Saxophonist turned jazz pianist Marc Copland has been busy recording for a Switzerland based record label. He continues his high level of musicianship with his core trio, along with tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker and guitarist John Abercombie, both performing on selected tracks. Copland possesses a sensitive touch, while also residing as a well-versed swing and bop pianist.
This is an excellent collection of Aaron Copland’s early orchestral works, written when the composer was in his twenties and mid-thirties. These pieces have not achieved the notoriety of Mr. Copland’s later “populist” compositions and contain more modernist devices. Some of these feature jazz elements (such as the Piano Concerto, Music for the Theater and the Dance Symphony, which was drawn from materials composed for the “Grogh” ballet). Despite the complexity of these selections, the music is both exhilarating and interesting, albeit challenging. Repeat listenings are required if one wishes to fully appreciate these compositions…
In the 20th century, the great American composers – simmering in the mighty melting pot – evoked Hollywood glamour, folksy landscapes, irresistible swing, poignant nostalgia, showbiz pzazz, sweet sentiment, streetwise sophistication, and hypnotic minimalistic drive. This 6-CD box – featuring such citizens of the world as Simon Rattle, André Previn, The Labèque Sisters, Renaud Capuçon, Hélène Grimaud and Paavo Järvi – take us on an exhilarating journey across the musical horizons of the USA.
"Speak to Me" is the CD premiere of a duo that has actually been in existence for some time. The recordings with pianist Marc Copland and guitarist John Abercrombie are classic examples of the quiet, calm art of communication practiced at the highest level. The musical meeting of these two contemporary jazz maestros has a wonderfully organic feel. It is comparable to the finest chamber music. The pieces shimmer with multifarious shades and meanings. They are small sound sculptures of artful transience. This is music from two of the most insightful players of jazz.
For vibrant and powerful sound, the Antal Dorati Mercury recordings are a true revelation. As someone who enjoys yet is still learning to fully appreciate this music, it's clear that these recordings are special. Mostly 20th century recordings here, Stravinsky, Richard Strauss, Prokofiev, Copland. These composers liked to utilize the full orchestra, and here the listener is rewarded. Interesting too are the lesser known works, such as Gunther Schuller's 7 Studies on Themes of Paul Klee.
Dorati's rendition of Stravinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring) is a good place to start with these discs. His Richard Strauss tone poems are first rate, and Gershwin's An American in Paris is presented in its full orchestral glory.