Although best remembered for his devotion to the core Austro-Germanic repertoire, Austrian conductor Herbert von Karajan did flirt with the English repertoire in the '50s and early '60s.
You will probably be as incredulous as I was to learn that the greatest cycle of Mahler symphonies comes not from any of the usual suspects - Abbado, Bernstein, Chially, Haitink, Kubelik, Rattle, Sinopoli, Solti, Tennstedt - but from the unsung Gary Bertini, who spent the better part of his career as music director of the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra. Unlike any of those more publicized sets, each of which includes a misfire or two, Bertini is consistently successful from first to last; his performance of each of these works can stand comparison with the very best available.
This recording of a live performance of MEISTERSINGER from Bayreuth 1957 definitely merits five stars. For those of you who don't already know this, Gustav Neidlinger (PeaceBeUponHim) was the undisputed master of Wagner's "howling-and-spitting" villain roles, Alberich and Klingsor, from the early 1950s until the mid 1970s. He sang with unmatched sulfur, cannon-ball density, huge volume, dark tone, and powerful dramatic interpretation. He sang more spontaneously and from-the-gut than most singers. He was the first of his generation to sing these roles with musical line and connected legato, rather than as a series of isolated shouts, grunts, and bellowings. He was typecast for these villainous roles as soon as he set foot on the stage, and almost never performed as a good-guy.
The Rhine turned crimson when the royal princess Ursula and her eleven thousand companions were slaughtered by the Huns. Many centuries later, Hildegard of Bingen composed a plainchant office in Ursula’s honour and sent a copy to the Abbey of Villers. The singers of Psallentes♀ sing from this famous manuscript (now housed in Dendermonde).
'Mission Man' was the third album from Canadian melodic rockers Von Groove, whose 1992 self-titled debut remains one of the best arena rock albums of that decade. Von Groove released a series of high quality melodic rock albums since that debut, and 'Mission Man' is one of their better albums. Von Groove fans should definitely pick it up, and fans of bands like Harem Scarem, Giant and Tyketto will also find a lot to love here.
Hubert Laws hits an 80s groove here – but the shift doesn't seem to dampen his soul at all! At some points, the rhythms are a bit more pronounced than before – bouncy and funky at points, with a slight nod to the clubs – yet other points still have that soft, airy finish that made Laws' flute such a big hit earlier in the 70s – mixed here with some nice vocals from Rod McNeill and Eloise Laws too. Most of the album's still instrumental, though – and other players include Bobby Lyle on acoustic piano, Randy Waldman on Fender Rhodes, Nathan East on bass, and Ndugu Chancler on drums. Titles include "Stay With Me", "Morning Star", "Life Cycles", "Gonna Be Happy", "Make It Last", and "Happy Anniversary".