The title Paris Days, Berlin Nights is a little misleading. One might expect French songs about morning-after regrets and German ones about living cynically hedonistically, but this collection goes way beyond that. It includes songs about war, abandonment, the indifference of time to human suffering, and gritty street life, with music by Piazzolla and Polish-Jewish composer Chava Alberstein in addition to the expected Kurt Weill, Hanns Eisler, and Jacques Brel.
Gottfried August Homilius, now considered the greatest cantor of Dresden's Kreuzchor, was, for a while a student of Johann Sebastian Bach. A composer of music for the church, and a great organist, he was described, in 1790, as 'one of the greatest and worthiest organists alive.'
While Homilius's name is found on only one score for this passion, stylistic criteria make it almost certain that he wrote this music. This St. Matthew Passion closely resembles Bach's passions - it contains choral movements, recitatives and arias with orchestral accompaniment, and tells the story of the Passion in the same way as was done in churches all over Germany in the 18th century. However, Homilius uses many more short sections with recitative (a total of 89 pieces altogether - most less than one minute long), but his arias are generally much longer than those in Bach's passions and cantatas.
This two-LP set features the great multi-instrumentalist Eric Dolphy mostly stretching out on standards, coming up with very original statements on such songs as "Hot House," "When Lights Are Low," "Hi Fly," "I'll Remember April" and "God Bless the Child" (the latter taken as an unaccompanied bass clarinet solo), in addition to two brief originals. With trumpeter Benny Bailey helping out on half of the selections along with a strong rhythm section, the two-fer would be a perfect introduction for listeners not familiar with Eric Dolphy's innovative style, but this set is very difficult to find.
International superstars Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón give inspired performances in Massenet's passionate opera, Manon. Netrebko gives full range to her abilities as a singer and actress in portraying innocence, lust, greed and, above all, beauty. It is Netrebko's mesmerizing performance which makes Villazón's youthful passion and ultimate despair even more authentic and heart-breaking. The setting in this production has been updated to the 1950s and the entire opera takes place as if Manon were the star of her own film. Indeed, Netrebko transforms her character from the innocence of Audrey Hepburn through the voluptuousness of Marilyn Monroe into the tragedy of Ingrid Bergman. The work of director Vincent Paterson, known for his work on Broadway and in music videos, is especially effective in creating an energetic and ultimately tragic performance with stunning visual splendor. Netrebko and Villazón, the true dream-team for this opera, are joined by the conductor Daniel Barenboim who leads the Staatskapelle Berlin in a spontaneous and passionate performance.
YELLO will play in Berlin on August 31 2017 at IFA Sommergarten, Messe Berlin. Supported by a brilliant cast of live musicians and background singers, YELLO will present their spectacular new show in 2017, featuring songs from their 13th studio album TOY as well as a selection of their signature songs from a recording career that spans over four decades.