Elgar’s Violin Concerto has a certain mystique about it independent of the knee-jerk obeisance it has received in the British press. It probably is the longest and most difficult of all Romantic violin concertos, requiring not just great technical facility but great concentration from the soloist and a real partnership of equals with the orchestra. And like all of Elgar’s large orchestral works, it is extremely episodic in construction and liable to fall apart if not handled with a compelling sense of the long line. In reviewing the score while listening to this excellent performance, I was struck by just how fussy Elgar’s indications often are: the constant accelerandos and ritards, and the minute (and impractical) dynamic indications that ask more questions than they sometimes answer. No version, least of all the composer’s own, even attempts to realize them all: it would be impossible without italicizing and sectionalizing the work to death.
40th Anniversary Heavyweight Vinyl & Hi Res Audio Edition. Here's the edition of Ziggy Stardust everyone has been waiting for since David Bowie executed the character onstage nearly 40 years ago. Originally released through RCA Victor on June 6, 1972, Ziggy Stardust was Bowie’s fifth album, co-produced by Bowie and Ken Scott. The album eventually peaked at #5 on the UK Album Chart. Its influence is immeasurable, as it converted legions of fans, becoming the zeitgeist and a major influence on the next generation, particularly to those involved in the punk movement. Famously, Bowie killed Ziggy at his peak at London’s Hammersmith Odeon, on July 3rd, 1973. Pop music was never the same again.