At his heart Joe Bonamassa is a blues player and it was for this evening at Shepherd’s Bush Empire that he elected to put on a display highlighting his true love of the genre. Backed by a full horn section, Bonamassa rolled through blues-tinged stalwarts from his vast collection.
The Borderline, a small club in the heart of London was chosen to stage a revival of Bonamassa’s early career power-trio jam nights. Armed with a Fender Stratocaster – Bonamassa along with a single drummer and bassist launched into a setlist marked with extended takes of songs from his first set of albums including some never before performed live on stage.
The hook for this terrific recording of three of Steve Reich's most attractive works is the use of alternate versions of the several pieces that differ from the original recordings on Nonesuch. This recording has Reich's imprimatur; he enthusiastically recommends the performances in a program note. The most radical departure from the original version is Piano Counterpoint, Vincent Corver's arrangement of Six Pianos for a single live pianist with the other five parts prerecorded. This allows the piece to fit nicely into Reich's "Counterpoint" series, which includes Vermont Counterpoint for flutes and New York Counterpoint for clarinets. Corver also speeds up the tempo so the piece has an even more propulsive aural energy, although in live performance it's hard to beat the visceral excitement of six pianists on-stage. The London Steve Reich Ensemble version of the Triple Quartet, unlike the Kronos Quartet's premiere recording, uses three live quartets, and is one of three performance options that Reich specified in the score, the third being an orchestral version with 36 players. This is the first commercial recording of this version.
The musical language of the New York-based Arnold Rosner (1945–2013) clothes the modal harmony and rhythm of pre-Baroque polyphony in rich Romantic colours, producing a style that is instantly recognisable and immediately appealing.
Based on real life events, Calendar Girls the Musical by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth is the story of a group of ordinary ladies who achieved something extraordinary. The production received fantastic five star reviews in London’s West End & the Original Cast Recording is now being released by Decca Records, just in time for Mother’s Day. The album features the 18 tracks featured in the musical as well as versions of three tracks, featuring Gary Barlow.
Ralph Vaughan Williams' A London Symphony, otherwise known as the Symphony No. 2 in G major, was composed between 1911 and 1913, and premiered in 1914. After the score was lost in the mail, reconstructed from the short score and orchestral parts, and revised twice, the symphony was published at last in 1920, though it was ultimately replaced by the definitive version in 1936, with cuts to the about 20 minutes of the original material. This recording by Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Symphony Orchestra presents the 1920 version, along with three short works, Sound sleep for female voices and small orchestra, Orpheus with his lute for voice and orchestra, and the Variations for brass band. The filler pieces are delightful rarities that Vaughan Williams specialists will find of some interest, though most listeners will prize this recording for the energetic and colorful performance of the symphony, which is one of the composer's most vivid and satisfying works.