Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music
Cressida’s short career will be unfortunately unnoticed, despite having a lot of trumps in their hands. Just two albums, but both fetching small fortunes (partly due to the fact that they were released on Vertigo’s Swirl label), but the music quality is simply excellent on both records although there are very notable differences between them.
Nonesuch Records labelmates mandolinist/singer Chris Thile and pianist Brad Mehldau, longtime admirers of each other's work, first toured as a duo in 2013. At the end of 2015, they played a two-night stand at New York City's Bowery Ballroom before going into the studio to record Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau, a mix of covers and original songs that Nonesuch releases on January 27, 2017, on two CDs / LPs. The vinyl edition includes a bonus performance of Fiona Apple's "Fast As You Can." You can watch a live performances of the former above and the latter below.
This disc is really something special. Collectors are so spoiled for choice in the baroque repertoire at present, particularly on period instruments, but even in a glutted market this disc stands out for imaginative repertoire selection and outstanding interpretation. Its particularly gratifying, in these days of complete editions of everything, to see a discerning artist like Giuliano Carmignola choose four remarkably diverse works by three different composers, and simply play the living daylights out of them. The result roundly disproves the notion that Italian baroque violin concertos all sound the same, a point made even more forcefully by imaginative continuo work (on harpsichord, lute, and organ) by the Venice Baroque Orchestra that helps to emphasize each pieces individual character. The two Vivaldi concertos, for example, couldnt be more different.
Despite the popularity of works such as The Four Seasons and La Stravaganza, many of Vivaldi’s 250 concertos for violin remain largely unknown. The new recordings of the concertos RV 187 and 281 are based on Vivaldi’s original manuscript scores and capture the thrilling spontaneity of his compositional style. The concerto RV283 also includes a previously unpublished cadenza from the notebook of Vivaldi’s protégé Anna Maria. Very much a man of the 21st Century, Giuliano Carmignola combines his passion for the baroque with his love of motorcycling, which he calls, “Vivaldi con moto - motion and emotion from a MOTOcyclist-musician.”
Following the delectable String Symphonies Volume 1 comes an equally delectable Volume 2, with one sinfonia by Johann Stamitz (1717-1757) and three by Franz Xaver Richter (1709-1789). Where Volume 1 covered works from 1740-1750, this one covers the period 1750-1755. The musicians play on period instruments with unequalled elegance and warmth. Producers should use this absolutely superb recordings as a reference model. Rarely baroque music has sounded with so much detail and perfect sound quality.
The New Dutch Academy Mannheim Project is an immense project involving original material from dozens of libraries throughout the world, the analysis of manuscripts, the preparation of working scores, the consultation of treatises and other sources; thought about aesthetically schools, flows, changes and in relation to instruments, playing techniques and musical realization; and the combination of all this with performance, learning the Mannheim language, and bringing the music to life. Through this album we are very proud to launch our Mannheim Project, and to set the tone for the resulting series of recordings which will present newly discovered works, many of which will appear here for the first time in recorded form.
This is a remarkable record. Jasper Hoiby is a bass virtuoso of the highest order. But the real interest of the recording is the compositions/arrangements. The group is keenly attuned to the bassist's concept and play as if their lives depended on it. And perhaps they do, for the CD has a eco-concept behind it with titles like "Plastic Island" "Song for the Bees" and 'Collective Spaces". If ever there is a documentary about what life was like on planet earth, this could be the soundtrack. It seems to catch us in a final desperate plea (to ourselves) to CARE for all this beauty. The interactions within the group ably represent a kind of care and caring. Lots of dialogue, subtle ensemble work, joyful bursts of enthusiasm and musical jests. It is serious music but also serious fun.
Jenny Scheinman ‘Here on Earth’ presents songs that were composed for the film, ‘Kannapolis: A Moving Portrait,’ a collaboration with director Finn Taylor and commissioned by Aaron Greenwald at Duke Performances. The movie collects archival footage taken between 1936-42 by H. Lee Waters, a North Carolina photographer who traveled across the Piedmont, taking short movies of ordinary, small town folks living through the Great Depression.
Dans les arbres’ third album, ‘Phosphorescence’ moves away from its predecessors’ aesthetic context of contemporary improvised chamber music performed on acoustic instruments towards a more mixed economy of means, with some electronic processing, amplification (of the prepared piano and guitar) and real-time sampling added to the repertoire of sounds familiar from the first two recordings. Recorded at Isitart, “the studio in a forest” in rural Sweden south of Oslo, it’s tempting to see ‘Phosphorescence’ as in some way a more relaxed, even bucolic production, but this may not be the case at all.