Philips's collection of major works that have propelled Gavin Bryars to New Music stardom is an effective overview of his music. The longest work is his Cello Concerto, handsomely played by Julian Lloyd Webber with a big, colorful tone and sustained intensity throughout its contemplative half-hour. A comparable mood pervades the bright tintinnabulating textures of the whimsically titled One Last Bar, Then Joe Can Sing. Similar as well, in their attractive serenity and suppressed sadness, are many of the other works here, prime among them the viola concerto in all but name, The North Shore, a tone painting of the rugged cliffs of northeast England. Adnan Songbook, settings of six poems by Lebanese poet Etel Adnan, are beautifully sung by soprano Valerie Anderson and delicately scored for a small ensemble. Bryars's biggest hits, The Sinking of the Titanic and Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet, have inspired him to numerous reworkings and capsuled fragments. They're represented by Titanic Lament, depicting a hymn tune dissolving into gray, watery textures, and two very different four-minute versions of Jesus' Blood, both with Tom Waits.
"This compact disc presents all the studio recordings that remain from a time when, as a twenty-five year old champion of the avant-garde, I had to seek for every possible occasion of playing the new works of our composers. In those days, they were hounded and ripped apart by ideological critics; now they are recognized as the masters of new music. Audiences today need to realize with how much excitement and trust people discovered and took over the new currents seeping in from Europe through the Iron Curtain. These works represent and symbolize a marvelous epoch of friendship, a time when we came to know new horizons and discovered ourselves in the Soviet Union's huge, heterogeneous spaces." (Alexei Lubimov. May 2003)
"Ferenc Fricsay: A Life in Music" consists mostly of top notch 1950s mono recordings in excellent sound, from DG's back catalog. I knew of Ferenc Fricsay (1914-1963) mostly from his recording of Bartok's Piano Concertos 1,2,and 3 with pianist Geza Anda. Fricsay also recorded Mozart's operas "Don Giovanni" and "Die Zauberflote", both with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau in the cast for DG; also Beethoven's 9th Symphony; Bartok's "Concerto for Orchestra", and "Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta", all for DG.
A new release from Polyphony, with Stephen Layton at the helm, always brings with it an assurance of singing of the highest possible calibre. Bring together a choir of such quality and the composer responsible for some of the most beautiful, transcendent music ever written, and the resultant disc is surely what must be one of, if not the most spectacular releases of the year. New works from Arvo Pärt are invariably cherished, and this disc contains no fewer than five world premiere recordings—Dopo la vittoria, Nunc dimittis, Littlemore Tractus, My heart's in the Highlands and Salve regina. It was recorded in the presence of the enraptured composer earlier this year at the Temple Church, London. This is a disc of achingly lovely music at its most mesmeric—prepare to be stunned.
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.
"Insgesamt eröffnet die Aufnahme ruhige, intensive Klänge und offenbart eine große klangliche Schönheit - Unterhaltung auf höchstem Niveau." ~klassik.com