Martha Argerich has few peers in this repertoire today, and in terms of sheer spontaneity in performance she's simply in a class of her own. Chopin's concertos are early works, and they always have taken their share of abuse owing to the composer's somewhat clunky orchestration. Of course, no one ever has had anything to say against the piano part, which is marvelous and which dominates the proceedings to the point where the orchestra is pretty irrelevant anyway. What makes these performances so special is that Dutoit not only stays in the background, where he belongs, but actually manages to offer the kind of intimate support that allows Argerich to literally do whatever she wants. (David Hurwitz, classicstoday.com)
Pianist Youri Egorov first came to international prominence as the clear favorite among the 1977 Van Cliburn Competition’s semi-finalists. When Egorov failed to make the finals, outraged audience members raised funds to match the $10,000 first prize and present their hero in his New York recital debut. The critics raved, and Egorov’s career took off, flourishing for 10 years until his tragically early death from AIDS in 1988 at age 33.
Mention the style “cool jazz” to a music fan and most likely their first thought will be of Chet Baker or Dave Brubeck. All well and good, but there was a cat who came before them who actually laid the groundwork for the style. That was Gerry Mulligan, the baritone saxophonist, arranger, and composer whose original piano-less quartet introduced Baker to the world, and who was also present at the early Miles Davis BIRTH OF THE COOL sessions.
The peerless Takacs Quartet recently nominated for a Gramophone award for their second disc of Brahms's string quartets, continue their exploration of the Romantic chamber music tradition with this disc of Schumann. The Piano Quintet is by far Schumann's most popular chamber work and one of the most beloved works in the genre. Schumann was the first romantic composer to pair the piano with the string quartet. Schumann studied the string quartets of Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn and his quartet Op. 41 No. 3 demonstrates these influences. However, it contains many highly original strokes, particularly the casting of the scherzo as a set of variations. The Takacs Quartet are joined by Marc-Andre Hamelin in an invigorating partnership that has already been widely acclaimed on the concert platform.
Franck’s Piano Quintet and Debussy’s String Quartet make an apt and unusual coupling, each work its composer’s only, unsurpassable, contribution to the genre. Both receive authoritative performances from Marc-André Hamelin and the Takács Quartet.
A few seconds of spacy echo loops and you know where this album is coming from – the early jazz/rock era, the Age of Aquarius and all that. Yet this crazy amalgam of jazz, rock, electronics, and spoken astrological advice by the popular Los Angeles DJ Rick Holmes actually works, for the music behind the soulfully intoned words is very inventive and Holmes plays effectively off its rhythms.
Following the breakout success of Phenomenon and Force It, UFO had finally ascended to the first division of British hard rock. And after hiring a second guitarist and keyboard player in Danny Peyronnel, Schenker and Mogg led the group back into the studio to record their fifth album, No Heavy Petting…