An eclectic, or probably more appropriately, multifaceted album by one of the great sound magicians of New Orleans. The tunes range from ancient spirituals through a dirge, an obscure beguine (correctly named as Touloulou) or Ellington numbers to a Tom Waits song, but any of them sounds timeless in the usual intense presentation of Ms. Nealand and her Royal Roses. Indeed, the work is the current response of the band to the question of why this kind of seemingly outdated music should matter today. Their approach integrates the musical explorations of the last several decades, involving results from jazz, rock and even classical experience. And the outcome is truly spectacular.
Aurora Orchestra, together with conductor Nicholas Collon, is an innovative, energetic and talented ensemble. It has already amassed a good amount of praise from the critics, quickly establishing itself as the most significant new British chamber orchestra in a generation. Collon by himself is also making waves, increasingly in demand as a guest conductor in the UK and abroad. This album features a straightforwardly American repertoire selection, interspersing the core repertoire with some beautifully arranged folk/pop songs inspired by the theme.
This entertaining CD takes its name from a cantata, which forms one part of this recital devoted to the music of Georg Benda (1722-95), one of a distinguished family of Bohemian musicians who settled in Berlin in the 18th century and became part of the German enlightenment. Georg became Kapellmeister at Gotha in 1750 and gained widespread approval for his compositions and for his skill as a violinist, oboist and keyboard player. Mozart admired Benda’s music and carried two of his melodramas with him on his travels. Hyperion have put together a pretty record containing piano pieces (played here expertly on the fortepiano by Timothy Roberts), lieder and the above cantata for soprano or tenor by two of our best ‘chamber singers’ (which does not mean that they do not sing other genres, only that they excel in this kind of intimate sphere). It might be a good idea not to play the whole hour of music at one go but (say) to have half before dinner and half afterwards.