Mats Lidström is that rare thing, an original musician. The sheer mercurial energy which drives his performances can be both engaging and disturbing, but there is always a searching intelligence at work. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra lost much when its compelling, if unpredictable, lead cellist departed. These two concertos show him at his persuasive best, bringing lesser known works to life. Kabalevsky’s 1964 Concerto stretches and yawns with slow pizzicato before springing into urgent life. Sub-Shostakovich in its motifs and tonality, it is nevertheless well-constructed and uses the saxophone to great effect. In both Allegro movements Lidström achieves a lightning speed and attack and, though Raphael Wallfisch’s recording on Nimbus has a more solid beauty of tone, the Swede’s nervous anticipation makes up for the thinner sound of his Grancino cello. Khachaturian’s 1946 Concerto would make a wonderful soundtrack to a cinematic faux-Oriental extravaganza, with its twisting major and minor intervals, and almost sleazy chromaticism. Lidström really knows how to swing, and makes the most of the memorable melodies.
…A real joy - don't hesitate, I find it really hard to imagine this disc being bettered for a long time to come.
On this Regis Records digital recording acclaimed soloist Marina Tarasova plays with total passion and commitment throughout. She is particularly impressive in the extended languorous passage in the second movement andante sostenuto that evolves into an intensified lament.
This CD speaks more than any amount of words as to the tragic loss music suffered over the early death of conductor, Kiril Kondrashin. "The Masquerade Suite" and "The Comedians" in particular have incredible style and sweep. These pieces which have been for so long relegated to the status of pops concerts level become in Kondrashin's hands the decided masterpieces of colorful writing and wonderful orchestration that they actually are. I must go so far as to say that these interpretations are definitive. We like to think of all the technical advances we have made in the last decades, but the sonics of the original analog tapes make these pieces sound like they were recorded yesterday rather than 40 years ago…
It does not take very long to realize that this is a nicely put together record. The singing is intense in somewhat of a Springsteen/David Eugene Edwards (Woven Hand) manner, but unique from them. The surrounding instrumentation weaves in and out in a folk rock manner at times and works as a full throttle rock band at others. The Singer-Songwriter category does not quite do justice to the songs. I would say rock fans will like this more than people wanting straight folk, but it has a good general appeal to both the crowds seeking lighter thoughtful material and those that want a good rock beat. The music is rather universal and what is truly interesting is that the California duo behind this band has historically done so much better in Europe than in the US. While I often can understand why some great European born music may not translate as well in the US (and vice versa), I have never understood why several great US bands (Wipers, 16 Horsepower) do so much better in Europe. Add this band to that list, as US listeners need to join in. I believe this album of eleven original songs comes with a bonus CD containing a full live set. (David Hintz)
Andy Bell's debut solo album released in 2005. Features 14 tracks, including the hit single 'Crazy' plus duets with 'Jake Shears' (Scissor Sisters) and 'Claudia Brücken' (Propaganda and Act). Electric Blue was co-written and recorded throughout 2004 and 2005 with Manhattan Clique (Philip Larsen & Chris Smith) who, as well as Erasure, have also worked with Moby, The B-52's, Stereophonics and Goldfrapp.