Manuel Blancafort i de Rosselló was born on 12th August 1897 in the spa town of La Garriga, near Barcelona, into an educated, middle-class Catalan family. His parents owned a famous hotel in the town which was frequented by many artists, intellectuals and politicians. An enterprising man, and an enthusiast for technological innovation, his father had also set up a factory in La Garriga to produce pianola rolls, and this in effect became Blancafort’s music school. It was his meeting with Mompou, in 1914, that was to prove the most significant for the young Blancafort, not only musically but also aesthetically and spiritually. Mompou took on the rôle of elder brother, supporting Blancafort and guiding him as he took his first steps as a composer …….
The piano remained the main instrument of Beethoven throughout his life, and this specially priced 4-CD box set represents his entire and sizeable output for piano and orchestra, starting with the early Piano Concerto in E flat, WoO 4 – a work of tremendous energy and great technical demands, which Beethoven wrote when he was just twelve years old – and ending with Piano Concerto No. 5, the only one that Beethoven never performed himself in concert, due to his developing deafness.
Among the dozens of sessions Django Reinhardt cut with various groups from 1934 to 1953, he would only rarely make trio recordings. This set compiles all of this existing instrumental trios, including a variety of different formations. As a bonus, a rare session by singer Nitta Rette backed by a trio of Django, Stéphane Grappelli and pianist Emil Stern (with plenty of solos by the three instrumentalists), as well as a series of quartet sides which feature Django as a prominent soloist.
In the 1970s, Bessie Smith's recordings were reissued on five double LPs. Her CD reissue series also has five volumes (the first four are double-CD sets) with the main difference being that the final volume includes all of her rare alternate takes (which were bypassed on LP). The first set (which, as with all of the CD volumes, is housed in an oversize box that includes an informative booklet) contains her first 38 recordings. During this early era, Bessie Smith had no competitors on record and she was one of the few vocalists who could overcome the primitive recording techniques; her power really comes through.
Hip-O's Ultimate Collection: The Complete Hits will likely be too much music for most audiences, simply because most listeners don't remember much more than "Love Will Keep Us Together," "Muskrat Love," and "Do That to Me One More Time" from Captain & Tennille. They actually had many more hits than that – 11 more, four of which hit the Top Ten, actually (for the record, they are "The Way I Want to Touch You," "Lonely Night (Angel Face)," "Shop Around," and "You Never Done It Like That"). All of them are here, along with several other singles and album tracks on this generous 22-track collection. To be frank, Captain & Tennille weren't quite varied or deep enough to make this collection not lose steam toward the middle, but the highlights – the three Neil Sedaka-penned tunes ("Love Will Keep Us Together," "Lonely Night (Angel Face)," "You Never Done It Like That,") plus "Do That to Me One More Time" – are all very good, standing proudly amongst soft rock hits of the time.