If you love Shakespeare, and / or Brahms, Schubert, Schumann, Berlioz and R. Strauss, you need to have this superb album in your collection. Walker is the most gratifying performer in opera and lieder, for beauty of voice (ravishing, audible silk); technique (perfection), intelligence (never-failing); phrasing (absolutely unsurpassed); and interpretation – Walker does not merely "sell" a song, or act convincingly, she etches her performance on your soul. Just listen to her interpretation of the excerpts from MacBeth, set to music by Joseph Horovitz: Walker is a candidate for best Lady MacBeth. One wonders what she would do with the part as straight drama. If that isn't enough, she caresses the Schumann and the Berlioz, nails the Brahms (no accompaniment – totally exposed voice), and slinks away with the tango "Under the Greenwood Tree."
Following the success of The Dream of Gerontius in 1900 and The Apostles in 1903, the Birmingham Triennial Music Festival commissioned Elgar to produce another large oratorio for the 1906 festival. The Kingdom continues the narrative of the lives of Jesus’ disciples, depicting the community of the early church, Pentecost, and the events of the next few days. Although less frequently performed than The Dream of Gerontius, The Kingdom is considered one of Elgar’s greatest choral works, and deserves to rank alongside it. This re-release of the 1989 recording also features Sursum Corda and Sospiri, two short, reflective instrumental pieces, release honors the legacy of the late English conductor Sir Richard Hickox.
Look Out For #1 is the debut album by the Los Angeles, California-based duo Brothers Johnson released in 1976. The album reached number one on the R&B albums chart and number three on the jazz albums chart in the United States.
A collection of 25 madrigals from 23 different composers, from the famous to the obscure, make up this Elizabethan curiosity, published in 1601 by Thomas Morley. A musical dedication to Queen Elizabeth 1, The Triumphs of Oriana displays the talents of English songwriters, long-overshadowed by their European counterparts, conjuring up an image of an idealised and mythical England of old.
Four discs (104 tracks in all) that exhaustively document the Mercury, Roulette, and Old Town output of big-band veteran Buddy Johnson, whose eternally swinging outfit was seductively fronted by his sister Ella (along with several interchangeable male crooners). Buddy's band wasn't as big as it once was during his Mercury tenure (tenor saxman Purvis Henson was at the core of the blazing horn section), but the tightly arranged New York-style sizzle remained.
Hyperion have come up trumps again with another delightful disc of out-of-the-way music. The brainchild of Graham Johnson, it is subtitled "150 Years of English Women Composers", with notes by Sophie Fuller, author of a book due out next year entitled The Pandora Guide to Women Composers. In the course of the programme the performers uncover a host of imaginative, impassioned and/or joyful songs that have lain for too long literally unsung, and revived others that were hugely popular until very recent times. Let me say at once that they couldn't have more perceptive or loving or enthusiastic interpreters than Johnson and Johnson, who excel even their own high standards of singing and playing.
During the last quarter of the 20th century, and thanks largely to Eric Clapton's remarkable devotion to his memory, Robert Leroy Johnson posthumously became the most celebrated Delta blues musician of the pre-WWII era. Among numerous editions of his complete works and various anthologies that combine his recordings with those of his contemporaries and followers, J.S.P.'s The Road to Robert Johnson and Beyond combines many of his essential performances with those by dozens of other blues artists from Blind Lemon Jefferson and Henry Thomas to Muddy Waters and Elmore James.