Archive for February, 2011


A student of Busoni, Kurt Weill wasn’t just the tunesmith of “The Threepenny Opera.” In a tangy, neo-classical style, the German composer wrote two symphonies, a violin concerto and a string quartet. This disc features the symphonies, plus a “Symphonic Nocturne” arranged from his 1940 Broadway show “Lady in the Dark.”
The piquant reeds and whistle-worthy tunes of Weill’s Brechtian theater masterpieces are apparent in his symphonies, especially the Second, of 1934. For his EMI recording, Mariss Jansons had the Berlin Philharmonic bite into the Second with pre-war edginess. While not ignoring the spirit of Stravinsky in both symphonies, Marin Alsop has her English orchestra caress the music more, bringing out its almost erotic allure.


While he left as extensive and as significant an output of stage-works as any composer active during the first half of the twentieth century, the contribution of Kurt Weill to orchestral and instrumental genres was largely restricted to his formative years as a composer from 1918 to 1924. Although he had attempted opera in several unfinished and now lost projects during and after the first World War, Weill’s earliest major works are a String Quartet (1918), a Suite for Orchestra (1919) and a Cello Sonata (1920). Yet an urge towards more concrete expression was inevitable in the social climate of post-war Germany, with political left and right fighting for supremacy as the country moved shakily towards a republic. Something of this turmoil can be gauged from the Symphony Weill completed in 1921, but which remained unperformed – and was for many years thought lost or destroyed before being located, surprisingly, in an Italian convent – until 1956.

“An intriguing musical side-glance at Kurt Weill’s output. The First Symphony, from 1921, was written at the time when Weill was studying with Busoni. The Second, from 1934, is a much stronger work: it was premiered by Bruno Walter in Amsterdam and is well worth hearing. Marin Alsop and her doughty Bournemouth ensemble play with tremendous spirit, thrillingly recorded.”

The disc concludes with “Lady in the Dark: Symphonic Nocturne”, a concert suite of familiar tunes from Weill´s American period, arranged by Robert Russell Bennett, that provide a diverting departure from the dark and unrelenting march of history that has come before.
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The Ensemble Modern performed its first concert on October 30, 1980, in the Deutschlandfunk broadcast hall, Cologne, Germany. Over the years it has consisted of about 20 players and is a fairly typical chamber orchestra in makeup, its members filling the orchestral sections of strings, brass, woodwind, and percussion in traditional proportions.

Founded with the intent of promoting new and unusual compositions, the ensemble’s roots actually go back to 1973-1974, when the German Youth Orchestra was formed. From this group there soon emerged offshoot ensembles for strings, woodwinds, and various other instrumental factions. In 1979 percussionist Hans-Peter Gluckner took the initiative to begin assembling yet another group from the orchestra, which would become known as the Ensemble Modern of the German Youth Philharmonic.

The aforementioned 1980 inaugural concert, which featured works by Schönberg, Webern, Spahlinger, Goldmann, and Schnebel, was broadcast over German radio, giving the new group a measure of overnight recognition. The Ensemble soon developed a schedule of about 100 concerts per year and would perform at many of the world’s major concert venues, including Lincoln Center, the Salzburg Festival, the Holland Festival (Amsterdam), and the Festival d’Automne (Paris). Since 1985 it has been based in Frankfurt and has regularly performed at the Alte Oper concert hall.

The Ensemble eventually began making recordings for various labels, including RCA, BMG, and Rykodisc. Its 1995 recording of Frank Zappa’s Yellow Shark achieved great success, and was followed by another Zappa disc, as well as a highly acclaimed 1999 version of Kurt Weill’s Threepenny Opera.

In 1998 the Ensemble Modern formed its own offshoot with the founding of the Ensemble Modern Orchestra, a full-sized orchestra created to perform large-scale repertory. It is only a part-time ensemble, however, assembling for specific occasions. In 2003 a second offshoot was born, this one of an educational nature, the International Ensemble Modern Academy. This organization offers scholarships, master classes, and is involved in many other educational endeavors. In 2006 the Ensemble Modern, faithful to its stated mission, introduced much new music at its concerts, including works by Ludger Kisters (In between and further), Annesley Black (LAUF), and Yaeko Asano (Berg, Stern, Stein — Sonne). To help support itself over the years, the Ensemble has received funding from the city of Frankfurt, other German government agencies, and several cultural foundations.

