Keith Jarrett – Concerts (1982 – 2013)

LPFrontCover1The Bregenz/Munich concerts were Jarrett’s most brilliant live solo recordings to date; his level of inspiration is quite extraordinary, and the music covers a wider musical and emotional range than ever. He takes fabulous risks, pushing everything to the limit.”
– Jarrett biographer Ian Carr

After “Bremen/Lausanne” after “The Köln Concert”, after the epic “Sun Bear Concerts”, the next development in Jarrett’s solo concerts was the all-embracing music captured here. Two 1981 improvised concerts from Austria and Germany are featured, recorded respectively at the Festspielhaus Bregenz and the Herkulessaal Munich, venues noted for outstanding acoustics. While the Bregenz concert has hitherto been available as a single CD, this set marks the first appearance of the complete Munich performance on compact disc.

This 3-CD set includes an extensive German-English text booklet with liner notes by Keith Jarrett, an essay by Peter Rüedi, and poetry by Michael Krüger. (press release)

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By the early ’80s, Keith Jarrett was definitely under siege, accused of arrogance, singing along too loudly, rambling eclecticism, and other “heinous” jazz crimes, especially in the wake of the massive success of the Köln Concert seven years before, and the issue of the massive, unprecedented Sun Bear Concerts box set in 1978. Indeed, around this time, Jarrett would verbally attack music critics at his solo concerts, and the reflected paranoia is obvious in Peter Ruedi’s defensive booklet essay included here, “The Magician and the Jugglers.” This multi-disc set was recorded during two concerts over four days in the spring of 1981 in Bregenz, Austria, and Munich, Germany. This recording is not to be KeithJarrett02confused with the earlier, more consistently inspired Solo Concerts: Bremen/Lusanne from 1973, which made Jarrett a star, yet the pianist was far from tapped out in these performances. He is often in his best lyrically funky form, where he makes the most out of a single ostinato idea — particularly at the beginning of the Bregenz concert and in the middle of the Munich concert — and his touch and exploitation of the dynamics and timbres of a grand piano are always a pleasure to hear. Even the passages of stasis or seemingly aimless rippling do not cancel out the treasurable moments and have real worth — though for some, the string plucking near the end of the Munich show may be somewhat gratuitous. In any case, this is far more interesting and elevated music-making than that of the New Age navel-gazing imitators who were cropping up in Jarrett’s wake in the early ’80s en masse, and adds immeasurably to the historically unique portrait of the artist.  (by Richard S. Ginell)

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Personnel:
Keith Jarrett (piano)

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Tracklist:

CD 1: Bregenz, May 28, 1981:
01. Part I / 22.00
02. Part II / 12.07
03. Untitled 9.30
04. Heartland 6.02

CD 2: München, June 2, 1981:
01. Part I / 23.24
02. Part II / 24.21

CD 3: München, June 2, 1981:
01. Part III / 26.00
02. Part IV / 11.44
03. Mon Coeur Est Rouge 8.29
04. Heartland 6.11

Music composed by Keith Jarrett

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Alessandro Scarlatti – Con voce festiva (2006)

FrontCover1During the course of his long life, Alessandro Scarlatti was not only a prolific composer of opera, he wrote more than 700 cantatas, many of which consisted of miniature scenes and often incorporated solo instruments to set off the voice. These works demonstrate the utility of the Neapolitan/Roman cantata for smaller chamber venues, and the composer was certainly much in demand for his expressive music of a more intimate sort. That being said, this group incorporates several pieces with a trumpet, so one supposes that the concept of “intimacy” must have been quite flexible, given its often high tessitura and virtuoso line. This disc contains a selection of pieces that could have been used in the various venues in Rome he haunted during the period around 1700, and thus it is a sort of grouping that works well.

It is clear from the notes that Jean-Marc Andrieu, the conductor of the home-grown early music ensemble in Lyon, Les Passions Baroque orchestra, was responsible for putting together the selections on the disc, driven partly, one suspects, by the availability of the soprano soloist, Isabelle Poulenard, and a guest trumpeter, Serge Tizac. In any case, the selections do go well together, and the range of tone provides considerable variety, from a recorder concerto to a rousing soprano-and-trumpet tour de force battle aria that concludes the disc. The vocal and instrumental pieces are generally (though not always) alternated, even further demonstrating Scarlatti’s versatility as a composer.

