Stephen Paulus was an astonishingly prolific fixture of the American music scene, with some 600 works to his credit. His sudden death in 2014 left classical music—particularly the worlds of opera and choral music—significantly the poorer, so it’s inevitable that we should see his legacy memorialised with new additions to the catalogue. Royal Holloway’s ‘Calm on the Listening Ear of Night’ sets Paulus’s music in dialogue with another Midwestern composer, René Clausen. It’s Clausen whose musical personality emerges most strongly here in these precise performances. His works offer a distinctively American spin on the fashionable Baltic sound world of Ešenvalds and Vasks that is as appealing as it is generous. In pace, which opens the disc, offers eight minutes of lushly filmic excess.
Although little Sandy Denny material was released prior to her first album as part of Fairport Convention (1969's What We Did on Our Holidays), quite a few pre-Fairport recordings of the singer's survive, though they usually weren't made in the most technically sophisticated settings. This CD, recorded in the Glasgow home of folk singer Alex Campbell on August 5, 1967, was salvaged from a cassette and issued in 2011, when interest in Denny's work had escalated to a point where even documents of rather lo-fi quality held enough interest to merit a commercial release. This is clearly a recording for serious Denny fans because of those technical limitations; even some of the other home recordings from the time that have found both official and bootleg release boast superior sound.
Rupert Hine, famous for his work as a producer (Tina Turner, Camel, Rush, Saga…), made a few records in the 70's and the 80's that were very innovative. A similar approach was used on his highly enjoyable solo album The Deep End, the first release under his own name since 1983. This album came out in the mid-90's but still holds some good lyrical content and interesting musical treatments. Unfortunately, that was also his last album.
The Wildest Wish to Fly is a solo album by Rupert Hine. The album took another step toward more conventional pop songs. The lush production, intelligent lyrics, and precise songcrafting qualities of Hine still make it an enjoyable record, but the weird sounds, bleak atmospheres, and daring artistic choices found on the 1981 Immunity are now history. The best moments are found in "No Yellow Heart," "Victim of Wanderlust," and the title track. The album peaked at #31 on the Swedish album chart.