I was looking for Ginastera’s Hieremiae Prophetae Lamentationes, which was completely new for me; but this is by no means the only work worthwhile on this album. The record is full of surprises.
These soulful Spanish and Argentinean songs arranged by violist Kim Kashkashian and pianist Robert Levin are well suited to their expressive and expansive playing. Most of the songs, ranging from works by Granados, de Falla, and Montsalvatge to early Ginastera, are written in a late romantic to early modern idiom, and many incorporate a strong folk element. The selections include rowdy, rhythmically charged dance-like songs, tender lullabies, and many flavors of love songs, from the exultant to the despairing. In addition to the better-known composers, Argentineans Carlos Guastavino and Carlos López-Buchardo make extraordinarily fine contributions. The choices of repertoire are excellent; each one of these songs is a jewel, and the ordering of the selections artful, including the surprisingly effective repetition of two songs at different points in the program. The transcriptions are inventive and imaginative, with the vocal lines idiomatically adapted for the viola's expressive capabilities.
In 2011 DG released a spectacular 10-CD anthology on Archiv Produktion with Ensemble Plus Ultra (EPU), “the finest British early music singers” (Early Music Today), commemorating the 400th anniversary of Tomas de Victoria’s death. This box sold about 6.100 units worldwide and won a Gramophone award. Now the award winning ensemble is back with a major recording project to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of El Greco in 2014 – composers including Cristobal de Morales, Alonso Lobo and Alonso de Tejeda were prolific in Toledo during the 37 years El Greco lived and worked there, and much of this music certainly inspired his painting.
Julian Bream was born in London and brought up in a musical environment. His father played jazz guitar and the young Bream was impressed by hearing the playing of Django Reinhardt.
Bream began his lifelong association with the guitar by strumming along on a small gut-string Spanish guitar at a very young age to dance music on the radio. The president of the Philharmonic Society of Guitars, Dr Boris Perott, gave Bream lessons, while Bream's father became the society librarian, giving Bream access to a large collection of rare music.
Whenever he was asked to name his own personal favorite within his long and distinguished oeuvre, Jerry Goldsmith inevitably cited his work on 1977's obscure Ernest Hemingway adaptation Islands in the Stream. A lush, often melancholy score evoking both the serenity and the treachery of the sea, it is undoubtedly Goldsmith's most intimate effort, eschewing the larger-than-life drama and suspense of his best-known soundtracks. Islands in the Stream is above all a showcase for the composer's consummate ability to vividly communicate both the physical and emotional landscape in such simple yet precise strokes – employing little but a lone French horn, Goldsmith's main theme captures the immense loneliness and solitude of George C. Scott's protagonist, while gentle woodwinds suggest the ocean waves lapping the shore of his island home.
Ben Frost has composed the score for a new 12-part TV series called "Fortitude", a crime drama that takes place on the Arctic Circle and features Christopher Eccleston, Stanley Tucci, Michael Gambon, and Sofie Gråbøl. The series was created by Simon Donald and premiered last week on Pivot/Sky Atlantic.