"Pardon Our French" is the eighth album by this brilliant American band. If "The Case Against Art", French TV's previous effort, had signaled a fallback to a simpler form of progressive rock (akin to the group's mid-'90s material), "Pardon Our French" resumes where the glorious "The Violence of Amateurs" had left off, coming back to a wild brand of avant-prog. The music is highly complex, odd meters passing by at light speed and riffs parading in an unruly fashion, each new one tugging the music toward a new direction - including symphonic progressive rock, bluegrass, circus music, jazz-rock, dark chamber rock, and cartoonish avant-prog.
…The Burwell lute tutor states: "[On] other instruments we sing, but on the lute we speak". That is exactly what Bailes does, and in a very eloquent manner.
Since the end of the seventeenth century French composers have shown a particular skill and deftness of touch in writing for the flute. The instrument owes much of its prominence in French music of the twentieth century to the use made of it in orchestral colouring by composers such as Debussy and Ravel, as well as to a group of highly gifted players associated in one way or another with the Paris Conservatoire. They include the soloist on this recording, Patrick Gallois, a pupil of Jean-Pierre Rampal. This collection of works composed during the last sixty years ranges from Poulenc’s Sonata, marked by rhythmic vitality and a delicate vein of sentimentality, Messiaen’s Le merle noir, inspired by bird song, to Boulez’s Sonatine, which the composer himself has characterised as ‘organised delirium’.
This generously programmed disc provides excellent value and outstanding performances of both major and lesser-known masterpieces of French choral music. The Fauré Requiem has been recorded many times, and several excellent versions of the original orchestration are available on disc. This one is among them, owing to John Eliot Gardiner's experience and perfectionist mastery of details overlooked by less-successful choral conductors. The real bonus here is the inclusion of the popular but very difficult Debussy and Ravel chansons, and the rarely heard but eminently worthy little part songs by Saint-Saëns. These pieces are a lesson in how to achieve maximum effect with the simplest materials.
Amanda Lear first surfaced in the early '70s as a fetishistically clothed album-cover model for Roxy Music. She was said to be a transsexual but, as she told Interview magazine, that was just a ruse dreamed up by her sponsor, David Bowie, to draw attention. Her importance to disco fans, however, began in 1977, when she recorded I Am a Photograph in Germany with production help from Tony Monn…