Filmed live in Baden-Baden by the veteran director Brian Large, Renée Fleming makes her debut in the role of Ariadne together with fellow key Strauss interpreters Sophie Koch and Christian Thielemann, following on from their Rosenkavalier triumph. Thielemann conducts the Staatskapelle Dresden, the orchestra to whom Strauss dedicated his Alpine Symphony and which premiered Feuersnot, Salome, Elektra, Der Rosenkavalier and Daphne. Fleming's voice might have been made for Ariadne and she achieved a great personal triumph in this production: “The chief glory of the evening was hearing Renée Fleming, the Straussian soprano par excellence, making her role debut as Ariadne… As the possessor of what is, possibly, the most beautiful soprano voice in the world, she put her vocal treasures in the service of an empathic, nuanced interpretation of the role. From the creamy top, through a rich, warm middle, to the bewitching, darker colours of her lower register, Fleming poured her magnificent sound into Strauss’s enchanting melodic arcs, animating the sadness, vulnerability, and desire of the bereft princess…” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
'Mission Man' was the third album from Canadian melodic rockers Von Groove, whose 1992 self-titled debut remains one of the best arena rock albums of that decade. Von Groove released a series of high quality melodic rock albums since that debut, and 'Mission Man' is one of their better albums. Von Groove fans should definitely pick it up, and fans of bands like Harem Scarem, Giant and Tyketto will also find a lot to love here.
Adelbert von Deyen is a relatively obscure electronic artist whose style is very similar to the famed Klaus Schulze, even down to the album covers! Rightfully so, he claims Schulze as his main influence. His career lasted from the late Seventies to the early to mid-Eighties. "Atmosphere", Adelbert von Deyen's third release, is the first album on which he starts to show his own musical style and direction rather than sounding like a clone of Klaus Schulze. The title track still has a strong Schulze influence but there are now unique touches and differences that distinguish this as Von Deyen's work. The result is a much more satisfying release than either "Sternzeit" or "Nordborg"…
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.
Swedish singer, songwriter, and keyboardist Anna von Hausswolff issued her debut full-length Singing from the Grave in 2012. Despite its sobering title, the album was full of melodic, fragile, Gothic ballads. On Ceremony, the term "Gothic" applies even more here than on its predecessor, yet the music has progressed almost immeasurably. Von Hausswolff employed an Annedal church organ as her primary instrument on this date (it's on nine of the 13 songs), though she also plays piano and synth. Its amazing array of tones, sounds, and timbres color the proceedings with an array of possibilities most pop recordings never imagine, let alone use. Further, Von Hausswolff's approach here has been influenced directly – and admittedly – by the post-metal sonics of Earth and the groundbreaking vocal innovations of Diamanda Galas.
Released in 2000, Drivin' off the Edge of the World is the fifth studio album by Canadian melodic rockers Von Groove. This is a band that deserved far more attention when they debuted in 1992, so it's nice to see that they stuck together and continued releasing albums long after this kind of music fell out of favor with mainstream audiences. It's also nice to know that the band has not compromised their sound in any way. While they've obviously gained in maturity and experience, the music on Drivin' off the Edge of the World is stylistically very similar to what you'd find on Von Groove's self-titled debut. This is solid melodic hard rock music from start to finish, and confirms Von Groove's status as one of the best bands in the genre.