Harpsichordist Martha Cook here records Bach's Kunst der Fuge, BWV 1080 (The Art of the Fugue), with a specific interpretive framework in mind. The work, Cook believes, was devotional and intimate in intent; it is, she writes, a "musical prayer," and it embodies the parables and exhortation found in the biblical Book of Luke, 14:27-35. Interested readers are invited to consult the booklet for more details. Making the supposition work involves discarding the version of the work published after Bach's death by C.P.E. Bach and others, and it also involves some of the numerology that so often seems to crop up in connection with Bach's larger works. There's some justification in earlier German music for regarding Bach's instrumental music in this programmatic way; Bach would have known the Biblische Historien keyboard sonatas of 1700 by one of his key predecessors, Johann Kuhnau. But what's missing is any evidence of why Bach, by the end of his life a revered figure, might have wanted to embed secret messages in Die Kunst der Fuge. The unalloyed good news is that you can disregard the stated method of interpretation and listen to the performance in the abstract. It's very powerful.
Sogno consists entirely of new compositions, much of which are deliberately skewed toward the pop audience whom Andrea Bocelli was well on his way to earning in the spring of 1999. In other words, it's an album that seems to be a progression, at least on the surface, but it's also a consolidation of the crossover audience that he wooed over the course of the late '90s. Sogno pulls off that trick, balancing Bocelli's opera background with modern pop and Italian music. That stance alone – finding a middle ground between classical and modern pop music – will alienate the purists (who, truth be told, haven't been all that thrilled with Bocelli in the first place), but this doesn't discredit the music…
All six of the iconic Johnny Cash American Recordings LP's are now available in their entirety in one box for the first time. Produced by legendary producer Rick Rubin these 6 180gsm LP's are housed in a beautiful 12x12 cloth covered box.
Albums included are: American Recordings (1994), Unchained (1996), American III: Solitary Man (2000), American IV: The Man Comes Around (2002), American V: A Hundred Highways (2006), American IV: Ain't No Grave (2010).
The pieces brought together on this CD range widely, from ceremonial works associated with affairs of state to intimate compositions addressing moments of great personal significance. Two of the three pieces by Parry best exemplify this contrast: if I was glad – written for the coronation of Edward VII and premiered in chaotic circumstances – fits into the former category, ‘My soul, there is a country’ (from Songs of Farewell) – composed in the year of his death – belongs in the latter.