The highly percussive, battering nature of the opening of Dis-Kontur (1974) speaks more of primal matters than it does of highly structured modernism. Rihm claims that he wrote the introduction to this piece in one go, and intuitively at that. It was only later that he realized that the accents lay in the proportions 5:7:2:9, ratios that he went on to utilize in the internal construction of the piece. Rihm sees his music as in the Austro-German tradition (he mentions not only Beethoven, Bruckner, and Mahler as part of this line, but also Hartmann).
Meyerbeer’s opera, written four years before Rossini’s Semiramide, is based on an adaptation, probably done by Count Ludovico Piossasco Feys, of the libretto written by Pietro Metastasio in the far-off year of 1729, which had already been set to music several times by leading composers of the eighteenth century. Count Piossasco Feys worked skilfully and transformed the Metastasio tragedy, based on the classical alternation recitative - solo aria, into a more agile, modern structure, including a smaller number of arias, duets, trios and ensemble pieces. Meyerbeer’s opera was written for one of the most esteemed singers of the day, Carolina Bassi, a performer with a great vocal range that enabled her to give of her best both in contralto and in soprano roles. In the early part of the opera, where Semiramide dresses in men’s clothing, passing herself off as her son, Meyerbeer writes her part using a rather low register. Only after she has revealed her true nature as a woman can Semiramide free herself vocally and rise up to the higher notes of the soprano register.
Mari Kimura (木村 まり Kimura Mari) is a Japanese violinist and composer best known for her use of subharmonics, which, achieved through special bowing techniques, allow pitches below the instrument's normal range. She is credited with "introducing" the use of violin subharmonics, which allow a violinist to play a full octave below the low G on the violin without adjusting the tuning of the instrument. Polytopia is her first CD for the Bridge label, and her first created without collaborators.
Canto-pop singer Amanda Lee is making her comeback with her first new music release in six years. To shake things up a bit, she has been going by the name "A. Lee", but that strong, low, and expressive voice is unmistakable. Love Passion comes with four new songs and fourteen memorable hits.
Kenny Clarke was a jazz drummer and an early innovator of the BeBop style of drumming. As the house drummer at Minton's Playhouse in the early 1940s, he participated in the after hours jams that led to the birth of modern jazz. He is credited with creating the modern role of the ride cymbal as the primary timekeeper. Before, drummers kept time on the snare drum ("digging coal", Clarke called it) with heavy support from the bass drum. With Clarke time was played on the cymbal and the bass and snare were used more for punctuation. For this, "every drummer" Ed Thigpen said, "owes him a debt of gratitude." Clarke was nicknamed "Klook" or "Klook-mop" for the style he innovated.
Although one may think of the blues harp beginning with Little Walter, the first Sonny Boy Williamson, or Sonny Terry, a variety of harmonica players did record in the '20s. Some of their recordings were technical displays that featured them imitating everything from animals to trains, while other players were more blues-oriented. This valuable CD has two selections from the guitar-harmonica team of William Francis and Richard Sowell; Ollis Martin's "Police and High Sheriff Come Ridin' Down"; six pieces by Eli Watson (including "El Watson's Fox Chase"); two cuts apiece by Palmer McAbee, Ellis Williams, Alfred Lewis, and the team of Smith & Harper (which is the only music on this CD recorded after 1930); plus four songs/displays from Blues Birdhead (including "Get up off That Jazzophone") and George "Bullet" Williams (highlighted by "Frisco Leaving Birmingham" and "The Escaped Convict"). Fascinating music.