In 1989, Steps Ahead consisted of Mike Mainieri on MIDI vibraharp, synclavier and acoustic piano, the young saxophonist Bendik doubling on keyboards, guitarist Steve Kahn, Tony Levin on electric bass and Chapman stick, and drummer Steve Smith. The powerful band did not have a great deal of subtlety by this era, but it helped to keep the much-maligned genre of fusion alive, mixing the sound of rock with jazz improvising.
The Rose Consort of Viols was created to play music like this, and the collective and individual virtuosity of the six performers on this disc are on full display throughout the generous (72-minute) program. Particularly satisfying are the selections with organ, whose unique colours add another, very sonorous dimension to the viols' already warm, ear-pleasing consonance. The sound, from the very complementary acoustics of Forde Abbey, is appropriately full-bodied yet intimate. (David Vernier, classicstoday.com)
Known for having elevated the symphony and the opera to popular levels in his lamentably short life, Mozart was also substantially involved in sacred music. Among many smaller works for solo chorus and for combined choral/orchestral forces, he composed an enormous seventeen settings of the Latin Mass, of which this is his last. But this C Minor mass, which is said he composed in 1782 and 1783, was never really completed in a way Mozart found satisfactory, and thus it has been up to others to put this work into coherent form. The recording here is based on the reconstruction done by Salzburg composer and musicologist Helmut Eder; he worked on the "Et Incanatus Est" section of the Credo, as well as the concluding Sanctus and Benedictus sections. The work is still Mozart's, and is scored for a fairly substantial orchestra: one flute; pairs of oboes, bassoons, horns, and trumpets; three trombones; timpani; organ; and the full string compliment, plus four soloists and chorus.
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music
One thing is quite certain: ou can love this album to death or loathe it with every fiber of your being, but you can’t really ignore it. From the gorgeusly disturbing gatefold sleeve, displaying a masterpiece of Gothic artwork by Swiss cult artist R.H. Giger (of “Alien” fame), down to the unabashed self-indulgence of its musical content, “Brain Salad Surgery” is a compendium of everything progressive rock is all about, the good, the bad and the ugly. It is loud, metallic, and harsh, undeniably bombastic, though it can also be melodic and soothing – a true rollercoaster ride of an album, swinging from the beautiful, English choirboy vocals of “Jerusalem” (with wonderful lyrics courtesy of one Mr William Blake) to the all-out progressive orgy that is “Karn Evil 9”.