William Byrd (1543-1623) has been called the greatest English composer, an arbiter of the sublime and master of his craft. And while discerning early music listeners have a fair number of recordings to choose from in order to put any stake into this claim, this offering from ECM is as sensitive an introduction as any into all things Byrd.
There can be no doubt - the Missa in C minor KV 427 by W.A.Mozart is a fascinating work. Simply calling it a "mass" is inaccurate; indeed, there is hardly more than a musical torso full of enigmas and problems - and brimming with magnificent music.
Les Noces is a screaming, shrieking, flat-out masterpiece. Leonard Bernstein himself has referred to it as Stravinsky's greatest work, and listening to this incendiary performance, it's awfully hard to disagree. Scored for voices, four pianos, and percussion, the work provided the inspiration for the entire career of Orff (of Carmina Burana fame), but it's so much better as sheer music than anything Orff wrote. And what a cast! The pianists for this performance include Martha Argerich, Krystian Zimerman, Cyprien Katsaris, and Homero Francesch, four certified virtuoso performers, while the singers of the English Bach Festival Chorus really cover themselves with glory in both works. A stunner.
First things first: if you're seeing a picture of this disc on the site of an online retailer, be aware that it contains the Mass in C minor, K. 427, not the "Mass in C," promised by the cover, which would more likely be the "Coronation" Mass in C major, K. 337. It is always a shame when designers are given power of diktat over content editors. The so-called "Great" Mass in C minor is one of Mozart's most ambitious and most problematical works. There was no known immediate stimulus for its composition. Did Mozart begin writing it out of one of his rare religious impulses, on the occasion of his marriage to his bride Constanze? Out of his growing devotion to Freemasonry? Was it his first major exercise in applying the lessons in Bach-style counterpoint he had been receiving at the intellectual salons of the Baron van Swieten in Vienna? Or was it meant as a showpiece for singer Constanze with its killer soprano arias? It was all of these things and none of them, for Mozart never finished the mass.
Powerwolf's history of success truely is a metal fairytale: Thanks to lifeblood, passion and talent the band has gathered an enormous amount of followers with until now six albums and uncountable captivating live gigs. Two albums in the top3 of the German album charts, sold-out headliner shows, frenetically celebrated festival gigs all over Europe – there is just one thing missing…
It's only been five years since Southern Germans Dust Bolt won the W:O:A Metal Battle 2011 – five years the band used to transform themselves from hot newcomers into national thrash heroes with their debut Violent Demolition! These Bay Area aficionados are ready to drop their third full length in shape of Mass Confusion now, and relentless touring plus constant fine-tuning of the typical Dust Bolt sound have finally paid off: the old school songwriting is focused and free of ballast weight, yet despite all the rage and aggression there is still plenty of breathing space for melodic guitar work, gang shouts and ten ton grooves. New masterpiece by the German Thrash Metal force!
The success story of Powerwolf is a true Metal fairy tale: Due to their hearts and souls, passion, and talent, the band has released six albums so far, and with countless intoxicating live shows, they have gathered a huge fan community…
The sound world of Bach’s last great Mass has changed radically in recent decades; one-to-a-part performance practice is, as conductor Lars Ulrik Mortensen puts it, “changing our entire notion of Bach’s acoustic universe”. This bold claim is amply proven in an account of dazzling transparency, dance-like rhythms and utter clarity. Sometimes the balance seems not quite right, for example when organ continuo dominates, but some superb ensemble numbers pit voices against virtuosic instruments so each seems to outdo the other in joyous exuberance. The five soloists complement each other well, and the addition of just five extra singers is all that is needed to explode Bach’s universal vision into life.