Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the London Symphony Orchestra join forces once again in the latest instalment of their exploration of Mendelssohn’s symphonies. Mendelssohn’s Symphony No 5, commonly known as the ‘Reformation’ Symphony, was written in 1830 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the Augsberg confession – a seminal event in the Protestant Reformation. Allusions to the symphony’s title and inspiration can be heard throughout the music itself; the Dresden Amen is cited by the strings in the first movement whilst the finale is based on Martin Luther’s well-known chorale Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott (‘A Mighty Fortress is Our God’). Coupled with this are two of Mendelssohn’s overtures, Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage and Ruy Blas, both of which were inspired by literary works. Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage, based on two short poems by Goethe, depicts the journey of sailors at sea with a still adagio opening ultimately giving way to a triumphant homecoming. Completing the album, the overture Ruy Blas was commissioned by the Leipzig Theatre as an overture to Victor Hugo’s tragic drama of the same name.
Rysanov’s ONYX debut is of two extraordinarily beautiful and haunting works for viola and chorus/orchestra: both written for Bashmet, and the Tavener is a world-première recording! Giya Kancheli’s Styx is already renowned as a choral masterpiece for the 21st century, The River Styx in Greek mythology separates the living from the dead and the solo viola mediates between the two. John Tavener’s The Myrrh-Bearer is another epic, this time based on the Troparion of Cassiane, a Byzantine poet and composer. Here the viola represents the sin of Mary Magdalen. Both works were recorded in the amazing Dome Cathedral in Riga, Latvia, the largest medieval church in the Baltics, has just the right expansive acoustic for this music.
A portrait is a painting, photograph, sculpture, or other artistic representation of a person, in which the face and its expression is predominant. The intent is to display the likeness, personality, and even the mood of the person. For this reason, in photography a portrait is generally not a snapshot, but a composed image of a person in a still position. A portrait often shows a person looking directly at the painter or photographer, in order to most successfully engage the subject with the viewer.
Founding member of the Jefferson Airplane and longtime mainstay of Hot Tuna, Jack Casady was one of the first rock bass players to explore the full melodic potential of his instrument. While the underlying sound of Dream Factor is distinctly blues oriented, Casady deviates from the norm with a pair of electrifying inclusions. Guests include Jorma Kaukonen, Ivan Neville and Paul Barrere. Jack Casady has been a very important figure for the development of the electric bass, an instrument on which he developed an unmistakable timbre - rubbery and metallic - and a style that was harmonically complex and highly dramatic.
There's often a fine line between hard rock and heavy metal, but with Metal Church, there was never any doubt – they were always very much a metal band. When major record companies were quick to sign faceless Warrant clones and Poison imitators, Metal Church stuck to its guns and never lost its integrity…