This two-CD collection offers a strong, masterfully performed selection of Vaughan Williams' shorter orchestral works. All the best-known pieces are here–the Tallis Fantasia, the Fantasia on Greensleeves, The Lark Ascending, Dives and Lazarus–as well as lesser-known but equally beautiful works such as the Norfolk Rhapsody No. 1, the Concerto Grosso and the Oboe Concerto. Disc One is devoted to performances by Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields; on Disc Two, Barry Wordsworth and the New Queen's Hall Orchestra take over, except for one selection–the fiercely dramatic Partita for Double String Orchestra–performed by Sir Adrian Boult and the London Philharmonic. I did not think there could be a more beautiful performance of The Lark Ascending than the one by Boult and Hugh Bean, but the recording here by Marriner and Iona Brown is at very least its equal. For anyone who loves the music of Vaughan Williams, or for anyone who wants to get acquainted with this great and underrated composer, this double-CD set is a must.
Ernest John Moeran was born in London but grew up in Norfolk and had strong ties with Ireland. While still a student at the Royal College of Music he was inspired by a performance of Vaughan Williams’s Norfolk Rhapsody that seemed “to breathe the very spirit of the English countryside”, and was soon collecting folksongs for himself. Moeran’s transcriptions were taken from English and Irish traditional singers with both rural and seafaring backgrounds, rescuing music and words both entertainingly earthy and sublimely beautiful which would otherwise have died with the artists who performed them.
Williams launched a solo career in 1994 as a soul/dance singer, signed to Columbia Records. Her debut solo single, "All Cried Out!" peaked at No. 60 in the UK Singles Chart. The follow-up, "Everyday Thang", did better, hitting the UK Top 40. It peaked at No. 38. Her next single, the ballad "Not Enough?" managed a No. 65 chart placing. Her debut album, Human Cradle, failed to reach the UK Albums Chart.
Although best remembered for his devotion to the core Austro-Germanic repertoire, Austrian conductor Herbert von Karajan did flirt with the English repertoire in the '50s and early '60s.
As he proved with his recording of A London Symphony – Record of the Year, Gramophone Awards 2001 – Richard Hickox was a Vaughan Williams specialist. This reissue of an original 1995 recording features such lesser known works from the composer as Household Music and Flos Campi. Alternating between the passionate and the tortured, between long-breathed lyricism and moments of obvious pain, Flos Campi has never really found itself in the mainstream concert repertoire, maybe because of its title, misleadingly suggesting jolly music. Household Music has equally suffered from its title, rather an off-hand one for pieces that at their best show the composer’s brilliance as an arranger. Riders to the Sea, however, is a masterpiece, seen as the finest as well as the most concentrated of Vaughan Williams’s works for the stage, conjuring up multiple layers of emotional response to the natural world, a losing battle with the sea, and the God which rules it, for the islanders in the North Atlantic.
Jazz For The Electric Blues Guitarist provides a valuable lesson for those who wish to introduce sophisticated jazz lines and more advanced chord concepts into their playing. This information-packed lesson takes the player on an exciting journey from the basic "jazz" blues progression to advanced chord substitution. Turnarounds and chord families, together with further elaborations and inversions are also discussed, in an easy to understand way, which will spice up your blues playing in no time. As the DVD unfolds, Adrian Ingram reveals the secrets of jazz substitution and improvisation, showing how the fundamental concepts can be used to lift your blues playing onto a higher plateau. Coloristic devices, such as Charlie Christian's worry notes and Wes Montgomery's octaves are also discussed. A detailed tab/music instructional booklet is included as a PDF file on the DVD.