The four-disc box set called the Acoustic Collection: 1999-2002 assembles the three albums Dolly Parton cut for the independent Sugar Hill label, and a hodgepodge bonus DVD. The albums – The Grass Is Blue, Little Sparrow, Halos & Horns – were all critically acclaimed as they signified a return by Parton to her bluegrass and backwoods country roots. That said, there are cover versions here of many songs, including one of Led Zeppelin's infamous, ubiquitous hit, "Stairway to Heaven." The enclosed DVD features five new song mixes for "Seven Bridges Road," "Travelin' Prayer," "Train, Train," "Shine," and "I'm Gone." There are two non-Parton performances recorded at the Dolly Parton Tribute by Kasey Chambers and Sinéad O'Connor, three videos for songs from this collection, and a duet performance between Parton and Norah Jones singing "The Grass Is Blue."
Handel’s two sets of concerti grossi have been mainstays of the Baroque orchestral repertoire for many years and therefore have been embraced by ensembles around the world. They are among the few remaining examples of concertos composed early in his career. The dozen concertos of Handel’s op. 6 have eclipsed the half-dozen of op. 3 in popularity. The purpose of the set was twofold: to serve as interval music in his operas and oratorios, and—via their publication—to ensure dissemination to the various concerto societies and venues of London. Handel solicits comparison to the Corellian model by titling the set Twelve Grand Concertos and by making use of a concertino of two violins, cello, and continuo, a combination that was extremely popular at the time.
Pinnock’s performances of the Bach Harpsichord Concertos first appeared in 1981 and have dominated the catalog ever since. In the solo concertos he plays with real panache, his scholarship tempered with excellent musicianship." "The double, triple and quadruple concertos are digital, and the combination of period instruments and playing of determined vigour certainly makes a bold effect.
This is a very fine set of Mozart's "complete" wind concertos, though Deutsche Grammophon does not make that claim, to their credit. The Flute Concerto #2 is not here, though that work is simply a lazy reworking of the Oboe Concerto. Some fragments for horn are also missing, though we get the Andante for Flute. The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra plays very well throughout, with instrumentals carefully and beautifully balanced.
Simon Preston's recordings of the complete set of Handel's organ concertos with Trevor Pinnock and The English Concert was the first to use the latest musicological research by Anthony Hicks. These recordings remain unsurpassed from a scholarly point of view, and the performances themselves remained a benchmark for at least a decade. They may not be the best versions available now but still have a lot to offer. Preston's performances are alert and still sound very vibrant and strong, yet it must be confessed that the rather harsh sound of Preston's instrument in Opus 7 verges on becoming joyless at times.
One of the more melodic concerts in the series, opening with piano and guitar improvisations, then moving into tracks from Bestiary and other rhythmic pieces from the last decade.
Norwegian bassist and composer Eivind Opsvik merges an interest in early fusion with a characteristically Nordic sensibility. The music on Overseas is atmospheric, full of shifting, dark pastel textures. The rhythms underpinning the sounds always seem to be on the verge of finding a groove, yet remain fluid, almost to the point of formlessness. On "Punchball," for example, seemingly random sounds emerge from a void, peeps and pucks and blips looking for a context. Yet, Opsvik keeps it rooted with a four-note funk phrase every few bars. The sound grows fuller, though not focused until an insistent groove emerges in the closing minutes.
"La scala di seta" is an operatic farsa comica in one act by Gioachino Rossini to a libretto by Giuseppe Maria Foppa. It was first performed in Venice, Italy, at the Teatro San Moisè on 9 May 1812. The overture has been frequently recorded and continues to be featured in the modern concert repertoire.
From 1810 to 1813, the young Rossini composed four Italian farse, beginning with La cambiale di matrimonio (The Bill of Marriage), his first opera, and ending with Il Signor Bruschino. These types of short pieces were popular in Venice at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century. The pieces were intimate, with a cast of five to seven singers, always including a pair of lovers, at least two comic parts, and one or two other minor roles. The style called for much visual comedy improvised by the players. As compared to many genres of opera, acting and comedic talent is more important relative to the required singing ability. Rossini’s farces also have a significant sentimental element.