Andrew Manze has been called "the Grappelli of the Baroque violin" because of the improvisatory liveliness of his approach; however, he can just as easily change personalities. Sometimes he pads along with sinewy grace like a panther ready to spring (the Preludio to BWV 1023, for example), sometimes he goes for a much more relaxed cantabile line, and sometimes he plays with a sparkling and infectious sense of fun (Presto, BWV 1021).
This is a genuine oddity in the career output of Andrew Lloyd Webber, growing out of a personal/familial vignette. The piece, a set of variations on Niccolo Paganini’s “Caprice No. 24” (which had previously inspired adaptations by Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms, Sergei Rachmaninov, and Boris Blacher, among others), came about because Andrew Lloyd Webber lost a bet with his cellist brother Julian Lloyd Webber, and was obliged to compose a work for cello and rock band for him, which was premiered in August of 1977 at a music festival, and subsequently recorded and released on an LP (later transferred to CD) by MCA. At the time, progressive rock was still hanging on to some semblance of commercial viability, and in fairness, MCA had made a fortune off of Lloyd Webber’s work on Jesus Christ Superstar, etc.
BGO's 2015 release groups Charley Pride's second four albums onto two CDs: 1968's Songs of Pride…Charley, That Is; In Person and The Sensational Charley Pride, both from 1969; and 1970's Just Plain Charley. By this point, Pride established himself as a star and so RCA was willing to take some chances. Songs of Pride doesn't rely on well-known tunes but rather contains a bunch of new songs, largely written by Jerry Foster and Bill Rice, songs that helped align Charley closer to the modern sound of country in 1968, while In Person demonstrates his in-concert charm and skill. Sensational and Just Plain Charley pick up on Songs of Pride and they're both excellent examples of walking the line between modern sounds – the Bakersfield of Merle Haggard and the proto-outlaw of Kris Kristofferson – and the Music City machine, records that are enough of their time to evoke their era but classic enough to transcend it. This is Charley's peak in many ways and it's a pleasure to have them so easily available on this set.
Andrew Manze has been called "the Grappelli of the Baroque violin" because of the improvisatory liveliness of his approach. But he might with equal appropriateness be called the Rory Bremner of period playing, because he seems to be able to inhabit different musical personalities, and move between them with astonishing ease.
Andrew W.K. delivers once again. Love him or hate him, this is a great way to get into his stuff. Greatest hits being one of the two CDs contains a great number of his very bests songs. There's not a single one I'd remove from that CD, because they are truly all his best songs. The second CD is his Japanese cover CD. Originally these are two separate CDs, but I had to get them all as one. The Japanese covers are different, they are in his style and overall the sound of them is of a great quality. Maybe the second CD doesn't SCREAM AWK or PARTY HARD, but if you respect a musician artistically than you should be able to appreciate even when they dabble in a new realm.