Max Richter – Recomposed By Max Richter – Vivaldi: The Four Seasons (2012)

FrontCover1It starts with a shimmer of something strange and soft, an ambient mist of strings that’s both electronic and acoustic. Then something weird happens. Out of these shifting sonic tides comes an ensemble of violins – playing fragments of the world’s most overfamiliar concerto, the soundtrack to 1,000 adverts, an on-hold phone favourite that features on every classical compilation ever. Yes, it’s Vivaldi’s Four Seasons – but not as we know it.

This is Vivaldi Recomposed, by genre-hopping, new-music maestro Max Richter. So the big, clanging question is: why? Why retouch, rework, and reimagine Vivaldi’s evergreen pictorial masterpiece? “The Four Seasons is something we all carry around with us,” says Richter, a German-born British composer. “It’s just everywhere. In a way, we stop being able to hear it. So this project is about reclaiming this music for me personally, by getting inside it and rediscovering it for myself – and taking a new path through a well-known landscape.”


(from left) André de Ridder, Max Richter and Daniel Hope

This involved “throwing molecules of the original Vivaldi into a test tube with a bunch of other things, and waiting for an explosion”. You can hear this chemical reaction particularly well at the opening of Richter’s reworked Summer concerto, which has become a weird collision of Arvo Pärt-likemelancholy in the solo violin and a minimalist workout for the rest of the strings. “There are times I depart completely from the original, yes, but there are moments when it pokes through. I was pleased to discover that Vivaldi’s music is very modular. It’s pattern music, in a way, so there’s a connection with the whole post-minimalist aesthetic I’m part of.”

Part of the fun of the album is that your ears play tricks with your memory of the original: these familiar melodies do unexpected things, resulting in an experience that’s both disturbing yet full of strange delights. And imagine how it felt for Recomposed’s solo violinist Daniel Hope: having played the original for decades, he – and more importantly his fingers – faced a surreal task when he first picked his way through Richter’s score.


Alternate frontcover

“It was incredibly thought-provoking,” he says. “I had to deal with all the curveballs Max throws at you, the way he does things you don’t expect.” The experience clearly messed with Hope’s mind. “What really threw me was the first movement of Autumn. He pulls the rhythm around, starts dropping quavers here and there. You end up with a rickety and slightly one-legged Vivaldi. It’s incredibly funny. But even in poking fun at the original, there’s always enormous respect.”

The slow movement of Winter is another standout moment for Hope. “It’s really out of this world,” he says. “It’s as if an alien has picked it up and pulled it through a time warp. It’s really eerie: Max has kept Vivaldi’s melody, but it’s pulled apart by the ethereal harmonics underneath it.”

Can it all work beyond the recording studio? Audiences at the Barbican in London will find out later this month, when Vivaldi Recomposed is given its debut performance, with Hope backed by the Britten Sinfonia under the baton of André de Ridder. If the work sends listeners back to the original with new ears, that’s all part of the point, says Richter. “The original Four Seasons is a phenomenally innovative and creative piece of work. It’s so dynamic, so full of amazing images. And it feels very contemporary. It’s almost a kind of jump-cut aesthetic – all those extreme leaps between different kinds of material. Hats off to him. That’s what I’m really pleased with: my aim was to fall in love with the original again – and I have.”


Daniel Hope (violin)
Max Richter (synthesizer)
Konzerthaus Kammerorchester Berlin conducted by André de Ridder:
Raphael Alpermann (harpsichord)
Matthias Benker (viola)
Karoline Bestehorn (violin)
Cornelia Dill (violin)
David Drost (cello)
Ying Guo (cello)
Johannes Jahnel (violin)
Alexander Kahl (cello)
Felix Korinth  (viola)
Jana Krämer (violin)
Christoph Kulicke (violin)
Sayako Kusaka (violin)
Alicia Lagger (violin)
Nerina Mancini (cello)
Ronith Mues (harp)
Jorge Villar Paredes (bass)
Katja Plagens (viola)
Martin Schmidt (viola)
Georg Schwärsky (bass)
Sandor Tar (bass)
Ulrike Töppen (violin)



