With such an abundance of great tracks that were never issued as singles, in many ways, a single-disc Joe Jackson best-of just doesn't cut it. That's where the extensive, three-disc comp Ultimate Collection comes in handy. While artist collections are usually aimed at the casual fan (in search of strictly an artist's best known tracks), the third disc of Ultimate Collection will definitely appeal to the hardcore fan, as it's the first-ever CD release of Jackson's soundtrack to Mike's Murder. Jackson's early, new wave direction is evident on such standouts as "Sunday Papers," "I'm the Man," "One More Time," and of course, "Is She Really Going Out With Him" (one complaint though – the omission of "Look Sharp").
Grechaninov tends to be remembered rather tepidly as a conservative relic from Imperial Russia. Yet his progress as a child of the 1860s went as far as one might reasonably expect, from the healthy absorption of 19th-century Russian masters in the Op. 2 Quartet, his self-styled ‘first large independent work’, to the chromatic experimentation of the D minor Quartet, composed in 1913. They make a pretty pair. The warm, slightly laid-back approach of the likeable Utrecht Quartet fits the simple folksiness of the earlier piece like a delicately fashioned glove, making modest claims for a humble offshoot of Borodin’s glorious Second Quartet, with a discreet dash of Tchaikovskian melancholy. A more urgent, forward-moving approach would surely make a better case for the seemingly fragmented gestures of Op. 70’s opening movement; but first violinist Eeva Koskinen’s unaffected way with the Largo melody before fugal earnestness takes over is ideal, and an equally natural robustness highlights Grechaninov’s instinctive if hard-fought goodbye to chromaticism in much the more successful and meaningful of the two finales. Worth investigating, but there’s no doubt that Taneyev is a long way in front of Grechaninov as master of turn-of-the-century Russian chamber music.
Testimony is the third studio album, and the first concept album, by Neal Morse. Released in 2003, this double record is in five sections detailing the composer's life and conversion to Christianity. The album features performances from ex-Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy and Kerry Livgren of Kansas, although the majority of instruments are played by Morse himself.
"This compact disc presents all the studio recordings that remain from a time when, as a twenty-five year old champion of the avant-garde, I had to seek for every possible occasion of playing the new works of our composers. In those days, they were hounded and ripped apart by ideological critics; now they are recognized as the masters of new music. Audiences today need to realize with how much excitement and trust people discovered and took over the new currents seeping in from Europe through the Iron Curtain. These works represent and symbolize a marvelous epoch of friendship, a time when we came to know new horizons and discovered ourselves in the Soviet Union's huge, heterogeneous spaces." (Alexei Lubimov. May 2003)