An Italian chamber orchestra, Rondó Veneziano set itself apart from many groups of similar style by not only employing mostly women musicians and making it a rule to perform in period Baroque dress, but mainly because they were able to meld traditional chamber music pieces to modern backing tracks, rhythms, and percussion lines, almost giving their classical sound a club music foundation that sometimes bordered on prog rock. Their first big break came in the United Kingdom in 1983, with the single "La Serenissima," which was followed two years later by a successful appearance providing the score to the film Not Quite Jerusalem…
Guiomar Novaes' life story has been the stuff of legend in the classical world for decades and this CD is clear evidence why none other than Claude Debussy himself helped single her out for greatness as a teenage prodigy. Recorded when she was in her 50's, she's absolutely stupendous, pulling off difficult passage after passage with fabulous effortlessness, her trademark. But forget the 'feminine piano' tag that has been given to her at times, this CD shows she can bring on the 'thunder and lightning' whenever necessary. Thanks to Vox Box Legends for this magnificent digitally mastered 2 CD set, the wonderful sound, and very detailed, extensive liner notes that put most other liner notes to shame.
This 2 CD compilation has a number of the greatest adagios Mozart composed, performed by some of the greatest conductors and musicians in the world. Mozart was such a prolific composer of incredibly beautiful music in his short 35 years that one can easily imagine a second 2 CD set of his adagios in this series. The quality of the performances and the sound quality of the recordings on both CDs are outstanding.
I have no hesitation in recommending this recording as the finest Mozart concerto disc in many, many years. Every note is alive with meaning, the soloist capturing perfectly the tension between structure and spontaneity that is the essence of Mozart’s concerto form.
–David Hurwitz, 1998
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music.
Focus has always been a band with sense of humor, not only for the strange sounds and yodeling emitted by Thijs Van Leer but also for the jokes they made of sacred cows.
For example Hamburger Concerto is a play of words with Brandenburg Concerto by Johan Sebastian Bach (Not easy to find a bigger or more sacred cow anywhere), they work with the obvious Baroque influence in a delightful way just to make a Concert to.."the hamburger", something that only few and brave genius as Thijs Van Leer would ever dare to do.