Monthly Archive: October 2016

“Traceur – American Music for Clarinet and Piano” = Works of ROBERT BEASER, JOSEPH SCHWANTNER, LUKAS FOSS, MARTI EPSTEIN, DEREK BERMEL & DAVID GOMPPER – Michael Norsworthy, clar. – New Focus

“Traceur – American Music for Clarinet and Piano” = Works of ROBERT BEASER, JOSEPH SCHWANTNER, LUKAS FOSS, MARTI EPSTEIN, DEREK BERMEL & DAVID GOMPPER – Michael Norsworthy, clar. – New Focus

An outstanding set of modern works played and recorded flawlessly. “Traceur – American Music for Clarinet and Piano” = ROBERT BEASER: Souvenirs; JOSEPH SCHWANTNER: Black Anemones; LUKAS FOSS: Three American Pieces; MARTI EPSTEIN: Nebraska Impromptu; DEREK BERMEL: SchiZm; DAVID GOMPPER: Traceur – Michael Norsworthy, clarinet/David Gompper, p. – New Focus Recordings FCR172, 68:47 [Distr. by […]

Indignation, Blu-ray (2016)

Indignation, Blu-ray (2016)

A fine filmic version of a Philip Roth novel. Indignation, Blu-ray (2016) Cast: Sarah Gadon, Logan Lerman, Ben Rosenfield, Noah Robbins, Tracy Letts Studio: Lionsgate (11/8/16) Director: James Schamus Video: 1.85:1 for 16:9 screens, HD color 1080p Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish Extras: “Timeless: Connecting the Past to the Present,” […]

PROKOFIEV: Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major, Op. 19; Violin Concerto No. 2 in g, Op. 35; Solo Sonata in D Major, Op. 115 – Vadim Gluzman, v./ Estonian Nat. Sym. Orch./ Neeme Jarvi – BIS

PROKOFIEV: Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major, Op. 19; Violin Concerto No. 2 in g, Op. 35; Solo Sonata in D Major, Op. 115 – Vadim Gluzman, v./ Estonian Nat. Sym. Orch./ Neeme Jarvi – BIS

Strong collaborations and incisive sound editing give us fine interpretations of Prokofiev’s major violin works. PROKOFIEV: Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major, Op. 19; Violin Concerto No. 2 in g, Op. 35; Solo Sonata in D Major, Op. 115 – Vadim Gluzman, v./ Estonian Nat. Sym. Orch./ Neeme Jarvi – BIS multichannel SACD-2142, 60:21 […]

Don Friedman Piano Trio – Strength and Sanity – Newvelle vinyl

Don Friedman Piano Trio – Strength and Sanity – Newvelle vinyl

Don Friedman – honoring Booker Little… Don Friedman – Strength and Sanity – Newvelle NV004LP – audiophile vinyl (Available only through newvelle-records.com) ****: (Don Friedman – piano/ Phil Palombi – bass/ Shinnosuke Takahashi – drums) For jazz vinyl and CD collectors with extensive collections, it is often a chore to keep track of our most […]

