Italy's foremost female rock singer, Gianna Nannini, was born in Siena on June 14, 1956, to a family that included a renowned industrialist and Siena Football Club president father and a Formula One pilot brother. Often described as the creative rebel in the family, Nannini attended the Lucca Conservatory throughout her entire adolescence, where she was trained as a pianist. At age 19, she decided to become a professional musician, and left her home for Milan, where she began to perform in local bars and small venues…
Messiaen's Catalog of Birds for piano is one of the wonders of modern music, a work apart from schools, movement, intellectual constructions, and programmatic declarations concerning the future of music. Perhaps the engaging, enigmatic, spellbinding nature of this music proceeds from Messiaen's unique source of inspiration: birdsong. Non-human, the source of Messiaen's music is nevertheless not alien since Messiaen celebrates the sounds of nature, which he, as a devout Catholic, experiences as a divine creation. It's difficult to imagine a better interpreter of Messiaen's powerful visions than pianist Anatol Ugorski, who plunges himself into Messiaen's spiritual universe with the passionate abandon of a devoted seeker.
It is appropriate that the first recording of the first version of Forza should come from St Petersburg, where the work had its premiere in 1862. However, whilst the premiere was predominantly an Italian affair, this set is given entirely by Russian artists. The differences between this version and Verdi's 1869 revision for La Scala are marked: they are delineated by two essays in the accompanying booklet but even more discerningly in Julian Budden's indispensable The Operas of Verdi (in this case Vol. 2, Cassell: 1978). So it isn't necessary for me to rehearse here all the changes (even if I had the space to do so), only the main ones.
Issued just after his landmark two-week June 1998 gig at the Village Vanguard and subsequent U.S./Canada tour, Chucho Valdйs' first album for Blue Note bears out a lot of the hype surrounding this hugely gifted Cuban pianist. Unlike many of today's younger Cuban keyboard hotshots, Valdйs not only has great technical chops and musical erudition, he manages to stay closely tied to his Cuban rhythmic roots. Thus, he employs a Cuban percussionist Roberto Vizcaino Guillot along with the standard bass (Alain Pйrez Rodriguez) and drums (Raъl Pнсeda Roque), which dramatically increases the possibilities for rhythmic experiments. Valdes more often than not is all over the keyboard, comfortable with everything from Ravel-ian classical complexity to Bill Evans' introspection to Cecil Taylor-like crunches.
There are more than one dozen recordings of Monteverdi's great masterpiece, the Vespers of 1610, a distinction reserved for very few works and composers from the late 16th and early 17th centuries. With this kind of attention, you'd think that this substantial work for choir, soloists, and instruments would be more easily accessible–but it is in fact a structurally complex and musically intricate compilation of hymns, antiphons, and psalms, concluding with a magnificent setting of the Magnificat. Most recordings can't seem to overcome the strategic and technical problems of presenting such a three-dimensional work on a recording. But this one is different: the music literally comes alive and grabs our attention. If you're in the market for Monteverdi's Vespers, look no further. This is the most dynamic, dramatic version on disc.
Ricciarelli, the Ninetta, is a loyal and accomplished Rossinian and a regular visitor to Pesaro. Her vocal portrait of this wronged country girl may strike some as being too sophisticated. I recall an old 78rpm recording of Ninetta's cavatina sung by Lina Pagliughi that seemed to strike exactly the right note of unaffected artlessness. No need to count the spoons after this girl had left for town. Ricciarelli, by contrast, rather cossets the music and occasionally elaborates it, attempting in the process perhaps to suggest a degree of vocal ease that she does not now quite possess. As an old man, Rossini wrote variants and cadenzas for this cavatina for the soprano Giuseppina Vitali but Ricciarelli appears to be using her own ornaments.
La Maison du Duke is proud to present a collection of unpublished recordings of Duke Ellington, which come from an important stock of Ellington archives (Clavié collection), acquired by the association, which only a few collectors had access to today . The CDs are reserved for members of the Maison du Duke association and are not intended to be marketed.
Après 2 ans sans album, Jean-Louis Murat revient avec Grand Lièvre. Enregistré en quelques jours dans le sud de la France, le disque sonne comme s'il avait été capté dans les conditions du live. Dix titres aux musiques et textes magnifiques, des thèmes chers à l'auteur : la nature, la dérision de la condition humaine, le doute, l'amour, la solitude. Mais ici magnifiés, nimbés de mélodies tournoyantes, à la fois familières et surprenantes, agrémentées de bruissements, bruitages et dialogues mystérieux, et, nouveauté muratienne, de choeurs hypnotiques et lumineux. Du Murat au sommet de son art, intime et immédiat, secret et universel. A savourer avec de grandes oreilles.
In its day La scuola de’ gelosi (1778) was one of the best-known comic operas by Antonio Salieri (1750–1825), remaining a box-office hit for decades. All the more astonishing is the fact that it could sink into obscurity. Even Goethe was excited by this masterpiece: “The opera is the audience’s favourite, and the audience is right. It contains an astonishing richness and variety, and the subject is treated with the most exquisite taste. I was moved by every aria.” In the wake of its world premiere in Venice in 1778, La scuola de’ gelosi was performed in opera houses all over Europe, from Dresden, Vienna, Prague and Paris to cities as far away as London and St Petersburg, before it passed into near-oblivion.
This new Traviata belongs near the top of the fine recorded versions of the opera despite a serious vocal problem in the middle. The great news is in the casting of the two lovers: Rolando Villazon's Alfredo is just about perfect. He sings with handsome, shaded tone, great attention to the text–his anger feels as real as his grief and passion–and absolute freedom throughout the range.