This is a great radio session recorded in Leverkusen, Germany, on November 14, 2000. GratHovOx embodies everything uninhibited free improv can deliver. The presence of two of the genre's most prestigious veterans certainly has something to do with it. Fred Van Hove performs most of the set on a Steinway D piano. He grabs his accordion for "Foreplay/Vorspiel." Tony Oxley produces an astounding number of different sounds from his acoustic drum kit, keeping the electronics very discreet. Between them stands reedman Frank Gratkowski, using mostly instruments from the clarinet family this time around – his raspy alto sax makes an appearance in the 20-minute "Trenches/Tranches."
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Farmer Brand can't read and he is quite happy with that. His wife, Keet, who has to read him all the subtitles on the television, isn't. She decides to hire a teacher for him. This is a beautiful young woman, called Lena. Brand falls in love with her. To his puzzlement and dismay Keet encourages him, because as she says she doesn't want a husband with another woman in his head. She wants their love to grow stale.
Drummer Tony Williams recorded SPRING, his groundbreaking sophomore LP, when he was only 19 years old. Despite his youth, however, he was already a veteran of the jazz scene, having played with luminaries such as Miles Davis, Jackie Maclean, and Eric Dolphy. His played all over the kit, and though his tricky, unorthodox time-keeping might sometimes give the impression of wild unpredictability, he always managed to keep a tight rein over the momentum of any session in which he participated. His work on SPRING is only surpassed by his equally mesmerizing playing on Eric Dolphy's seminal OUT TO LUNCH, to which SPRING is often compared. He is accompanied here by Wayne Shorter, Gary Peacock, and Sam Rivers.
Although Korngold’s ‘complete works for violin and piano’ make up a reasonably full disc, it is only fair to point out that the Violin Sonata is the single work that is not an arrangement from one of his other pieces. Yet this Sonata, written at the age of 15 for Carl Flesch and Artur Schnabel no less, is a fine example of his early style, with its echoes of Zemlinsky and early Schoenberg. The young Dutch violinist Sonja van Beek and German pianist Andreas Frölich negotiate its challenges with ease: as in Rachmaninoff’s Cello Sonata, the pianist has as tough a role as the melody instrument. Much Ado about Nothing is one of several arrangements of a suite of four movements derived from incidental music to Shakespeare’s play written in 1918, performed here with affection and a silken suavity. The remainder of the repertoire is made up of arrangements of Korngold lollipops, hit numbers from his operas, such as the unforgettable ‘Marietta’s Lied’ from Die tote Stadt, arranged by the composer as salon pieces and popularised by Kreisler and his ilk. Here, the almost vocal qualities of van Beek’s tone come into their own. An essential disc for the Korngold addict.