Precious few countries can boast of a Christmas repertoire as ample and colourful as that possessed by the Czech Republic. The Baroque era imbued the texts of songs with enchanting, tender poetics with awestruck yet perplexed shepherds enthusing about the beautiful infant Jesus. Later on, a growing number of formally more complex pieces (pastorales) were written, most of them taking the form of arias or duets with instrumental accompaniment. A notable composer in this respect was Josef Antonín Sehling. Although still anchored in the Baroque world, he paved the way for the accession of a new musical style. He studied in Vienna and subsequently worked in Prague as a member of Count Václav Morzins renowned orchestra and as second violin at Saint Vitus Cathedral, although standing in as Kapellmeister over the long term (an interesting parallel can be drawn with Zelenka, the counter-bassist at the court orchestra in Dresden). Sehling was Kapellmeister of several Prague churches, including the Church of Our Lady under the Chain, where the present world premiere recording was made.
Available exclusively from 's website, is a compact, 16-disc box set that includes 's 15 albums - from 1972's through 1990's - individually packaged in mini-LP replica sleeves. A 16th disc, dubbed , collects rarities and several of leader 's outside productions for the likes of , , and . There's also a thick booklet with notes penned by . Since 's releases were remastered/reissued in 2004, a fair portion of the group's devout fans will see this as redundant; part of that faction will also covet disc 16, unavailable elsewhere. Those who had been waiting for a comprehensive box finally get one, with a price that should average out to less than 10.00 U.S. dollars per disc.
Bad DNA, Marty Friedman's 2010 offering, is a hard one to place in the discography of the great Marty Friedman. I bought it on impulse again, buying it the day it came out in Japan. It seems he took the experimental electronic influences scattered scarcely across his post-Megadeth albums (think Cheer Girl Rampage) and incorporated them further into his guitar-driver music. In addition, the liner notes say that title track Bad DNA, Weapons of Ecstasy, and Glorious Accident are written by Friedman, Matsuura. I suspect it involves Takeomi Matsuura, who does some sequencing work on this album too and not the well-known Japanese pop singer Aya Matsuura. Anyway, on to the content!