Inspired by George Orwell's bleak '1984' novel, "1984: L'Ultimo Uomo d'Europa" ("1984: The Last Man in Europe") explodes with dark symphonic atmospheres and wild energetic outbursts with a welcome dirty production by way of a battery of vintage keyboards, buzzsaw-like guitars and passionate ravishing vocals. Sounding very much like the second coming of Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, Il Balletto di Bronzo and Biglietto per l'Inferno with a dash of Cervello, it makes a huge musical statement in the same way that modern debut albums like 'La Crudelta di Aprile' by the youthful Unreal City and 'In Hoc Signo' by Ingranaggi Della Valle did in recent years, and it's the absolute standout R.P.I/Italian prog release of 2015, perhaps already a true modern classic by those lucky to have discovered it.
La gazza ladra (The Thieving Magpie) marked a culmination of the convergence of serious and comic elements in Rossini’s work. The result is an ideal hybrid: a tragic opera with a happy ending that rises to the status of true opera seria. With its outstanding dramatic and musical qualities it remains one of Rossini’s greatest and most successful operas, a constant presence in the repertoire since its triumphant 1817 première in Milan. This performance is conducted by Alberto Zedda, who made his conducting début in 1956, produced the first critical edition of La gazza ladra, and is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s foremost authorities on the operas of Rossini.
La jacquerie is a four-act opera commenced by Édouard Lalo in 1889 to a libretto by Édouard Blau and Simone Arnaud. The opera was unfinished when Lalo died in 1892, and it was completed by Arthur Coquard. The first performance was at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo on March 9, 1895.
An extraordinary enterprise … As an experience of the sounds and styles of French organ culture this boxed set, it seems to me, is indispensable … the body of music is mostly, here, not created but simply made alive by the apt choice of instruments … it is a resource to which to return with delight.
Opus 111's Vivaldi: 'La verità in cimento' is the first complete recording of Antonio Vivaldi's 1720 opera, made in conjunction with a revival of this work at the Bologna Festival, albeit with a different group of singers. This recording has an excellent frontline cast, including veteran singers such as Anthony Rolfe Johnson, Gemma Bertagnolli, Guillemette Laurens, Nathalie Stutzmann, and Sara Mingardo and Philippe Jaroussky. The band is Ensemble Matheus under the direction of Jean-Christophe Spinosi, and the instrumental complement is especially aggressive in executing extreme dynamics in Vivaldi. Some may find it a bit much; Spinosi's group almost makes Fabio Biondi sound romantic in approach, though conversely in Europe its work has been very well received overall. This is an extraordinary opera by anyone's standards, an outstanding selection being the ethereal trio, "Aure placide, e serene," featuring the combined talents of Bertagnolli, Mingardo and Jaroussky. Those looking for the aria "La pena amara" – stated in a popular published edition of Vivaldi's arias as belonging to La verità in cimento, but perhaps not so – will be disappointed. However, another aria from this work, "Amato ben tu sei la mia speranza," has developed a life of its own and is performed splendidly well here by Gemma Bertagnolli. Vivaldi's story is a comedy of errors set in the court of a Turkish sultan and is rife with numerous deceptions, foils, and intrigues.
La Fida Ninfa premiered during the Verona carnival of 1732 at the Teatro Filarmonico. The work was composed to help celebrate the opening of the theatre, which had been postponed for two years, since at that time, the city had been surrounded by foreign military troops. The production was spectacular, and included elaborate ballets by Andrea Cattani, a famous ballet master from Poland, as well as sumptuous sets by Francesco Bibiena. “Vivaldi's score is a ravishing one, offering a rewarding sequence of beguiling arias, duets, a trio and a quartet. Sandrine Piau (Licori) and Verónica Cangemi (Morasto) take on the considerable vocal challenges of demanding roles with their usual tonal warmth and bravura, while Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Elpina) provides the necessary emotional contrasts. Topi Lehtipuu is a touchingly melancholic Narete, and Philippe Jaroussky an eloquently, sometimes passionately love-sick Osmino. Altogether a splendid achievement by Jean-Christophe Spinosi and his musicians.” (BBC Music Magazine)
Not many records can be pinpointed as genuine historical turning points, but La Leyenda Del Tiempo is a bona fide before/after landmark in the flamenco world. El Camarón de la Isla, almost universally regarded as the greatest flamenco singer of all time, put aside his classic partnership with Paco de Lucía to record with different musicians and incorporate rock and jazz elements on an album often called the Sgt. Pepper's of flamenco. It was a radical, daring step by a singer in his late twenties who opened the door for a whole wave of musicians and bands who are still major figures in Spanish music. It cemented the legend of El Camarón de la Isla as a towering creative force who, much like Bob Marley in reggae, brought flamenco into the present without losing the essence of the root tradition.
An epic 100 CD chronological documentation of the history of jazz music from 1898 to 1959, housed in four boxed sets. Each box contains 25 slipcase CDs, a booklet (up to 186 pages) and an index. The booklets contain extensive notes (Eng/Fr) with recording dates and line-ups. 31 hours of music in each box, totalling 1677 tracks Each track has been restored and mastered from original sources.