Westminster Abbey has been the focus of British royal occasions for centuries, and the early seventeenth century saw the most dazzling musicians of the age writing music for the Court in all its various incarnations. This fascinating disc presents a selection of works from the reign of King James I. The most celebrated name on this disc is that of Orlando Gibbons, and some of his most masterly works are presented on this CD.
This two-disc package from Emmanuel Pahud explores the music performed at the court of King Frederick the Great of Prussia. Frederick was an accomplished amateur flutist, and, thus, cultivated music for his instrument from the best composers of his day. This included Johann Sebastian Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, and Johann Joachim Quantz. Frederick himself and his sister Anna Amalia also composed works featuring the flute.
That's right, King! in Swedish, "Kong" rather than "Drottning"! Christina (1626-1689) was the only surviving child of Sweden's greatest monarch Gustavus Adolphus Vasa, who raised her to rule as a king and whose ministers executed his will by crowning the six-year-old girl King! Christina ruled under a regency until age 18, and then personally and earnestly over some eight years until her abdication in 1654. Her involvement in Swedish affair didn't terminate with her abdication, however. She returned to Sweden several times, on the last of which she might well have resumed her throne but for her whimsical conversion to Catholicism. She also drew her wealth, in her initial years in Italy, from vast estates in Sweden.
When Foday Musa Suso teamed with drummer Hamid Drake in the ‘80s to form the Mandingo Griot Society, the usage of kora and the American drum kit was a novelty, and successfully but precariously placed the traditions of African village music and jazz oriented polyrhythms in a new place. Suso and the veteran drummer Jack DeJohnette team up in duets that do not juxtapose, but complement the rhythmic strengths of the different instruments, creating a language of their own. Suso is happy to play the vibrant shimmering melodies his 21-string instrument uniquely brings to the table, while DeJohnette adopts a sensitive, supportive rather than similarly melodic role, forming funky beats, cymbal accents, and colorations that shade rather than drive the music.