Recording of the Month

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Thomas Conrad Posted: Jun 12, 2009 0 comments
GARY BURTON/PAT METHENY/STEVE SWALLOW/ANTONIO SÁNCHEZ: Quartet Live!
Gary Burton, vibraphone; Pat Metheny, guitar; Steve Swallow, electric bass; Antonio Sánchez, drums
Concord Jazz CJA-31303-02 (CD). 2009. Gary Burton, Pat Metheny, prods.; David Oakes, eng. DDD. TT: 79:22
Performance ****½
Sonics ****
John Atkinson Posted: Jun 10, 2010 0 comments
Jeff Beck: Emotion & Commotion
Atco R2 523695 (CD), R1 523695 (LP). 2010. Steve Lipson, prod., eng., mix; Trevor Horn, exec. prod. DDD. TT: 40:26
Performance *****
Sonics ***½
Robert Baird Posted: Jun 08, 2011 0 comments
Jordi Savall: Dinastía Borja
Music by Guillaume Dufay, Josquin Des Prez, Lluis del Mila and others Jordi Savall, viola da gamba, director; Hespèrion XXI, La Capella Reial de Catalunya
Alia Vox AVSA 9874A/C (3 SACD/CDs). 2010. Jordi Savall, prod.; Toni Figueras, recording coordinator; Aline Blondiau, Nicolas de Beco, Dominique de Spoolberg, Olivier de Spoolberg, recording assistants. AAD? TT: 3:43:19
Performance *****
Sonics *****

As is usually the case, a recent performance at New York's Lincoln Center by Jordi Savall, his instrumental ensemble, Hespèrion XXI, and his choir, La Capella Reial de Catalunya, was a triumph—his impeccably researched and realized early music had the crowd on their feet. In lesser hands, such exotica as old-world Spanish music influenced by indigenous forms from Mexico would have trouble drawing a paying crowd, let alone filling Alice Tully Hall; but Savall's unique vision has rescued and revitalized obscure musical forms aplenty, from the medieval, renaissance, and baroque periods. Along the way he's also managed to record notable versions of more popular works of the standard classical repertoire, such as the Mozart Requiem, and J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concertos.

Robert Baird Posted: May 29, 2012 2 comments
Krzysztof Penderecki/Jonny Greenwood
Threnody for the victims of Hiroshima, Popcorn Superhet Receiver, Polymorphia, 48 Responses to Polymorphia
Aukso Orchestra, Penderecki, Marek Mos, conductors
Nonesuch 530223-2 (CD) Filip Berkowicz, Michal Merczynski, prods. Barbara Orzechowska, associate prod. Ewa Guziotek-Tubelewicz, Pitor Witkowski, engs. Performance ***** Sonics *****

For the past two decades, the "C" word in classical music— crossover—has been a bone of both hope and contention. Lured by the supposed riches that lurk amongst classical fans who want to slum it and popular music fans with upscale intellectual curiosities, artists from Caruso to Domingo to Joshua Bell have given in this concept in search of a success to mostly disappointing results. And then of course there's humble Gordon Sumner (aka Feyd Rautha Harkonnen) who blithely smeared his meager powers onto the work of poor John Dowland in Songs From the Labyrinth—an apt title if ever there was. In 2010 the great Renee Fleming, no stranger to taking risks and a jazz singer during her college years, dipped her toes, fairly disastrously it turns out, into the classical/rock crossover pool with Dark Hope, a record whose title again seems to carry a less than promising message.

Stephen Mejias Posted: May 29, 2013 Published: Jun 01, 2013 2 comments
Though classically trained in flute and exceedingly capable on a wide range of other instruments, including drums, trombone, piano, and various electronics, Aidan Baker is best known for his work on acoustic and electric guitar. A perusal of his unofficial discography on Discogs.com reveals some 80 full-length albums, and another couple dozen singles, EPs, and compilation credits. Beyond merely prolific, Baker's recorded output is profound—and nearly impossible to chart.
Robert Baird Posted: May 22, 2014 Published: Jun 01, 2014 0 comments
The link between jazz and the works of Igor Stravinsky is well known. In Conversations with Igor Stravinsky, his landmark 1959 collaboration with Robert Craft, the composer mentions jazz artists like Art Tatum and Charlie Christian. The fact that Stravinsky was captivated by the improvisational freedom of jazz and its insistent, inventive rhythms makes all his work, especially Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring), a natural for jazz players to play and quote from, and over the years they have more than obliged.
Richard Lehnert Posted: Feb 22, 2012 Published: Mar 01, 1988 1 comments
Wagner: Lohengrin
Placido Domingo, Lohengrin; Jessye Norman, Elsa; Eva Randova, Ortrud; Siegmund Nimsgern, Telramund; Hans Sotin, Heinrich; Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Heerrufer; Vienna State Opera Chorus; Georg Solti, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
London 421 053-1 (4 LPs), 421 053-2 (4 CDs). James Lock, John Pellowe, engs.; Christopher Raeburn, prod. DDD. TT: 222:54

It's always surprised me that Lohengrin, Wagner's most awkward, transitional, and static opera, was, for its first 100 years, his most popular. It didn't help, I suppose, that I began my study of things darkly Teutonic with The Ring and Tristan, working forward and backward from there. In Lohengrin we can hear the last reluctant pullings away from operatic conventions—especially choral—of the first half of the 19th century, and the gropings toward full-blown musikdrama—especially in Act II, scene i.

