Naxos’ first-rate edition of Poulenc’s complete chamber music continues with this very fine collection of shorter pieces and song cycles for voice and small ensemble. Baritone Franck Leguérinel turns in a smashing performance of Le Bal masqué from its manic opening Air de bravoure to the hysterical falsetto antics in the closing Caprice. He’s equally fine in Le Bestiaire, but the cruel vocal line and harmonic acerbities of the Max Jacob songs prove less congenial, though he’s no less stylistically assured.
Thank God the producers of this cd didn't decide to burry the recordings in reverb and echo, we get the TRUE 78 sound here, and it sounds clean, and chystal clear. Ignore the spiteful reviewer who thinks the sound is bad. Les Browns has never soudned so clear on cd before, you can actually hear every note, because they didn'r "over-remaster." All of Brown's ESSENTIAL sonsg are here, including My Dreams Are Getting Better All The Time. Brown had one of the freshest bands around in the mid-forties, and he had the greatest girl singer in Doris Day (the worlds most underrated jazz singer). This cd is a God-send to those who really want to hear the msuic unfiltered, yet clearly and beuatifully.
Francis Poulenc reportedly felt uncomfortable writing for piano and strings and had harsh things to say about both the violin and cello sonatas, remarks duly parroted by critics and biographers ever since. And yet the fact remains that they are his most ambitious, lengthiest, and emotionally complex chamber works. As so often happens in these circumstances, it’s much easier to regurgitate received opinion than it is to actually listen to the music and take it on its own terms.
An outstanding veteran pianist from Spain, Tete Montoliu was born blind. He learned to read music in Braille when he was seven and developed impressive technique on piano. He recorded with Lionel Hampton in 1956, had his first session as a leader in 1958, and played with the touring Roland Kirk in 1963. Through the years, he also worked with such visiting Americans as Kenny Dorham, Dexter Gordon, Ben Webster, Lucky Thompson, and even Anthony Braxton. Tete Montoliu's visits to the U.S. were very infrequent, but his SteepleChase albums (starting in 1971) are generally available; he also cut one date for Contemporary (1979) and recorded for Enja and Soul Note.
Pandit Shivkumar Sharma and Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia reunite some 30 years later for a follow-up to their beautiful and groundbreaking Call of the Valley. Sharma (santoor) and Chaurasia (flute) were highly regarded on their instruments back then, and are now acknowledged as living masters. Although Brij Bhushan Kabra has been replaced on Indian acoustic slide guitar by Jayanti Shah, the overall mood is just as lovely and contemplative, even though the role of the guitar has been diminished. The Valley Recalls is beautiful, gentle work, and a worthy successor to Call of the Valley.