The young Tippett – magpie and maverick – sought maximum intensity of feeling while shunning what he felt to be the sentimental fervour of Elgar, Bax and Walton. Equally abhorrent were the pastoral pieties of Vaughan Williams. Tippett took his stand with Blake and Yeats rather than Bunyan, and a Blake whose “bow of burning gold” required something altogether less complacent than Parry’s well upholstered jingoism.
On Songs of Bob Dylan, Joan Osborne unleashes her sizable gifts as a vocalist and interpreter upon The Bard's celebrated canon. With performances honed by the time Osborne spent polishing them during 'Joan Osborne Sings The Songs Of Bob Dylan' two critically acclaimed two-week residencies she performed at New York City's Café Carlyle in March 2016 and 2017, the seven-time Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum-selling singer and songwriter, whom The New York Times has called 'a fiercely intelligent, no-nonsense singer,' winds her supple, soulful voice around Dylan's poetic, evocative lyrics, etching gleaming new facets in them along the way.
Martha Argerich’s Ravel G major was for so long a reference recording that it’s easy to forget how idiosyncratic it actually is. I wouldn’t actually blame anyone who found it too garish in its colouring, with its volatility giving diminishing returns and its rubato too predictably appassionato for a sensibility as dapper as Ravel’s. Such a person might well find exactly what they want in Steven Osborne’s account, which is masterful in its own way but essentially self-effacing.
Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Anyone who loves twentieth century music, who loves English music, or who just plain loves music will love this collection of the music of Michael Tippett. Culled from previously issued but long out-of-print Philips, London, Argo, and l'Oiseau-Lyre LPs, most of these recordings were world premieres made in close consultation with the composer and in the hands of conductors Colin Davis, Georg Solti, Neville Marriner, pianist Paul Crossley, and the Lindsay String Quartet, they receive what can fairly be described as definitive performances. From the ecstatic lyricism of the Suite for Double String Orchestra of 1939 through the luminous vitality of the First Symphony of 1945, the radiant sensuality of the Ritual Dances of 1955, the blues-based modernism of the Third Symphony of 1972, to the glistening transcendentalism of the Fourth Symphony of 1977, Tippett's unique fusion of line, drive, color, and form is performed throughout with passionate dedication and absolute faith in the music's greatness.
Between 2013 and 2014, the Heath Quartet performed Michael Tippett's five string quartets in four concerts at Wigmore Hall, and this double CD presents the cycle with great clarity and freshness. Tippett composed these eclectic works over a period of almost 60 years, so the many changes in style and expression can be explained by that long time span, and attributed to the composer's constant search for new sources of inspiration.
Sergey Prokofiev's output for violin and piano was quite small, and it would have been limited to the Violin Sonata No. 1 in F minor had he not also arranged his Five Songs Without Words and the Flute Sonata in D major, the latter at the request of David Oistrakh. One experiences a degree of discomfort in the Violin Sonata No. 1, which is one of Prokofiev's more unsettling pieces, due in part to its sinister tone and harsh dissonances, but also to its conflicting expressions.
Steven Osborne has already made a name for himself in French music with a disc of Alkan and a profoundly moving performance of Messiaen’s Vingt Regards. Here he reaches between those two to tackle one of the pinnacles of the piano repertoire—Debussy’s two books of Préludes. These works have been central to Steven’s repertoire for many years and he brings them to the studio after many public performances and much reflection. He has worked from the most up-to-date Urtext edition which clarifies Debussy’s thought in many places, particularly with regard to tempo relationships within La cathédrale engloutie and a missing bar in Les tierces alternées. In a crowded field Osborne need fear no comparisons: the pianism is exquisite and the interpretations are of a rare depth and subtlety—a recording to rival the very best!