Musical politics can be about as nasty as the other sort. Willi Boskovsky was born in 1909, joined the violin section of the Vienna Philharmonic in 1932, became a co-leader in 1939 and took over the traditional New Year’s Day Concerts after the death of Clemens Krauss in 1954. With his natural style and elegance (conducting from the violin) he seemed the ideal person to take the New Year’s Day Concerts out of the confines of Austria and into the world of Eurovision, and by the late seventies it looked as if he would be conducting them for all eternity.
Mathias Ruegg dirige un orchestre à la longévité étonnante : 25 ans. Le « Vienna Art » a vu défiler tous les solistes européens de ces deux dernières décennies. Cette aventure est le fruit d’un long travail collectif, privilégiant les rencontres et les découvertes. Les différents programmes de l’orchestre sont autant de façons d’honorer la grande histoire du jazz. Une fois encore, le Vienna Art prend un « risque artistique » et propose, avec ce double album, une vision gémellaire et ludique de ce glorieux passé. Pas moins de 80 compositions, thèmes et arrangements sont proposés dans un ordre dispersé.
One has to hand it to the Vienna Art Orchestra; this is one adventurous band of Austrians. On Centenary Journey, recorded live in March ’01 at the Sofiensäle, Vienna, the VAO makes an heroic (and broadly successful) effort to compress a century of ever–shifting Jazz styles into one expansive snapshot. Unlike Ken Burns’ recent (and controversial) television series, Jazz, which was weighted heavily in favor of the music’s early pioneers with the last forty years or so telescoped into one hour–long (or ninety–minute) episode, The VAO’s enterprise leans rather conspicuously in the opposite direction, being evenly divided between Jazz as it developed from 1900 through the ’50s (the first seven selections) and in the years from 1960 to the present (the last seven).
"Vienna" was a kind of Japanese super-group because of inclusion of 4 musicians who used to play in popular prog-rock bands: Yukihiro Fujimura ("Gerard"), Shusei Tsukamoto ("Outer Limits"), Toshimi Nagai ("Afflatus" & later also "Gerard") and Ryuichi Nishida ("Novela" & "Mugen")…
Live recordings from Austrian Radio broadcasts (ORF) released for the very first time by one of the greatest musicians of all time.
5 April 2008 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Herbert von Karajan, the legendary Austrian-born conductor who achieved a position of musical supremacy as director of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra that made him one of the most famous and celebrated conductors of the second half of the twentieth century. While the majority of his symphonic recordings were made for Deutsche Grammophon, von Karajan also recorded for Decca and EMI during the 1950s and 1960s. This set is reissued to mark this momentous anniversary and contains all of his orchestral recordings made with the Vienna Philharmonic for Decca during the late 1950s/early 1960s.
The epic grandeur of Der Rosenkavalier stems not just from its immense length (over three hours) but from the all-too-human complexity of its characters–each of whom is smitten with someone else–and the endless stream of graceful melodies the composer conjures. After the tonality-stretching dissonance of Salome and especially Elektra, Strauss moved onto a different musical path here: the music's sheer gorgeousness has given this most heartbreaking of 20th-century operas its pride of place in the repertory.
It is an elegantly comic performance with a light orchestral sound, brisk tempi and lighter voices than usual. This is not to say that the reading is lacking in gravitas and there are many felicitous moments. It is a good cast, headed by Håkan Hagegård in the title role. His Giovanni is a little lacking in menace, but is full of volatile energy and sung in a suave baritone voice. The standout performance is the Leporello of the French-Swiss bass-baritone Gilles Cachemaille; the quick and pointed recitatives between him and Hagegård really fizz and his Catalogue aria is a masterpiece of breath control. The two leading ladies are interestingly cast; Arleen Auger’ lighter-voiced than most Donna Annas, produces a rich, creamy sound, while the mezzo Della Jones is a fiery Donna Elvira, with the pungency of her high notes especially impressive. The peasant couple, Zerlina and Masetto, is sung by Barbara Bonney and Bryn Terfel and they are among the very best on record.
On Blues Is a Feeling, the late guitarist-vocalist Jesse Thomas delivers straightforward, rural-sounding blues in an intimate, drumless session from 1992 with pianist Jodie Christian and second guitarist John Primer. Thomas was 81 years old at the time of this recording, just three years before his death. And though his voice sounds somewhat frail here-and probably would’ve been overwhelmed by the sound of drums-Primer and Christian provide light, elegant accompaniment that puts Thomas’ soft yet expressive vocals in the foreground. And Thomas proves to be a humorous storyteller on tunes like “Married Woman Blues,” “She Throwed Me Clothes Outdoor” and “Santa Claus.”