Alkan was counted in Busoni's pantheon of five romantics alongside Chopin, Schumann, Liszt and Brahms. Brahms and Schumann are the references in the euphoric Grand Duo Concertant - nothing short of a 20 or so minute Sonata in three turbulent movements. This is a work of diving romance and if Alkan had stopped in the style of the first movement then we would have been able to 'place' Alkan. Instead we get a second movement that clamours in bass heavy capering for all the world like a picture of a Black Sabbath. As if to make ‘amends’ the finale is back to the helter-skelter tumble of vivacity we find in the first movement. This euphoria carries over into the Cello Sonata which is in four classically well-tailored movements. Alkan's originality or eccentricity (take your pick) returns for the Adagio which is part sentimental and part affecting. This perhaps offers a parallel with Joseph Holbrooke's chamber works in which sublime ideas and treatment suddenly find themselves up against kitsch music hall ditties. A wild saltarello with grand manner Hungarian gestures from the piano round out the picture.
Busoni (1 April 1866 – 27 July 1924) was an Italian composer, pianist, editor, writer, piano and composition teacher, and conductor. Most of Busoni's works are for the piano. Busoni's music is typically contrapuntally complex, with several melodic lines unwinding at once. Although his music is never entirely atonal in the Schoenbergian sense, his mature works, beginning with the Elegies, are often in indeterminate key…
The repertoire in this recording features two innovative jewish composers - Erwin Schulhoff and Arnold Schoenberg - who persued widely differing musical styles - and who met very different fates. The three pieces performed here were completed by August 1924 and March 1927. They are not particularly Jewish in style, but are rather more reflective of the era in which they were written. Smith and Hodkinson here perform Schulhoff’s Flute Sonata and Concertino. The instrumentation of the Concertino is unique: flute doubling piccolo, viola and contrabass and the result is a fine rustic work, described by Schulhoff as "Moravian seller of shepherds’ flutes in the streets of Prague."These two rarely performed works are coupled with the rarely recorded transcription of Schoenberg’s Sonata for Wind Quintet, Op 26 by Felix Greissle. The Quintet was Schoenberg’s first strict twelve-tone composition. Fenwick Smith corresonded with Greissle when preparing the Sonata for performance and recording.
With individual song comments from McNabb, an appreciative essay, complete discography, and fine artwork, the Icicle Works collection provides an excellent overview of the group's heyday. If not quite as strong as the band's debut album as an experience due to the inclusion of less successful later numbers, all the hit singles and some fine album cuts appear, not to mention an interesting rarity or two. Beginning with the "long version" of the chiming drive of "Hollow Horse" from The Small Price of a Bicycle, this collection fully showcases McNabb's passionate, elegant quaver and driving songwriting, as well as the abilities of the fine Layhe/Sharrock rhythm section. The three biggest hits get pride of place near the start: "Love Is a Wonderful Colour," "Birds Fly" (with wry comments from McNabb on its stateside re-titling as "Whisper to a Scream"), and "Understanding Jane".
Live at Reading is a live CD/DVD released by Nirvana on November 2, 2009, chronicling its 1992 performance at the Reading Festival. Bootlegged for years following the performance, the new issues present the performance for the first time mastered and color corrected. The CD version of Live at Reading debuted at number 37 on the Billboard 200 in the U.S.; the DVD version debuted at Number 1 in the top 40 on Billboard's Top Music Video Chart, remaining in the top 40 for 25 weeks.
The earliest piece on this disc is the delightful Pastorale, written in 1907, when Stravinsky was 25; the latest is the enigmatic Epitaphium, written 52 years later. In between come a clutch of pieces from that fascinating period of Stravinsky’s life when he was moving from Russianism to neo-classicism via jazz. The remaining two, the Octet of 1923 and the Septet of 1953, are both firmly in Stravinsky’s witty, poised neo-classical style, though the Septet is moving towards new, tougher territory. Stravinsky himself made classic recordings of these pieces in the Sixties, now reissued on CD on the Sony label. These are always electric, if sometimes a little untidy, and so closely recorded you feel the players are sitting in your lap. By that lofty benchmark this new recording measures up superbly. Tempos are just as brisk and alert as Stravinsky’s, the accents just as incisive. These qualities are combined with a beautiful soft-grained tone – a nice change from Stravinsky’s lemon-sharp sound.