For those who already appreciate Rachel Podger's unique brand of magic I'll just say that this return to recorded Bach is lovely and all that one could hope for. All that one looks for is here, and there is more. For those who are not familiar with Rachel Podger, she is a unique voice among violinists. She has absorbed the principles of late Baroque performance practice and made them a part of herself, so that the articulation and inflection of that rhetorical approach to music flows from her as a natural idiom of expression.
This two-CD set is actually part of an ambitious undertaking: ESS.A.Y Recordings recorded these sonatas in two different versions, this one featuring Ms. Tenenbaum on a modern violin and accompanied by a modern piano played by Richard Kapp; the other recording (reviewed below) features Ms. Tenenbaum playing an older violin and accompanied by a harpsichord played by Gerald Ranck.
Verve 60th Anniversary Rare Albums SHM-CD Reissue Series. Reissue with SHM-CD format. This is one of the more obscure J.J. Johnson LPs. On six of the ten songs, the great trombonist is joined by four others, while the remaining four tracks (the main reasons to search for this album) feature him in a quartet with pianist Hank Jones, bassist Richard Davis and drummer Walter Perkins. Johnson's writing on the larger group pieces lifts the material, which is all taken from Broadway shows, while his playing on the quartet tracks is up to his usual level. Some of the songs are now forgotten, but "My Favorite Things," "Make Someone Happy" and "Put on a Happy Face" are exceptions. This album has some good music, but it will be very difficult to find.
The arrangement of Bach's Goldberg Variations, BWV 988, for string trio by Russian violinist and composer Dmitry Sitkovetsky has taken on a life of its town, with multiple performances and even a sort of electronic remix by Karlheinz Essl. The appeal for string chamber groups longing to share in Bach's riches is obvious, and for audiences it appears to be another case of Bach's music standing up to whatever you do to it. Like most other annotators, Hyperion's Nigel Simeone tries to claim that the arrangement is on a par with the numerous transcriptions Bach made of his own works. It is no such thing; the string chamber texture by its nature adds expressive devices that were not of Bach's world, and he would have found Sitkovetsky's version bizarre.
Lovely was The Primitives’ debut album. Issued in April 1988 on the back of the success of ‘Crash’, it peaked at No. 6 in the UK, staying on the charts for ten weeks, and yet is unavailable on CD. The Primitives’ profile has not been as high since their heyday, what with the release of a brand new studio album Echoes And Rhymes last year and Cherry Red’s 2-CD compilation of the band’s pre-RCA recordings, Everything’s Shining Bright, which surfaced in March. This 25th anniversary 2-CD set boasts most of the band’s B-sides and other rare tracks from that successful year, as well as including those hit singles in full: Crash (February 1988) No.5, Out Of Reach (April 1988) No.25, Way Behind Me (September 1988) No.36. Compiled with the help of guitarist PJ Court, this 2-CD compilation boasts re-mastered music as well as a splendid, annotated booklet boasting rare photos and personal memories from the band.