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Al Cohn : The Jazz Workshop : Four Brass One Tenor
As a soloist, Al Cohn was not such an inspired tenor sax player as his colleague Zoot Sims. But he was a superb arranger, an unprofitable yet highly important function when it comes to such workshops. And though Manny Albam also played the baritone sax, his real instrument was the pen. He arranged not only jazz, but also film music and musicals. His arrangements were multi-facetted and tailormade to suit the accomplishments of the individual instrumentalists.
Apres Un Reve : Gary Karr and Harmon Lewis
Gary Karr, acclaimed as »the world's leading solo bassist« (Time magazine), is, in fact, the first solo doublebassist in history to make that pursuit a full-time career. It is a career that adds new lustre to his already lustrous 1611 Amati doublebass which was given to him by the widow of Serge Koussevitzky.
Bach: 6 Solo Cello Suites
As can be easily inferred from his career path, Enrico Mainardi was a cellist whose artistic viewpoint was a grafting of the German school of cello playing influenced by Neue Sachlichkeit to the musical background of his motherland Italy. He recorded the monaural cycle for the Archiv label between April 1950 and October 1955. Mainardi's Bach is leisurely and contemplative. His playing meditates on the auspicious meaning of the work - it is a musical delta of courteous low notes, a magical prayer of an aged monk. This is a masterful performance, and its value is somewhat different from the performances of today. Recording: in mono
Bartok : Concerto for Violin
During his career spanning 60 years Isaac Stern recorded this major contemporary work several times and demonstrates once again his superb mastery of his instrument in this particular recording. With bravura he conjures up eruptive snatches of melody out of the rhapsodic depths, allows the slow movement to glow with pastoral sentiment, and tears through the vast variations finale with a perfect command of the score, his instrument and his creative prowess.
Bartok : Klavierkonzert Nr.1 Und Rhapsodie
This uncompromising severity presents an enormous challenge that is mastered with aplomb by Géza Anda and the RSO Berlin under Ferenc Fricsay. Bartók’s musical language is milder and more accessible in his Second and Third Piano Concertos, which are now available in a new pressing from Speakers Corner Records (DGG 138 111).
Bartok : Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 3
Bartók wanted his Second Piano Concerto to be understood as a contrast to his harsh and – for the orchestra – extremely difficult First Piano Concerto. But notwithstanding its more easily understandable theme, this work too was composed using strict classical sonata form. With a bright atmosphere, fired on by the sound of trumpets, the theme of the first movement forges ahead and sets the course for the whole work. Lively exuberance and a committed interplay between the soloist and orchestra result in a work that is wholly positive throughout and which remains full of energy yet bell-like and accessible right up to the final movement.
Beethoven : 5 Sonatas For Cello And Piano
Daniil Shafran (1923-1997) was one of the world’s best known concert cellists for many years. Many musicians consider him one of the most interesting phenomena of not only cello performing art but also the entire music culture of the 20th century. As many researchers note, Shafran’s performance combined intellect and poetic inspiration, an impeccable taste and technique, in-depth interpretation of the author’s idea and originality in revealing the contents of works. Anton Ginsburg (1930-2002) was an outstanding pianist, pupil of Heinrich Neuhaus and winner of the Prague Spring International Competition. He was best known as an ensemble musician performing with Daniil Shafran, Mikhael Khomitzer and Igor Oistrakh. Many critics noted the pianist’s creative initiatives, temperament and keen musicality.
Beethoven : Symphony No. 5 – Symphony No. 4 – Bruno Walter
Schoenberg, Zemlinsky, Korngold – Bruno Walter knew them all: musicians who sought refuge from the henchmen of the Nazi Party in the New World and found artistic fulfilment there. And they all knew him and his meteoric rise to success at all the great houses in Europe. Formed by working with Gustav Mahler in Hamburg, under whose wing he rose from répétiteur to Chorus Director and then to Kapellmeister, Walter took on further posts as Chief Conductor in Vienna, Munich and Leipzig where the talented artist matured to become a true maestro.
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Big Maybelle : The Okeh Sessions
With her bold, gritty sound, she comes off like nothing so much as a female Howlin' Wolf, and one can't imagine her not being an influence on the full-throttle blues of Etta James, Aretha, Janis Joplin and countless others. "So Good to My Baby" features typically microphone-distorting belting from the singer, and an appropriately blazing horn section. "Gabbin' Blues", her 1952 Okeh debut smash, is a humorous dialogue between Maybelle and gossiping rival Rose Marie McCoy, the tune's co-writer. One of the most stirring cuts here is "Ocean Of Tears", a percolating, minor-key tune in which Maybelle bemoans her sorrowful state with an unforgettably cathartic angst. Also impressive, though, are ballads such as "You'll Never Know", "Ain't No Use", and "You'll Be Sorry", which show a pleasant, softer side to Maybelle's craft. "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" - a song that she took to the top of the R&B charts before Jerry Lee Lewis turned it into a rock & roll anthem -, her 1955 single "One Monkey Don't Stop No Show" and 1954's "I'm Getting 'Long Alright", are also standouts. New York session wizards such as tenor saxophonist Sam 'The Man' Taylor and guitarist Mickey Baker provide great support throughout. The tracks contained on this album showcase one of the greatest blues singers of all time, at her prime.
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.
Chamber Music From Marlboro – Brahms : Liebeslieder Watzer, Op. 52 / Schubert : The Shepard on the Rock Op. 129
The waltz was perhaps the most important thing that the rather level-headed and conservative Johannes Brahms from Hamburg brought back with him from his sojourn in Vienna. In addition to his purely instrumental waltzes for the piano, he also composed the "Liebeslieder Waltzes" – uniquely folk like and highly original vocal joyfulness in ¾ time. The lyrics are taken from real life and tell of love, longing, desire, and suffering but also of anger and derision.