Akiko (Atsuko Maeda), a young woman, comes to Vladivostok to meet Matsunaga (Ryohei Suzuki), a young businessman she has met in Tokyo only once. Akiko finally finds Matsunaga. However, he leaves her again, warning her not to trust strangers in a foreign country. She tries to follow him, but she is attacked by thugs and dumped on the outskirts of town.
Siblings Karin and Simon are visiting their parents and their little sister Clara. That evening, other relatives will be joining them for dinner. Over the course of the day, the washing machine is repaired, people sit together at the kitchen table, carry out an experiment with orange peel, talk about lungs, and sew on a button that was deliberately torn off. This sequence of family scenes in a Berlin flat complete with cat and dog creates a wondrous world of the everyday: Coming and going, all manner of doings, each movement leading to the next, one word following another. It is a carefully staged chain reaction of actions and sentences.
Even though Anne-Sophie Mutter recorded most of the great violin concertos early in her career, working closely with Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic, she hadn't recorded the Violin Concerto in A minor of Antonín Dvorák. This 2013 recording with Manfred Honeck and the Berlin Philharmonic fills that gap in her legacy, and this is an exceptionally bright and passionate performance, well worth the wait. Mutter is impeccable in execution and warm in expression, especially in the infectious Finale, and her presence is quite vibrant, thanks to Deutsche Grammophon's expert microphone placement that separates the violin from the orchestra and puts it front and center in the mix.
Between 1961 and 1986, Herbert von Karajan made three recordings of the Mozart Requiem for Deutsche Grammophon, with little change in his conception of the piece over the years. This recording, from 1975, is, on balance, the best of them. The approach is Romantic, broad, and sustained, marked by a thoroughly homogenized blend of chorus and orchestra, a remarkable richness of tone, striking power, and an almost marmoreal polish. Karajan viewed the Requiem as idealized church music rather than a confessional statement awash in operatic expressiveness. In this account, the orchestra is paramount, followed in importance by the chorus, then the soloists. Not surprisingly, the singing of the solo quartet sounds somewhat reined-in, especially considering these singers' pedigrees. By contrast, the Vienna Singverein, always Karajan's favorite chorus, sings with a huge dynamic range and great intensity, though with an emotional detachment nonetheless. Perfection, if not passion or poignancy, is the watchword. The Berlin orchestra plays majestically, and the sound is pleasingly vivid.
Journeyman vocalist Michael Des Barres had a life-changing experience when asked to fill-in for Robert Palmer on the Power Station's tour in 1985. Des Barres – a gifted performer and rock veteran – was finally seeing the fruits of his labors turn into success. It's obvious in the grooves that he was enthusiastic about his present and future when cutting his second solo album, Somebody Up There Likes Me. A crack session group (featuring Andy Taylor, Steve Jones, Jim Keltner, and the Tower of Power horns) was assembled, and the LP was produced to sound like a Rod Stewart platter from the era. In fact, Des Barres – who has a similar, ragged tone – sounds more like Stewart here than on previous releases (emulating some of his vocal mannerisms, and even going so far as to include two members of Stewart's backing band). The man seemed keenly aware that this was the moment, turning in a strong mix of rockers and ballads. The elements were in place for a hit.
The appetite for evolving performance practices in Bach’s St Matthew Passion appears undiminished as we have gradually shifted, over the generations, from larger to smaller ensembles and also towards a greater dramatic understanding of the implications of Bach’s ambitious ‘stereophonic’ double choir and orchestra choreography.