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The orchestra is typical for Italy during this period, generally restricted to a pair of violins and basso continuo. For the latter, Andrieu uses combinations of theorbo, Baroque harp, and the usual lower strings plus harpsichord, which result in a rather varied sound anchoring the various movements. The Sonata a 4, for example, is marked by the composer “senza cembalo al tavolino” (in this case, probably best translated as “without a keyboard on the little stand or table”), which means that some other instrument is required to provide the inner harmonies. For this, the harp/theorbo combination works quite well. In the concerto, really a five-movement da chiesa style suite of alternating contrapuntal and slow movements in which the recorder is integrated and really has few solo moments of the sort one associates typically with a concerto, the continuo texture varies. Indeed, often the violins are there solely for use in the ritornellos , a remnant of the old Italian Baroque practice that makes the pieces, especially the cantatas, sound a bit old-fashioned. Still, the blend is generally well considered, and Scarlatti was certainly able to use his textures effectively. As for the works with the trumpet, from the florid “Mio tesoro” to the rousing “A battaglia, pensieri battaglia,” the competition between the voice and brass is omnipresent, and one is reminded of the famed battle between a clarion player and the castrato Farinelli that took place in Naples not too many years later (and in case you are interested, Farinelli won!).

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As for the performances themselves, I’ll confess to having mixed feelings. Andrieu’s recorder playing is superb, with a full, rounded tone and nice phrasing. He also blends much better with Poulenard in their duo cantata, in particular the delicate “Onde ciare che spargete.” His tempo for the fugue of the concerto in the third movement is rollicking, giving the counterpoint additional interest in the way he weaves in and out of the violin parts. On the other hand, Poulenard’s soprano is variable. In La Fenice , she floats with subtle ornamentation and clear voice in the second aria pastoral “Ogn’or cantando passare il giorno,” indicating that she is fully aware of the demands of Baroque singing style. On the other hand, in much of the rest she sings with lots of vibrato. This is most apparent in those arias that include the trumpet, as if she is afraid that a straight tone might be lost. The result is a sound that is often far too modern and operatic for the delicacy of the pieces, and she doesn’t blend well with the clarion sounds of the trumpet. Tizac’s playing also tends to be technically adept but sometimes without too much finesse.

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Finally, the recording venue seems to have produced an annoying reverberation that makes it seem like certain numbers were recorded in an echo chamber. The less said about the accompanying notes, the better; these lack any sort of real context for the works on the recording and are difficult to follow. Can one really be interested in “micro-modifications” of formal structure, not to mention the really awkward translation into English? (My favorite howler: “From a musical point of view, cantatas are of variable geometric genre.” Say what?) Moreover, the texts are translated into French only. Still, if one is able to put up with these annoyances, some of which are petty, then one will find some interesting and unusual music by one of the period’s greatest composers. (by Bertil van Boer)

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Personnel:
Jean-Marc Andrieu (recorder)
Isabelle Poulenard (soprano)
Serge Tizac (trumpet)
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Les Passions Orchestra conducted by Jean-Marc Andrieu

