Catone in Utica (1737), written for the Teatro Filarmonico in Verona, is one of Vivaldi’s last operatic masterpieces. Its splendid score, however, has come down to us incomplete: in fact the first of the three acts is missing. With infinite patience, Jean-Claude Malgoire has reconstructed the missing act, realising the recitative passages complying perfectly to Vivaldi’s stylistic idiom and integrating the missing arias with original arias taken from other operas written by the Red Priest. Thus Catone in Utica is at last available, in a world-première recording, in its complete form. This is unquestionably one of the highest moments in Vivaldi’s production of music theatre, a concise and highly efficacious score, rich in coups de théâtre and memorable arias, brought to us now in all its dazzling virtuoso beauty by a formidable singing cast. The recording was made in Turcoing, in France, during the performances given in November 2001 and has all the exciting freshness of a live recording in which the excellence of the performers is underlined by the audience’s enthusiastic applause.
Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas is a charming, warmly humorous - and yes, swinging - set of classic Christmas tunes. The program is familiar, from bouncy singalongs like "Jingle Bells" to slinky ballads like a downright sexy "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," but Fitzgerald treats each song with exactly as much respect as it deserves. And so Frank Loesser's "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve" is wistfully romantic and Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne's "Let It Snow" is kittenishly enticing. As always, Norman Granz's production avoids the schlock that drowns some holiday sets. This is as good as jazz Christmas albums get.
Multi-talented, classically trained Shakimra has been composing, recording and performing with Indigenous Australia. Here she combines her amazing flute sounds with David Hudson's didgeridoo to produce a beautiful musical interpretation of the Great Barrier Reef.
Giovanni Battista Sammartini was undoubtedly one of most important musicians of early 18th-century Italy. The first performance of Memet took place in 1732, when the composer was just over thirty years old. The plot complies with the enlightened music’s widespread taste for the middle-eastern world, while the structure is that of a tragedy in three acts with five characters (Memet, Solimano, Irene, Zaide and Demetrio) and without choir. The quality of the music is certainly high, thanks to Sammartini’s mature and effective orchestration and to the variety of his melodic inventiveness - quite remarkable in some solo episodes - which spans from cantabile to agility passages of virtuoso difficulty. A world première recording that is a must for opera lovers.
This vaunted "new" chapter in the exploits of serial killer/cannibal Dr. Hannibal Lecter is actually the first, essentially a remake of Manhunter, Michael Mann's adaptation of the Thomas Harris novel in which Dr. L. is but a supporting player. But where Mann used a nervous, often ironic rock and postpunk pop score, Danny Elfman's largely orchestral soundtrack here punctuates the film's creep factor with tense arpeggios and crashing rhythms. Nothing wrong with that, per se the old school masters succeeded following a similar tack for decades…