Five centuries, seven languages, and six singers with 35 years of remarkable experience inform this rare collection of choral music. In the world-renowned King's Singers resplendent voices, ancient and modern choral music comes to life with all the blazing immediacy and timeliness of the gospel of the nativity. With 25 pieces of music–ranging from familiar works such as "Coventry Carol" to the obscure Tchaikovsky piece "The Crown of Roses"–the King's Singers move through this hallowed and festive set with the vocal mastery that only three-and-a-half decades of accomplished work together is capable of creating. A number of contemporary carols written in the last century by composers such as John McCabe, Philip Lawson, John Rutter, and others are balanced by pieces by Bach and a host of traditional works. Lawson's "You Are the New Day," performed with a string quartet, stands out as one of the more notable performances. Like most of their music throughout Christmas, it reminds listeners that the art of music often interprets divine aspects gladly realized here on Earth.
Eddie Higgins has been a solid bop pianist for decades, though he seems most appreciated by the folks who run the Japanese label Venus, for whom he has recorded frequently in his golden years. Joined by two-thirds of Phil Woods' longtime rhythm section (Steve Gilmore and Bill Goodwin), along with special guest Scott Hamilton on tenor sax, Higgins explores a dozen ballads, most of which have been favorites of jazz musicians longer than the pianist has been playing professionally…
Largely lacking co-leader Chris Bell, Big Star's second album also lacked something of the pop sweetness (especially the harmonies) of #1 Record. What it possessed was Alex Chilton's urgency (sometimes desperation) on songs that made his case as a genuine rock & roll eccentric. If #1 Record had a certain pop perfection that brought everything together, Radio City was the sound of everything falling apart, which proved at least as compelling.
Georg Philipp Telemann based his compositions on several texts by Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock. Most well-known (at least theoretically) are his settings of parts of the first and the tenth song of the Messiah, which were created in the 1750s and were presented in 1759 in the Hamburg Drillhaus a larger public. Telemann was thus the first to validly transform parts of this famous epic into a musical form. It is quite likely that Telemann and Klopstock met in person, especially since Telemann showed great interest in the latest literary trends up to the very last age. For Telemann, it would have been a challenge to try a poetry written in strict hexameters, which was so completely different from the usual cantata texts. So there are no recitatives and arias, but only a great through-composed form. This is absolutely unique for this time, and once again you are amazed at the genius of the late Telemann! Veronika Winter, Marion Eckstein, Jan Kobow and Klaus Mertens are our soloists, the Telemannische Collegium Michaelstein plays under the direction of Ludger Rémy.
This disc of music by Arvo Pärt offers a generous representative sampling of his orchestral and chamber works from early in his holy minimalist (or, as he preferred, tintinnabuli) phase, mostly from the late 1970s but some as late as 1990. The pieces include some of his most popular works, notably Fratres (which exists in nearly a dozen incarnations), Spiegel in Spiegel (of which there are nearly half as many versions), Summa, and Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten.
First-to-CD reissue of Big Star's 1972 first album. Expected to come housed in a mini-LP type cardboard sleeve. The problem with coming in late on an artwork lauded as "influential" is that you've probably encountered the work it influenced first, so its truly innovative qualities are lost. Thus, if you are hearing Big Star's debut album for the first time decades after its release (as, inevitably, most people must), you may be reminded of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers or R.E.M., who came after – that is, if you don't think of the Byrds and the Beatles circa 1965. What was remarkable about #1 Record in 1972 was that nobody except Big Star (and maybe Badfinger and the Raspberries) wanted to sound like this – simple, light pop with sweet harmonies and jangly guitars.