In 1956 Glenn Gould’s first Columbia Masterworks release, Bach’s Goldberg Variations, took the music world by storm and immediately established the 23-year-old Canadian pianist as one of the most brilliant, original, charismatic and provocative classical performers of his time. Sixty years later, Gould’s prolific recorded output remains a stimulating presence, thanks to Sony Classical’s newly remastered collection of his complete authorized recordings in an 81-CD limited edition. The Sound of Glenn Gould presents highlights from this definitive presentation of the legendary pianist’s discography.
FSOL are well known for their prodigious output, regularly going through periods of creating several tracks a day. Many of these tracks would be ‘lost’ only for not fitting current projects, created only for special live events and broadcasts or would change so drastically during the recording process that the original version would bear little resemblance to the released track. From the Archives seeks to give light to these tracks that are as good as anything released on their ‘official’ albums.
One of the first of the blissed-out rave acts to storm the charts, and also one of the longest lasting, the Future Sound of London deserved a good singles compilation, and fortunately they get one with the Virgin retrospective Teachings from the Electronic Brain. Their highest moments were virtually always their singles, and short-form tracks offer a much easier path to understanding the music of Brian Dougans and Garry Cobain than their occasionally bloated LPs. Teachings from the Electronic Brain neglects nothing of real value, beginning with their first chart hit ("Papua New Guinea") and grabbing the best tracks from their albums Accelerator ("Expander"), Lifeforms (the title track), the live-in-the-studio ISDN ("Far-Out Son of Lung and the Ramblings of a Madman," "Smokin' Japanese Babe"), and Dead Cities ("We Have Explosive"). Best of all, licensing requirements prevented the addition of material from 2002's half-baked The Isness.
In the jazz world, Vienna is about as far from New York's Lincoln Center as you can get. It follows that Mathias Rüegg's Vienna Art Orchestra has about as much in common with Wynton Marsalis' Lincoln Center big band as a Sacher torte has with a Hostess Cup Cake; while they share some ingredients, the Austrian product satisfies on a more profound level. By the turn of the century, the Lincoln Center paradigm defined the jazz big band as a finished concept – locked into the past, serving mostly as a repertory ensemble. The VAO, on the other hand, while hardly ignoring traditional jazz verities, lives in the present and looks to the future.
One might think this disc would focus on the more romantic side of the Ellington-Strayhorn catalog. But don't let the title fool you. Mathias Ruegg's large band gives tunes like "Red Garter" and "Smada" a playful, blasting treatment. Particularly noteworthy is the transformation of "Mood Indigo" into something of a drunkard's lament, with a deep, wobbling trombone line. It's a labor of love that some Ellington purists might find a bit appalling, but it deserves kudos for its new approach.
With an unmistakable sound and repertoire that ranges from classical to pop, Renaissance to the Beatles, and from folksongs to pop songs through to the avant-garde, the fantastic vocal sextet the King’s Singers have enjoyed a unique global career. Formed in 1968, this exceptional group of English vocalists will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in the coming year. ‘The Sound of The King’s Singers’ combines three of the group’s most famous albums.