When contemplating the baroque period in French music in connection with the flute, it would probably be names such as Hotteterre, Blavet or Mondonville which would first come to mind. Joseph Bodin de Boismortier was something of a mass-market composer whose many works served as much to earn his keep as to supply the amateur music market with fairly playable pieces. But his six sonatas (opus 91), although in many ways conventional, do require some very good playing from both performers and are distinguished by having the harpsichord part fully notated.
Turning away from the sweet pop of Out of Time, R.E.M. created a haunting, melancholy masterpiece with Automatic for the People. At its core, the album is a collection of folk songs about aging, death, and loss, but the music has a grand, epic sweep provided by layers of lush strings, interweaving acoustic instruments, and shimmering keyboards. Automatic for the People captures the group at a crossroads, as they moved from cult heroes to elder statesmen, and the album is a graceful transition into their new status. It is a reflective album, with frank discussions on mortality, but it is not a despairing record – "Nightswimming," "Everybody Hurts," and "Sweetness Follows" have a comforting melancholy, while "Find the River" provides a positive sense of closure. R.E.M. have never been as emotionally direct as they are on Automatic for the People, nor have they ever created music quite as rich and timeless, and while the record is not an easy listen, it is the most rewarding record in their oeuvre.