"With seven of the twelve songs on this CD unreleased during Bolan's lifetime, for the first time, we are able to enjoy and understand more fully in context the direction in which Marc Bolan's music may have been heading as he approached his thirties, before tragedy struck in September 1977." These "Final Cuts" are an odds-and-sods collection of music Marc Bolan had been working on – and it's in various stages of completion – before he was killed in 1977. Some of the music here appears on other recordings of late cuts; some are reworkings of tunes or alternate takes of tracks that appeared on Futuristic Dragon or Dandy in the Underworld; some never appeared at all. You have to be a hardcore T. Rex and/or Bolan fan to want this music…
Recorded during Marc Bolan's U.S. visits during 1971 and 1972, Spaceball is the first full re-counting of four American radio sessions previously made partially available as a bonus LP within the Marc label's Till Dawn compilation in 1985. Eight songs, taped in L.A. in 1972, are reprised from that set; 11 more are collected here. The overall mood of the two CDs is sparse, but astonishingly dynamic, with the earliest session – taped for WBAI, New York, in June 1971 – especially remarkable. It opens with a pair of unaccompanied Bolan performances, previewing the as-yet-unreleased "Cosmic Dancer" and "Planet Queen." The guitar heavy "Elemental Child" follows, a surprising inclusion given the song's freak-out dynamics, but it's an effective piece, all the more so after bandmates Mickey Finn and bassist Steve Currie join in a few minutes into the song.
This is a great album, with some great ballads, bebop, Latin and Eugene's unique fusion style. He is a world talent, and certainly the most respected to come out of Hong-Kong. I've been fortunate to see him play live many times, and never been disappointed. Here though some of his best his brought out of him, playing with truly world class musicians.
Pinchgut Opera, based in Sydney and founded in 2002, specializes in Baroque and Classical opera, featuring works such as Semele, The Fairy Queen, Idomeneo, and Orfeo. One of its more obscure repertoire choices is Marc-Antoine Charpentier's 1688 David & Jonathan. It's a work that's rarely performed or recorded, so this fine performance is revelatory.
Let's not waste time: get this for soprano Lucy Crowe's voice, for her performance of "What passion cannot Music raise", for her "The soft complaining flute"–and don't forget the glorious "But oh! What art can teach". Okay–just get this for the magnificent Crowe, whose golden, ringing tone and impeccable, uninhibited technique sets Handel's arias ablaze in vibrant, scintillating glory, relegating any recorded competition to second-class status. (Listen to that long-held, stratospheric note in the final chorus, on the words "The trumpet shall be heard on high"–on high, indeed; it seems like Crowe could have sustained it forever!) To sing Handel requires technical ease and comfort, range and unreserved explicatory ability–and in this, and in her complete habitation of the world of Handelian style Lucy Crowe is unsurpassed.