Raphael Wressnig was 28 at the time of this recording but is already considered one of Europe's top jazz organists. On this CD, Wressnig plays the usual assortment of blues and soul-jazz grooves but also stretches his instrument by playing some music that borders on the avant-garde, some funk, a second-line New Orleans parade rhythm groove, a soulful country ballad, and even hints of hip-hop. Two songs are performed solely by Wressnig's Organic Trio, a unit that had been together for six years by 2008, featuring the fine guitarist Georg Jantscher and drummer Lukas Knofler. Three numbers add either tenor saxophonist Craig Handy or Christian Bachner, two others have the team of trumpeter Eric Bloom and tenorman Sax Gordon, and the remaining two find percussionist Luis Ribeiro making the group a quartet.
Zenaida Yanowsky as Elizabeth allows us to see a dancer in her prime, capable of expressing emotion through her movement, never at a loss in this exploration of the Virgin Queen’s life. Carlos Acosta represents the various men in her life while displaying his remarkable artistry. Acosta has retired and Yanowsky is about to retire from the Royal Ballet, so it is good to have this souvenir of two dancers whom I imagine were rarely paired in performances of other ballets. Martin Yates’s score is an imaginative piece, using Elizabethan music as a blueprint while maintaining a contemporary feeling, and Raphael Wallfisch is amazing in the sounds he draws from his cello. (Joel Kasow)
This video was recorded live at performances of the original version of 'Dardanus' (1739) given at the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux in April 2015, in a production by Michel Fau and choreography by Christopher Williams. Raphaël Pichon, the Ensemble Pygmalion and a peerless line-up of soloists received unanimous acclaim from public and press alike.
“van Mechelen rises splendidly to his major dramatic interventions and Florian Sempey as his rival Antenor is commanding and resonant. Michael Fau’s production with effective use of gesture and dance, and Emanuel Charles’s highly coloured, stately sets make for a very handsome visual presentation … Pygmalion provides vigorous and expert orchestral accompaniment, and Raphael Pichon’s assured direction secures superb coordination with the soloists and the firmly focused chorus.” (BBC Music Magazine)