John Dowland's Lachrimae or Seven Tears is a series of seven instrumental pavans in five parts, based on the melody of his lute song, Flow, My Tears, followed by a collection of diverse dances. This famous book of chamber pieces is presented complete by the viol consort Phantasm, which is joined by lutenist Elizabeth Kenny, and their expert interpretations have the characteristic mix of poetic melancholy and courtly elegance that define Dowland's music.
Mendelssohn's complete works for cello and piano fit on a single CD with room to spare, and your collection should have room to spare for the terrific performances contained on this disc. Cellist Elizabeth Dolin and pianist Bernadene Blaha emphasize the composer's classicism and elegance, in contrast to the somewhat wilder spin with which cellist Mark Shuman and pianist Todd Crow suffuse these works. But whereas the latter ASV release is resonant to a fault, Analekta's engineering conveys a more intimate and equally warm ambience that falls kindly on the ears. Dolin and Blaha are never less than equal partners, which is important considering that Mendelssohn treats both instruments as such. (Classics Today 10/10)
It's obvious from the greasy opening blues vibe in "Exodus of Venus," the title track of Elizabeth Cook's first album in six years, that something is very different. Produced by guitarist Dexter Green, this set is heavier, darker, and harder than anything she's released before. Its 11 songs are performed by a crack band that includes bassist Willie Weeks, drummer Matt Chamberlain, keyboardist Ralph Lofton, and lap steel guitarist Jesse Aycock. The tunes are drenched in swampy electric blues, psychedelic Americana, gritty R&B, and post-outlaw country. Cook has been tried by fire these past few years. She's endured six deaths – including her parents – a divorce, a stint in rehab, and more. It slowed her writing to a crawl. Exodus of Venus is her way of telling that story, and as such, its songs often stray from the narrative storyteller's manner she's previously employed in favor of a more jarring poetic style that still communicates directly.
The concerto grosso form was popularized by Corelli, and Locatelli’s Op 1 is a marvellous example of the genre: its solid craftsmanship, imaginative textures and exciting virtuosity bringing it into the top rank. These works are ravishingly performed here by The Raglan Baroque Players, Nicholas Kraemer and soloist Elizabeth Wallfisch.
An extremely rare live recording of the scaffold in 1968 when they were top of the charts, this album has been long deleted and never before released on CD. The Scaffold emerged from Liverpool’s early 1960s bohemian scene, the same environment that had nurtured the Beatles. The McCartney brothers linked the two, Paul’s younger brother Mike, under the pseudonym McGear, teaming up with entrepreneur John Gorman and poet Roger McGough in 1963,Britain’s most famous poet whose book of sixties beat poetry “the mersey sound” has sold an unprecedented one million copies. Their stage show, fusing softly satirical sketches with music hall bawdiness, was a hit at the Edinburgh Festival and formed the basis for several successful tours through the rest of the decade.
This box set collects four individual albums of the early '90s by veteran historical-instrument violinist Elizabeth Wallfisch and the Raglan Baroque Players, each containing three of the 12 violin concertos included here. The box, although not issued in Hyperion's budget Helios series, is offered at a cut-rate price. Locatelli was a pure virtuoso; he was no Vivaldi, and these works had one purpose and one only: to display his nearly unthinkable capabilities on the violin. As such, the entire set may be of more interest to performers and specialists than to general listeners; three CDs of Locatelli are bit much. However, one can understand that for a player of the Baroque violin, L'arte del violino is something of a summation of a life's work; the fine booklet notes by Albert Dunning (given in English, Italian, French, and German) make the point that an audience of Locatelli's time would have understood that title the same way as Bach's Art of Fugue, as indicating an exhaustive exploration of the ultimate possibilities of a given form. The concertos follow a fairly predictable form; they are in three movements, fast-slow-fast, with each fast movement containing a cadenza-like capriccio at the end. These first rise to the very top of the violin's range and then enter into multiple-stopped polyphonic extravaganzas, and there are also less evident technical challenges. They're less varied than Paganini's Caprices, but they are their clear ancestors and may even have been known to Paganini. Hyperion's engineering still sounds good, and for students and adherents of any kind of the Baroque violin this is a desirable item. (James Manheim)
Admittedly my early experience of these works was formed by the great Arthur Grumiaux' modern instrument versions, not with the ( to my ears over-romantic ) Solistes Romandes, but an earlier (I think) more incisive performance with the English Chamber Orchestra, very hard to track down, which is wonderful…
By rc_rc (Yorkshire, UK)