This DVD of Ariadne is a 1978 film based on Filippo Sanjust’s Vienna State Opera production. The bustling Prologue is set in the backstage area of the mogul’s palace and the 18th century costumes fit neatly. In the opera proper, the stage is transformed into a very stagey desert island with an improbable set of stairs leading to the heroine’s cave, the action spilling over into the theatre’s side boxes at times. While there’s nothing particularly imaginative about the production, it never distracts from the main event–the music. Strauss was profligate in his melodic gifts, his ability to make a reduced orchestra sound big, and his wonderful obsession with the female voice, which yields many glorious moments in the opera. Lavish casting helps.
For some time now, I have been saddened by the seeming disappearance of the "true" musical avant-garde. Yes, there have been some promising new releases from young composers eager to experiment; Rebecca Saunders, Jason Eckardt, and some of Matthias Pintscher's work come to mind, though it's difficult to tell whether these efforts will be sustained. Luciano Berio is dead.
Big Sleep were a Welsh band whose inflence was far beyond their sole album offering released in 1971. The band members (formerly with Eyes Of Blue) would all soon head for greater things in bands such as Gentle Giant, Man and Wild Turkey (formed by ex-Jethro Tull bassist Glenn Cornick). An album that features many fine songs and styles, "Bluebell Wood", (originally released on the highly collectable Pagusus label), has been sought after by collectors for many years thanks to its influence and place in the history of British progressive rock and in the annals of Welsh rock. Remastered from the original master tapes, “Bluebell Wood” has never sounded so good. This release is sure to appeal to followers of Man and Gentle Giant in particular. The First ever- official CD release for this classic album.