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Tracklist:
01. Con voce festiva (Aria con tromba sola) 1.33
02. Il giardino dAmore (Sinfonia): I. [Allegro] 2.20
03. II. Largo e piano 1.03
04. III. Allegro 1.26
05. La Fenice (Cantate pour soprano, 2 violons et b.c.): Introduzione 0.59
06. Recitativo: Su lhora appunto che colcaro dOro 0.54
07. Aria: Se disciolti son quel nodi che rendevan 3.11
08. Recitativo: Gradita liberta quanto sei cara 1.04
09. Aria – Ritornello: Ognor cantando passare il giorno 3.11
10. Recitativo: Oh quanto piu gioisce allor chesposto 1.04
11. Aria: Che tal volta cupido tiranno 2.07
12. Recitativo: O come piu felice tra le selve dArabia 0.51
13. Aria: Dunque mio cor 1.47
14. Arioso: Al ciel donde discese 0.44
15. Mio tesoro (Aria pour soprano, trompette, 2 violons et b.c.) 3.38
16. Concerto en la mineur pour flite a bec, 2 violons et b.c.: I. Allegro 1.49
17. II. Largo 1.43
18. III. Fuga 2.14
19. IV. Piano 1.56
20. V. Allegro 1.53
21. Su le sponde del Terbo (Cantate pour soprano): Sinfonia [Grave] 1.48
22. Recitativo: Su le sponde del Terbo 0.49
24. Recitativo ed Arioso: Mesto, stanco… Infelici miei lumi 4.33
25. Aria e Ritornello: Dite almeno, astri crudeli 1.41
26. Recitativo ed Aria: Allaura, al cielo… Tra lascia pur di piangere 2.19
27. Sonata 3 a 4, senza cembalo al tavolino: I. Sinfonia 2.11
28. II. Grave 1.38
29. III. [Allegro] 2.10
30. IV. Minuet 1.23
31. Clori mia, Clori bella. Recitativo: Clori mia… 1.01
32. Aria. Adagio: Onde chiare che spargete 4.55
33. Recitativo: Si, si narrate gli pur bell onde 0.50
34. Aria: Parla, parla il cor 2.38
35. A battaglia (Aria pour soprano): Sinfonia [Grave-Allegro] 1.27
36. Aria. Allegro: A battaglia, pensieri battaglia 2.10

Music composed by Alessandro Scarlatti

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Jon Lord – Windows (1974)

LPFrontCover1Windows is a live album by Jon Lord and the German conductor and composer Eberhard Schoener. The music and the record are primarily credited to Lord. It was taped at a concert in Munich, (West) Germany on 1 June 1974 and the music is a mix between progressive rock and orchestral late romantic/modernist styles.

The piece on the first side, “Continuo on B-A-C-H” is a loose attempt to build on the unfinished triple fugue that closed Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Art of the Fugue”. The second side of the LP is a three-part composition called “Window”. In the liner notes of the LP album Lord makes a comparison between the rhapsodic structure here and the renga tradition of chain composition of poetry in medieval Japan. The music of the middle section was lifted from Lord’s earlier crossover effort Gemini Suite (1971). (by wikioedia)

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The least impressive of all Jon Lord’s 1970s flirtations with the classics, Windows — a collaboration with synth wizard Eberhard Schoener — was recorded live at the Eurovision presentation of Prix Jeunesse on June 1, 1974, in Munich. Performed by both a seven-piece rock band and the orchestra of the Munich Chamber Opera, Windows comprises just two pieces. The title track, which was built around a Far Eastern renga (a form of chain poetry), is highlighted, for longtime Lord watchers, by the inclusion of large swathes of the vocal segment of his earlier Gemini Suite; and the somewhat presumptuously intended “Continuo on B.A.C.H.,” “a realization” (say the liner notes) “of a well-known incomplete fugue by Bach.” Whether Bach himself would have appreciated the end result is, of course, another matter entirely. While “Continuo” certainly has its moments of quite sublime beauty, one is never allowed to forget what one is listening to — an orchestra battling it out with a rock band, and only occasionally giving ground. The inclusion of David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes in the band is particularly eyebrow-raising.

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Though more or less ideal for the last years of Deep Purple, neither musician was what one would call subtle, with Coverdale’s histrionic bellowing, in particular, swiftly distracting from the moods that the music and the other musicians are so patently attempting to maintain. Indeed, of the photos from the concert that bedeck the album jacket, one speaks louder than many words could — it depicts Coverdale in full vocal flight, while the horn player beside him raises his eyes, apparently, heavenward. Overlook some of the rock band’s excesses, however (including an utterly unnecessary jazz fusion passage during “Continuo”), and Windows does pack some breathtaking passages, both melody- and energy-wise. Like too many mid-’70s rock ‘n’ classical hybrids, however, it simply tries too hard to be special. (by Dave Thompson)

But …  this is a very Special album for me … not only because it was signed by Jon Lord, Tony Ashton and Pete York ….