Recomposed By Max RichterVivalid The Four Seasons:
01. Spring 0  0.42
02. Spring 1  2.31
03. Spring 2   3.19
04. Spring 3  3.09
05. Summer 1   4.11
06. Summer 2   3.59
07. Summer 3  5.01
08. Autumn 1   5.42
09. Autumn 2  3.08
10. Autumn 3   1.45
11. Winter 1  3.01
12. Winter 2  2.51
13. Winter 3  4.39

Music: Antonio Vivaldi + Max Richter

Electronic Soundscapes:
14. Shadow 1   3.55
15. Shadow 2  2.32
16. Shadow 3   3.34
17. Shadow 4   2.33
18. Shadow 5   3.00





Iris Romen – Vintage Gal Hour (2012)

FrontCover1Looking at the cover photo, you could be excused for thinking “Vintage Gal Hour” is an album from the Golden Fifties. A classically-cut dress, a bow around the waist and a headband in the hair, eyes gazing longingly into the distance – that is how IriS Romen presents herself on the cover of her debut solo album. The pose in retro-look is a stylistic reference to the sound that awaits us behind the CD’s cellophane – with its invocation of music genres from decades gone by, it also has an anachronistic feel to it at first. Does IriS Romen have a place in the present at all, with her revisiting of the vintage sound of past epochs? But of course! And how! Because let’s be honest – don’t we all have a little of this lovable little Dutch girl in us just longing to get out? Doesn’t she appeal to all our yearnings for yesteryear and the undeniable advantages it had? In a word: yes! In an age of emotionally detached, fully digitised technology, she strikes straight at the heart with her genuine, hand-made songs.

IrisRomen01Her heart-warming music with the old-vinyl feel satisfies that hunger for true emotions so pervasive today, and that makes it modern and up-to-the-minute. What IriS Romen has recorded here in Berlin together with producer Johnny Bluth (Johnny Trouble Trio) and her musician friends over a period of almost two years and using old analogue equipment reveals a profound knowledge of the 50s and 60s. We hear Old-Time Country in a style reminiscent of Kitty Wells (“You Stole My Heart”) and Loretta Lynn (“Growing Pains”), are highly entertained by the nostalgically jazzy (“I Found You In Fall”), delight in string sounds à la Hank Marvin of The Shadows (“Tabou”) and encounter twang guitars like the ones from those old Spaghetti Westerns (“Dance With Me”). But the best thing about the songs is that IriS Romen doesn’t simply rinse and repeat the influences of her idols, she recreates them again from scratch in her own imagination. Despite numerous quotes and cross-references, “Vintage Gal Hour” is completely and utterly IriS Romen. She wrote all the tracks on this solo album herself and is blessed with a wonderful, natural, unmistakable voice that renders pointless any comparisons with stars from the past.

IrisRomen02Iris Romen discovered at a very early age that the music from the early 20th century struck a chord in her. She would sing along ardently when her father put on LPs at home, and she loved doing famous musicals in school performances. It was experiences like those that led, in her teenage years, to her resolve to make singing her career one day. After graduating school she studied jazz vocalisation with Janice Lakers at the Maastricht music academy and classical singing with Marie-José Van De Beuken, while also financing private lessons with vocal coach Anne Bruning by working in a supermarket (where she once even served André Rieu). During this phase, her love of old jazz emerged.

She also came to know and love the Brecht interpretations of Kurt Weill, Paul Dessau and Hanns Eisler during this time, and was introduced to the world of Jump ‘n’ Jive, Rock ‘n’ Roll and Rhythm ‘n’ Blues as a guest singer in Ray Collins’ Hot Club. In 2004, IriS Romen, who had by then also learned how to play the double bass, moved to the German capital where she still lives today. Saturdays she takes the packed Clärchens Ballhaus, the historical dance hall that Quentin Tarantino used as a set in “Inglourious Basterds”, through rousing dance evenings as the lead vocalist of the Ballhaus Band. She also broadens her spectrum as a member of the girl group The Runaway Brides (often to be seen supporting BossHoss) and Ben Becker’s background band. Now the time is ripe for an international solo career. “I believe in the timelessness of everything that is done and viewed with the heart.” That is what IriS Romen says of her solo debut. On it she strikes exactly the tone of her favourite ages, while remaining on the cutting edge of the present with every note. Very few manage that balancing act, but on “Vintage Gal Hour” Iris Romen succeeds immaculately. (by

Oh, Iris … let me be your strange boy ….

