Weber’s chamber music – just these three pieces if you don’t count the duos – clearly shows him on the cusp between Classical and Romantic. The Quartet for piano and strings, written in his early twenties between 1807 and 1809, begins with a Haydnesque gracefulness and politeness which is gradually invaded by more unruly harmonies and textures; the dramatic slow movement looks ahead to Schumann, while the closing fugue of the finale dresses 18th-century procedures in 19th-century colours. Then there’s the element of virtuosity which is a hallmark of the early Romantic era, in the showy piano part of the Quartet, which Weber wrote for himself, the concerto-like clarinet part in the Quintet with strings, designed for the pioneering Heinrich Baermann, and all three parts of the tuneful Trio for flute, cello and piano. The talented members of the pan-European Gaudier Ensemble are perfectly equipped to convey these different aspects of Weber’s musical personality, with the fleet-fingered pianist Susan Tomes leading the way in the Quartet and Trio, and Richard Hosford in the Clarinet Quintet recalling contemporary descriptions of Baermann’s own effortless brilliance.
The previous two CDs from pianist Michael Rische of the Piano Concertos of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach have been universally acclaimed for their high degree of musicality and the pianist’s passionate commitment to this composer. And in fact, much of the work of this highly original genius remains to be discovered. The 300th Birthday of Bach's second son offers an ideal occasion to become better acquainted with this extraordinary and surprising composer. In addition to the solo concertos, this CD also presents the Concerto for 2 Pianos and Orchestra Wq 46. In each work, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach makes the claim - once again – of his unique place in the history of music, and as evident in these vital, life-affirming performances, is one of the truly great “rediscovered” composers of the past.
Released by AUM Fidelity as a double CD in 2010, I Plan to Stay a Believer is bassist William Parker's heart and soul tribute to vocalist and songwriter Curtis Mayfield. Parker, an extraordinarily resourceful improviser and internationally respected leader of creative ensembles, joyously celebrates the interwoven traditions of African-American musical culture by saluting an artist whose best works still define an entire mode of positive, uplifting musical expression. Mayfield rose to prominence with Jerry Butler and the Impressions in the late ‘50s, helped that group to become mainstays of Chicago soul throughout the ‘60s, and achieved superstar status in his own right during the early ‘70s.