These three magnificent works belong in the repertoire of cellists everywhere. They are full of Villa-Lobos’ signature exotic instrumental textures, folk-like melodies, and abundant invention. They are also harder than hell to play, and difficult to balance. Villa-Lobos was a cellist himself, and loved the instrument’s low, dark register. Penetrating his dense orchestration without making the instrument sound like a dying cow is just one of the many challenges facing cellists attempting to come to grips with this marvelously expressive music, though recordings can solve this problem with sensitive microphone placement. Antonio Meneses understands both the music and its performance problems, and his lower register manages to sound gruff without undue signs of bovine distress. He’s helped by some very sensitive accompaniments; Pérez projects the music’s lush timbres without laying it on too thick.
Although Eric Martin is best-known as the lead singer of rock quartet Mr. Big, he was a seasoned music veteran before that outfit in 1988. Born on October 10, 1960, in Long Island, NY, Martin moved often during his childhood due to his father's career as an Army officer…
Martin Lang returns for his second album for what Lang and his producer and liner notes writer Dick Shurman both call this an “ensemble album.” There is a team behind the effort, with Oscar Wilson fronting the band with his sublime vocal style on five tracks, Rusty Zinn singing on two tracks and Martin singing on the first and last tracks. Five of the cuts are instrumentals and showcase Lang on harp and Billy Flynn and Zinn as guitarists. Illinois Slim and Jimmy Upstairs share the bass duties and Dean Haas is on drums throughout. Dave Waldman also tinkles the keys on a couple of tracks.
For the 500th anniversary of the Reformation a collection of all 35 hymns by Luther is being released on a double CD for the first time. The Lutheran hymns in choral settings and chorale cantatas from the 16th century to the present day (including works by Praetorius, Scheidt, Bach, Mendelssohn, Jennefelt, and Schwemmer) are performed by the Kammerchor Stuttgart under the direction of Frieder Bernius and the Athesinus Consort Berlin conducted by Klaus-Martin Bresgott. The choral settings are complemented by chorale arrangements for organ. Extensive liner notes with meditations on selected hymns by Margot Käßmann, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Markus Meckel, Judith Zander, Uwe Kolbe, and others complete the recordings.