Johan Joachim Agrell (1701-1765) was in many ways a traveller between the worlds: in Uppsala, the Swede's great talent was recognized by the Hessian envoy, which resulted in Agrell being summoned to a court near Kassel in Germany. He later went as municipal chapel-master to Nuremberg. Musically, Agrell was a brilliant Baroque composer in whose works many of the new early Classical trends were anticipated.
Both pieces on htis CD are capable of making a lasting impression on the listener with their energy and power of expression, much like the art of van Gogh, who served as the inspiration for the opera Vincent from which Rautavaara derived his 6th Symphony. As one might expect of music based on the life and works of this artist, the Vincentiana Symphony is colorful, expressive, and in some passages, tempestuous and tormented.
2017 debut solo album from the frontman for Finnish goth metal icons The 69 Eyes, who've sold millions of albums worldwide. Jyrki's dark and brooding croon mixed with atmospheric keyboards and heavy guitars make this one of the most anticipated releases of the year, with tracks already being featured in several g films including the horror film Sunset Society (starring Lemmy from Motörhead), and Halloween Hell House (starring 21 Jump Street's Richard Grieco). In their early years, The 69 Eyes' sound was closer to glam metal, but since the album Blessed Be they have shifted into gothic rock. Jyrki's low and operatic vocal tone is reminiscent of fellow musician Peter Steele of the gothic metal band Type O Negative and has been heavily influenced by Elvis Presley, Jim Morrison, Iggy Pop, David Bowie and Glenn Danzig.
This performance of the fiery Fantasy in G minor for violin and orchestra, Op. 24, of Josef Suk, with violinist Christan Tetzlaff catching the full impact of the irregular form with its dramatic opening giving out into a set of variations, is impressive. And Tetzlaff delivers pure warm melody in the popular Romance in F minor, Op. 11, of Dvorák. But the real reason to acquire this beautifully recorded Ondine release is the performance of the Dvorák Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 53, a work of which there are plenty of recordings, but that has always played second fiddle (if you will) to the Brahms concerto. Tetzlaff and the Helsinki Philharmonic under John Storgårds create a distinctive and absorbing version that can stand with the great Czech recordings of the work. Sample anywhere, but especially the slow movement, where Tetzlaff's precise yet rich sound, reminiscent for those of a certain age of Henryk Szeryng, forms a striking contrast with Storgårds' glassy Nordic strings. In both outer movements as well, Tetzlaff delivers a warm yet controlled performance that is made to stand out sharply.
From the fanfare of the opening crawl to the abrupt cutaway zing of the closing credits, John Williams' soundtrack to The Force Awakens does not disappoint. Williams has always been an integral part of the Star Wars experience, as familiar as the movies themselves, comforting and nostalgic. The fan anticipation and legacy baggage that came with the seventh film in this iconic series was overwhelming, being the first new film since 2005's Revenge of the Sith and the direct sequel to 1983's Return of the Jedi, yet the results are not crushed by outlandish pressure. For The Force Awakens, Williams began work in late 2014, before recording began in Los Angeles in June 2015 (the first time a Star Wars film score was not recorded at Abbey Road). He enlisted a freelance orchestra and, with the help of William Ross and Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor Gustavo Dudamel, produced a 23-song journey connecting the past and the future of the Star Wars universe. Here, Williams combines the old and the new with expert subtlety, creating a lush experience that rewards repeat listens. Those familiar with his work on other big-budget sagas (Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones) will instantly recognize the blaring horns that propel the action, the stirring strings that intensify the tension, and the bombast that contribute to the excitement as much as the scenes portrayed on the screen.