This is a handsome-looking compact disc release, with strikingly muted graphics in cool purple tones, featuring Latvian violinist Gidon Kremer and Japanese harpist Naoko Yoshina. Here the pretty graphics go a little too far: the buyer finds no listing of compositions on the outside of the package and has no way of knowing what is played aside from a bare mention of the names of the 11 composers featured. That's where the All Classical Guide comes in. The works were all written in the twentieth century. They are: Michio Miyagi's Haru no umi (Ocean in Spring, a calming, melodic piece); Kaija Saariaho's Nocturne for violin solo (a somewhat avant-garde coloristic piece); Toru Takemitsu's Stanza II for harp and tape (also pretty far out and very Japanese-sounding); Yuji Takahashi's Insomnia for violin, voices, and kugo (strange, but oddly soothing); a movement from Satie's Le fils des étoiles as arranged by Takahashi (austere); Jean Françaix's Five Little Duets (100 percent charming); the Étude for violin from Richard Strauss's Daphne (also charming); Six Melodies by John Cage (simple and pleasant); Arvo Pärt's Spiegel im Spiegel (even simpler and not startling); Nino Rota's love theme from The Godfather (you know this one); and the final movement from Schnittke's Suite in the Old Style (gently Classical except for one deliberately horrendous dissonance).
Based out of Los Angeles, California, hard rock outfit Burning Rain draw from a well dirtied by classic late-'70s blues-rock and Sunset Strip-kissed pop-metal. Formed in 1998 by seasoned guitarist Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake, Lion, Dio, Hurricane), vocalist Keith St. John (Big Trouble, Medicine Wheel), drummer Alex Makarovich (Steelheart), and bassist Ian Mayo (Bangalore Choir), the band issued a pair of well-received albums (1999's Burning Rain and 2000's Pleasure to Burn) in Japan and Europe before going on an indefinite hiatus due to the Aldrich's busy touring and recording schedule with Whitesnake and Dio…
No one knew when Robert Shaw made this recording in November, 1999, that it would not only be a crowning personal achievement for the conductor and his Atlanta musicians, but also would stand as a final and fitting memorial to the work of one of this century's finest and most influential conductors. Shaw's death from a stroke three months after the sessions assured that this last recording would get extra attention, primarily viewed through a lens of reverence, respect, and retrospection.
One of the more curious characters of the new wave movement, singer/guitarist/songwriter Moon Martin issued several critically acclaimed yet commercially underappreciated releases from the late '70s through the early '80s, before reappearing in the mid-'90s.