It’s hard to imagine how someone whose last album was an opera could out-do themselves, but Rufus Wainwright has achieved just that with Take All My Loves: 9 Shakespeare Sonnets, to be released via Deutsche Gramophon on April 22, 400 years after William Shakespeare’s death.
Deep Silent Complete is the seventh single by Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish, released as the second single from their album Wishmaster. The title track contains some lines written by William Shakespeare, and was dedicated to oceans…
The connection between Wales and the harp is a long-standing one, and Mathias's part in it began 12 years before his Harp Concerto was written, with Improvisations for harp solo; even a Welshman has to learn how to cope with such an idiosyncratic instrument. He learned his lessons well—even using semitone pedal glissandos in the second movement, and he keeps the harp audible by alternating its solo passages with orchestral ones or, when the two are working together treating the orchestra with a light touch (the celesta is used as a particularly effective companion to the harp), at other times resorting to the more familiar across-the-strings sweep. Two movements have declared Welsh associations: the first juxtaposes but does not develop three themes the second is a 'bardic' elegy; the last is simply ''joyful and rhythmic''. The whole makes pleasing listening appealing to the emotions and imagination rather than the intellect.
If the Alpha label had done nothing more than return Gustav Leonhardt to the studio, it would still be one of the best contemporary classical record companies. That everything else about its releases – the sound, the liner notes, even the reproductions on the covers – is as good or better than what any other classical company manages is only icing on the cake. Leonhardt has been one of the finest harpsichordists in the world for more than 40 years, and his recordings of the repertoire from Frescobaldi to Bach have been the standards against which all other recordings have been judged. But Leonhardt had made no recordings for most of the last decade, and listeners began to wonder if he ever would again. Now, with his fourth release for Alpha, listeners can finally relax, confident in the knowledge that Leonhardt has indeed returned. This 2005 disc of keyboard music by Byrd finds Leonhardt at the top of his form. As always, his technique is secure, and nothing in Byrd's virtuoso writing is beyond him. And, as always, his musicianship is assured, and nothing in Byrd's sensitive music is beyond him.
William DeVaughn, a native of Washington, D.C., beat the odds when "Be Thankful for What You Got," scaled the charts and sold a million copies. You see, DeVaughn paid for the session. All artists who signed with Omega Productions paid to record. The title track, with its cool, shuffling beat and Biblical-influenced lyrics, was the summer jam of 1974. "Diamond in the back, sunroof top, digging the scene with a gangster lean" was the buzz phrase.
Trip Shakespeare unfortunately went unnoticed in their time and more unfortunately have remained in obscurity, but they were lucky enough to record in a time when major labels took greater chances with music and would more often indulge ambitious projects. Lulu is the group's defining set, a result of inspired and talented musicians with an expense account to afford their aspirations and enough sense to exploit it appropriately. Why then did this record go through the ringer almost completely unnoticed and why did the reviews the album received tend to be overly critical? Part of the answer has to do with the timing of its release. 1991 was the great embrasure of the grunge movement when Nirvana's Nevermind set the decade-long trend for the popular music charts. The release of a melodically complex and romantic pop masterpiece with lush vocals was entertained by neither the critics nor the masses, and no doubt A&M had lost much of the majesty they found in Trip Shakespeare when they were signed two years previous, which is a shame since Shakespeare's leader, Matt Wilson, was at the height of his poetic optimism and the melodic hooks he wrote with his brother Dan Wilson are complex, plentiful, and on par with the classics of pop music's innovation.