“Berlin im Licht” was released in 1990 on the Largo label and features Weill interpretations with Rosemary Hardy (soprano) and H. K. Gruber (conductor, singer).
Tracklist:
1. Berlin im Licht
2. Slow Fox and Algi-Song
3. Klopslied
4. Ach, wär’ mein Lieb ein Brünnlein kalt
5. Frauentanz, op. 10
6. Bastille Musik
7. Öl-Musik
8. Suite Panaméenne
9. Cowboy-Song
10. Captain Valentine’s-Song
11. Die stille Stadt

(192 kbps, front cover included)

“East German Revolution, Hanns Eisler, A Composer’s Portrait” was released in 1990 on the small PILZ label. It is no longer available due to the bankruptcy of this label.

This album contains “Sturm-Suite für Orchester” (Großes Rundfunkorchster Leipzig, directed by Adolf Fritz Guhl), “Sätze für Nonett” 8members of the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchesters Leipzig), “Sonate für Violine und Klavier” (Gustv Schmahl, violin; Herbert Kaliga, piano) and “Fünf Orchesterstücke” (Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Leipzig, directed by Herbert Kegel) – live recordings of a concert broadcast on June 14th, 1973.

Tracklist:
1. Storm – Suite For Orchestra {#1,Sturm-Allegro} 1:09
2. Storm – Suite For Orchestra {#2,Pantomime-Melodram-AllegrettoSpirito} 1:58
3. Storm – Suite For Orchestra {#3,Bequem} 1:09
4. Storm – Suite For Orchestra {#4,PocoLarghetto} 1:40
5. Storm – Suite For Orchestra {#5,AllegroConFuoco} 1:58
6. Storm – Suite For Orchestra {#6,AllegroAgitato} 1:13
7. Storm – Suite For Orchestra {#7,Lento} 1:08
8. Storm – Suite For Orchestra {#8,Destinado} 1:19
9. Movements For Nonet,OpPosth {#1,Allegro”Allegretto”Andante} 4:18
10. Movements For Nonet,OpPosth {#2,Allegretto} 2:50
11. Movements For Nonet,OpPosth {#3,Allegro} 3:47
12. Movements For Nonet,OpPosth {#4,QuasiRezitativo-Moderato} 2:27
13. Movements For Nonet,OpPosth {#5,Presto”Treibend”AndanteConMoto} 2:18
14. Movements For Nonet,OpPosth {#6,AllegroModerato} 5:24
15. Movements For Nonet,OpPosth {#7,Presto”Treibend”Energico,AllaMarcia} 3:11
16. Reise Sonate {#1,ConSpirito} 4:23
17. Reise Sonate {#2,Intermezzo-AndanteSemplice} 3:48
18. Reise Sonate {#3,AllegroSpirito} 4:20
19. Five Orchestral Pieces {#1,Andante} 3:49
20. Five Orchestral Pieces {#2,Allegro} 2:10
21. Five Orchestral Pieces {#3,KleinePassacaglia} 1:22
22. Five Orchestral Pieces {#4,Presto} 1:19
23. Five Orchestral Pieces {#5,Finale-Improvisation} 2:23

East German Revolution – Hanns Eilser – A Composer´s Portrait
(192 kbps, front cover included)

Kurt Weill (1900-1950) has been enjoying a good deal of reappraisal, not least for the important non-stage works he wrote in the 1920s.

The “Violin Concerto” is undoubtedly the strongest of these – a vivid, acerbic piece with wind and brass only, very much in the spirit of the “new classicism” then in vogue. It’s not lyrical music, but it does have real expressive force, and Frank-Peter Zimmermann rises to the challenge on all fronts.

The suite from “The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny” (1928) gives a fair idea of the strengths of this distinctly uneven collaboration with Bertold Brecht: Weill was happy to lambast the capitalist system, without quite believing in its demise.

From his “transitional” years in Paris, the “Second Symphony” (1933) is still a too little known masterpiece, its classical poise and restraint shot through with irony and a deeply felt melancholy. Jansons brings out these contrasting emotions in his perceptive reading, rounding out a well-conceived and superbly played disc.

Tracklist:

Symphony No. 2
1 I. Sostenuto – 1:31
2 [I.] Allegro Molto 7:53
3 II. Largo 11:11
4 III. Allegro Vivace 6:33
Concerto For Violin And Wind Orchestra, Op. 12
5 I. Andante Con Moto 9:29
6 II. Notturno: Allegro Un Poco Tenuto – 3:13
7 [II.] Cadenza: Moderato – 3:02
8 [II.] Serenata: Allegretto 3:35
9 III. Allegro Molto, Un Poco Agitato 6:47
Rise And Fall Of The City Of Mahagonny – Suite From The Opera
10 I. Allegro Giusto 1:15
11 II. Moderato Assai 2:19
12 III. 1:34
13 IV. Lento 1:57
14 V. Molto Vivace 2:11
15 VI. 3:22
16 VII. Largo 4:34