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Personnel:
Tony Ashton (Keyboards, vocals)
David Coverdale (vocals)
Glen Hughes (bass)
Ray Fenwick (guitar)
Gottfried Greiner (cello)
Jon Lord (keyboars, syntheziser)
George Morrison (trumpet)
Sigune von Osten (soprno vocals)
Gunter Salber (violin)
Ermina Santi (soprano vocals)
Eberhard Schoener (sy
nthesizer)
Pete York (drum
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The Munich Chamber Opera Orchestra conducted by Eberhard Schoener

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Tracklist:
01. Continuo On B.A.C.H (Lord/Schoener) 16.28
02. Window (Lord/Schoener) 32.23
02.1. 1st Movement – Renga
02. Movement – Gemini
02.3. 3rd Movement – Alla Marcia: Allegro

Composed by Jon Lord + Eberhard Schoeber

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Claudio Abbado & Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra – New Year´s Concert In Vienna (1991)

FrontCover1.jpgHere´s the history of this classic event on the first day of a year:

The first New Year’s Concert took place during the darkest chapter of the history of Austria and that of the Vienna Philharmonic. In the midst of barbarism, dictatorship and war, at a time of constant worry regarding the lives of members and their families, the Philharmonic sent an ambivalent signal: the net income from a concert dedicated to compositions by the Strauss dynasty which was performed on December 31, 1939, was donated entirely to the national-socialistic fund-raising campaign “Kriegswinterhilfswerk”. On January 1, 1941, a Philharmonic matinee entitled “Johann Strauss Concert” was performed. Taking place in the middle of the war, many regarded this as an expression of Viennese individuality, but it was also misappropriated for the national-socialistic propaganda of the “Großdeutscher Rundfunk”. Clemens Krauss conducted these concerts until the end of the war. In the years 1946 and 1947, Josef Krips (1902-1974) replaced Krauss, who returned in 1948 after the expiration of his two year conducting ban which had been imposed by the allies, and who conducted seven more New Year’s Concerts until 1954.

Clemens Kraus

The international popularity of the New Year’s Concert may create the impression that the orchestra’s performance of the music of the Strauss dynasty extends back to Johann Strauss, Sr., und therefore to the beginning of the orchestra’s history. In fact, however, for an extended period of time, the Philharmonic generally ignored the most “Viennese” music ever written. Probably the musicians did not wish to jeopardize the social advancement they had experienced upon the introduction of the Philharmonic concerts by associating themselves with “popular music”. This attitude toward the Strauss dynasty changed only gradually. One determining factor for this reassessment was that the members of this unique family of composers enjoyed the highest respect among major composers such as Franz Liszt, Richard Wagner and Johannes Brahms. In addition, the Philharmonic musicians themselves had several direct encounters with Johann Strauss, Jr., which provided them the opportunity to observe the significance of this music and experience first-hand the charismatic personality of its creator, which had enraptured all of Europe. (by http://www.wienerphilharmoniker.at)

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And here´s the New Year´s Concert from 1991, conducted by Claudio Abbado (the second and last time).

The regularity of the Vienna New Year’s Day Concert is almost matched these days by the regularity of the appearance of the CD recording some five or six weeks later. This year, mindful of the year’s major musical obsession, the programme departs from convention by including some Mozart dances, notably the captivating Schliitenfahrt (“Sleigh ride”). Schubert gets a look in, too, though I’m not convinced that Bruno Maderna’s modernistic touches in the first of the D735 Ecossaises are really in keeping with the occasion. Give me the delightful version by the Willi Boskovsky Ensemble (Vanguard/Pinnacle (0 VCD72016, 9/90) any time!

