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Bach – Suites For Unaccompanied Cello Complete
Without a doubt, Starker allows his instrument to resound freely but without forcing the tone. Starker’s full-bodied sound and technical brilliance are complemented by his finely chiseled interpretation that lends immense expression to Bach’s thrilling harmony and verve to the strict rhythmic construction of the movements. Just listen to his organ-like double-stopped passages, the eloquent dialogues, and the pure excitement created by his highly individual treatment of tempo. Then you will surely agree with the often-quoted paradox that Bach’s Cello Suites are ‘polyphony for a solo instrument’.
Bartok – Dance Suite for Orchestra, Two Portraits
Bartók composed his Dance Suite as the result of a commission from the city fathers of Budapest to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the union of the two towns Pest and Buda. While on his travels, Bartók liked to collect old folksongs, and he used this opportunity to express the act of fraternity in his music in the manner of a hidden programme. As he himself stated, he made use of Arabian, Hungarian and Romanian influences in the Suite, whose dances are linked together by means of ritornello-like interludes.
Brahms – Horn Trio – Sonata No. 2
In the 18th and 19th century, a great many chamber-music works for winds were composed with a specific occasion in mind. Brahms’s Horn Trio, however, is an exception in that it was not especially written for a contemporary virtuoso. It is known, though, that Brahms himself played this difficult instrument fairly well, that he valued the beauty of its tone, and that he was inspired to compose the work recorded here by an inner urge.
Brahms Sonatas for Cello and Piano : Janos Starker/Gyorgy Sebok
Brahms’s Cello Sonatas could well be described as “romantic expression dressed in classical garb”, filled as they are with the selfsame musical philosophy which is to be found in many of his instrumental works. Although 21 years lay between the two compositions, Brahms remained true to the formal musical language of the Viennese masters, and this brought him – and other composers of his time – the reproach of imitating Beethoven.
Clifford Brown All Stars – Caravan/Autumn In New York
Clifford is magnificent on both sides, needless to say. His fluency and technical assurance give his work an impact that makes one realize sorrowfully just the extent of the loss jazz suffered with his death; and of course the rhythmic encouragement offered throughout his Caravan solo by Max's magnificent beat makes the overall effect doubly exciting.
Clifford Brown and Max Roach – Study In Brown
The numbers on this particular set have a special distinction: they are the first Brown-Roach combo sides recorded in New York. Although Clifford and Max are by no means representative of West Coast jazz - indeed, their easy-going, naturally swinging performances are in many respects the antithesis of what is often understood by that term - they simply happened to get together in California because Max, who was working out there with the Lighthouse Group at Hermosa Beach, decided to send for Clifford and organize a group with him.
Copland – Appalachian Spring, Billy the Kid
Aaron Copland is among those Americans whose compositions have found worldwide recognition. Measured against his long lifespan (1900–1990), his creative phase was relatively short, and indeed he hardly composed at all from the Sixties onwards. His most important works were his answer to the musical crisis of the Thirties, and he has gone down in history as having greatly influenced the development of New Music in the USA.
Debussy – Nocturnes / Ravel: Daphnis et Chlo: suite No. 2
Debussy’s compatriot, Ravel, went to even greater lengths in his "Daphnis and Chloé" Suites. As the instrumental distribution leads one to suspect – full orchestra plus 15 percussion instruments, chorus and wind machine –, the work is a fully-fledged modern-age French choreographic symphony and one of the greatest compositions of its time. It is almost superfluous to mention that a thrilling performance of both works can only be achieved by the very best of symphony orchestras.
Debussy – Prelude / Ravel: Valses nobles et sentimentales
Emotions of a cheerful kind are evoked by Ravel’s Valses nobles et sentimentales with their Viennese verve. The eight compositions are filled with every sort of joy and bliss that a waltz can offer. The one is sharply contoured, the next is sweetly sentimental, another dreamy, this one is hurried, yet another sweeps along with elegance - and the instrumentation in each case is gloriously sonorous. This album closes with the solemnly magnificent "Le Tombeau de Couperin" and thus offers a both representative and delightful choice of modern French works.
Dvorak/Bruch : Janos Starker/Kol Nidrei
The outstanding success of our release of Bach’s Cello Suites performed by Janos Starker has encouraged us to follow this up with a no less important interpretation of Dvorák’s Cello Concerto by the Hungarian virtuoso. Starker tackles this concerto with amazing confidence; technical difficulties encountered by others in its performance appear unknown to him. Tonal purity, even in the dreaded upper register and the cadenzas, remains unscathed, so that one can concentrate wholly on the meditative magic of the music.
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Elton John – The Captain & The Kid
The Captain & The Kid chronicles the events in Elton John and Bernie Taupin's lives since they started working together nearly 40 years ago. The album opens with the rock-operatic " Postcards from Richard Nixon", in which the pair's youthful fascination with America is used to relect the country's broader attraction for British kids, and how our earlier affinities with its pop culture override more recent divisions. On a similar theme, "Just Like Noah's Ark" captures the lads in the first flush of their stateside success, entranced by the county's louche charm and sleazy promise, while "Wouldn't Have You Any Other Way (NYC)" narrows their adoring focus to the Seventies Manhattan of Jeoy Gallo and Studio 54. Another for the collection of fans worldwide.