Too often, CDs that are mostly originals offer more preening than melody. This isn't the case with The Soccerball, a delightful collection that is 76.9-percent original and 100-percent interesting. Bill Mays, Martin Wind, and Matt Wilson have recorded together before, notably on Out in PA, another fine showcase for the trio's compositional talents. Here Peter Weniger brings his soulful, funky, tenor voice to their explorations, which sometimes involve tinkering with familiar themes: the joyous title tune is loosely based on the chord progressions of Nat Adderley's "Work Song," while Weniger's "Garrigue" is an inversion on the changes of "What Is This Thing Called Love?"
This disc of music by Arvo Pärt offers a generous representative sampling of his orchestral and chamber works from early in his holy minimalist (or, as he preferred, tintinnabuli) phase, mostly from the late 1970s but some as late as 1990. The pieces include some of his most popular works, notably Fratres (which exists in nearly a dozen incarnations), Spiegel in Spiegel (of which there are nearly half as many versions), Summa, and Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten.
The biblical story of the princess Judith, who seduces and then beheads the invading Assyrian general Holofernes, has attracted composers from the early days of opera almost down to the present day with its mixture of gore, patriotic self-sacrifice, and latent feminist themes.