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For the rest, there is a commendable quota of less hackneyed but highly attractive items, with contributions from all four major members of the Strauss family and Joseph Lanner. The presentation of the two themes heard in counterpoint towards the end of Johann’s Waldmeisler Overture is hauntingly done, and the waltzes by Lanner and Josef Strauss are among their respective composers’ best. The one major curiosity is the Carmen-Quadrille, arranged by Eduard Strauss on themes from Bizet’s opera. Abbado tried something similar a couple of years ago, with Johann’s Quadrille on Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera, but I don’t think he really succeeds any more now than then in making the result sound convincing as a dance.

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Generally Abbado’s performances are lively and free from conventional mannerisms, if also slightly free with the rhythms and dynamics. The recorded sound is a shade raw, especially in so far as the percussion is rather prominent at times, but no doubt that is considered an appropriate representation of the occasion. I’ve been spoilt recently by hearing the reissue of Carlos Kleiber’s 1989 concert, which I’d recommend to anyone wanting a single New Year Concert. But those who enjoy hearing An derschOnen, blauen Donau and the Radetzky-Marsch year after year will need no encouragement to obtain this latest offering. (by Gramophone, 4/1991)

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Personnel:
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Claudio Abbado

Booklet01A

Tracklist:
01. Waldmeister Ouverture (Johann Strauss) 9.26
02. Kontretranz Kv 609 No. 1 (Mozart) 0.57
03. Kontetranz Kv 609 No. 3 (Mozart) 1.18
04. Deutscher Tanz (Mozart) 2.40
05. Die tanzende Muse (Josef Strauss) 4.05
06. Polka (Schubert) 1.39
07. Galopp (Schubert) 1.33
08. Die Werber (Lanner) 7.20
09. Seufzer-Galopp (Johann Strauss) 1.51
10. Aquarellen (Josef Strauss) 7.51
11. Freikugeln (Johann Strauss) 2.29
12. Carmen-Quadrille (Eduard Strauss) 4.58
13. Kaiser-Walzer (Johann Strauss) 10.43
14. Furioso- Polka (Johann Strauss) 2.15
15. Stürmisch in Lieb’ und Tanz (Johann Strauss) 2.09
16. An der schönen, blauen Donau (Johann Strauss) 9.29
17. Radetzsky-Marsch (Johann Strauss) 3.24

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Marc-Antoine Charpentier ‎– Te Deum + Messe De Minuit Pour Noël (1989)

FrontCover1Marc-Antoine Charpentier composed his grand polyphonic motet Te Deum (H. 146) in D major probably between 1688 and 1698, during his stay at the Jesuit Church of Saint-Louis in Paris, where he held the position of musical director. The work is written for the group of soloists, choir, and instrumental accompaniment.

Charpentier authored six Te Deum settings, although only four of them have survived. It is thought that the composition was performed to mark the victory celebrations and the Battle of Steinkirk in August, 1692.

Charpentier considered the key D-major as “bright and very warlike”. The instrumental introduction, composed in the form of rondo, precedes the first verset, led by the bass soloist. The choir and other soloists join gradually. Charpentier apparently intended to orchestrate the work according to the traditional exegesis of the Latin text. The choir thus predominates in the first part (verset 1-10, praise of God, heavenly dimension), and individual soloists in the second part (verset 10-20, Christological section, secular dimension). In subsequent versets, nos. 21-25, both soloists and choir alternate, and the final verset is a large-scale fugue written for choir, with a short trio for soloists in the middle.

The composition is scored for five soloists (SSATB) and choir (SATB), accompanied with an instrumental ensemble of 2 nonspecified recorders or flutes, 2 oboes, 2 trumpets (second trumpet in unison with timpani), timpani, 2 violins, 2 violas (“haute-contres de violon” and “tailles de violon”) and basso continuo.

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Typical continuo instruments used in French baroque music are “basses de violon” (a cello-like, large scaled instrument often replaced by the cello in modern performances), organ, harpsichord, theorbo, bass viol and bassoon or “basse de cromorne” (a kind of bass oboe). Furthermore, serpents were frequently used to double the bass line of vocal choirs in 17th century France.

Since the instrumental ensemble is mostly constricted to 4 parts only (wind instruments and violins playing the same line), it is very easy to reduce the instrumentation if needed.

