Features 24 bit digital remastering. Comes with a description. An unusual global session for Atlantic Records – an album that has John Lewis presenting work by three other musicians that he feels are ripe for wider discovery! The set's got some killer work from Rene Utreger – a key Parisian player in the postwar years, working here with dexterity that's almost at a Bud Powell level! Dick Katz is also featured on the set – with some nice colors and tones in the mix, similar to some of the work he'd go onto do for Atlantic and other labels. And perhaps the least known here is the British player Derek Smith – stepping out with a lyrical style that's captured surprisingly well here – and which makes the record a key addition to Smith's catalog.
This DVD of Ariadne is a 1978 film based on Filippo Sanjust’s Vienna State Opera production. The bustling Prologue is set in the backstage area of the mogul’s palace and the 18th century costumes fit neatly. In the opera proper, the stage is transformed into a very stagey desert island with an improbable set of stairs leading to the heroine’s cave, the action spilling over into the theatre’s side boxes at times. While there’s nothing particularly imaginative about the production, it never distracts from the main event–the music. Strauss was profligate in his melodic gifts, his ability to make a reduced orchestra sound big, and his wonderful obsession with the female voice, which yields many glorious moments in the opera. Lavish casting helps.
Cavalli was the leading composer of opera in Venice during the 1650s, and Calisto (which premiered in November 1651) finds him at the height of his powers. Giovanni Faustini’s mythologically based libretto for Calisto tells the story of the amorous trials of two couples: Calisto, a female devotee of the goddess Diana, and her pursuer, Jove; and Diana herself, and the shepherd Endymion. As a follower of Diana, Calisto has rejected carnal relations with men; as a result, in order to win her affection, Jove disguises himself as Diana, and Calisto willingly follows him in that guise to enjoy carnal pleasure. Calisto’s actions invoke the wrath of both Diana herself, and of Jove’s wife Juno. According to the myth, Calisto is transformed into a bear, and will later ascend to the firmament as the constellation Ursa Minor. Diana, in Faustini’s version, finally admits to loving Endymion; they remain devoted to each other, but their relationship remains unconsummated.