Telemann's connection with Darmstadt is typical of a composer who cast his net widely on the path to becoming Germany's most acclaimed composer. Appointed to his Frankfurt post in 1712 Telemann was shrewd enough to realize that to 'get on' he needed to write music for the best. In instrumental terms, he was lucky enough to be based less than 20 miles from the Darmstadt court of Ernst Ludwig VII, a music-loving nobleman who had at his disposal a fine orchestra of musicians, many recruited from Paris, trained by the court Kapellmeister, Johann Christoph Graupner (known largely through his turning down the cantorate at St Thomas's Leipzig before Bach was reluctantly found to be an acceptable choice).
Thomas Tafirenyika Mapfumo is a Zimbabwean musician known as "The Lion of Zimbabwe" and "Mukanya" (the praise name of his clan in the Shona language) for his immense popularity and for the political influence he wields through his music, including his sharp criticism of the government of President Robert Mugabe. He both created and made popular Chimurenga music and his slow-moving style and distinctive voice is instantly recognisable to Zimbabweans. Mapfumo's first LP remains a favorite. Made before he got heavily into reggae, this is street-Zimbabwean at its best, with Zairian and eastern African overtones.
War, social injustice, personal plaints, and calls for action have long fueled musical creation and performance. In Classic Protest Songs, Mark Gustafson and Jeff Place tap the historic Smithsonian audio collections to compile 22 songs favored by leaders of antiwar, civil rights, industrial labor, farm worker, and other struggles to air their grievances. Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, Janis Ian, Big Bill Broonzy, Pete Seeger, Barbara Dane, Guy Carawan, Phil Ochs, and other marquee artists let their voices ring out with calls for peace and justice.
Following the critical success of her Haydn/Mozart series Claire-Marie le Guay concentrates her new recording on the Russian composer Sofia Gubaidulina. This portrait features the beautiful piano works Invention (1974), Chaconne (1963), Musical Toys (1969) and Introitus (1978), a chamber concerto with the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra conducted by Jean-Jacques Kantorow.