Countertenor Max Emanuel Cencic has emerged as a new star of the specialty partly through fearless programming, and this collection of Arie Napoletane, Neapolitan arias or arias from Naples, is no exception. There really isn't a "Neapolitan school." Rather, Naples was on the musical cutting edge in the second quarter of the 18th century, and the arias here represent both a classic opera seria style, in the pieces by the massively prolific Alessandro Scarlatti, and music by the composers who pointed the way toward the melodically simpler future of Gluck and eventually Mozart, like Leonardo Leo and Leonardo Vinci. These latter are hardly household names, and Cencic, offering several recorded premieres, renders a valuable service simply by finding and choosing the deliberate and sensuous arias heard here. Moreover, the album's stylistic contrasts play to Cencic's strengths.
It was with three of Bach’s cello suites, transcribed for the viola, that Maxim Rysanov made his début on BIS in 2010. The Sunday Times had one reservation: ‘Rysanov’s recording of Bach’s suites is near perfection; the only flaw being that he did not perform all six.’ With the present disc that flaw is now being rectified, and the set is complete.
Celebrating its eleventh anniversary this year, Hungarian fusion metal quartet Special Providence is undoubtedly one of a few most cherished, consistent and enjoyed bands in the genre today. Just about every one of the band’s previous three albums has been utterly remarkable, as the group never ceases to blend simplicity with technicality, straightforward with complex. On its fourth opus, “Essence of Change,” the Hungarians once again exceed expectations with another thrilling, powerful and delightful ride full of intricate arrangements, colourful sound, and stunning songwriting. Following the success of their 2012 release “Soul Alert,” Special Providence expand their horizons by demonstrating how unique, confident, and focused the band is, regardless the keyboardist change.