After the work’s rediscovery in 1953 by French musicologist Carl de Nys, the instrumental prelude, Marche en rondeau, was chosen in 1954 as the theme music preceding the broadcasts of the European Broadcasting Union. After over sixty years of use notably before EBU programs such as the popular Eurovision Song Contest and Jeux Sans Frontières, the prelude, as arranged by Guy Lambert and directed by Louis Martini, has become Charpentier’s best-known work. (by wikipedia)

Marc-Antoine Charpentier

Probably composed in 1690, the Messe de Minuït pour Noël, H 9, is perhaps Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s best-known composition after the Te Deum, H 146. The special appeal of this “Mass for the Midnight Service on Christmas Eve” lies in its use of no fewer than ten traditional French carols while impressively revealing Charpentier’s mastery of the concertante style.

The eight solo vocalists (SSAATTBB) can easily be taken from the chorus. They are divided into three groups – one group of two sopranos and two groups each comprising alto, tenor and bass – which interact with the chorus and instruments. This new edition represents the current state of scholarship and offers a completely revised Urtext of Charpentier’s masterpiece. (by musicroom.com)

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Personnel:

Te Deum:
Charles Brett (alto)
Eiddwen Harrhy (soprano)
Felicity Lott (soprano)
Ian Partridge (tenor)
Stephen Roberts (bass)
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Academy Of St. Martin-in-the-Fields conducted by Philip Ledger
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Choir Of King’s College, Cambridge

Messe De Minuit Pour Noël:
James Bowman (alto)
April Cantelo (soprano)
Helen Gelmar (soprano)
Christopher Keyte (bass)
Ian Partridge (tenor)
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English Chamber Orchestra conducted by David Willocks
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Choir Of King’s College, Cambridge conducted by David Willocks
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Andrew Davis (organ)

Booklet

Tracklist

Te Deum (recorded 1977):
01. Prélude 1.45
02. Te Deum Laudamus 1.18
03. Te Aeternum Patrem 1.55
04. Pleni Sunt Coeli Et Terra 2.20
05. Te Per Orbem Terrarum 3.19
06. Tu Devicto Mortis Aculeo 1.07
07. Judex Crederis 0.51
08. Te Ergo Quaesumus 2.08
09. Aeterna Fac Cum Sanctis 3.12
10. Dignare Domine 2.03
11. Fiat Misericordia 1.51
12. In Te Domine Speravi 3.21

Messe De Minuit Pour Noël (recorded: 1967):
13. Kyrie 6.27
14. Gloria 6.11
15. Credo 11.25
16. Offertoire 4.45
17. Sanctus 2.49
18. Agnus Dei 2.54

Music composed by Marc-Antoine Charpentier

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Jon Lord – To Notice Such Things (2010)

FrontCover1To Notice Such Things is a studio album by former Deep Purple keyboard player Jon Lord, released in 2010. It is titled after the main work, a six-movement suite for solo flute, piano and string orchestra, composed by Lord in memory of his close friend the late Sir John Mortimer, CBE, QC. The music emanates from that which Lord composed for the stage show, Mortimer’s Miscellany, which he also occasionally accompanied. To Notice Such Things is the last line of the Thomas Hardy poem “Afterwards”, which ended the show.

Jon says of the piece, “I wanted to give the flute the job of speaking for John throughout the Suite; his laughter and his sighs, his wistfulness and occasional mild cantankerousness, his playfulness, and also the anguish and then the acceptance of his final days.” The flute solo in the recording of To Notice Such Things, is performed by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s principal flautist Cormac Henry, who throughout the work engages in dexterous musical dialogue with Lord’s solo piano.

Jon Lord performed three movements from To Notice Such Things at Mortimer’s memorial service at Southwark Cathedral in November 2009, in front of an audience that included the Duchess of Cornwall, members of the Mortimer family, Lord Mandelson, Lord Kinnock, Jeremy Paxman, Alan Rickman, Peter O’Toole, Sir Tom Stoppard and Jeremy Irons, whose noble reading of “Afterwards” closes the recording of To Notice Such Things.

