28th December 2012 marks the 75th Anniversary of the death of Maurice Ravel, the great French composer, best-known for his beautiful melodies, orchestral & instrumental textures and mesmeric compositional effects. Many consumers will know Ravel through his masterpieces, such as: Boléro, Pavane pour une infant défunte, Rapsodie espagnole, Gaspard de la nuit, Ma Mère l’oye, Daphnis et Chloë, Le Tombeau de Couperin and La Valse. For the first time ever, a 14-CD Box Set containing the COMPLETE EDITION of Ravel’s compositions. This is the flagship product, the first time ever that a complete Ravel Box has been issued by any classical label.
Maria-Joào Pires has recorded these concertos before, for Erato, and this experience shows in assured playing. In K449 I find the sound of the Vienna Philharmonic, recorded in Vienna's Musikverein, too big: the string section seems large and the hall over-reverberant. Furthermore, the piano sounds plummy, and even those who dislike the fortepiano may question its suitability. With these reservations, one can enjoy Pires's deft and sensitive performance, without strong individuality but offering consistent intelligence, and the brisk finale shows her and Abbado at their best. Even so, this is a romanticized slow movement; the gooey orchestral sound does not help, but the pianist is also partly responsible in a way that I have sometimes noted in her performances of Mozart's sonatas.
For this all-Mozart twofer from Sony, piano virtuoso Lang Lang, conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt, and the Vienna Philharmonic present a program of piano concertos, piano sonatas, and several short solo pieces that give a good sampling of the composer's keyboard output. The roster may provoke some cognitive dissonance, though, because Harnoncourt is best known for historically informed period interpretations of Mozart, while Lang Lang and the Vienna Philharmonic are more associated with a conventional, mainstream performance style. One might expect some compromise between the two camps, yet while the orchestra incorporates some aspects of Classical sound into its playing, it remains a modern orchestra of full size, and Harnoncourt doesn't ask for the tone colors and techniques he would demand of his own Concentus Musicus Wien. For the soloist's part, Lang Lang is rather restrained and sensitive to the character of the music, and apart from some showiness in his cadenzas, he shows less of the ebullience and bravura playing he otherwise shows in Liszt or Rachmaninov.
Of the compilations released to mark the 150th anniversary of Claude Debussy's birth this year, this is the most treasurable. As a survey of the music of perhaps of the greatest 20th-century composer it could hardly be bettered, especially within recordings from a single label, or rather, a single group of labels, for as well as Deutsche Grammophon recordings it also includes material from Philips and Decca, which are all now part of the Universal stable.
Stand Up is the second studio album by the British rock band Jethro Tull, released in 1969. Stand Up represents the first album project on which Anderson was in full control of the music and lyrics. The result was an eclectic album with various styles appearing in its songs, yet an album which remained somewhat in the blues rock mould, which would be the last such album from Jethro Tull. The album quickly went to number 1 in the UK charts. It was released again in November 2016 in a box set with two CDs and one DVD, named Stand Up - The Elevated Edition. The box contains rare and previously unreleased music (such as an alternate take of "Bourée", BBC tracks, radio spots) including new stereo and 5.1 mixes of the album and bonus tracks by Steven WIlson, and a live presentation, from a concert in Sweden in 1969, also remixed by Wilson.