Contrary to what its title suggests, The O'Jays in Philadelphia isn't a live album. Rather, the title of this studio date refers to the beginning of their association with Philly's R&B scene and producers/songwriters Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff. What they didn't know in 1969 was just how long and fruitful that association would end up being. This album wasn't the major hit that Back Stabbers would be, but not for lack of strong material. From "One Night Affair" to "Let Me in Your World," this superb album is quintessential Philly soul. While Eddie Levert's gospel-influenced belting is as gritty as anything that came from Stax Records, the production is as notably sleek. A few years later, Gamble & Huff would produce a longer, heavily syncopated version of "Affair" for Jerry Butler that some soul historians exalt as the first disco single.
Igor Levit makes his debut on Sony in the last six piano sonatas of Ludwig van Beethoven, a part of the repertoire that is usually reserved for mature artists, not rising stars. Yet in spite of some signs of youthful enthusiasm, and a possible loss of objectivity from playing these pieces on a busy recital schedule, Levit has a good feeling for Beethoven's late style, and his 2013 release is a promising beginning for his recording career. The excessive use of rubato is something Levit should watch, because too much alteration of the tempo dissipates Beethoven's energy, and even though these sonatas have their moments of reverie and trance-like passages that can be interpreted as mystical experiences, too much elasticity can make them seem like idle daydreams, or worse, forgetfulness.