The three works on this album were all written by Max Bruch at the end of his life, after World War I, when he was more than 80 years old. They were not published until after his death in 1920, and then they were forgotten due to Nazi bans on Bruch's music because of his supposed Jewish ancestry, wartime manuscript loss, and the self-serving actions of modernist gatekeepers. In the world they depict, the Great War might as well never have happened, but perhaps that is part of the point.
Not autumnal, not reflective, not reserved, and definitely not restrained, this coupling of Brahms' two string sextets may seem to some to be at best wrong-headed and at worst simply wrong. After all, isn't Brahms the composer for whom the adjective autumnal was coined and to whom the adjectives reflective, reserved, and restrained are reflexively applied? Yes, but that doesn't mean all of Brahms' music is autumnal: he was young once, too and the expansive and exuberant young Brahms is emotionally far from the reflective, reserved, and restrained composer of later years.
As part of their ongoing reissue of the Crosby, Stills & Nash catalog, Rhino put out Demos, a collection of early home recordings of staples from the CSN catalog, demos recorded both alone and together between the years of 1968 and 1971. Unlike some similar collections, not much here is especially revelatory; apart from "Love the One You're With," here almost droning at the beginning, there are no great differences in lyrics or approach, with such solo recordings as "Almost Cut My Hair" pointing clearly to their latter full-blown incarnations.
Unbeknown to most fans, So Far was a stopgap release, undertaken by Atlantic Records in the absence of a new Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young album to accompany the reunited quartet’s summer 1974 tour.
David Crosby and Graham Nash, two-thirds of Crosby, Stills and Nash, began writing and playing together 36 years ago and their brand of mellow harmony became one of rock's trademarks. Together and apart they have had circuitous careers since, taking in drug rehab and political activism (in the case of Crosby) and photography (Nash is a digital imaging pioneer). Their last album together was the mid-Seventies Wind on the Water. Now, more than thirty years later, comes another, simply titled Crosby-Nash…
It was, at the time, one of the highest-grossing rock tours ever, grossing over 11 million dollars in an era when such figures were uncommon. Such success camouflaged the chaos behind the scenes – the bitter fights and feuds, the excess and indulgence that led to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young pocketing about a half million dollars each, when all was said and done. Big bucks were the reason the CSNY 1974 tour even existed. Efforts to record a new album in 1973, their first since 1970's breakthrough Déjà Vu, collapsed but manager Elliot Roberts and promoter Bill Graham convinced the group to stage the first outdoor stadium tour in the summer of 1974, with the idea that CSNY would test-drive new material in concert, then record a new studio album in the fall, or maybe release a live record from the historic tour. Neither happened.
As a composer of sacred music, Bob Chilcott has found his own niche by writing accessible choral works that speak to contemporary sensibilities. As has been noted frequently, his Requiem evokes Gabriel Fauré and Maurice Duruflé, mostly through its gentle feeling and serene melodies, though without imitating their style or content. Rather, it has its own mix of somber harmonies and fluid, chantlike lines, and the expression of the work is a little cooler and darker. Chilcott's music admits occasional and mild dissonance, though the orientation is strongly modal and the harmonies always feel like a natural result of the counterpoint. Chilcott's Salisbury Motets, Downing Service, and three shorter pieces share the same modern Anglican style, which is approachable and easy to follow. The Wells Cathedral Choir, under the direction of Matthew Owens, sings with a pure tone and clear diction, and the sound of the recordings is quite resonant, thanks to the responsive acoustics of the Cathedral of St. Andrew.