro of No. 7 sounds more like an excited finale than an enticing introduction. For pure Classicists, Galway's slow movements will seem too voluptuous and the catchy last-movement themes too sturdy. But the London Mozart Players have a cheeky lightness about them, bringing each concerto to a convincing close..