Credits:
Arranged By – Wilhelm Brückner-Rüggeberg (tracks: 10 to 16)
Composed By – Kurt Weill
Conductor – Mariss Jansons
Orchestra – Berliner Philharmoniker
Violin – Frank Peter Zimmermann (tracks: 5 to 9)

Recorded: II. & III.1997, Philharmonie, Berlin
(5-9: Live recording)

Kurt Weill – Symphony No.2; Violin Concerto; Mahagonny Suite (Mariss Jansons)
(192 kbps, front cover included)

The music of Angola has been shaped both by wider musical trends and by the political history of the country. In the 20th century, Angola has been wracked by violence and political instability. Its musicians have been oppressed by government forces, both during the period of Portuguese colonization and after independence. Angolan music also influenced another Lusophone music in Brazil and Cuban music.

The capital and largest city of Angola is Luanda, home to a diverse group of styles including Angolan merengue (based on Dominican merengue), kilapanda and semba, the last being a genre with roots intertwined with that of Brazilian samba music. Just off the coast of Luanda is Ilha do Cabo, home to an accordion and harmonica-based style of music called rebita.

Compared to many of its neighbors in Southern Africa, as well as other Portuguese colonies (especially Cape Verde), Angola’s music has had little international success. The first group to become known outside of Angola was Orquestra os Jovens do Prenda, who were most popular from the late 1960s to the early 1970s, and have continued sporadically performing and recording since. The big band included two trumpets, a saxophone, four guitars and a half-dozen percussion instruments. They played kizomba (a native style based around the marimba xylophone), using the four guitars to approximate the sound of the marimba, and quilapanga.

Sometimes known as the Prenda Boys Band, after the poor neighborhood of Luanada, capital of Angola, from which they emerged, Orquestra os Jovens do Prenda are a big band with a big sound. First formed in the mid-’60s, they enjoyed great success in the early ’70s, split in 1975, and regrouped in 1981 around two of the original band members. The numerous Prenda Boys feature four guitars, two trumpets, a saxophone, six percussionists and drummers, and the whole band at times whistling. The Orquestra’s music is related to the Brazilian Samba, but richer and more complex. At first a politically oriented band, since reforming the Orquestra has tended to more mainstream lyrics.

Orquestra Os Jovens Do Prenda – Berlin Festa! (192 kbps)

“Three chord rock merged with the power of the word.”


So Patti Smith described her music on the 1975 release of “Horses”, her celebrated debut album; and so she has continued to blend the spoken and sung arts in incantatory fashion with her latest work, “Twelve”.
Impossible to categorize, moving easily between the literary and musical worlds, always unpredictable and impassioned, she is an idiosyncratically unique performer who has always remained true to her artistic vision.
Born in Chicago and raised in Woodbury, New Jersey, just across the state line from Philadelphia, Patti’s mother, Beverly, was a jazz singer cum waitress. Her father, Grant,
worked at the Honeywell plant; she was the oldest of four siblings: her sisters Linda and Kimberly (the latter plays mandolin on Gone Again’s “Ravens,”), and brother Todd. Unable to find her place in high school society, she took refuge in the images of Rimbaud, Bob Dylan, James Brown, and the Rolling Stones. Dropping out of Glassboro State Teacher’s College, she headed for the bright lights – big city of New York.
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“Divine Intervention” (1996, Rupert 9681) is a recording of her performance on June, 30, 1996 at the Roskile Festival in Denmark. The performance and the sound quality are good, so enjoy another Patti Smith bootleg…
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No link.

V.A. – Notas De Libertad


” ‘Notas de Libertad’ is a compilation of popular anarchist and anti-authoritarian songs. As far as we know it was produced for the magazine “El Liberatrio” in Caracas.

Fourteen artists from  Ecuador, Argentina, USA, France and Spain were part of this project. The songs are in Spanish language.

Tracklist:

01 – Joe Hill – Pastel Celestial
02 – Georges Brassens – Mala Reputación
03 – Paso a Paso – Carteo
04 – Paso a Paso – Hambre de Vida
05 – Paso a Paso – Lloro Por Dentro
06 – Moi Rojo – Hey
07 – Moi Rojo – Historia Maldita
08 – Gabriel Sequeira – El Anarquista
09 – Gabriel Sequeira – Perdido en las Calles
10 – Sena Jaraiz – Errante Extremeña
11 – Lengua de Trapo – Lindos Gatitos
12 – Lengua de Trapo – La Copla del Palo Bueno
13 – Jaime Guevara – Bandera Negra I
14 – Jaime Guevara – Bandera Negra II
15 – Ethan Miller – Only 8
16 – Juanito Piquete – El Hombro
17 – Juanito Piquete – Voces Libertarias
18 – Pablo Garabato – La Mulata
19 – Pablo Garabato – Bienvenido al Camino
20 – Serge Utge – Maknovtchina
21 – Pito Karcoma – Ay Margarita
22 – Pito Karcoma – Revolución
23 – Sonoris Kausa – Indios de la Calle
24 – Sonoris Kausa – Cualquier Noche

V.A. – Notas De Libertad
(ca. 170 kbps, no cover included)


” ‘Notas de Libertad’ is a compilation of popular anarchist and anti-authoritarian songs. As far as we know it was produced for the magazine “El Liberatrio” in Caracas.

Fourteen artists from  Ecuador, Argentina, USA, France and Spain were part of this project. The songs are in Spanish language.

Tracklist:

01 – Joe Hill – Pastel Celestial
02 – Georges Brassens – Mala Reputación
03 – Paso a Paso – Carteo
04 – Paso a Paso – Hambre de Vida
05 – Paso a Paso – Lloro Por Dentro
06 – Moi Rojo – Hey
07 – Moi Rojo – Historia Maldita
08 – Gabriel Sequeira – El Anarquista
09 – Gabriel Sequeira – Perdido en las Calles
10 – Sena Jaraiz – Errante Extremeña
11 – Lengua de Trapo – Lindos Gatitos
12 – Lengua de Trapo – La Copla del Palo Bueno
13 – Jaime Guevara – Bandera Negra I
14 – Jaime Guevara – Bandera Negra II
15 – Ethan Miller – Only 8
16 – Juanito Piquete – El Hombro
17 – Juanito Piquete – Voces Libertarias
18 – Pablo Garabato – La Mulata
19 – Pablo Garabato – Bienvenido al Camino
20 – Serge Utge – Maknovtchina
21 – Pito Karcoma – Ay Margarita
22 – Pito Karcoma – Revolución
23 – Sonoris Kausa – Indios de la Calle
24 – Sonoris Kausa – Cualquier Noche

V.A. – Notas De Libertad
(ca. 170 kbps, no cover included)

An interesting and varied set of folk recordings originally done for Diane Hamilton and Patrick Clancy’s “Tradition Records” between 1955 and 1961, “Folk Roots: The Sound of Americana” may not exactly live up to its title but it does feature some striking recordings, most notably Odetta’s powerful version of “Chilly Winds,” Etta Baker’s spry guitar instrumental take on “Goin’ Down the Road Feeling Bad,” Barbara Dane’s stirring “Who’s Gonna Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot,” and Mrs. Edd Presnell’s chiming dulcimer run-through of “Amazing Grace.”

Also worth noting is John Jacob Niles’ affected vocal (he sounds like Tiny Tim gone dramatically folky) on “The Death of Queen Jane,” a recording that is almost perversely fascinating. Lord knows no Appalachian ballad singer ever sounded like that no matter how much moonshine he might have put away.

Folk Roots – The Sound Of Americana
(192 kbps, front cover included)

The Jamaican recording industry has never been known as artist-friendly, but the case of Carl Harvey’s “Ecstasy of Mankind” is particularly eye-opening.

Harvey, an accomplished guitarist, was recruited to record the album in 1977 by renowned producer Bunny Lee. For whatever reason, Lee never released the album himself. Without his or Harvey’s knowledge (and thus without compensation), it came out in England in 1979 on the Cancer label and then was amazingly misrepresented as a Lee “Scratch” Perry album called “Guitar Boogie Dub” (There’s a long history of albums attempting to capitalize on Perry’s name. See the book “Super Scratch”.)

Finally, almost 30 years after its creation, Harvey’s work received finally an official release in 2005 (thanks to French label Makasound), and he will finally reap the fruit of his labor. (He hasn’t been in the poorhouse, though; during most of the near-30 years, he’s been playing with Toots & the Maytals.)
For “Ecstasy of the Mankind”, Lee essentially gathered 10 previously recorded rhythms and had Harvey work his guitar magic over each. The ones most familiar to listeners will likely be “Break Outs” (Ken Boothe’s “Moving Away”), “Late Night Raver” (the Techniques’ rendition of Curtis Mayfield’s “Queen Majesty”), “Misty Night” (John Holt’s cover of Brook Benton’s “Rainy Night in Georgia”), and “Breezing” (Mikie Chung’s cover of the George Benson tune).
Even if the rhythms are familiar, though, Harvey’s electric guitar spices up the music with a bluesy rock ‘n roll passion (all save for the jazzy, cool “Breezing”). Certainly, the rock guitar sound isn’t for everyone, and there are instances here where it doesn’t blend with the music as well as other times, but overall “Ecstasy of Mankind” presents a unique ’70s dub sound, witha grittiness that is only enhanced by Lee’s typically edgy production.
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(192 kbps, cover included)