Willie James Lyons (1938-1980) was born in a family of musicians in Alabama but came very young to Chicago, started playing guitar at the age of 7 and played professional at 14! This album is the first that he has recorded. He was very personal musiscian, an exceptional creator with inventive ideas, with phrases full of lyrism and feeling. His beautiful warm and pure tone allows one to identify him from the first notes. Great soloist and accompanist….
These works of Sally Beamish, composed 2003-12, highlight the inspiration she has found in her adopted homeland Scotland and its landscape and history, while also reflecting her interest in jazz and Scottish traditional music. Often collaboration closely with her performers, the present discs the three concertante works are all played by the eminent soloists for whom they were written: James Crabb, Branford Marsalis and Håkan Hardenberger. Conductor Martyn Brabbins and the RSNO, an ensemble that has performed her works on several occasions, join the former two soloists.
James Levine's viennese recording of Smetana's famed masterpiece is one of the best performances of the work around today. With clear, full-bodied digital recording and ripe, rich and opulent playing from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, it presents a performance that is as comporable to Kubelik as any other. Despite Levine's roots in the theatre (Metropolitan Opera), he manages to grasp a clear sense of drama in the work, and while some might argue that he is mainly concerned with orchestral effect for its own sake, he certainly does not do this but presents every minute detail in this musical kaliedascopic picture.
Barclay James Harvest was, for many years, one of the most hard luck outfits in progressive rock. A quartet of solid rock musicians John Lees, guitar, vocals; Les Holroyd, bass, vocals; Stuart "Wooly" Wolstenholme, keyboards, vocals; and Mel Pritchard, drums with a knack for writing hook-laden songs built on pretty melodies, they harmonized like the Beatles and wrote extended songs with more of a beat than the Moody Blues.
The Met's first production in more than 60 years is "treated with a keen appreciation for the special requirements of verismo and a practically vanished performing tradition. Scotto has found her ideal role…a great performance… Domingo sang glamorously… Levine's affectionate concern for the music told in every measure… The massive sets by Ezio Frigerio serve the work exquisitely … Piero Faggioni’s graceful direction strikes a perfect balance” (New York Magazine)