For all the agony as to the status of classical music in the modern musical landscape, the three 20th century string quartets on this fine French release can be said to have entered the repertory, with a reach that extends far beyond the U.S. They go quite well together, which is the first point in favor of France's Quatuor Diotima here; both Steve Reich's Different Trains, for string quartet and tape, and George Crumb's Black Angels for electric quartet feature an artificially enhanced string quartet, and even Samuel Barber elected to "enhance" his String Quartet in B minor, Op. 11, by orchestrating its central movement and making it into the famous Adagio for strings. Highly recommended.
When one of Broadway's (and London's West End's) best known divas teams up with internationally known jazz musician Harry Allen (and his hot-as-a pistol saxophone), the result is pure musical magic. Add to that mix a trio of some of the country's most talented sidemen and what we have is this fantastic new CD of traditional jazz and blues recordings.From the sultry "Blues in the Night" to the favorite instrumental "Smoke Get's in Your Eyes", You will love every minute of this live session.
Given Christine Schäfer’s wide-ranging repertoire, this mixing of 17th-century English and 20th-century American songs is no surprise. Everything about this recital hangs together without strain – even the gear changes between Purcell and Crumb and the Shakespearean quotes spoken by a boy’s voice, sometimes given a rather sinister quality through electronic treatments.
Because George Crumb's atmospheric compositions are usually scored for chamber ensembles and filled with myriad quiet effects, his larger-scaled orchestral works may be more difficult to recognize and appreciate. The private tone that Crumb practically trademarked, in such works as Ancient Voices of Children and Music for a Summer Evening, is harder to find in his largest ensemble pieces; though his gestures, quotations, and advanced techniques are similar, they are less intimate and affecting in such a public "forum" as the orchestra. Crumb's intense vision is blurred in A Haunted Landscape….Blair Sanderson @ Allmusic