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To Notice Such Things has been performed live a few times, most notably on June 16, 2010 at Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall with Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Clark Rundell. (by wikipedia)

Jon Lord, ex-Deep Purple, has written a classical tribute to his friend, the late Sir John Mortimer:

Although Deep Purple’s former keyboard ace Jon Lord featured in BBC Four’s recent documentary Heavy Metal Britannia, he didn’t quite fit. While members of Black Sabbath and Saxon discussed steel mills and Satanism, Lord offered scholarly aperçus about vocal technique and instrumental arrangements. A musical score lay open on the grand piano behind him, next to a bust of Beethoven.

That’s because Lord, 68, is now in the middle of a flourishing second career as a classical composer, even if some will always associate him with Deep Purple epics like Smoke on the Water.

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His Durham Concerto has been a smash hit in Classic FM’s Hall of Fame, hotly pursued by his piano concerto Boom of the Tingling Strings. His latest composition, To Notice Such Things, is a six-part suite in memory of Sir John Mortimer, the barrister, playwright and raconteur who died in January last year.

“He was a huge pal of mine, and I wanted to extol him and paint a positive picture of him in the music,” Lord explains. “My wife adored him, my daughters adored him, and he certainly had an aura about him. John could be cantankerous, of course, but he had the ability to take people’s legs from under them with wit rather than with a cudgel.”

Lord and Mortimer first met in 1987, when they were both protesting against the demolition of the old Regal cinema in Henley-on-Thames. “John told me at the time that the only real reason for saving it was that it always had an interval in the film, in which they opened the bar for 20 minutes,” Lord recalls. “We both took part in a fund-raising revue at the Kenton Theatre in Henley a few weeks later. We said hello to each other on various occasions after that, including a memorable encounter in the frozen food aisle at Waitrose – built over the demolished remains of the Regal cinema.”

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Their friendship blossomed when Mortimer invited Lord to play piano in his Mortimer’s Miscellany performances, theatrical evenings which afforded Mortimer scope to expatiate upon “life, love and the law”. The juxtaposition of the creator of Rumpole of the Bailey with that bloke out of Deep Purple must have been disorientating for audiences, surely?

“People usually didn’t realise,” chortles Lord. “I was just some guy with a ponytail playing piano. But every now and again, someone would come up and say ’You’re… aren’t you? What on earth are you doing here?’ I’d say, ‘Well I love the man, I love the show, and I wasn’t doing anything tonight’.”

Three of the six pieces in To Notice Such Things were originally written for the Miscellany shows, though they’ve been expanded and orchestrated. Lord studied classical music from the age of five and taught himself orchestration from Cecil Forsyth’s book on the topic, and his composing style leans towards a melodic, wistful pastoralism.

“I had four or five minutes of music written, and I added an extra 23 minutes to complete the suite as it now is,” he explains. “If I hadn’t had those three little pieces I would have been far too daunted by the short time frame, because I was asked in February 2009 for a piece to be played at the beginning of July.”

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The piece was commissioned by the Shipley Arts Festival, where it premiered last July with Mortimer’s widow Penelope and daughter Rosie in the audience.

The original plan called for a flute concerto, but Lord settled on “a suite of music based on chapters in John’s life as I saw them. The flute would be his voice, because John had quite a light tenor voice, he wasn’t a great booming baritone. Having only just lost him, he felt very close by while I was composing, and the music came very quickly.”

The pieces loosely cover Mortimer’s life, from the aspiring young lawyer depicted in As I Walked Out One Evening, through his professional heyday at the Old Bailey, his home life in the Chilterns, and his decline into old age. The elegiac concluding section, Afterwards, takes its title from Thomas Hardy’s poem (which is also the source of the line “to notice such things”).

Lord found the trickiest segment to write was The Winter of a Dormouse, an evocation of Mortimer’s final illness. “I was able to visit him a few times during that period, and I didn’t want to come over as some sort of musical voyeur. I’m happy with the result, I don’t think it’s too overwrought. I was tremendously moved by being part of his passing.”

