By all rights, the album that came to be known as Big Star's Third should have been a disaster. It was written and recorded in 1975, when Alex Chilton's brilliant but tragically overlooked band had all but broken up. As Chilton pondered his next move, he was drinking and drugging at a furious pace while writing a handful of striking tunes that were often beautiful but also reflected his bitterness and frustration with his career (and the music business in general). Production of the album wasn't completed so much as it simply stopped, and none of the major figures involved ever decided on a proper sequence for the finished songs, or even a title. (The album was also known as Sister Lovers and Beale Street Green at various times.) And yet, Third has won a passionate and richly deserved cult following over the years, drawn in by the emotional roller coaster ride of the songs, informed by equal parts love, loss, rage, fear, hope, and defeat.
This admittedly pricey - but by all means mandatory - Grammy Award-winning box set is the final word on the "songbooks" recorded by Ella Fitzgerald between 1956 and 1964. The audio contents have been completely remastered and each title has been expanded - wherever possible - to include previously unissued material. In terms of packaging, the producers went to extreme lengths to create exact reproductions of all the vintage LP jacket artwork. Even going so far as to precisely miniaturize the entire hardbound text The Gershwins: Words Upon Music that accompanied their 1959 collection as well as the booklet that came with the Ellington anthology…
FSM presents the Miklós Rózsa Treasury (1949-1968), a 15CD set celebrating one of the giants of film music. In this single package FSM makes available virtually every surviving, as-yet-unreleased note from the composer’s fertile and productive association with M-G-M.
Deutsche Grammophon proudly presents 42 of its greatest ever recordings for violin, from its matchless catalogue of the finest violinists of the last 75 years. Fritz Kreisler began it all for the company by recording a series of his own compositions and arrangements. 31 violinists grace 111 The Violin, with recordings from the early 1900s to 2012.
With the possible exception of Richard Pinhas' Heldon, Gilbert Artman's Lard Free was probably the premier French progressive group of the '70s. The prolific Heldon might win in terms of amount of material, but the three near-perfect albums by Lard Free (despite the truly wretched band name) probably have them beat in terms of overall quality. Although Artman, a drummer who also dabbles in synthesizers and piano, called Lard Free a group, he was the only constant member; all three albums have different lineups. 1973's Lard Free consists of relatively short pieces with prominent piano and saxophone parts, and as such is the most jazz-oriented of the three. The following year's I'm Around About Midnight consists of three long pieces with much more synthesizer; at times, it sounds almost like early (pre-ambient) Tangerine Dream, or perhaps Clear Light, the French collective Artman and the then-current lineup of Lard Free occasionally worked with around this time. 1977's Lard Free III, also known as Spirale Malax, is Artman's best work, a pair of side-long experiments that combine space music, jazz, and King Crimson-style heavy progressive rock better than many groups (including King Crimson) could ever hope to manage.
The English cellist Steven Isserlis has been a leading light on the international musical scene for more than three decades. His complete recordings for RCA Victor including concertos and chamber works by Haydn, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Brahms, Grieg, Saint-Saens, Anton Rubinstein, Faure, Richard Strauss, Janacek, Bloch, Prokofiev, Shostakovich and John Tavener will now be available in a 12-CD box.