Ricco Baader (guitar)
Sascha Bachmann (drums)
Felix Berchthold (guiar)
Christian Betancourt (percussion)
Johnny Bluth (guitar, harmonica, glockenspiel, drums, percussion)
Dalai Cellai (cello)
Matthias Geserick (bass)
Iris Romen (vocals, guitar, piano, glockenspiel, bass, cowbell)
Tall Tony (bass)

01. Dance With Me 3.37
02. Love Catastrophe 1.33
03. You Stole My Heart 2.39
04. Clouds 4.52
05. Iris’ Song 3.20
06. Bird Of Freedom 2.35
07. Tabou 3.14
08. Starnight 3.34
09. I Found You In Fall 2.19
10. Strange Boy 4.06
11. Growing Pains 2.45
12. Last Song 11.34

All songs written by Iris Romen



Choirs of St Elisabeth Convent – You Simple Have To Love (Всего-то навсего) (2012)

FrontCover1You simply have to love! With love, your life will become meaningful, everything around you (flowers, stones, birds and the sea) will make you happy and preach God’s love. You simply have to love! You should find this precious feeling inside your soul and never judge or be envious or be depressed. Show love to all those people whom God sends to you on your way. You simply have to love! Is it that simple? Oh, how hard it is! Sometimes it is even impossible for us sinners. However, the Lord comforts us by showing the examples of how the Mother of God, the saints and ordinary people, monks and lay people could truly love, believe and repent. This is what the selection of songs on this disc attempts to convey. (by Nun Juliania Denisova)

This new album is unique because both choirs of St Elisabeth Convent, i.e., the monastic choir and the festive choir, sing together. The monastic sisters lead the chant in two or three voices while the festive choir provides a backup by imitating the sound of a harp or a guitar, typical of this genre.

St Elisabeth Convent in Minsk

St Elisabeth Convent in Minsk

This disc features a variety of styles: from the Slavic folklore (‘Oh, went and passed’ and ‘Leech in the Water’) and Tchaikovsky’s music (‘The Crown of Thorns’ (‘When Jesus Christ Was Yet A Child’)) to music created by our contemporaries – Hieromonk Roman (‘Hail, O Bride Unwedded’), Archdeacon Roman (‘God Have Mercy on Me’), Nun Juliania (Denissova) (‘A Publican’, ‘You Simply Have to Love’, words by Archpriest Andrew Logvinov). All songs were treated by one and the same author, the precentor of St Elisabeth Convent Nun Juliania, and have one single style, which is why all of them sound like one single whole and are easy to listen to. (by

St Elisabeth Convent was founded in 1999 on the basis of the Sisterhood of Saint Elisabeth. Currently, there are over 100 nuns in the Convent. Archpriest Andrew Lemeshonok has been the spiritual father of the Convent since the very beginning of its existence. Our spiritual beacons, both in the everyday life of the Convent and in the ways we interact with the world, have been SS Martha and Mary Convent founded by Grand Princess Elisabeth in Moscow, as well as St John the Baptist Monastery in Essex, the UK, founded by Archimandrite Sophrony (Sakharov).

MinskA convent is a family united around God. The members of this family are very different and come from diverse backgrounds, and it is in the convent where they learn to love each other and pray for each other. Through this effort they gradually develop perfect love and prayerful concern for every living being and all humankind.

A convent is also an army, inasmuch as its soldiers must be ready for unconditional obedience to God’s command and for the daily battle against sin, relying on the armour of God.

LogoOh Lord …

This is religious music and even I don´t believe in God … this is a real beautiful music … it´s like Enya … but without instruments

The Festive Choir of St Elisabeth Convent
The Monastic Choir of St Elisabeth Convent

01. Всего-то навсего (You Simply Have to Love) (Denisova/Logvinov) 4.45
02. Странник (The Wanderer) (unknown) 1.52
03. Боже, помилуй меня (God, Have Mercy On Me) (unknown) 3.03
04. О, дивный Валаам! (Wondrous Isle Of Valaam!)  Poetry by Monk Peter Mikhailov 3.55
05. Храни Господь (God Save You)  (Sisters of St Elisabeth Convent) 3.03
06. Вера, Надежда, Любовь (Faith, Hope, Love) (Lepeshinsky) 3.34
07. Радуйся, Невесто Неневестная (Hail, O Bride Unwedded) (Roman) 4.17
08. Был у Христа-Младенца сад (When Jesus Christ Was Yet A Child) (Tschaikowsky/Pleshcheyev) 2.59
09. Марие, Дево Чистая (Agni Parthene) (St Nectarios of Aegina) 6.08
10. Слеза (A Tear) (Denisova) 3.06
11. Три ангела (Three Angels) (Traditional) 3.45
12. Вьюн над водой (Leech In The Water) Traditional) 4.37
13.  Мытарь (The Publican) (Denisova/Logvinov) 3.54
14. Нить судьбы (The Thread Of Destiny) (Denisova/Solodovnikov) 2.39
15, Нищая братия (The Poor Brethren) (Traditional) 3.36



