This CD presents the brief but remarkable output of songs by Duparc during his artistic period that was cut short by a nervous affliction. These works are beautifully performed by mezzo-soprano Sarah Walker and baritone Thomas Allen, with sensitive piano accompaniment by Roger Vignoles. The collection opens with Duparc's best known melody, L'invitation au voyage, which is a setting of a text from Baudelaire's Les fleurs du mal. The lovely rolling impressionist piano harmonies are played with exquisite fluidity, as they underscore Walker's velvety and intimate vocals. The Sérénade florentine is an impressionist lullaby to a loved one, delivered with touching emotion by Thomas Allen. Extase, Elégie and Testament show the influence of Wagner, and the Chanson triste is one of Duparc's early, Gounod-style songs. Au pays oú se fait la guerre (1869) is also an early work, but is particularly entrancing with simple modal harmonies and easily perceived song construction. By sensitive use of passing tones in the piano, the harmonies are subtly redefined and the music is extended dramatically toward the end by expressive on-rushes.
"These early Latin songs from the repertoire of some unknown 10th or 11th century Rhineland harper are drawn mainly from the Carmina Cantabrigiensis, the so-called ‘Cambridge Songs’. Varied and lively, they are a welcome addition to the discography of early music, and Sequentia are to be thanked for planning and executing such a challenging project. …Reconstruction of music composed before the birth of notation is always a hazardous task, but however true or not it may be to authenticity, this recital is a true delight. " ~Grammophone
Irving Berlin wrote some of the most popular songs of all time, and they sound great on guitar. In this DVD, Fred plays and teaches six Berlin favorites, including guitar backup (for singing) and instrumental versions of each tune. Just for fun, Fred includes the rarely-heard introductory verses to some of the songs, and plays ad-lib instrumental chord solos for all of them.
Music elates, touches the soul and bypasses reason. Music is magic. But precisely this magic can turn it into an insidious weapon – for music and violence belong together. The brutal power of African war dances, the ferocity of Maori Hakas, the earth-shattering roar of US sound guns blasting Metallica at Taliban hideouts – the principle is always the same: Aggressive sounds demoralise the enemy and whip the allies into a frenzy.