The piano remained the main instrument of Beethoven throughout his life, and this specially priced 4-CD box set represents his entire and sizeable output for piano and orchestra, starting with the early Piano Concerto in E flat, WoO 4 – a work of tremendous energy and great technical demands, which Beethoven wrote when he was just twelve years old – and ending with Piano Concerto No. 5, the only one that Beethoven never performed himself in concert, due to his developing deafness.
This disc strikes me as an ideal introduction to the music of Turkey’s greatest composer. Ahmed Adnan Saygun’s style might be described as “Szymanowski with a primal rhythmic feel.” If you love the composer’s First Violin Concerto then you will find here a very similar exoticism, nocturnal atmosphere, and love of voluptuous textures. The harmonic style is intensely chromatic, but also highly melodic. Like Bartók in his last period, Saygun’s handling of tonality mellowed toward the end of his life, which makes the Cello Concerto more consonant than the Viola Concerto, but both works are absolutely gorgeous and masterpieces of their kind. It’s positively criminal that no one plays these pieces regularly in concert. The performances here are excellent. Tim Hugh is a well-known cellist, and he pours on the tone with all of the rhapsodic abandon that Saygun requires. Mirjam Tschopp also is a superb violist, with a big, beefy tone that never gets swamped by the intricate orchestration. It’s also very rewarding to hear a Turkish orchestra in this music–and to find that it plays beautifully under Howard Griffiths.
“there are several reasons to shout about it…there's Shelley himself: a pianist whose quiet musicality and unobtrusive virtuosity shine through everything he touches…Throughout the set, there's a humanity to Shelley's music-making; it's particularly affecting in the B-flat Concerto, which he imbues with warmth as well as wit…this is a major new cycle, an important addition not only to the catalogue but also to Shelley's exceptionally fine discography.”
On Blue Day, veteran soul and gospel singer Howard Tate lays down a set so utterly crackling with energy, vitality, and sheer grit one could be forgiven for forgetting that, at the turn of this century, he hadn't recorded in nearly 30 years and had been virtually forgotten and left for dead – a victim of his own excesses. Tate was quite literally rediscovered by his former producer Jerry Ragovoy and brought back into the recording studio to work his vocal magic on tracks written for him by a stellar cast of songwriters in 2003. In 2006, he recorded A Portrait of Howard backed by the Carla Bley Band as well as a host of guests including Lou Reed, Leonard Cohen band vocalist Perla Batalla, and cellist Jane Scarpantoni. But Blue Day leaves that record in the dust, quite literally. At the age of 70, Tate is in absolutely top form as a singer and song interpreter…..
One to One is the third album by British pop musician Howard Jones, released in October 1986. The CD release also contains the single version of "No One Is to Blame" (a song featured on his previous album) with Phil Collins on backing vocals and drums. The album contained the hits "You Know I Love You…Don't You?" (US top twenty) and "All I Want" (top 40 in many European countries).