This 2014 BGO two-fer pairs 1972's Blue River and Stages: The Lost Album, largely recorded in 1972 but released in 1991. It's a nice pairing, containing Andersen's acclaimed Columbia debut and the record he cut for the label immediately afterward, a record the label didn't release until two decades later. Andersen made good records before and good records after, but these two albums are arguably his peak and it's nice to have them together on a two-fer.
Passaggio, Lavinia Meijer's first release on Sony, is an album of the crossover music of Ludovico Einaudi, an Italian composer and pianist who encouraged the Dutch harpist to record some of his most popular pieces. The playing on this 2013 album is highly polished and appealing, and Meijer demonstrates considerable powers of concentration and precision in performances of her harp transcriptions of Einaudi's keyboard music. Some will find Meijer's renditions emotionally communicative and mood enhancing, and most of the credit for their effectiveness belongs to her, because Einaudi's modal harmonies and conventional patterns tend toward a bland prettiness, or pretty blandness, that's all of a piece. Simple melodies and repeated arpeggiated chords have the instant attraction of minimalist music, and simplicity is often a virtue in the proper context. Sony's recording is clear and close-up, and Meijer has presence in a fairly resonant studio space.
Following on the worldwide success of In a Time Lapse, Ludovico Einaudi presents his new work, Elements. The work's sound is lush and deep and interwoven with a freshness that naturally blends Einaudi's piano with acoustic and electronic sounds. In addition to his usual collaborators, the album also features the Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Berlin-based electronic musician Robert Lippok, Brazilian percussionist Mauro Refosco and South African violinist Daniel Hope. The composer said of the album, "Elements sprang from a desire to start anew, following a different path of knowledge. I saw new frontiers - on the edge between what I knew and what I didn't know - that I had long wanted to explore… gradually, everything came together in a dance, as if all the elements were parts of the same world, and myself within it".
The inimitable Danny Kaye stars as famed storyteller Hans Christian Andersen in this charming fictionalized biopic that blends music, romance, comedy and fantasy to trace the life of Denmark's literary hero. A small-town shoemaker with a knack for spinning yarns, Hans encounters happiness and heartbreak on his road to becoming a full-fledged writer.
The music of Italian pianist/composer Ludovico Einaudi, poised between Glass' minimalism and the shifting shades of the ambient movement, has gained more traction in Europe than in the Western hemisphere. That could change with this release by Canadian violinist Angele Dubeau and her chamber orchestra (with piano), La Pieta. Dubeau and Francois Vallieres have arranged a variety of Einaudi's pieces, most of them at his typical length of four or five minutes, for the violin-and-orchestra combination. Thoughts on it will depend largely on what some think of Einaudi's music to begin with. For those who are new to it, start with one of Einaudi's own recordings. The music of the general minimalist orbit usually stands up well to being arranged – think of the multiple versions of Arvo Part's major works, where such adaptability is almost a hallmark of the style – but Einaudi is so oriented toward the spaces inside the notes of a solo piano that you might think this version dilutes it a bit. On the other hand, Einaudi has composed music for many instruments other than the piano.
"Achirana" marks the debut of a new trio, formed by ECM bassist of the first hour Arild Andersen and featuring, alongside veteran drummer John Marshall, Greek pianist Vassilis Tsabropoulos in his first recording for ECM. Likely to be hailed as a veritable 'discovery' in jazz circles, Tsabropoulos has long been recognised as an exceptionally gifted performer in other idioms. To quote Vladimir Ashkenazy, "Vassilis Tsabropoulos possesses rare talent". He has a reputation as a classical pianist, an interpreter of 19th and 20th century music, and as a conductor, and there is growing recognition for both his composing and his improvising.