OLA GJEILO: Ubi caritas & other works = Str. quartet & guitar – Decca

OLA GJEILO: Ubi caritas & other works = Str. quartet & guitar – Decca

My second exposure to this composer, and it is a very satisfying experience.
B01BIEK8JO OLA GJEILO: Ubi caritas; The Spheres; The Ground; Sanctus: London; The Crossing; Northern Lights; The Lake Isle; Serenity; Tundra; Reflections; Sacred Heart – Ola Gjeilo, p./ Voces 8/ Tenebrae/ Chamber Orch. of London/ Thomas Gould, Ben Hancox, Hannah Dawson & Ciaran McCabe, violins/ Jon Thorne & Simone van der Giessen, violas/ Matthew Sharp, cello/ Kristian Kvalvaag, guitar – Decca B0024646, 47:34 [Distr. by Universal] ****:
Northern Lights is a spectacular SACD on Chandos released a few years ago. It has a couple of the selections here. The forces on this stereo CD (not an SACD) are equally adept at Gjeilo’s idiom, and the sound on this disc is very special indeed, but it cannot compare to the sonic splendor of the Chandos. In that 2012 review I said that “It is in effect a religious album though you would not know it by Chandos’s clever masking of that fact”, and that the composer creates “basically diatonic and melody-driven compositions, making for a quaint and sometimes ingenious combination of Slavic feeling set in the mode of someone like Daniel Pinkham.”
Listening to this disc, I hear little to change my mind.
Gjeilo is no Eric Whitacre—his harmonies refuse the tense, ecstatic, almost overbearing dissonances that fall as easily as consonances on the ear. He is more melody-centered (though not in a traditional sense) and his harmony is calmer and far more pointed. The pieces on this disc use a wide variety of instrumental accompaniment, which differs from the Chandos disc, though I must admit that I don’t hear in the instruments anything that is particularly idiomatic to those instruments. In other words, you could swap out one for another and still come away with the same effect, albeit a slightly different coloring, even though we do have some instrument-only pieces in this collection.
Whichever way you look at it, the music is exceptionally engaging and non-threatening while at the same time alluring and enticing in a very subtle manner. If your blood pressure is high, this might be the ticket. The performers are top-notch, and only the short playing time irritates me, especially as Chandos saw fit to give us an hour, and on as SACD. Nicely done, and well worth considering.
—Steven Ritter

Nils Okland Band – Kjolvatn – ECM

Nils Okland Band – Kjolvatn – ECM

Nils Okland Band – Kjolvatn – ECM 2382, 49:25 6/26/15 ***: (Nils Okland; viola d’amore, fiddle/ Rolf-Erik Nystrom; saxophones/ Sigbjorn Apeland; harmonium/ Mats Eilertson; double-bass/ Hakon Morch Stene; percussion, vibraphone) A November open-boat journey with ECM. Here we have an ECM production in the by now well-established Nordic folk-jazz genre. The cover features the inevitable […]

Erik Then-Bergh – The Complete Electrola and Deutsche Grammophone Recordings, 1938-1958 = Works of HANDEL, BEETHOVEN, BACH, SCHUMANN, CHOPIN & REGER – APR (2-CDs)

Erik Then-Bergh – The Complete Electrola and Deutsche Grammophone Recordings, 1938-1958 = Works of HANDEL, BEETHOVEN, BACH, SCHUMANN, CHOPIN & REGER – APR (2-CDs)

Mark Obert-Thorn and Appian Records restore Erik Then-Bergh to prominence. 
Erik Then-Bergh – The Complete Electrola and Deutsche Grammophone Recordings, 1938-1958 = HANDEL: Suite No. 4 in e minor; BACH (arr. BUSONI): Chaconne from Partita No. 2 in d, BWV 1004; BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata No. 28 in A Major, Op. 101; Bagatelles, Op. 33: Nos. […]

Miroslav Vitous – Infinite Search – Embryo/Warner Music/ PurePleasure – vinyl

Miroslav Vitous – Infinite Search – Embryo/Warner Music/ PurePleasure – vinyl

Jazz-rock fusion of distinction… Miroslav Vitous – Infinite Search – Embryo/Warner Music/ PurePleasure PPAN SD 524 – stereo vinyl (1969-2016) ***1/2: (Miroslav Vitous – bass; Joe Henderson – tenor sax; John McLaughlin – electric guitar; Herbie Hancock – piano; Jack DeJohnette – drums; (Joe Chambers replaces DeJohnette on “Epilogue”)) Bassist Miroslav Vitous was only 22 […]

