In the 1970s, Bessie Smith's recordings were reissued on five double LPs. Her CD reissue series also has five volumes (the first four are double-CD sets) with the main difference being that the final volume includes all of her rare alternate takes (which were bypassed on LP). The first set (which, as with all of the CD volumes, is housed in an oversize box that includes an informative booklet) contains her first 38 recordings. During this early era, Bessie Smith had no competitors on record and she was one of the few vocalists who could overcome the primitive recording techniques; her power really comes through.
Louis Armstrong's tenure as second cornetist to the great King Oliver is one of jazz history's legendary apprenticeships, on par with the one Miles Davis served with Charlie Parker or Stephane Grappelli's with Django Reinhardt. Sadly, only a handful of recordings survive from this formative period in Armstrong's career. This LP features 18 of King Oliver's 1923 recordings with Armstrong, as well as a bonus appendix consisting of seven tracks recorded in 1924 by the Red Onion Jazz Babies under Armstrong's sole leadership (and featuring, on one number, a very young Alberta Hunter). The performances are as red-hot as you'd expect, and include two King Oliver and Jelly Roll Morton duets.
40 CD box set. Artists include John Lee 'Sonny Boy' Williamson, Leadbelly, Big Bill Broonzy, Bessie Smith, Muddy Waters, Mississippi John Hurt, Memphis Minnie, John Lee Hooker, Big Joe Williams and many more. 725 tracks all digitally remastered to enhance the original recordings without manipulating the character of the music. Recordings made between 1923 and 1948. 20 double slimline jewel cases housed together in a cardboard box.
Filmed at the Opéra Comique, February 2013. Music direction and artistic collaboration: Laurence Equilbey. Stage direction: Michel Fau. Intended to set the spice of Parisian operetta against American musical comedy, 'Ciboulette' was Reynaldo Hahn’s first light score. It features the tribulations of the pretty market gardener Ciboulette, determined to earn herself a bright future without sacrificing her feelings. Her pursuit of happiness leads her to come across a whole collection of typical characters from the Paris of the Belle Epoque, from the humblest to the most distinguished. 2 discs DVD including a 32-page booklet. Extra features: 31 mins - interviews with Laurence Equilbey, Michel Fau, Agnès Terrier, Jérôme Deschamps and Julie Fuchs.
Humperdinck's reputation rests chiefly on his opera Hänsel and Gretel, which he began work on in Frankfurt in 1890. He first composed four songs to accompany a puppet show his nieces were giving at home. Then, using a libretto by his sister Adelheid Wette rather loosely based on the version of the fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, he composed a Singspiel of 16 songs with piano accompaniment and connecting dialogue. By January 1891 he had begun working on a complete orchestration. The opera premiered in Weimar on 23 December 1893, under the baton of Richard Strauss, who called it: "a masterpiece of the highest quality… all of it original, new, and so authentically German.