Desert Poems both consolidates and expands Stephan Micus's solo quest to fashion a music of archetypal, world-ranging import: music–often modal in nature–which would be both as old as the proverbial hills, yet as fresh as tomorrow. If you've followed this multi-instrumentalist's musical odyssey of the past 30-or-so years (this is something like his 15th solo project) you probably won't need any encouragement to buy an album that finds Micus's mastery of such instruments as the sarangi, nay, shakahuchi, steel drum and humble flower pot enhanced by a range of solo and polyphonic vocals. His pan-global sources are filtered to create a somewhat sombre, strongly devotional sense of the deeper rhythms of life to which music may awaken us. Apart from the vocalising on pieces like "Contessa Entellina", standout tracks include the solo shakuhachi feature "First Snow" and an instrumental reworking of "Shen Khar Venakhi", a masterpiece of old Georgian polyphony.
In memoriam Maestro Maazel, Sony Classical re-releases the ‘Maazel Great Recordings’ 30-CD Box to honour his great work.
This program includes some of the least known masterpieces from Ernest Bloch’s nearly 30 works for orchestra. Macbeth: Two Symphonic Interludes is an intoxicating and passionate distillation of Shakespeare’s powerful drama. In Memoriam is a brief elegy dedicated to the pianist Ada Clement, while the Three Jewish Poems were written when Bloch was mourning the death of his father. Originally conceived as a third concerto grosso, Bloch’s last Symphony, in E flat major, is at times emotionally turbulent and deeply spiritual work containing passages of harmonic acerbity.
Two world premiere recordings of pieces for cello by Philip Glass are paired on this debut solo recording by the American Wendy Sutter. The first, Songs and Poems for solo cello, composed for her last year, emphasises the singing quality of the instrument (here she plays on the renowned “ex Vatican Stradivarius”) while Tissues, written originally for Godfrey Reggio’s celebrated film Naqoyqatsi but not used in the final cut, also features percussionist David Cossin and Glass himself on piano.
Songs, Poems and a Lady is a notable proof, which is eligible to be one of the most eminent debuts of this latest season. It is an album which is a sort of auditory analepsis, embellished with the strength of young intentions and a strong know how. It is a pleasure for the ears and so I can suggest to every prog rock and symphonic rock fan to listen to this album and enjoy the music of this Italian band.