Dinah Washington – Back to the Blues – Parlophone/ PurePleasure vinyl

Dinah Washington – Back to the Blues – Parlophone/ PurePleasure vinyl

Dinah Washington – Returning to her roots… Dinah Washington – Back to the Blues – Parlophone/ PurePleasure PPAN SR 25189 – stereo vinyl (1963/2016) ****: (Dinah Washington – vocals, Fred Norman – arranger and conductor; backed by largely unknown artists with exception of Eddie Chamblee and Illinois Jacquet on tenor sax, and Billy Butler on […]

Marian Anderson – Let Freedom Ring = Works of DONIZETTI, SCHUBERT, BRAHMS, SCHUBERT SIBELIUS & Others –

Marian Anderson – Let Freedom Ring = Works of DONIZETTI, SCHUBERT, BRAHMS, SCHUBERT SIBELIUS & Others –

Musical and social history are well served by this historic restoration devoted to the art of Marian Anderson. Marian Anderson – Let Freedom Ring = TRAD: “America”; DONIZETTI: “Fia dunque vero…O mio Fernando” from La Favorita; SCHUBERT: Ave Maria; “Gospel Train”; “Trampin’”; BRAHMS: “Immer leiser wird mein Schlummer,” Op. 105, No. 2; “Von ewiger Liebe,” […]

BELA BARTOK: String Quartets Nos. 2, 4, & 6 – Jerusalem Quartet – Harmonia mundi

BELA BARTOK: String Quartets Nos. 2, 4, & 6 – Jerusalem Quartet – Harmonia mundi

BELA BARTOK: String Quartets Nos. 2, 4, & 6 – Jerusalem Quartet – Harmonia mundi 902235, 78:51 [11/4/16] *****: (Jerusalem Quartet; Alexander Pavlovsky & Sergei Bresler – violins; Ori Kam – viola; Kyril Zlotnikov – violoncello) Bartok without flinching. In March of 2013, the Jerusalem Quartet came to Portland, Oregon and performed the entire cycle […]

Cory Weeds Quintet featuring David Hazeltine – It’s Easy To Remember – CellarLive

Cory Weeds Quintet featuring David Hazeltine – It’s Easy To Remember – CellarLive

Cory Weeds Quintet featuring David Hazeltine – It’s Easy To Remember – CellarLive CL031716, 52:58 ****: An enthusiastic session from understanding and open-minded partners. (Cory Weeds – tenor saxophone; David Hazeltine – piano; Joe Magnarelli – trumpet; Paul Gill – acoustic bass; Jason Tiemann – drums) Here comes Cory Weeds. In what surely must be […]

Papa Hemingway in Cuba (2016)

Papa Hemingway in Cuba (2016)

A fine film biopic of Hemingway in Havana. Papa Hemingway in Cuba (2016) Cast: Giovanni Ribisi, Joely Richardson, Minka Kelly, Adrian Sparks Studio: 20th Century Fox (10/25/16) Video: 2.40:1 or 16:9 screens, color Audio: English & Spanish DD 5.1 Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish Extras: Theatrical trailer, Previews of other films Length: 110 min. Rating: **** […]

Audio News for October 28, 2016

Audio News for October 28, 2016

LA Philharmonic’s Gustavo Dudamel Connecting with Kids and Classical Music – Just like Leonard Bernstein before him, the conductor with the wild curly hair and passionate conducting style has launched a music education program to provide instruments and training for about 800 kids from underserved communities in LA. He founded the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles […]

WAGNER: Das Rheingold (opera) – Soloists/ Hong Kong Philharmonic Orch./ Jaap van Zweden – Naxos

WAGNER: Das Rheingold (opera) – Soloists/ Hong Kong Philharmonic Orch./ Jaap van Zweden – Naxos

A fine effort from an esoteric source, perhaps a presage of things to come. WAGNER: Das Rheingold (complete opera) – Matthias Goerne (Wotan)/ Kim Begley (Loge)/ Michelle DeYoung (Fricka)/ Deborah Humble (Erda)/ Peter Sidhom (Alberich)/ Anna Samuil (Freia)/ Kwangchul Youn (Fasolt)/ Stephen Milling (Fafner)/ David Cangelosi (Mime)/ Charles Reid (Froh)/ Oleksandr Pushniak (Donner)/ Eri Nakamura […]

