melody Archive

MENDELSSOHN: Songs Without Words; Andante and Rondo capriccioso – Ania Dorfmann, p. – Pristine Audio (2 CDs)

MENDELSSOHN: Songs Without Words; Andante and Rondo capriccioso – Ania Dorfmann, p. – Pristine Audio (2 CDs)

Mark Obert-Thorn restores Ania Dorfmann’s impressive effort in the complete set of Mendelssohn’s poetic tone-pictures.  MENDELSSOHN: Songs Without Words; Andante and Rondo capriccioso, Op. 14 – Ania Dorfmann, p. – Pristine Audio PAKM 069 (2 CDs), TT: 2:12:21 [avail. in various formats from www.pristineclassical.com] ****:   In his extensive “Producer’s Note,” Mark Obert-Thorn justly laments […]

Oded TZUR – Like a Great River – Enja

Oded TZUR – Like a Great River – Enja

Oded TZUR – Like a Great River – Enja 7754,  39:37 (9/4/16) ****: (Oded Tzur; alto saxophone/ Petros Klampanis; bass/ Shai Maestro; piano/ Ziv Ravitz; drums) An innovative Israeli saxophonist working on a concept inspired by the Indian Classical bansuri master Hariprasad Chaurasia. Israel has been profligate in its production and export of jazz musicians. […]

Jeff Libman, guitar – Strange Beauty – CellarLive

Jeff Libman, guitar – Strange Beauty – CellarLive

Jeff Libman, guitar – Strange Beauty [TrackList follows] – CellarLive CL040916, 51:01 ***: A straightforward release with a strong unimpeded style.  (Jeff Libman – guitar; Michael Kocour – piano; Ben Hedquist – acoustic bass; Dom Moio – drums) There is a maxim in George Bernard Shaw’s play Man And Superman which goes as follows:” He […]

The Sugar Hill Trio – Drive – Goschart Music

The Sugar Hill Trio – Drive – Goschart Music

The Sugar Hill Trio – Drive – Goschart Music 031547 [Distr. by CD Baby], 51:26 (9/12/16) ***1/2: A sax-led trio with an advanced approach. The Sugar Hill Trio describes itself as a “modern-day, innovative/avant-garde jazz combo” which is open enough to cover almost anything approximately jazz-like in sound. In fact, their approach to the tradition […]

TCHAIKOVSKY: Piano Concerto No. 2; KHACHATURIAN: Piano Concerto – Xiayin Wang, p. – Royal Scottish Nat. Orch./Peter Oundjian – Chandos

TCHAIKOVSKY: Piano Concerto No. 2; KHACHATURIAN: Piano Concerto – Xiayin Wang, p. – Royal Scottish Nat. Orch./Peter Oundjian – Chandos

Two little known Romantic Russian piano concertos thrill in expansive SACD sound. TCHAIKOVSKY: Piano Concerto No. 2; KHACHATURIAN: Piano Concerto – Xiayin Wang, p. – Royal Scottish Nat. Orch./Peter Oundjian – Chandos multichannel SACD CHSA 5167, 75:54 ****: The pairing of these two Russian Romantic warhorses brings together two works that deserve to be performed […]

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

Baden Powell, guitar – Images On Guitar – MPS vinyl

Baden Powell, guitar – Images On Guitar – MPS vinyl

Baden Powell – Images On Guitar – MPS 0210990MSW (1971/2016) stereo vinyl, 41:02 ****: Brazil’s legendary guitarist shines on this vinyl re-mastering! (Baden Powell – guitar, vocals; Janine de Walleye – vocal; Ernesto Gonsalves – bass; Alfredo Bessa – atabaque, percussion; Joaquim Paes Henriques – drums) Baden Powell was an influential guitarist. The Brazilian native […]

Monteux Tanglewood Volume 3: 1961, Part One – Concertos  – RACHMANINOFF, BARTOK, VIOTTI – Pristine Audio

Monteux Tanglewood Volume 3: 1961, Part One – Concertos – RACHMANINOFF, BARTOK, VIOTTI – Pristine Audio

The Monteux set of Boston collaborations proves exciting and compelling in new repertory. Monteux Tanglewood Volume 3: 1961, Part One – Concertos  – RACHMANINOFF: Piano Concerto No. 2 in c, Op. 18; BARTOK: Rhapsody No. 1 for Violin and Orchestra; VIOTTI: Violin Concerto No. 22 in a – Gary Graffman, p./ Isaac Stern, v./ Boston […]

Benny Golson – Horizon Ahead – HighNote

Benny Golson – Horizon Ahead – HighNote

Benny Golson – Horizon Ahead – HighNote HCD7288 54:54 ***: Benny Golson is a tenor saxophonist in the hard bop tradition and always worthy of a listen. (Benny Golson – tenor sax; Mike LeDonne – piano; Buster Williams – bass; Carl Allen – drums) There is an old saying which runs along the following lines: […]

SCHUMANN: Phantasie in C Major, Op. 17; BRAHMS: Ten Intermezzi – Iskander Zakirov, p. – Blue Griffin

SCHUMANN: Phantasie in C Major, Op. 17; BRAHMS: Ten Intermezzi – Iskander Zakirov, p. – Blue Griffin

Kindred Romantic spirits Schumann and Brahms provide the lyric and passionate content of Zakirov’s recital.  SCHUMANN: Phantasie in C Major, Op. 17; BRAHMS: Ten Intermezzi – Iskander Zakirov, p. – Blue Griffin BGR 387, 64:38 (1/5/16) [Distr. by Albany] ****: Iskander Zakirov was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan to a family of professional musicians. He started […]

Charles Rumback – In the New Year – ears&eyes

Charles Rumback – In the New Year – ears&eyes

Modern jazz music which seems to pull apart even as it attains continuity. Charles Rumback – In the New Year [TrackList follows] – ears&eyes ee:15-o38, 52:40 [12/4/15] ***1/2: (Charles Rumback – drums, co-producer; Caroline Davis – alto saxophone; Jeff Parker – guitar; Jason Stein – bass clarinet; John Tate – bass) Chicago drummer Charles Rumback […]