The Third Rail are best remembered today because their closest brush with hit-single status, 1967's "Run Run Run," appeared on Lenny Kaye's pioneering original Nuggets compilation in 1972. But while that album was the shot that kicked off the great garage rock revival, the Third Rail's music was a far better example of the glorious products of the pop music factory that was the Brill Building rather than teenage rock & roll run wild and free. Group founder Artie Resnick was a seasoned pro in the music biz, having written "Under the Boardwalk" and "Good Lovin'," and vocalist and co-writer Joey Levine was a teenaged pop prodigy who (like Resnick) would later become a major player in Buddah Records' mighty bubblegum empire a few years down the line. But in 1967, Levine was just a bit too clever for his own good, which is a big part of the pleasure of the Third Rail's sole album, ID Music.
In Memoriam. Larry Coryell, a guitarist who played rock 'n' roll as a teen but wound up pioneering jazz-rock fusion starting in the mid-1960s and then psychedelic fusion in the early '70s, died on Feb. 19. He was 73. RIP Mr. Coryell. In the 1970s, Germany's Radio Bremen simulcast a series of modern jazz concerts from all across the spectrum, and wisely archived them. Record producer Consul Bodo Jacoby was looking for a new project after losing the rights to reissue the MPS catalog and recalled them. His Promising Music label is issuing a number of these vintage performances in what he calls the Livelove series, of which January 1975 is the first volume.
Lullaby for the Moon presents Japanese contemporary works for koto and shakuhachi based on traditional folksongs (1. Komoroiuta, 6. Sakura, and 7. Kojo), as well as some original ones, including a piece for 2 shakuhachis. The CD ends with one of the most known pieces of the Japanese classical repertoire: "Chidori" (known also as "Chidori no Kyoku"), written around 1750. A large group of excellent musicians were selected for this CD, including one of today's most known and best shakuhachi musicians: Hozan Yamamoto. This excellent CD presents a music of high meditative quality.
This is a very good collection of Gesualdo's sacred motet style, performed beautifully. Most of these pieces are much more conservative and less chromatic than his madrigals, but they are exquisite and expresive and every bit as competent as the styles of contemporaries such as Gesualdo's alter-ego, Palestrina. Much of this music makes his mental turmoil and fear of damnation over his infamous murders achingly clear, especially the disturbing mode changes and chromaticism on parts of the text that say things like "have mercy on me" and words like "my sorrow and "my tears".
Vol. 2 in BIS' complete Sibelius Edition is given over the Finnish master's chamber music for strings and for strings and piano. Fifty years earlier, this release would've included only the "Voces intimae" string quartet. But BIS' 2007 release includes all four quartets and all four piano trios, plus 35 other works or substantial fragments lasting between 13 seconds to 32 minutes. One thing is instantly clear: Sibelius scholarship has made enormous strides since the mid-twentieth century.
Fiolministeriet, or The Fiddle Ministry, is a string trio comprising Kirstine Sand (violin, vocals), Kirstine Elise Pedersen (cello, vocals), and Ditte Fromseier Mortensen (fiddle, viola, vocals). They draw much of their material from 18th century song collections and their home islands of Fuen and Bornholm. They have a powerful and rhythmic sound with the cello adding a solid underpinning not usually found in performances of traditional material. At times the arrangements sound quite classical in nature, like on “Gottlob Minuet”; at other times, they sound traditional with the two violins playing in harmony.