There are several reasons to own this Vox Box 2CD set. For the first, it includes five great violin concertos in some of the very best performances in their discography. For the second, Ivry Gitlis (born 1922) is a great living violinist and these recordings made in early 1950s show his art in the best way, when Ivry's violin sounded powerful and brilliant.
Originally on the Galaxy label, this CD reissue is a rare solo outing by pianist Hank Jones. The emphasis is on ballads and his treatments of these songs (which include three religious pieces) are respectful, melodic and lightly swinging. There is not much variety here but the music (within its limitations) is enjoyable.
Critics thought the pairing of Gerry Mulligan and Thelonious Monk a strange one when this 1957 session was originally released, Mulligan's light baritone saxophone strongly identified with the cool school and Monk's percussive piano, fractured rhythms, and dissonant tunes the last word in bop. It's an interesting combination, though, with Mulligan's melodic focus actually working fairly well with Monk and his regular band, drummer Shadow Wilson and bassist Wilbur Ware.
With the help of Robert Papst of Dominoe Fame, Dan Lucas has delivered a collection of songs that even the most hardened aor freak couldnt resist. It's just one great track after another without giving you enough time to breathe and that to me is a good sign of a great record... If you havent heard of Dan Lucas before go grab this if you can (its a bit hard to find these days) its worth the money you'll have to pay for believe me!
Bellini’s penultimate opera – written for La Fenice, Venice, in 1833 – has never enjoyed the popularity of such works as La sonnambula, Norma and I puritani. Listening to this vintage Joan Sutherland recording dating from 1966, it is hard to fathom why. The story is strong and stirring – a sort of cross between Maria Stuarda and La Gioconda – and offers fine roles for the wronged titular heroine, her villainous husband Filippo, her platonic admirer Orombello and his would-be mistress, Agnese del Maino (a Princess Eboli avant la lettre). How odd that Sutherland never managed to persuade Covent Garden to mount it for her, especially with this glorious cast. The Decca set is historic because it offered the legendary Sutherland/Pavarotti collaboration for the first time on disc. Luciano is wonderfully stylish here, elegant and ringing: Nureyev, vocally-speaking, to Sutherland’s Fonteyn. La Stupenda was going through one of her ‘moony’, muddy-diction phases, but the vocalism is quite dazzling. It’s a joy to encounter Josephine Veasey in her only commercially recorded Italian role: velvet-toned, shining, she is Sutherland’s most lustrous mezzo rival in any bel canto recording. (BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE)