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Monthly Archive for September, 2012

Amadou & Miriam: Folila

“On 2012′s Folila (which translates as ‘music’ in Bambara), Mali’s famed Amadou & Mariam, the husband-and-wife duo, effortlessly prove that ‘purist’ alarm calls about melding popular and traditional musics across geographies because they dilute authenticity are not only inherently false, but their motivations are suspect… Forget prejudices about ‘world music’; Folila is great music. Period.” [...]

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“As more cellists record albums of solo works, there appears to be a growing demand for an expanded repertoire, beyond the handful of pieces that are usually performed. For this 2012 release on ECM New Series, Miklós Perényi has chosen three works of varying degrees of familiarity that show an awareness of the need to [...]

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Michael Kiwanuka: Home Again

“Michael Kiwanuka is the promising British singer/songwriter who won the BBC Sound of 2012 poll. Home Again is his full-length debut… Home Again is a promising debut by an artist who will no doubt deliver big…” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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Jean Sibelius: Symphonies 1-4

“[Paavo Berglund] made everything he did sound like Shakespeare, whether it was Beethoven, Brahms, Smetana, or Rachmaninov. But it was the conducting of Sibelius that he revolutionized…. The sound of his Sibelius is hard but not hard-edged; it’s all forest murmurs and oscillating universes. In his hands, the symphonies don’t develop, in the usual Western-music [...]

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“[Paavo Berglund] recorded the complete symphonies three times; the middle set, done between 1984 and 1987 with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, makes for an inexpensive and readily available introduction…. Symphony No. 5 is a particular treat; Sibelius had swans in mind, and Berglund’s just keep getting whiter and whiter. As for ‘Tapiola,’ it’s a conversation [...]

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The Gaslight Anthem: Handwritten

“[T]he Gaslight Anthem seek a nice balance between heart and drive on their fourth album, Handwritten. With a sound that splits the difference between the more punk-influenced The ’59 Sound and the rootsy earnestness of American Slang, the album finds the band returning with a sound that feels altogether more complete than its other work… [...]

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“Gagner l’argent Francais (which translates as ‘to earn French money’) begins, like any other West-targeted West African album, with the pitter-patter of tiny congas and some delicately picked kora. But then, two minutes in, a bright stab of reverb-heavy keyboard heralds the entrance of grungy rock guitar and drums. It’s a bold way to open [...]

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Franz Schubert: Late Masses

“Schubert’s last great masses – No.5 in A flat and No.6 in E flat – are his greatest achievements in this genre…. They are much more substantial than the composer’s earlier masses, which still lie firmly within the classical tradition of Haydn and Mozart…. Wolfgang Sawallisch is renowned for his performances of Schubert’s church music, [...]

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“Sminova makes her ECM debut with these rarely collected suites. …It is apparent that she gave much thought and practice to the material and has made its transition to the modern piano a revelation. …The faster-paced pieces are dispatched with the Baroque tartness of the harpsichord while taking advantage of the tonal well afforded the [...]

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“Johannes Moser’s performance on this album of modern works for cello and orchestra is impressive, as is the playing of WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln under the direction of Pietari Inkinen. …Moser plays with so much vibrato and tension… that it keeps the listener on the edge of his or her seat. …Overall, Moser’s artistry is not [...]

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“[T]wo new recordings, ‘Dance Again’ and ‘Goin’ In,’ tracks that feature Pitbull and Flo Rida, respectively, [are] cuts designed for the dancefloors of 2012. …These hard, cold constructions feel especially steely when paired with the fizzy, glitzy turn-of-the-millennium hits that turned Lopez into a pop star. Not all of her charting singles are here but… [...]

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“In the first decades of the 20th century, Frederick Converse (1871-1940) was known as one of the outstanding American composers of classical music, but his work is largely forgotten today. …Keith Lockhart…draws excellent, dramatic performances from the expert BBC Concert Orchestra. Dutton’s sound is detailed, clean, and spacious. The album should appeal to fans of [...]

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“There’s a lot to like in this recording of Shostakovich’s Second and Fifteenth symphonies with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra led by their young conductor, Vasily Petrenko. …This album is part of a complete cycle of Shostakovich’s symphonies, and…you may well be intrigued enough to check out other releases in the series.” –All [...]

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“Canadian violinist James Ehnes, ably backed by the BBC Philharmonic under the energetic Gianandrea Noseda, sets himself a challenge here with an original and difficult program, and then meets all the challenges involved in this fine Bartók disc. …An excellent choice not only for Bartók’s concertos, but as an introduction to this giant of 20th [...]

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Beethoven: Bagatelles

“A bagatelle is a short, light composition, generally considered to be of little substance, yet the bagatelles of Ludwig van Beethoven are usually placed among his most sophisticated and elusive compositions, even though he called them ‘trifles.’ …The playing throughout is alert and exciting, and Osborne gives the music a mixture of wit and seriousness [...]

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“The Three Tenors in Concert, recorded live in Rome in 1990, holds the distinction in the Guinness Book of World Records (in 2010) of being the best-selling classical album of all time… Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo, and Carreras take turns singing opera arias, Broadway hits, and traditional Neapolitan songs, but on several tracks, the three [...]

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Saint Etienne: Words and Music

“The album speaks to the power of music to sweep you away, fill you with hope and love, and make everything all right… The group also succeeds and crafts some of its finest dancefloor-filling moments ever… Words and Music turns out to be one of the band’s most enriching albums, both musically and emotionally.” –All [...]

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Fun.: Aim and Ignite

“This music needs to be listened to as an album, in one sitting, so you can appreciate the way the musical and lyrical ideas flow together and play off of each other. That said, there are moments of genius that grab you even on your first casual listen. [Ruess'] lyrics have a way of investigating [...]

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Purity Ring: Shrines

“While whimsical, female-voiced electronic pop was all the rage when Purity Ring’s debut album Shrines was released, the duo still managed to stand out from the crowd… Shrines is a fine debut, full of lighter-than-air synth pop that manages to be dark, sparkling, innocent, and knowing all at once.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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Vijay Iyer Trio: Accelerando

“Iyer’s own tunes, such as the title track and “Lude,” reveal an extensive, purposeful build on jazz history from Thelonious Monk (in the latter) to the future (in the former), where dynamic repetition and gradually complex harmonic multiplications result from simple beginnings. What’s most remarkable about these tunes, and the others here, are how consciously [...]

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