THE COMPLETE COLUMBIA STUDIO RECORDINGS compiles all of Miles Davis' collaborations with composer/arranger Gil Evans. Included are the original and alternate versions of the four albums that Davis and Evans made together–MILES AHEAD, PORGY AND BESS, SKETCHES OF SPAIN and QUIET NIGHTS–as well as various outtakes and unreleased tracks. More than half of the material is previously unreleased. THE COMPLETE COLUMBIA STUDIO RECORDINGS won 1997 Grammy Awards for Best Historical Album, Best Album Notes (by George Avakian, Bob Belden, Bill Kirchner and Phil Schaap), and Best Recording Package - Boxed.
Rice Miller (or Alec or Aleck Miller – everything about this blues great is somewhat of a mystery) probably didn't need to take the name of the original Sonny Boy Williamson (John Lee Williamson) to get noticed, since in many ways he was the better musician, but Miller seemed to revel in confusion, at least when it came to biographical facts, so for whatever reason, blues history has two Sonny Boy Williamsons. Like the first Williamson, Miller was a harmonica player, but he really sounded nothing like his adopted namesake, favoring a light, soaring, almost horn-like sound on the instrument…
The Swedish trumpet-player Niklas Eklund, born in Göteborg (Gothenburg) in 1969, trained at the School of Music and Musicology of Göteborg University. Further studies took place under the tutelage of Edward H. Tarr at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. After five years as solo trumpet with the Basle Radio Symphony Orchestra, he left the orchestra in the autumn of 1996 to further his career as a soloist. Since then he has appeared with leading ensembles and conductors such as Zubin Metha, John Eliot Gardiner, Heinz Holliger, András Schiff, Robert King, Eric Ericson, Reinhard Goebel, Gustav Leonhardt, the London Baroque, the Bach Ensemble (New York), the Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble and the English Baroque Soloists. In 1996 he was the first-prize winner of the first Altenburg International Baroque Trumpet Competition, in Bad Säckingen. He participated in Sir John Eliot Gardner’s Bach Pilgrimage performances and recordings in 2000, appearing in concerts throughout the world.
The first complete and unabridged recording of Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s operatic masterpiece, as well as the world-premiere recording on period instruments, undertaken by the critically acclaimed 2010 production from the Innsbruck Festival of Early Music, known as the “Bayreuth of Baroque Opera”. In his all too brief career Pergolesi, who died in 1736 aged only 26, set the course for 18th century opera. His works, especially L’Olimpiade, which was first performed in 1735, introduced a new and sentimental tone to the opera stage. Based on one of the most popular subject matters of opera seria, Pergolesi’s masterpiece L’Olimpiade offers a drama of love and intrigue coupled with highly virtuoso singing. Presenting Italian conductor Alessandro de Marchi, one of the most sought-after Early Music specialists, and a stunning cast of top-league international Baroque singers.
By all rights, the album that came to be known as Big Star's Third should have been a disaster. It was written and recorded in 1975, when Alex Chilton's brilliant but tragically overlooked band had all but broken up. As Chilton pondered his next move, he was drinking and drugging at a furious pace while writing a handful of striking tunes that were often beautiful but also reflected his bitterness and frustration with his career (and the music business in general). Production of the album wasn't completed so much as it simply stopped, and none of the major figures involved ever decided on a proper sequence for the finished songs, or even a title. (The album was also known as Sister Lovers and Beale Street Green at various times.) And yet, Third has won a passionate and richly deserved cult following over the years, drawn in by the emotional roller coaster ride of the songs, informed by equal parts love, loss, rage, fear, hope, and defeat.
Keiser dominated the Hamburg opera scene between 1697, when Adonis was first performed, and 1717, resuming activities there some six years later. Christian Postel’s plot centres around Ovid’s celebrated account of the love affair between Adonis and Venus, who, in this version of the story is jealously watched over by Mars. Postel’s libretto is very long-winded and not well-sustained; but it offered Keiser the opportunity to provide over three-and-a-half hours of music, much of which, especially in Act III, is of enormous charm and variety. The score is a stylistic melting pot containing French and Italian ingredients as well as those of the German Lied. Some of the most beguiling music belongs to the minor roles – ‘Klagt, ihr Nymphen’ (Act III, Scene 9) brings to mind Purcell, and is among the most memorable of the arias. If the entire piece seems a daunting prospect, fear not, since arias from four of Keiser’s operas, including Adonis – though the booklet wrongly attributes one of these arias to a non-existent fourth act – appear on a single disc, sung with accomplishment and charm by Elisabeth Scholl with La Ricordanza. But the other offers a much more satisfying picture of Keiser’s ability as a dramatic composer.Nicholas Anderson
Features the high-fidelity SHM-CD format (compatible with standard CD player) and 24 bit remastering. Early Blue Note work from the legendary Bobbi Humphrey – a session cut before she hooked up with producer Larry Mizell, but one that's still got a righteously soulful vibe! The arrangements here are by Wade Marcus, but he still has the great idea of giving Bobbi a bit more expanded sound in the background – a full mix of sounds that lets her flute step out in the lead and find its own soulful space on the solos – all with a wonderful style that definitely marks Humphrey as one of the freshest jazz flute talents in years! The other players are all pretty hip too – and include Lee Morgan on trumpet and Billy Harper on tenor – who'd both played with Bobbi on one of Lee's late Blue Note dates – and titles include a version of Eddie Harris' "Set Us Free", plus "Sad Bag", "Don't Knock My Funk", "Journey To Morocco", and "Ain't No Sunshine".
Continuinghis exploration of Handel operas, maestro René Jacobs now turns his attention to Agrippina the first great operatic success of the composer s Italian period. Composed in 1709, Agrippina is an opera seria in three acts on a libretto by Cardinal Vincenzo Grimani. The opera tells the story of Agrippina, the mother of Nero, as she plots the downfall of the Roman Emperor Claudius and the installation of her son as emperor. Grimani s libretto, considered one of the best that Handel set, is full of topical political allusions. Some believe that it reflects the rivalry between Grimani and Pope Clement XI. From its opening night, the work was given a then- unprecedented run of 27 consecutive performances and received much critical acclaim. Observers were full of praise for the quality of the music much of which, in keeping with the contemporary custom, had been borrowed and adapted from other works, including some from other composers. Jacobs performs the work in its original version.