ECM New Series is better known for its documentation of contemporary works, but the music of the past sometimes receives coverage when artists bring a new perspective to it. The Diabelli Variations, Op. 120; the Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111; and the Six Bagatelles, Op. 126, are among the most original and intellectually stimulating works Ludwig van Beethoven composed for the piano, and the sophisticated interpretations of András Schiff are especially worthwhile for their insights into authentic performance practice and reception. Here, Schiff gives the listener options between a relatively modern sounding version of the Diabelli Variations and a period interpretation, without favoring one or the other. On the first CD he plays the Sonata and the Diabelli Variations on a Bechstein piano from 1921, though with minimal pedaling and a restrained execution that allows every inner voice and subtle dynamic to be appreciated. While this piano is not as hard or bright sounding as a modern Steinway, it is familiar to modern ears and most listeners will readily accept it. On the second CD, Schiff plays the Diabelli Variations, along with the Six Bagatelles, on a smaller sounding Franz Brodmann fortepiano, an original instrument from around 1820, Beethoven's time period.
Them Moose Rush is a progressive rock trio from Bjelovar, Croatia. Combining retro with modern, recording albums live and bursting with crazy jams, Them Moose Rush is a genuine riff machine constantly pushing forward and reinventing listeners perception of a standard rock and roll trio.
Singer/guitarist Nikola Runjavec sounds like Mike Patton on helium, and gives off an exuberant if slightly scary vibe, like the strange kid in the playground inviting you behind the bike sheds to play with matches. The irreverent, offhand inventiveness of Faith No More is actually not a bad reference for these guys, but their restless math/prog/metal sound is very much their own.
The Ariel Quartet, distinguished by its virtuosic playing and impassioned interpretations, makes its debut recording pairing two giants of the string-quartet world, Bela Bartok and Johannes Brahms. Both composers stand as significant pillars of the youthful Quartet’s two-decade-long journey. The Ariel Quartet earned its glowing international reputation early on, having formed in Israel when its members were students in middle school. The Ariel now serves as the Faculty Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music Debut. This release is the first in a projected series pairing the quartets of Bartok and Brahms. “…a blazing, larger-than-life performance…” (The Washington Post) “…the sum of the quartet is indeed greater than its parts…”(The Strad)