Olivier Vernet studied organ with Gaston Litaize at the Conservatoire National de Région in Saint-Maur-des-Fossés, where he earned his concert diploma with honors. At the Conservatoire National de Région in Rueil Malmaison, he studied with Marie-Claire Alain, and continued his studies at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris with Michel Chapuis.
The name of Louis-Ferdinand Hérold will always be associated with one work, in England at least, and that is his ballet La Fille Mal Gardée. Who can forget the famous Clog Dance in Frederick Ashton’s production, although having watched a German production on VHS some years ago I remember being shocked by its omission. Even allowing for the popularity of this ballet, Le Pré Aux Clercs, commissioned and premiered by the Opéra-Comique in Paris, is regarded as his greatest success; this despite the lead soprano walking out after its premier production.
Satchmo at Pasadena provides an enjoyable but incomplete presentation of Louis Armstrong & His All-Stars recorded live on January 1, 1951. The Pasadena Civic Auditorium concert found Armstrong fronting an edition of the All-Stars with trombonist Jack Teagarden, clarinetist Barney Bigard, pianist Earl Hines, bassist Arvell Shaw, Cozy Cole on drums, and vocalist Velma Middleton on two tracks. At the time of this concert, musicians began to take advantage of the new LP format that allowed them to bypass the usual three-minute time constraints of 78 rpm and stretch out a bit. Armstrong was no exception, and even though Satchmo is more of the ringleader/vocalist/showman on this set…
By virtue of their diverse styles and extraordinary technical demands, Ravel's solo piano works present a daunting challenge to anyone who would record them as a complete set. From the sublime Pavane pour une infante défunte and the crystalline Sonatine, to the dazzling impressionism of Miroirs and the nightmarish intricacies of Gaspard de la nuit, Ravel's keyboard music reflects all aspects of his spontaneous imagination and his involved artistic development. Few performers have completely mastered this complex body of work and recorded it superbly, but versatile Canadian pianist Louis Lortie is in that select company. His 1988 performances have been esteemed for their consistency, sensitivity, and compelling energy, and this reissue from Chandos is likely to garner even more praise for Lortie. Previously available in two volumes, this double disc is newly remastered, and Lortie sounds better than ever, particularly in such exquisite works as Le tombeau de Couperin and Valses nobles et sentimentales. Lortie's careful shading of subordinate lines and subtle use of dynamics in his coloristic effects invite repeated listening. Best of all, he captures Ravel's dry wit and irony with his mannered shaping of gestures, most effectively in Le tombeau, the Sérénade grotesque, and the Menuet antique.
This compilation contains selections from five different nightclub engagements; Bop City in New York in 1950, Club Hangover in San Francisco in 1952, Storyville in Boston in 1953, Basin Street in New York in 1955 and the Brant Inn in Ontario in 1958–featuring five different iterations of Armstrong's All Stars, featuring top sidemen such as Jack Teagarden, Barney Bigard, Earl Fatha Hines, Arvell Shaw, Cozy Cole, Marty Napoleon, Milt Hinton, Barrett Deems, Edmond Hall and more. The exciting nightclub performances on this collection are not only being released for the first time, but every track is taken from the Research Collections of the Louis Armstrong House Museum, with the majority emanating from Armstrong's personal reel-to-reel tape collection. This important new release once again demonstrates with finality that Pops was always tops.