Here at Ace Towers we usually have a pretty realistic advance idea of how many copies we’re likely to sell of any CD that we release. But once in a while we put out something that catches the public imagination in a manner that exceeds our expectations in terms of sales and acclaim. Such was the case with our “Special Country Edition” of our “Golden Age Of American Rock’n’Roll” series, which has already sold almost twice as many copies as we initially anticipated, and which is still selling strongly six years on from its initial release.
Ace’s flagship “Golden Age” series continues to be among our best selling and most highly respected releases. After a short hiatus, we’re pleased to announce this new volume featuring 28 country recordings that made the Billboard Hot 100 between 1955 and 1963. As “More Country Hits” is in the “Golden Age Of American Popular Music” series, the content is more melodic overall than a “Golden Age Of American Rock’n’Roll” edition might be. Nevertheless, there’s a generous helping of up-tempo hillbilly and borderline rockabilly among the straight-ahead country to give listeners a bit of light and shade. As usual, the CD comes with a generously illustrated and copiously annotated booklet.
This programme features concert music by composers who also wrote film scores for Hollywood. While this was just one string to the considerable bows of Gershwin and Copland, Bernard Herrmann and Franz Waxman are best known for their music for Hitchcock films (Vertigo, North by Northwest, Marnie and Psycho for Herrmann; and Rebecca and The Paradine Case for Waxman). Centre stage is Gershwin’s Song-book, arranged by the composer for solo piano in order to present the songs ‘as George Gershwin plays them himself’.
Eighteenth-century American harpsichord music isn't something you hear everyday, but the delightful sounds of Enlightenment in the New World can be appreciated by any keyboard lover. Using a French harpsichord built in 1774, Olivier Baumont performs lively (not to mention "enlightened") works by seldom-heard composers William Selby, Alexander Reinagle, Victor Pelissier, someone named simply Mr. Newman, and a few others. There's nothing monumental here–James Hewitt's "Yankee Doodle with 9 Variations" may be too silly to fully appreciate–but the playing is exquisite and there are some great discoveries.
This anthology brings together representative works from the mainstream of contemporary American choral music. Charles Ives’s Psalm 90 evokes a mood reminiscent of congregational Sunday singing in New England. Copland’s In the Beginning recalls his Fanfare for the Common Man, while Lukas Foss’s Behold, I Build An House shows the stylistic influence of Copland. Vincent Persichetti’s Flower Songs reveal his deep commitment to his favourite poet E.E. Cummings, and favours the women’s voices. In Fern Hill, set for alto, chorus and orchestra, composer John Corigliano sings of the joys of youth.
This young guitarists debut album is the perfect introduction to his artistry, showcasing as it does four leading 20th-century composers of guitar music Antonio José Palacios, Alberto Ginastera, Antonio Lauro and Julio Gentil Montaña composers who in turn represent four different countries and four styles of music that differ widely both aesthetically and in terms of the traditions from which they spring. Among the most promising Spanish composers of his generation, Antonio José was acclaimed by Ravel and counted Lorca and Dali among his associates, but like Lorca, he was executed by a Falangist firing squad during the Spanish Civil War.