Hyperion has reissued on its midpriced Helios label this fine program of English works for string quartet, recorded in 1994. The composers, born approximately 20 years apart in the order given in the headnote, offer an insight into the evolutionary trends in British music before, throughout, and after the 20th century’s two Great Wars.
The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Martyn Brabbins gives invigorating and authoritative performances of William Walton’s masterful symphonies. The musicians balance stunning control with breathtaking energy and character. Following the resounding success of Belshazzar’s Feast, Walton spent three years perfecting his dramatic first symphony. The immensely virtuosic work displays an astounding range of colours and emotional volatility, reflecting the turbulence of Walton’s private life. Despite its fraught gestation—the first performance in 1934 by the London Symphony Orchestra was missing the finale—this work met with an ecstatic critical reception and has remained popular ever since.
Catherine Anahid Berberian (July 4, 1925 – March 6, 1983) was an American soprano and composer. She interpreted contemporary avant-garde music composed, among others, by Luciano Berio, Bruno Maderna, John Cage, Henri Pousseur, Sylvano Bussotti, Darius Milhaud, Roman Haubenstock-Ramati, and Igor Stravinsky. She also interpreted works by Claudio Monteverdi, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Kurt Weill, Philipp Zu Eulenburg, arrangements of songs by The Beatles, and folk songs from several countries and cultures. As a composer, she wrote Stripsody (1966), in which she exploits her vocal technique using comic book sounds (onomatopoeia), and Morsicat(h)y (1969), a composition for the keyboard (with the right hand only) based on Morse code.
The music on Among Friends was actually performed at San Francisco's Keystone Korner during a recorded engagement by the Bobby Hutcherson sextet. Pianist Cedar Walton opened each set with a few numbers and he was playing so well that in 1990 Evidence decided to release his material as a separate CD. Walton performs three songs ("Ruby My Dear," "My Old Flame" and "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face") solo, interprets four other pieces (three standards plus his own "Midnight Waltz"), in a trio with bassist Buster Williams and drummer Billy Higgins, and Hutcherson himself makes the group a quartet on "My Foolish Heart." Excellent hard bop-based music from the talented pianist.
This is an album of modern commercial, radio friendly, finely crafted rock n roll / country tunes. Do not expect wild sounding rockabilly or a pastiche of 50’s rock n roll. Bo and his team have cleverly put together a collection that while it remains steeped in the roots of the rock n roll genre it gathers influence from all of the many and varied elements that make up the 50+ year history of this music. Then they add a dash of modern sounding country, sixties pop, etc stir and shake it all together and produce a sound that is highly listenable with songs that sound fresh and firmly of the now. Kicking off with the strong Hangin’ On, an instantly catchy country rock tune the album then tears into I Like It Like That, a straight out rock n roll number with a catchy sing along car radio chorus and a great guitar sound.