TAVENER: Missa Wellensis; The Lord’s Prayer; Love bade me welcome & others – Wells Cathedral Choir/ Matthew Owens – Signum Classics

TAVENER: Missa Wellensis; The Lord’s Prayer; Love bade me welcome & others – Wells Cathedral Choir/ Matthew Owens – Signum Classics

A must-have for Tavener fans. TAVENER: Missa Wellensis; The Lord’s Prayer; Love bade me welcome; Preces and Responses (Part One); I will lift up mine eyes (Psalm 121); Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis (Collegium Regale); Preces and Responses (Part Two); Song for Athene; Prayer for the healing of the sick; They are all gone into the […]

FRANK MARTIN: Ein Totentanz zu Basel im Jahre 1943 – ARMAB Orch. – Breda Sacrament Choir/ Hineni String Orch./ Bastiaan Blomhert – CPO

FRANK MARTIN: Ein Totentanz zu Basel im Jahre 1943 – ARMAB Orch. – Breda Sacrament Choir/ Hineni String Orch./ Bastiaan Blomhert – CPO

A unique play reveals music of substance from Swiss composer Frank Martin. FRANK MARTIN: Ein Totentanz zu Basel im Jahre 1943 – ARMAB Orch. – Breda Sacrament Choir/ Hineni String Orch./ Basel Side Drums/ Bastiaan Blomhert – CPO 777 997-2, 66:08, ****: B01HOU7GMI This CD is an example of how many amazing works of well-known […]

TAVERNER: Mater Christi Sanctissima; Missa Mater Christi sanctissima; Mass ‘The Western Wynde’ – Westminster Abbey Choir/ James O’Donnell – Hyperion

TAVERNER: Mater Christi Sanctissima; Missa Mater Christi sanctissima; Mass ‘The Western Wynde’ – Westminster Abbey Choir/ James O’Donnell – Hyperion

Wonderful readings of two standards. TAVERNER: Mater Christi Sanctissima; Missa Mater Christi sanctissima; Mass ‘The Western Wynde’ – Westminster Abbey Choir/ James O’Donnell – Hyperion CDA68147, 58:36 [Distr. by Harmonia mundi] *****: John Taverner was one of those transitional composers who straddled the fence from Catholicism to Protestantism, but unlike his confrere William Byrd, his […]

50 Years of Star Trek (2016)

50 Years of Star Trek (2016)

A wonderful documentary celebrating the 50th anniversary of Star Trek. 50 Years of Star Trek (2016) Cast: Interviews with Leonard Nimoy, Michelle Nichols, Walter Koenig, Whoopi Goldberg, D.C. Fontana, Ronald D. Moore & others Studio: A & E History Channel/ Lionsgate (11/1/16) Director: Ian Roumain Video: 1.78:1 for 16:9 screens, color Audio: English, English SDH, […]

Audio News for October 25, 2016

Audio News for October 25, 2016

Terry Currier of Portland’s Music Millennium Wins Award – The Independent Spirit Award was given to Terry Currier at the Music Biz 2017 Convention in Nashville. He has been a true music business pioneer for four-plus decades, with his concept of live in-store performances, and for helping to create the Coalition of Independent Music Stores […]

La Mascarade – Works of Robert De Visee and Francesco Corbetta – Rolf Lislevand – ECM New Series

La Mascarade – Works of Robert De Visee and Francesco Corbetta – Rolf Lislevand – ECM New Series

La Mascarade – Works of Robert De Visee and Francesco Corbetta – Rolf Lislevand – ECM New Series 2288, 48:13 (5/27/16) *****: (Rolf Lislevand, Baroque guitar & theorbo) The wonders of the French Baroque on contrasting plucked instruments. The Kingdom of France in the age of Absolutism was organized from the center outward.  At the […]