Fantasy Archive

The 9th Life of LOUIS DRAX, Blu-ray (2017)

The 9th Life of LOUIS DRAX, Blu-ray (2017)

A thriller of a film about a child’s supposed death-defying accidents. The 9th Life of LOUIS DRAX, Blu-ray (2017) Actors: Aaron Paul, Jamie Dornan, Michael Adamthwaite, Aiden Longworth, Oliver Platt Director: Alexandre Aja Studio: Miramax/ Summit/ Lions Gate (2/7/17) Video: 2.39:1 for 16:9 screens, color HD 1080p Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD MA Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish Extras: “The Making of The 9th Life of Louis Drax” Length: 108 min. Rating: ****1/2 The young boy Louis has survived eight near-death accidents already and in the film (during his Ninth birthday picnic) falls off a high cliff into the water in California. A doctor, Allan Pascal, is drawn into the thrilling mystery of this accident and dark coincidences, and also begins to fall for the boy’s beautiful mother, Natalie.  The circumstances of his (and his father) falling off the cliff are hashed over several times. Oliver Platt is great as the therapist, Dr.  Perez, who uses hypnotism and other unorthodox techniques to tap into the boy’s unconscious mind. (For some reason Platt is given no credits for a major role in the film.) The role of his father (who was not his real father) is also good. New clues emerge as the […]

BRUCH: Violin Concerto No. 2; Konzerstueck; In Memorium; Adagio appassionato – BBC Scottish Sym./Martyn Brabbins – Hyperion

BRUCH: Violin Concerto No. 2; Konzerstueck; In Memorium; Adagio appassionato – BBC Scottish Sym./Martyn Brabbins – Hyperion

Max Bruch occupies Vol. 21 of The Romantic Violin Concerto, and with just cause.  BRUCH: Violin Concerto No. 2 in d, Op. 44; Konzertstueck in f-sharp, Op. 84; In Memoriam in c-sharp, Op. 65; Adagio appassionato in f, Op. 57 – Jack Liebeck, v./ BBC Scottish Sym. Orch./ Martyn Brabbins – Hyperion CDA 68055, 68:21 (1/6/17) [Distr. by PIAS] ****:  Jack Liebeck’s recording (10-11 Dec. 2014) extends Hyperion’s The Romantic Violin Concerto series (as Volume 21), here with Max Bruch’s 1877 Second Concerto, a work known to us primarily through the efforts of Jascha Heifetz and Itzhak Perlman. The inspirational force for this alternately lyrical and stentorian piece, Pablo de Sarasate (1844-1908), had worked with Bruch at the Frankfurt and Wiesbaden premieres of the g minor Concerto. The opening movement, in sonata form, casts two opposing ideas after having begun with a mournful Adagio. Some elegant work in the French horns accompanies Liebeck’s suave arioso. His instrument, by the way, soars as only the “Ex-Wilhelmj” Guadagnini of 1785 can. The martial elements move heavily, processional in a tonal syntax similar to that of Mendelssohn. The second movement Recitativo: Allegro moderato might claim Louis Spohr as its spiritual godfather, especially his […]

To Keep the Dark Away = Piano music of SCHULMAN, PROKOFIEV, WANGER, SHATIN – Gayle Martin – Ravello

To Keep the Dark Away = Piano music of SCHULMAN, PROKOFIEV, WANGER, SHATIN – Gayle Martin – Ravello

In the course of documenting her friendship with composer Shatin, Gayle Martin drafts several Romantics. “To Keep the Dark Away” = SCHUMANN (arr. Liszt): Widmung; SHATIN: To Keep the Dark Away – Suite of 5 Pieces; Fantasy on St. Cecilia; PROKOFIEV:  5 Pieces from Romeo and Juliet, Op. 75; WAGNER (arr. Liszt): Ballade of the Flying Dutchman; Isolde’s Liebestod – Gayle Martin, piano – Ravello RR 7937, 64:38 (7/8/16) [Distr. by Naxos] ***: Pianist Gayle Martin and composer Judith Shatin (b. 1949) have had a creative relationship as far back as 1997, when Ms. Martin performed Ms. Shatin’s Fantasy on Saint Cecilia at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. This disc features that work, along with Ms. Shatin’s piano suite To Keep the Dark Away Dr. Shatin teaches at the University of Virginia, where she heads the Center for Computer Music. Pianist Gayle Martin wishes to impart (rec. 10-11 September 2015 and 5 December 2015) her vision of luminous and numinous experience, and so she seeks out those composers and literary artists who exult in a “secret song” of “emotional fervor.” To be sure, Martin’s rendition of Schumann’s Widmung in the Liszt arrangement proves lyrical and dramatic in its “dedication” […]

BACH Selections – Organist Barbara Harbach – MSR

BACH Selections – Organist Barbara Harbach – MSR

Harbach’s Bach breathes the breath of openness and refined imagery. BACH: Prelude and St. Anne Fugue in E-flat major, BWV 552; Toccata and Fugue in F major, BWV 540; An Wasserflussen Babylon, BWV 653; Prelude and Fugue in C minor, BWV 546; Choral Prelude: O Mensch Bewein Dein Sunde Gross, BWV 622; Fantasy and Fugue in G minor, BWV 542; Prelude and Fugue in E minor, BWV 548 “Wedge” – Barbara Harbach, organ – MSR Classics MS 1444, 74:40 [Distr. by Albany] ****: The Fisk organ of the Downtown Presbyterian Church in Rochester NY, and the Schlicker organ of the First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Lyons NY are the settings for this third Bach disc of Barbara Harbach for MSR Classics. Harbach is quite the wunderkind; Curators’ Professor of Music at the University of Missouri St. Louis, she is a prolific performer, researcher, composer, educator, and historical music specialist. I get tired just looking at all of her accomplishments, and maybe this is why I find her Bach so relaxed, genial, and devotional. If that sounds like code for “boring” to you, the truth is anything but. In fact, after all the Bach organ recordings that seem to have been […]

Mordecai Shehori plays Fantasies = Piano works of BEETHOVEN, SCHUMANN, CHOPIN – Cembal d’amour

Mordecai Shehori plays Fantasies = Piano works of BEETHOVEN, SCHUMANN, CHOPIN – Cembal d’amour

Mordecai Shehori plays Fantasies = BEETHOVEN: Fantasia in g minor, Op. 77; SCHUMANN: Fantasia in C Major, Op. 17; CHOPIN: Fantasy in f minor, Op. 49;  Polonaise-Fantasy in A-flat Major, Op. 61 – Mordecai Shehori, piano – Cembal d’amour  CD 182, 62:41 (2/7/16) [www.cembaldamour.com] ****: Beethoven and Schumann works allowing Shehori to improvise within restricted borders. Recorded 22-24 August 2009, this compilation of keyboard fantasies rather unleashes Mordecai Shehori in repertory that allows him – in accord with the colossal demands of the composers – to “improvise” within restricted borders. Shehori opens with Beethoven’s 1808 anomaly, his Fantasia in g minor, whose own designation belies its impatience for that starting point and gravitates to B Major.  In a series of expanding musical periods, Beethoven “settles” for a group of seven variations in B Major, with a kind of germ theme in an adagio section. Besides the explosive and impetuous aspects of the work, Shehori reveals that the fermatas prove just as dramatically potent. The Schumann 1836 Fantasy in C Major – dedicated to Franz Liszt – has its roots in the city of Bonn, which wished to erect a monument to their esteemed musical son.  Schumann spliced his devotion to […]