López-Cobos is an excellent conductor with a wide repertory, best known for late-Romantic and the more colorful early 20th century literature. López-Cobos first led the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 1970, and would serve as general musical director for that company from 1981 to 1990. López-Cobos was named principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic and served there from 1981 to 1986. In 1986, López-Cobos was named principal conductor and music director of the Cincinnati Symphony. With Cincinnati he would embark on an extensive recording schedule with Telarc, resulting in recordings of works by Respighi, Ravel, Richard Strauss, Wagner, Bruckner, Mahler, Falla, Bizet, Franck, and Dukas…
Since the kick-off early 2012 of “K(ing) (O)f (T)he W(orld)” (Erwin Java – guitar, Fokke de Jong – drums/backing vocals, Govert van der Kolm – Hammond/backing vocals and Ruud Weber – lead vocals/bass) things have developed prosperously for this Dutch blues-, rhythm & roots band. In less then 4 years the band built a solid name in the blues scene through the release of 2 studio – and 1 live album (Can’t go home 2013, KOTW 2014 and Live at Paradiso 2015). All 3 albums scored sheer positive reviews as well in the Dutch as in the foreign music press. But also a great live reputation has been built up through shows at the North Sea Jazz Festival…
A mere 16 years after Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops recorded their now-classic Christmas with the Pops, Christmastime Is Here is their 2006 follow-up. It sticks to the same basic formula: a mix of orchestral, choral, and solo numbers performed by the Indiana University Singing Hoosiers (a Kunzel favorite, succeeding the original's May Festival Chorus), the School for Creative and Performing Arts Children's Choir (who sang on the original, though presumably with a different roster), and an entirely new crop of soloists. While the original relied on classic veterans such as Rosemary Clooney and Doc Severinsen, Christmastime Is Here makes use of hip jazz vocalists (and, not coincidentally, Telarc recording artists all) Ann Hampton Callaway ("I Wonder as I Wander"), Tierney Sutton ("I'll Be Home for Christmas"), Tony DeSare ("The Christmas Song"), and John Pizzarelli (""Silver Bells") as well as British sextet the King's Singers ("Silent Night").
…Kunzel's Ruslan and Ludmilla overture is suitably festive, even if it doesn't quite achieve the breathless intensity exhibited by Bernstein or Pletnev. But then, being "definitive" isn't the point of this album–enjoyable music-making is, and in that respect it's a triumph. Especially so as the Cincinnati Pops plays masterfully and with great enthusiasm throughout the program. (Listen to the bold trombones in Mussorgsky's Polonaise or to the singing strings in Spartacus.) Telarc captures it all in its signature vivid, high-impact sound. Yes, I know you already have a couple of Russian favorites discs in your collection, but this new Telarc release is special enough that you'll want to make room for it.
Fine set presenting vintage barrelhouse piano and stomping blues by Big Joe Duskin, one of the last true stylists in both genres. Duskin's album was released with no fanfare and didn't attract the widespread notice it deserved.
"…The recording does, in fact, have a very wide dynamic range – not much use for playing in the car, where the soft passages would be drowned by road noise, unless you have a top-of-the-range limo, and the louder sections would seriously impair your driving, like the head-banging bass sounds one hears, usually emanating from black cars with heavily tinted windows. With ironic inevitability, the moment I typed those words I was disturbed by just such a noise from a car in a traffic queue outside! Even in domestic situations it is hard to cope with such a wide range; most of us have neighbours to consider and, even with good loudspeakers, quieter passages lack presence if played at a lower volume…"
The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, founded in 1977 from the Cincinnaty Symphony Orchestra, plays this music under the baton of Erich Kunzel (1935-2009), the 'Prince of Pop'. The CSO has published over a hundred albums, with sales of over ten million copies, and has achieved a Grammy Award in 1998. This work, set on Russia, offers fifteen classic tracks using a repertoire of great masters such as Glinka, Prokofiev, Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakov, Khachaturian, Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky and others.