Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (4 March 1678 – 28 July 1741), nicknamed il Prete Rosso ("The Red Priest") because of his red hair, was an Italian Baroque composer, Catholic priest, and virtuoso violinist, born in Venice. Recognized as one of the greatest Baroque composers, his influence during his lifetime was widespread over Europe. Vivaldi is known mainly for composing instrumental concertos, especially for the violin, as well as sacred choral works and over forty operas. His best known work is a series of violin concertos known as The Four Seasons..
Orlando (1733) is one of three operas that Handel based on Ariosto’s Orlando furioso. (The other two are Ariodante and Alcina.) The title role was composed as a vehicle for the castrato Senesino. The plot is the usual Baroque entanglement of love both requited and unrequited. Orlando, a great hero in Charlemagne’s army, has been undone by love. Angelica, the Queen of Cathay and his former lover, now loves the African prince Medoro. Medoro, who once promised love to the shepherdess Dorinda, now requites Angelica’s love. In other words, we have two spurned lovers—Dorinda, whose reaction is seriocomic, and Orlando, whose reaction is to fall into madness…
Cuban-born pianist Harold Lopez-Nussa is back in his native land for his latest album, New Day. On most of the album’s ten tracks, all original compositions, he works with his brother Ruy Adrian Lopez-Nussa on drums and longtime colleague Gaston Joya on double bass. A couple of tracks add the trumpet of Mayquel Gonzalez. For the first time, it seems, Lopez-Nussa also plays the Fender Rhodes on a few compositions.
This delightful "dramma eroicomico" ("heroic-comic drama"–-a made-up phrase brimming with irony) tells the story of the noble knight Orlando, who goes mad being torn between duty and love, his love, Angelica, who actually wants Medoro, and Alcina, an evil sorceress out to get Orlando, and turns it into a type of farce, with great results. There is some lovely music, mostly for Angelica and Medoro, but most of it is fun and light, with characters whistling, trying to impress people with how well they sing, etc. The scoring wittily underlines their foibles. Even for those who normally don't like comic opera, this sophisticated bauble is so impressively performed that it's irresistible… –Robert Levine
'Orlando' is an operatic masterpiece by the Neapolitan Composer Nicola Porpora (1686-1768) who left an indelible mark on the 18th century and the careers of its greatest masters, from Hasse, Jommelli and Handel to Joseph Haydn, who was his pupil in Vienna. Against the background of the old Carolingian epic, the valiant knight Roland is transformed here into a lover before becoming 'Orlando furioso' in this encounter of three mythical figures: Ariosto, Metastasio and Porpora. The gamut runs from epic to tragedy in this vibrant, crackling performance under the inspired direction of Juan Bautista Otero.
Chucho Valdes is easily the living king of Cuban jazz piano. This anthology, issued by the premier Bele Bele Jazz Club label from Spain, is an overview of the roots of the pianist's development as both an interpreter of classic Cuban material and as an improviser. The first 12 tracks on the set, recorded in 1970, borrow heavily from the "feelings" movement of Cuban dancehall music from the late '40s and early '50s, with numerous compositions by Jose Mendez and Cesar Portillo de la Luz. There are also trademark Valdes originals such as his own "Preludio No. 1," based on Debussy's. Other tracks here, from 1982, borrow from the later dancehall traditions and lineages such as the "Evocations" series written by Jesus Valdez including one for Josh White! The first 12 cuts features Valdes with a stellar rhythm section that included bassist Orlando Lopez (Cachaito) and drummer Enrique Pla, and the last eight are solo.
The latest instalment in a series which continues to garner the highest critical plaudits. The Orlando Consort bring their customary virtues of ‘supreme text-sensitivity and beauty of tone’ (Early Music Today) to another recital showcasing the breadth of Machaut’s musical and poetic inventiveness.
Omar Alfredo Rodríguez-López is an American multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer, writer, actor and film director. He is known for being the guitarist and band-leader of The Mars Volta from 2001 until their breakup in 2012, and is currently the guitarist for the alternative rock groups At the Drive-In, Antemasque and Bosnian Rainbows. He was also the bassist for the dub band De Facto. He has embarked on a solo career, both in studio and in concert, frequently described as experimental, avant-garde and/or progressive. He has collaborated with numerous artists spanning from John Frusciante to El-P.