This sparkling suite for violin and piano came into being when the composer had to adapt his incidental score for a production of Shakespeare's play to the impending absence of the chamber orchestral. The result is a brilliant piece for violin and piano, which the composer quickly released in a four-movement version. There are other recordings of the chamber orchestra suite in five-movements that duplicate only three of the movements of this version. Violinist Gil Shaham and pianist André Previn are ideal partners in this brilliant performance. The four movements allow Shaham to show four sides of his violinist's personality: He skips and plays in carefree fashion in the opening movement, indulges in the grotesquery and parody of the second, gets to play the romantic in the garden scene of the third movement, and dazzles with virtuosity in the final hornpipe. Previn's part is more than mere accompaniment; the piano often has a large part of the mood of the music and his contribution is, to use a word already employed here, ideal.
Vulnicura is the ninth studio album by Icelandic musician and singer Björk. It was produced by Björk, Arca and The Haxan Cloak, and released on 20 January 2015 by One Little Indian Records. Björk said the album expresses her feelings before and after her breakup with American contemporary artist Matthew Barney and the healing process. Vulnicura was originally scheduled for release in March 2015, in conjunction with the Björk: Archives book and an exhibition about Björk's career at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City; following an internet leak, it was released digitally two months early.
Björk has always excelled at transforming intimate moments into compelling art that, no matter how grand its scope, retains its emotional truth. This was especially true of Vulnicura, an album that spelled out its philosophy in its title: Vulnerability is the only way to heal from pain – even if that openness may have led to getting hurt in the first place. Björk expanded on the album's wounded but resilient beauty with Vulnicura Strings, which emphasized the music's tiny glimmers of hope with acoustic warmth, and with Vulnicura Live, which transformed it into a spectacle in keeping with her other tours.
Leave it to Björk to make a concert release that can be treated as part of her regular body of work rather than a side note. While Björk fans have occasionally complained about the amount of repackaging of her albums, Voltaic reaffirms just how important the live aspect is to her music, and provides a couple of different perspectives on it as well. Volta sparked a particularly inspired and lavish tour that, arguably, ended up being bigger than the actual album was, but tapped into the most dramatic, primal, and elegant aspects of Björk's art overall.