Wolfgang Dauner has now been highly active on the scene for more than fifty years. Dauner hired top young musicians to be around him for the current upgrade to United 2.0. The second United generation, like the first one, is eagerly researching the crossing points between jazz, rock, funk and world music…
An enterprising and extremely well-documented record, this collection is a distinct success. I listened to it both at a properly high volume, and late in the evening at a low level, when the illusion of the brass in the distance was just as real. The opening Dvorak Fanfare looks back to earlier times. The writing for natural trumpets is designedly primitive, but the composer's allusion to the Austro-Hungarian anthem is wittily engraved in the structure, and its familiarity makes one smile.
The late chamber music of fin de siècle English composer Edward Elgar is as melodic and personal as any he ever wrote, but because it is also more emotionally elusive than his earlier symphonies and concertos, his chamber music is much less frequently performed and recorded. This disc by members of London's Nash Ensemble coupling the three-movement, 25-minute-long Violin Sonata in E minor with the three-movement, nearly 40-minute-long Piano Quintet in A minor is a wonderful introduction to both works.
The music of contemporary French composer Karol Beffa takes us through the mirror into a dream world that is at once strange and intimately familiar. It invites us to explore inner harmony and rhythm. This new recording includes 'Into the Dark', 'Rainbow', 'Dédales' for piano and string orchestra and 'Nuit obscure' for string orchestra and voice. Gorgeously executed by Ensemble Contraste under the direction of Johan Farjot, this recording features mezzo-soprano Karine Deshayes, harpist Emmanuel Ceysson, violist Arnaud Thorette and the composer on piano.
In 2003, six former students from the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris founded the ‘Capriccioso’ Ensemble. The group varies in number according to the repertory, but is generally based on the work of six instrumentalists, including violin, viola, cello, clarinet, horn and piano, who recently performed Krzysztof Penderecki’s Sextet.
Nine artists, Persian and French, singers and instrumentalists, are combining their own musical tradition to reinterpret traditional Kurdish, Persian and European repertoire. Medieval pieces, Gregorian plain song and Spanish cantigas from a repertoire situated between 9th and 15th centuries are dialoguing and are mixed with Persian and Kurdish folk and traditional melodies. The results are an astounding mix of world and ancient music.
Anima mea explores the Christian concept of the soul through these masterpieces of medieval Sacred Music. Hildegard of Bingen’s beautifully exalted harmonies represent God’s order in the music of the spheres. The recently rediscovered Erfurt Ritual contains sung music from Master Eckhart’s historical context. These antiphons are performed here for the first time since 1525, along with chants from the liturgy of the Roman mass, music from the Notre Dame School, and a glorious Magnificat. The German duo Ensemble Cosmedin, who take their name from a church in Rome, are considered one of the leading ensembles for medieval and modern sacred music. Music of the soul—gentle and luminous.
If your Latin jazz collection centers mainly around styles from Cuba and Brazil, pianist Edward Simon would like you to consider expanding your library to include musical influences from a culturally diverse land geographically situated between those two countries – namely Venezuela, where he was born and lived until the age of 12. Simon is an acclaimed post-bop and modern creative jazz pianist in his adopted country of the United States, and while Latin American elements have certainly seasoned his recorded output to date, this 2014 Sunnyside release finds him focusing more intently than ever on the nexus between creative jazz and the folk music of his home country. The album's title is derived from "Venezuelan Suite," whose four parts fill over 28 minutes of the disc's concise 38-minute duration. Simon composed the suite for his Ensemble Venezuela, and the ten-member version of the group heard here – including musicians from the U.S., Venezuela, and Colombia – is wonderfully vibrant, ably fulfilling the pianist's creative intent. Chamber Music America commissioned Simon to write this work, and he rose to the challenge with music that is suitably rich with timbral and textural variety.