Looking forward, Lord has a pile of composing projects on his plate, including a cello concerto for Matthew Barley and a concerto for Hammond organ for the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. He’s even contemplating another concerto for rock group and orchestra, like the one he wrote for Deep Purple in 1969.

“It would be fascinating, but that’s a little way down the list of priorities at the moment,” he admits. “There just aren’t enough hours in the day.” (by Adam Sweeting, The Telegraph)

This was the last album, that Jon Lord recorded …

Mortimer


Personnel:

Cormac Henry (flute )
Jon Lord (piano)
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Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra conducted b< Clark Rundell
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Jeremy Irons (poem on 10.)

Booklet08A
Tracklist:
01. As I Walked Out One Evening 4.15
02. At Court 5.33
03. Turville Heath 3.01
04. The Stick Dance 4.45
05. The Winter Of A Dormouse 5.33
06. Afterwards 3.56
07. Evening Song 8.16
08. For Example 9.12
09. Air On The Blue String 6.33
10. “Afterwards” (Poem by Thomas Hardy) (3:01)

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JonLord01

John Lord (9 June 1941 – 16 July 2012)

 

Various Artists – Land Of The Midnight Sun – Music and images from Finland (2006)

FrontCover1This special photo album + CD product illustrates the unforgettable experience of summers in Finland, which have inspired so many Finnish composers to write some of their greatest works.

Finland is perhaps best known for its peacefulness and beautiful nature: vast forests, a unique archipelago and thousands of lakes present a striking mixture of wooded hills and waters.

The best season to discover this pristine wilderness is summer, which in Finland is characterized by long days and – in more norther regions where the sun is visible for continuous 24 hours – by the dazzling phenomenon of the Midnight Sun.

15 outstanding nature photographs and 24 tracks of wonderful Finnish classical music invite to discover or remember the uniqueness of Finland as Land of the Midnight Sun.

linernotes

And here are some beautiful pictures from the land of the midnight sun:

Pic01

Pic02

Pic03

Pic04

Pic05

 

Personnel:

Personnel

Tracklist:

Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)
01. Rakastava (The Lover), Op. 14  / 3.57
02. Suite champêtre, Op. 98b / 3.19

Erkki Melartin (1875-1937)
Prinsessa Ruusunen (Sleeping Beauty Suite), Op. 22:
03. Minuet 3.08
04. Butterfly Waltz 2.02
05. Minä metsän polkuja kuljen (Along forest paths I wander) 1.49

Ilmari Hannikainen (1878-1951)
06. Rauha (Peace) 2.17

Bernhard Henrik Crusell (1775-1838)
Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra in E-flat Major, Op. 1:
07. Adagio 3.24

Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)
Bagatelles, Op. 34:
08. Valse 1.45
09. Souvenir 1.41
10. Danse Pastorale 0.46
11. Reconnaissance 0.42
12. Jouer de harpe 1.37

Einojuhani Rautavaara (1928-)
Concerto for Birds and Orchestra “Cantus Arcticus” (1972):
13. Melancholy 4.17

Toivo Kuula (1883-1918)
14. Aamulaulu (Morning Song) 1.43

Martti Turunen (1902-1979)
15. Sunnuntai (Sunday) 3.20

Traditional
16. Jo Karjalan kunnailla (The Hills of Karelia) 2.21
17. Soittajapaimen (The Piper Shepherd) 1.38
18. Orvon huokaus (An Orphan’s Sigh) 2.44

Väinö Raitio (1891-1945)
Kesäkuvia Hämeestä (Summer pictures from Häme):
19. Kesäyö (Summer Night) 2.26
20. Paimenlaulu (Herdsman’s Song 2.09
21. Kukkien kuningatar (Queen of the Flowers) 3.03

Leevi Madetoja (1887-1947)
Syksy-sarja (Autumn song cycle), Op. 68:
22. Lintu sininen (Bluebird) 1.59
23. Tule kanssani (Take My Hand), Op. 9/3 / 2.04

Erkki Melartin (1875-1937)
Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 30/1 (1902):
24. Scherzo 5.14

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Midnight Sun