A fairly sleepy ECM date, this outing matches Jan Garbarek on tenor, soprano and alto with guitarist Bill Connors, John Taylor (doubling on organ and piano) and drummer Jack DeJohnette for lengthy explorations of four of his originals. With such titles as "Reflections," "Entering" and "Passing," it is not surprising that the music has plenty of space, is introspective, and often emphasizes long tones.
It's hard to think of a twentieth century Czech-language opera that has enjoyed more success than Leos Janácek's Jenufa, and there is certainly no shortage of good recordings of it. Among the most exceptional is this effort for Decca led by Charles Mackerras. Elisabeth Söderström is riveting in her portrayal of the small-town girl desperate that the empty-headed Steva, played by Petr Dvorský, will marry her and legitimize their child.
6 panel digipak with a matte laminate finish featuring artwork by Hannah Bertram and art direction by David Sylvian* At last fall's Punkt Festival-one of the world's premiere get-togethers of improvising and adventurous musicians, an audio installation by David Sylvian filled the space, and the opening night celebration brought poets and musicians into the mix: the acclaimed Norwegian poets Paal-Helge Haugen and Nils Christian Moe Repstad read alongside Evan Parker and Arve Henriksen, and their works were read in English by Sylvian, whose recorded voice was accompanied by John Tilbury, Philip Jeck, and Sidsel Endresen.
Here Garbarek is approaching the extremes of his style, appearing once again with the Jan Garbarek Group. He has his usual stark, meditative pieces, interspersed with some cutting-edge work, occasionally spinning just enough out of control to be exciting. And in other places he ventures headlong into the syrupy fields of Kenny G.-land. All pieces on this record are titled after quotes from poems by Tomas Transtromer, and though the actual connection to these poems remains tenuous at best, they do add a provocative element to the pieces themselves, which beg for at least some programmatic interpretation. Excellent bass work by Eberhard Weber, particularly on the more avant-garde pieces (e.g., "The Crossing Place" and "One Day in March I Go Down to the Sea and Listen"). Multi-instrumentalist David Torn is primarily responsible for the more aggressive edge this record takes.
Evencio Castellanos is one of Venezuela's best-known composers, notable not least as one of the groundwork-makers for that country's much-lauded "sistema" of music education. This album presents some of his best-known works, idiomatically and enthusiastically performed by the Orquesta Sinfonica de Venezuela under Jan Wagner. All three works are nationalistic, with plucked strings stating popular Venezuelan rhythms and melodies against various orchestral backdrops.