Between 1980 and 1998 Simon Rattle conducted no less than 934 concerts with the CBSO. Together they performed works by many 20th-century composers, as well as established favourites, and gave a total of 16 world premieres. Rattle also made 69 recordings for EMI with the orchestra. This box brings together that recorded legacy, which includes pieces by composers pivotal to his work, such as Mahler, Sibelius and Szymanowski, as well as some of the new compositions he championed — Nicholas Maw’s Odyssy, Mark Anthony Turnage’s Momentum, Three Screaming Popes and Drowned Out, and Thomas Ades Asyla.
This 53-CD set is more than the sum of its parts. While not all the performances and recordings are top-notch, the overall quality is very high and as a historical overview of a label known for its sonic as well as musical merits, it's full of treasures. The Mercury sound at its best is vivid and still sounds remarkable and many of these recordings - such as the marches, show tunes and orchestral showpieces conducted by Frederic Fennell - demonstrate this amply. But it's not all lollipops by any means.
Instrumental and vocal techniques are intertwined in the music of Harrison Birtwistle: he often treats the voice instrumentally and his instrumental writing has vocal characteristics. Many of his works for small ensembles, with or without voices, occupy this common ground, his highly individual style juxtaposing the static and the violently dynamic and intersecting with his fondness for ritual and myth – not least a recurrent concern with the figure of Orpheus. This recording presents some of these relatively neglected pieces, recorded live in the presence of the composer, who also talks about his songs in interview.
This 1979 effort finds B.B. interpreting a number of pop-blues tunes, many of them co-written by Will Jennings and co-producer Joe Sample, with King co-writing two of the songs aboard. Even with a large, contemporary backdrop (including a seven-piece horn section and female backup singers), there's still plenty of room for B.B.'s stinging guitar and stentorian vocals in the mix. Highlights include the gospel-tinged "Better Not Look Down," "Same Old Story (Same Old Song)," "Happy Birthday Blues," "The Beginning of the End" and the title track. As one of B.B.'s more pop-oriented offerings, this succeeds admirably.
The eighth studio long-player from the audacious Finnish symphonic metal outfit, Endless Forms Most Beautiful is also the first Nightwish outing to feature new vocalist Floor Jansen (After Forever, Revamp), who joined the group on the road in 2012 after the mid-tour departure of Anette Olzen. Nightwish has endured numerous lineup changes throughout its nearly 20-year career, but the band's sound has remained remarkably consistent, due in large part to the stabilizing presence of project founder and chief songwriter Tuomas Holopainen, whose overall vision for the band remains unchanged…
Following the huge commercial success of 1977s Moonflower, and basking in the spiritual guidance of his guru Sri Chinmoy, Carlos Santana was on a roll in 1978. This superb live set was taped at New Yorks legendary Bottom Line club shortly after the release of his Inner Secrets LP, and was broadcast live on the citys WNEW-FM, as well as Philadelphias WMMR-FM.