Digitally remastered two-fer from the Folk/Rock singer/songwriter containing two of her original albums on one CD: Secret Life of J. Eddy Fink (1968) and Who Really Cares (1969). These are a young Janis' third and fourth recordings for Verve. She retired from music at 19, but returned to go onto huge success with her 1974 album Stars and a long international career.
Carter Burwell's darkly mysterious orchestrations play a significant stylistic role in both Barton Fink and Fargo, two of the best films from acclaimed independent filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen, particularly in light of the oft-violent content of the Coens' stories: violence can of course be laughable when the characters are too goofy to be believed, and tragic when the characters are too believable to be goofy, but the Coen brothers' creations are somewhere in between. They strike a precarious balance between a broadly comic Beckett-esque absurdism and a more straightforward, three-dimensional naturalism. Consequently, Burwell's grave, sweeping scores are a crucial reassurance that the Coens are not taking their characters' personal tragedies less seriously than are their audiences. Most of the tracks on this CD are from Fargo, reprising the heartbreakingly elegiac theme several times over (in orchestral versions and in sparse violin arrangements that echo the folk music indigenous to the snow-swept northern territories of the film).
Once you listen to this account, it's easily understandable just why Orfeo ed Euridice has become the most famous opera by Christoph Willibald Gluck. Based on the well-known story from antiquity, Gluck composed a varied, engrossing music full of melodious arias, stirring dances, and dramatic duets and choruses. Conductor René Jacobs has decided here to eschew countertenor casting, with the result that we can enjoy mezzo-soprano Bernarda Fink as Orfeo. She interprets the part of the lovesick hero with vocal precision, stylistic assurance and admirably clear articulation. Her voice radiates warmth and resonates beautifully but at the same time with strength–especially in the highly dramatic Act III, which she, together with Veronica Cangemi (Euridice), shapes with an almost stormy emotional fervour. Maria Christina Kiehr sings with angelic beauty as Amore, while Jacobs leads the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra and the Rias Chamber Choir with verve and sweep in a recording that conveys limber beauty under the aegis of the historically-informed practice movement.