Import pressing of this limited edition CD/DVD (PAL/Region 0) package is expanded to add approximately 40 minutes of video content, including a new Mega-Mix music video for "Kill The King", edited from past music videos and behind the scenes footage, seven previously unreleased live performances from the band's 1999 Risk tour, and a preview for the Arsenal Of Megadeth double DVD set.
The trio Arabesque was created by two Frankfurt-based German producers at the height of the disco era in 1977. After one album and a few singles that found surprising success in Japan, the producers changed the lineup, keeping Michaela Rose and replacing the two other members with Jasmin Vetter and Sandra Lauer. Vetter, a former gymnast, also became the trio's choreographer and Lauer, soon to be billed simply as Sandra, assumed the position of a lead vocalist. The first single of the updated Arabesque, "Hello, Mr. Monkey," went to number one in Japan. The Far East remained the band's biggest market, with numerous albums and compilations released over the years. However, Arabesque's success in their homeland was very modest, with only one single, "Marigot Bay," entering the German charts at number eight in 1981. In 1984, they disbanded and Sandra embarked on a successful solo career with the songs written by future husband Michael Cretu (of Enigma fame). Jasmin Vetter and Michaela Rose formed a duo, Rouge, but after a few obscure singles it ceased to exist.
Testimony is the third studio album, and the first concept album, by Neal Morse. Released in 2003, this double record is in five sections detailing the composer's life and conversion to Christianity. The album features performances from ex-Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy and Kerry Livgren of Kansas, although the majority of instruments are played by Morse himself.
This compilation covers 20 years of live recordings made by conductor Yevgeny Mravinsky and the then-named Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra for Erato. Mravinsky led that orchestra for nearly 50 years, from 1938 until his death. His last recording was that of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 12, made in 1984, found on Disc 3 here. His interpretations of Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky were highly regarded, so it's not surprising that several of their symphonies are here. There are also symphonies by Mozart and Beethoven in this set; tone poems by Tchaikovsky and Mussorgsky; and orchestral excerpts from operas by Wagner, Glinka, and Glazunov. The final disc contains a rare recording of a rehearsal led by Mravinsky, something few outsiders were ever allowed to witness. Even though he was an elder statesman of Russian music at the time of these recordings, there is still precision and energy in his interpretations.
The contents of the EMI box are too numerous to list but all the sonatas, variations, and most short pieces are here: absent is the London Sketchbook, which is trite juvenalia.
Greatest Hits is a strange release. Sure, Tupac Shakur had more than enough hits to make a terrific compilation, but its appearance in the fall of 1998 felt a bit like another opportunity to milk his catalog, simply because of the plethora of releases, from previously unheard recordings to interview discs and bootlegs. Even with these misgivings taken into account, it has to be said that Greatest Hits does its job well. Given that it runs 25 tracks and two CDs, some may argue that it does its job a little too well, but the fact of the matter is, this contains all of his big hits, from "Keep Ya Head Up" and "Dear Mama" to "California Love" and "I Ain't Mad at Cha." Some may argue that it would have been more effective if it was sequenced in chronological order, but this remains the best place for casual listeners to get all the 2Pac they need.