Brendan Croker (born 15 August 1953 in Bradford, Yorkshire) is a musician from Leeds who has recorded albums under his own name and with occasional backing band; The Five O'Clock Shadows. He was also a member of The Notting Hillbillies…
Five Piano Concertos and the Piano Sonata No. 32, opus 111, recorded in stereo in 1962 and 1964, respectively, by Wilhelm Kempff [1895-1991] and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Ferdinand Leitner [1912-96]. The sonata, the composer’s last, is certainly more than a mere filler, from the opening hesitancy of the ‘Allegro con brio ed appassionato’ to the extended closing section of the second movement.
Most of Sara Sant'Ambrogio's recordings have been as cellist with the Eroica Trio, but she takes on the odd numbers of J.S. Bach's Six Suites for unaccompanied cello in this 2009 solo outing, and it's an ambitious undertaking. This album faces comparisons with several great recordings of the suites, and this young cellist likewise faces scrutiny for playing works associated with such names as Casals, Fournier, and Rostropovich, past masters of the instrument.
The Manfreds – which is to say, the reunited Manfred lineup sans Manfred Mann himself – have been performing to enthusiastic audiences in Europe since the 1990s, and 5-4-3-2-1 is a studio document of their sound, which is very close to their original sound, only a bit slicker. Paul Jones and Mike d'Abo split the vocal chores between them, each picking up his own repertory, and Mike Vickers, Mike Hugg, and Tom McGuinness from the original band are here, with Benny Gallagher (bass, guitar, vocals) and Rob Townsend (drums) filling out the line-up. D'Abo's "Handbags and Gladrags" is also represented, but, surprisingly, not Jones' "High Time." The sound is excellent and the group does try to add some modern inflections to some of the songs, but one suspects that they were more of an improvisatory group than this back in their prime years.