Underappreciated in his own time, Johann Sebastian Bach has ascended to Olympian heights in the estimation of generations of music lovers. But what is it about his music that makes it great? Composer and musicologist Robert Greenberg helps you hear the extraordinary sweep of Bach's music and understand his compositional language—whether you're a devoted admirer or a casual listener.
What happens when you bring the worlds of jazz and Monteverdi together? Is there a musical meeting-point where the two can exist? Claudio Cavina clearly has been believing in this possibility for some time (witness some very "modern" moments in his recent Glossa recordings of the Scherzi musicali and L'incoronazione di Poppea). Yet this is not La Venexiana playing jazz: Cavina and his musicians do not change a note of the original scores.
Jacques Loussier has spent most of his career blending jazz and classical styles into a lightly swinging and highly melodic hybrid. He is most well-known for tackling Bach, but here he covers a range of Baroque composers. Loussier, bassist Benoit Dunoyer De Segonzac, and drummer Andre Arpino play pieces by Handel, Pachabel, Scarlatti, Marcello, Albinoni, and Marias. Loussier has a very light touch and the trio is laid-back, never distracting from the melodies. You can hear the influence of Dave Brubeck in Loussier's playing (especially on Marais' "La Sonnerie de Sainte-Geneviève du Mont"), and much like Brubeck's best work, there is a strong sense of warmth and intelligence on Baroque Favorites. The only complaint one might have is that the brevity of some of the songs breaks up the flow of the record. Nevertheless, Baroque Favorites is a very nice album.
On tour for their 40th Anniversary, the four jazz giants stopped in Stuttgart for the “Jazz Gipfel” 1992, where they were joined by the Arcata chamber orchestra, directed by Patrick Strub. As Pianist John Lewis’ compositions had long been influenced by his affinity for the so-called “Third Stream” between jazz and classical music, this seemed an apt celebration. The MJQ existed from 1952 to 1974, and again from 1981 to 1995. Over the years it took such deep root in the consciousness of jazz fans that, quite irrationally, one could believe in the immortality of its members. The past few years have proved us wrong: all four members of the quartet have died, the last was Percy Heath in 2005.
When back in 2003 Rachel Podger’s recording of Vivaldi’s 12 violin concertos Op.4 ‘La Stravaganza’ Vivaldi: La Stravaganza – Podger/Arte Dei Suonatori was released it was universally acclaimed & quickly went on to garner numerous awards from many sections of the music press including Gramophone, Stereophile & The Absolute Sound as well as winning a Diapason d’Or. It is also interesting to note that even on SA-CD.net more than 100 people have recommended that recording. In the intervening years Rachel Podger has widened her recorded repertoire to make further highly regarded recordings of works by Bach, Haydn & Mozart, but she has now made a triumphant return to Vivaldi with this wonderful set of the composer’s 12 Violin Concertos Op.9 known as ‘La Cetra’ .
McGegan's recording is of considerable documentary interest in that a separate section at the conclusion of each of the three parts of Messiah - there are three discs accordingly - is reserved for the many alternative versions of arias, accompanied recitatives and choruses which Handel himself used or at least approved in performances during the 1740s and 1750s. In this way, the booklet explains, the listener can select which version of the work he/she wants to listen to at any given time. About six versions are possible from the 18 alternative tracks provided on the three CDs. By following a table printed in the back of the booklet (a few minutes' mental gymnastics are initially required) you can programme your CD player to replace particular arias with others.