Sweet Creep includes the lyricism of prior release Dad Country with an added air of hopefulness. Recorded in Jim James' (of My Morning Jacket) makeshift hilltop studio in Montecito Heights, Sweet Creep reverberates with the feeling of sunny vistas. From album opener Are You Thirsty to the summer-crushy 'Humidifier', Sweet Creep is a freshly-signed lease on life. Jonny throws himself into the new album by stripping things down to the essentials. He gathered Nashville's Joshua Hedley and Dawes' Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith and recorded the whole album in three days. The fresh air, freedom from studio pressures, and strong cups of tea all mix into the music, with ATVs briefly heard in the background and two senior tortoises listening at Hedley's feet as he fiddles away.
The complete cantata recordings of a Bach conductor who defined performance standards of these works in his day, newly remastered and compiled together for the first time on CD. In the generation of Bach interpreters before Karl Richter who brought his cantatas to an international audience, the name of Fritz Lehmann stands out: and indeed might still have eclipsed Richter but for his early death in 1956, at the age of just 51 and significantly just before the stereo era would move recorded music into a new era. Lehmann’s recorded legacy is nonetheless significant on its own terms, made mostly for Deutsche Grammophon and encompassing the Brahms’s German Requiem, and a Christmas Oratorio which he was recording at the time of his death, completed by Günther Arndt and now reissued by Eloquence (4827637).
Alessandro Scarlatti’s St John Passion was the first Passion setting written in seventeenth-century Italy. Scarlatti treats the role of the Evangelist (composed in the mezzo-soprano register) in highly unusual fashion, giving his narrative numerous emotional passages. The Voice of Christ (bass) is invariably haloed by a string accompaniment.