If you like Christina Pluhar and L’Arpeggiata’s wonderful way with old music, you’ll love this vibrant romp through some of the most engaging music of the 17th and 18th centuries. Frescobaldi and Handel are the best known of the composers here—the latter’s “Eternal Source of Light Divine” is magically updated. Rolf Lislevand’s lute- and theorbo-playing underpins the music with boundless imagination while some decidedly 21st-century muted brass-playing seems to take us into a Baroque jazz club. But then we are whisked back across the years for a thrillingly toe-tapping Pass’e mezzo e passacalli. Irresistible.
Alfabeto is a system of notation used in music for the fivecourse (‘Baroque’) guitar. Letters of the alphabet indicated chords and the precise lefthand fingering required; the direction in which they were to be strummed was also shown. The relationship of the alfabeto letter to the musical identity of the chord was arbitrary. There was some freedom of interpretation‚ dependent on the degree of knowledge of the player. The alfabeto system also underwent ‘mixed marriage’ with the notation of the more sophisticated ‘lutelike’ punteado style in which melodic passages were plucked with the individual fingers of the right hand – and which existed separately in its own right. The choice of instrumentation and manner of performance here stem‚ the booklet tells us‚ from ‘years of work on 17thcentury repertoire‚ the result of a synthesis of musicological research and instinctive musicianship’. Lislevand is an exceptionally gifted performer and‚ as his recent recording of Bach suites shows (Naïve‚ 7/01)‚ he does not hesitate to add his own excellent embellishments.
Composer John Adams' album Road Movies contains five pieces that Adams' considers "travel music, (…) passing through harmonic and textural regions as one would pass through on a car trip." Indeed, during Leila Josefowicz's spirited and appropriately brusque reading of the "40% Swing" movement from the title work, one hears what sounds like a passing auto in the left channel. Is it mere coincidence or the album concept channeling onto the master tape?
Norwegian composer Rolf Wallin (born 1957) belongs to that school of Scandinavian composers of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries who are grounded in the techniques of modernism, but who employ those techniques in music that's immensely and immediately appealing to broad audiences in the directness of its emotional reach and the attractiveness of its sound. The three pieces recorded here, an orchestral work, a percussion concerto and a concerto for six percussionists, reveal a composer with an extraordinarily colorful orchestrational palette, fine sense of large musical structure, and an elemental rhythmic vitality.
This is a recording which truly challenges the accepted norms of musical recording and it does so triumphantly. The sound is full and rich, being recorded in a great church. Lislevand's control of sonority is at times stunning, his tone always sweet and strong. The pieces are tastefully arranged into suites, balanced and whole. And the disc even includes snippets of bird and animal sounds which invaded the recording sessions from the cool night air and nearby lake. Added to this, the liner notes are exemplary, full of insight into the composers' of the disc as well as the opinions and ideas on historical performance. Highlights of this recording are the Canaries by Gaultier and Tombeau du Mezangeau, by the same.
This is a reissue (first time on CD) of the seminal album by legendary German clarinetist/composer Rolf Kuhn (born 1929), recorded with a quintet, which also included his younger brother pianist/composer Joachim Kuhn (born 1944), bassist Klaus Koch and two Polish Jazz legends: saxophonist Michał Urbaniak and drummer Czesław Bartkowski. The album presents six pieces: three original compositions by Rolf Kuhn, two original compositions by Joachim Kuhn and one arrangement of a folk tune. Over the years this album achieved a legendary status and became a highly sought after collector's item, because of its political implications, as well as being one of the earliest East European Jazz recordings and an important cornerstone of European Jazz in general.