Grammy-nominated artist Max Emanuel Cencic presents Nicola Porpora: Opera Arias, to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Porpora’s death.
Hermann Max keeps on impressing me with his interpretations (I've heard his Bach Matthew passion and liked it very much). In this case he brings together a reverent but emotionally filled production of just a few of the many, many, many Telemann choral pieces that have been neglected over the years. Special praise goes to the counter-tenor Cordier, the tenor Wilfried Jochens, and the two basses Wimmer and Shreckenberg. But really, all the soloists are exceptional. The choir is wonderful. I've never heard such good sopranos, except for maybe Hengelbrock's women. Max really pushes the envelope on a couple pieces, especially one of the bass solos that he pushes along so fast that you can hardly hear the words. Amazingly, the interpretation works for the song and the energy is like nothing I've heard. The orchestra is as professional as any period ensemble I've heard. For those who like to follow Suzuki's Bach cycle, they might be interested in knowing that Achira Tachikawa, the 1st counter-tenor used by Suzuki in his cycle, is one of the four altos in the choir (this recording was made before Suzuki's first recording was). This is my first experience with Telemann, so I can't give a fair comparison to Bach, but I can say that I loved this cd and believe anyone who loves baroque Lutheran sacred music should pick this up as a wonderful find. I can't believe that nobody else has reviewed this yet! I am happy to be the first. Five enthusiastic stars!
The historic meeting of two truly influential and individual composers, arrangers, and instrumentalists on The Long March. The album appeared in 1979 on Swiss label Hat Hut. This date pairs Max Roach and Archie Shepp playing both solo and as a duo for one night in 1979 at the Willisau Jazz Festival. Roach's truly astonishing solo "J.C. Moses" is a tribute to Detroit jazz great J.C. Heard. The kinds of rimshots, trap stops and starts, and continuous rolling thunder take the breath away and make the listener wonder if this is really only one drummer. Next up is Shepp's solo tenor reading of Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Lady," where he coaxes all the ballad's idiosyncrasies and fluidly combines them with his new jazz flourishes, without once disrespecting the integrity of the original.