Richard Lehnert Posted: Mar 04, 2011 Published: Mar 01, 1989 0 comments
KEITH JARRETT: Dark Intervals
Keith Jarrett, piano
ECM 1379 (837 342-1, LP; -2, CD). Kimio Oikawa, eng.; Manfred Eicher, prod. DDA/DDD. TT: 58:22

After a five-year hiatus in which he explored jazz standards, classical music, the clavichord, and the unclassifiable Spirits, Keith Jarrett has returned, however briefly, to the form that gained him his widest reputation: solo piano improvisations. But with a difference—only a single LP this time (instead of two, three, or ten), that LP composed of eight short sections, each with a title. This is a far cry from unbroken piano improvs spanning three LP sides, titled only with the name and date of the venue.

Richard Lehnert Posted: Mar 03, 2010 Published: Mar 03, 1990 0 comments
THE PERSUASIONS: Live in the Whispering Gallery
Hammer n' Nails HNCD 1988 (CD only). Frank Kulaga, Larry Collen, engs.; David Ackerman, prod. D–D. TT: 34:39
Richard Lehnert Posted: Mar 20, 2009 Published: Mar 20, 1991 0 comments
WYNTON MARSALIS: Tune In Tomorrow (soundtrack)
Wynton Marsalis, trumpet; Alvin Batiste, Dr. Michael White, clarinet; Wes Anderson, Harvey Estrin, alto sax; Todd Williams, tenor & soprano sax, clarinet; Joe Temperley, baritone sax; Herb Harris, tenor sax; Wycliffe Gordon, trombone; Marcus Roberts, piano; Warren Bernhardt, Lucky Peterson, organ; Reginald Veal, bass; Herlin Riley, drums; Johnny Adams, Shirley Horn, vocals
Columbia CK 47044 (CD only). Tim Geelan, eng.; Steve Epstein, Delfeayo Marsalis, prods. DDD. TT: 63:37
Richard Lehnert Posted: Apr 02, 2008 Published: Mar 02, 1992 0 comments
WAGNER: Siegfried
Siegfried Jerusalem, Siegfried; James Morris, Wanderer; Peter Haage, Mime; Eva Martón, Brünnhilde; Theo Adam, Alberich; Jadwiga Rappé, Erda; Kurt Rydl, Fafner; Kiri Te Kanawa, Forest Bird; Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Bernard Haitink
EMI CDS 7 54290 2 (4 CDs only). Wolfram Graul, prod.; Martin Wöhr, eng. DDD. TT: 3:49:25
Richard Lehnert Posted: Dec 21, 2003 Published: Mar 01, 1993 0 comments
PJ HARVEY: Dry
Too Pure/Indigo/Island 162-555 001-2 (CD only). Head, PJ Harvey, Robert Ellis, prods.; Head, eng. AAD? TT: 40:06
Les Berkley Posted: Mar 31, 1994 0 comments
PÄRT: Te Deum, Silouans Song, Magnificat, Berliner Messe
Tõnu Kaljuste, Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Talinn Chamber Orchestra
ECM 1505 (CD only). Manfred Eicher, prod.; Peter Laenger, Andreas Neubronner, engs. DDD. TT: 66:01
Paul L. Althouse Posted: Mar 18, 1995 0 comments
J.S. BACH: Secular Cantatas
"Coffee Cantata," BWV 211; "Peasant Cantata," BWV 212; Durchlauchtster Leopold, BWV 173a
Dorothea Röschmann, soprano; Hugues Saint-Gelais, tenor; Kevin McMillan, baritone; Les Violons du Roy, Bernard Labadie
Dorian DOR-90199 (CD only). Craig D. Dory, eng.; Brian C. Peters, eng., prod. DDD. TT: 73:13
Robert Baird Posted: Mar 06, 1997 0 comments
MILES DAVIS QUINTET: The Great Prestige Recordings
Includes: The New Miles Davis Quintet, Cookin', Relaxin', Workin', Steamin'
Miles Davis, trumpet; John Coltrane, tenor sax; Red Garland, piano; Paul Chambers, bass; Philly Joe Jones, drums.
Analogue Productions APJ 035 (5 LPs). 1996. Bob Weinstock, original prod.; Rudy Van Gelder, original eng.; Chad Kassem, reissue prod.; Stan Ricker, mastering eng. AAA. TT: 3:11:09
Music *****
Sonics *****

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