Arguably one of the most anticipated downloads on DGMlive, time and space seem to be a movable feast on this the last date of the Soundscapes Do Dixie tour. Playing in a venue where Chuck Berry struts his stuff on a monthly basis, Fripp’s past and present coalescence into an event and performance which he describes as possessing “resonance.” Having a good crowd must’ve been something to do with it. “Probably the best audience of the tour: generous, supportive, attentive. Even, with a noticeable proportion of female women lady persons present” recorded Robert in his diary.
From cautious beginnings Improv II quickly expands into lolloping beast of a track providing what is arguably the best set-up to Exiles to date. As Cross and Wetton hurl fuzzed lines across the stage over one of Bruford’s slow-burning jazz vamps, Fripp introduces one sustained note that lasts somewhere in the region of 37 seconds. An object lesson in making a little go a long way.
Though this particular line-up were edging closer to oblivion, listening to this full show 30 years after the event, the energy levels are astounding. In his journal from the time RF described the show as "Tired. Lifeless. Lacklustre” Maybe Fripp’s estimation of the gig was informed by his recovering from mild food poisoning, the cumulative effect of prunes and a boil in his ear! It seems nobody was happy this particular night. Sound engineer George Chkaintz had trouble with the sound in the recording truck, roadie Tex is frightened to turn down Wetton’s amp despite the discreet urgings of other members of the band and crew, Fripp is giving tour manager Dik Frasier grie, and the promoter isn’t best pleased because the band haven’t done an encore!
Old hand Peter Neumann recorded Mozart's Missa Solemnis KV 337 once before. Neumann is an authenticist that uses a period band. This recording is twice as good as the one he made previously, a rendition that included the organ sonata KV 336 between the Gloria and Credo sections, as he has done here.
These performances come from the first ever complete set of the Mozart symphonies, dating from the 1960s, and they still represent 'big orchestra' Mozart at its most congenial. The contrast here between Bohm's sparkling Mozart, both elegant and vigorous, and the much smoother view taken by Karajan with the same orchestra, works almost entirely in Bohm's favour. Interpretatively, these are performances very much of their time, with exposition repeats the exception (as in the first movement of No. 40) and with Minuets taken at what now seem lumbering speeds. Yet slow movements flow easily, and finales bounce along infectiously. Consistently they convey the happy ease of Bohm in Mozart, even if the recording is beefy by today's standards, not as transparent as one now expects in this repertory, whether on modern or period instruments.
Improvisation on the keyboard was very much expected of the leading classical musical minds in earlier years. And what came about was framed by the compositional practices of the time. So Johann Sebastian Bach might improvise elaborate fugues based on a particular theme; Mozart was known to create brilliant variations spontaneously on a theme given to him at the spur-of-the-moment. Fantasias were possible and were another, more free option, but of course what came out was something the composer might have more carefully worked over in a formal composition. There were definite resonances between the improvised and the composed.
Philippe Bernold, mozartien de la première heure, signe un manifeste de l'amour de Mozart pour la flûte, pour le plus grand plaisir des amateurs de la Grande Musique. Le Concerto pour flûte et harpe est une des oeuvres les plus populaires de la musique classique (plus particulièrement son deuxième mouvement). Quelque 250 ans après sa création, Philippe Bernold et Emmanuel Ceysson, invités à le jouer aux quatre coins du globe, nous livrent une version inoubliable captée par les micros de Nicolas Bartholomée. Un album qui sera sans aucun doute une référence absolue.