Although not quite at the level of profundity of his teacher Gustav Leonhardt's recording, Kenneth Gilbert's 1983 recording of Book 1 of Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier does have a style and polish that Leonhardt's too often lacked. Thus, while Leonhardt goes further into some of the minor-key fugues to find intellectual and spiritual depths that Gilbert does not plumb, Gilbert's playing is so much more elegant and graceful than Leonhardt's that it is difficult to choose between them. For listeners who approach The Well-Tempered Clavier as a volume of virtuoso works whose success depends on the effortless refinement of the player, the Gilbert, with its superbly remastered sound, will be the one to get. For listeners who approach The Well-Tempered Clavier as a volume of prayers written as preludes and fugues, the Leonhardt will be preferable. Both are superb and both belong in any Bach collection.
With the possible exception of Richard Pinhas' Heldon, Gilbert Artman's Lard Free was probably the premier French progressive group of the '70s. The prolific Heldon might win in terms of amount of material, but the three near-perfect albums by Lard Free (despite the truly wretched band name) probably have them beat in terms of overall quality. Although Artman, a drummer who also dabbles in synthesizers and piano, called Lard Free a group, he was the only constant member; all three albums have different lineups. 1973's Lard Free consists of relatively short pieces with prominent piano and saxophone parts, and as such is the most jazz-oriented of the three. The following year's I'm Around About Midnight consists of three long pieces with much more synthesizer; at times, it sounds almost like early (pre-ambient) Tangerine Dream, or perhaps Clear Light, the French collective Artman and the then-current lineup of Lard Free occasionally worked with around this time. 1977's Lard Free III, also known as Spirale Malax, is Artman's best work, a pair of side-long experiments that combine space music, jazz, and King Crimson-style heavy progressive rock better than many groups (including King Crimson) could ever hope to manage.
Peppered with unforgettable melodies and tongue-twisting songs, The Pirates of Penzance is one of the most popular operettas ever written. Opera Australia's new production is an effervescent smash hit with a national tour and jubilant sellout seasons everywhere.
Returning to solo status after the 2012 Matchbox 20 reunion – this time, the group didn't go on hiatus; they merely took a break while their singer pursued other projects – Rob Thomas decided to broaden his horizons on 2015's The Great Unknown by working with a variety of different producers and collaborators this time around. Still on board in an executive producer role is Matt Serletic (the producer who's worked with Thomas for nearly 20 years), and the singer/songwriter also enlists OneRepublic mastermind Ryan Tedder and Jason Derulo/Jessie J producer Ricky Reed to give him a modern pop life. This new blood is notable on The Great Unknown, which is considerably livelier than 2009's contemplative Cradlesong. He hasn't entirely abandoned power ballads – it's in his blood and it's something he does well, as evidenced by "Paper Dolls" and the spare, piano-anchored closer "Pieces" – and he retains a fondness for surging, insistent anthems, the kind that fill arenas and airwaves with equal ease.