Richie Sambora – Aftermath Of The Lowdown (2012)

FrontCover1Aftermath of the Lowdown is the third solo album by Richie Sambora which was released on September 18, 2012 as digital download and on September 25, 2012 as physical CD (digipack format). In the United Kingdom the album was released on September 17. For the first time in his 30-year career, Sambora signed with an independent label, Dangerbird.

To promote the album, Sambora and his band appeared as the house band on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson for the first week in December 2012.

The album charted at #10 on the “Top Hard Rock Albums”, #34 on the Top Independent Albums, #149 on The Billboard 200[3] and #35 on the UK Albums Chart.

RichieSamboraThe track “Every Road Leads Home to You” was released as a single for the album and features a music video. The song is also featured as one of the bonus tracks on Bon Jovi’s 2013 album What About Now. A special edition single, “I’ll Always Walk Beside You'” featuring Alicia Keys was released as the second single of the album and also features a music video. All the profits from the sale of the special edition single goes to the ongoing recovery efforts of The Red Cross for the devastation from Hurricane Sandy. The track “Sugar Daddy” was released as a promo single. (by wikipedia)

RedCrossFrontCoverWith the title of Aftermath of the Lowdown, his first solo album in 14 years, Richie Sambora could very well be referring to a bunch of personal problems that plagued him in the back half of the 2000s. Certainly, there is an element of confession running throughout Aftermath of the Lowdown but what’s more striking about this, Sambora’s third solo album, is that it is not only emotionally charged but also musically adventurous, the guitarist straying far from Bon Jovi’s teased Springsteen tributes. Sambora dabbles in some modern sounds, explicitly evoking Coldplay on “Every Road Leads Home to You,” but more often he suggests Bowie by way of Aerosmith, retaining his bloozy leads but indulging in trashy glam stomps as frequently as he shows a fondness for lively pop that’s artful and almost a little soulful. After beginning with a deluge of heavy guitars that fall within the realm of expectations, Aftermath of the Lowdown then takes several left turns, so much so that it’s never entirely clear what kind of song will follow next. This sense of adventure explains the album’s release on Dangerbird Records and it also makes the album something else entirely: a record that firmly establishes Sambora’s artistic identity outside of Bon Jovi. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

Rusty Anderson (guitar)
Luke Ebbin (keyboards, background vocals, programming)
Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. (keyboards)
Richie Sambora (vocals, guitar)
Matt Rollings (keyboards)
Curt Schneider (bass)
Aaron Sterling (drums)
Alicia Keys (piano on 13.)


01. Burn the Candle Down (Sambora/Ebbin) 4.23
02.  Every Road Leads Home To You (Sambora/Ebbin) 4.40
03. Taking A Chance On The Wind (Sambora/Ebbin) 4.47
04. Nowadays (Sambora/Ebbin) 4.00
05. Weathering The Storm (Sambora/Taupin) 4.49
06. Sugar Daddy (Sambora/Ebbin) 4.37
07. I’ll Always Walk Beside You (Sambora/Ebbin) 5.03
08. Seven Years Gone (Sambora/Ebbin) 5.36
09. Learning How To Fly With A Broken Wing (Sambora/Cassens) 4.35
10. You Can Only Get So High (Sambora/Cassens) 6.32
11. World (Sambora/Foster) 2.22
12. Backseat Driver (Japan bonus track) (Sambora/Ebbin) 4.12
13. I`ll Always Walk Beside You (bonus track from the Red Cross album) (Sambora/Ebbin) 4.45



Silje Nergaard – Unclouded (2012)

FrontCover1In 2009, orchestral A Thousand True Stories, the year after it was time for the Christmas album If I Could Wrap Up A Kiss. In 2012, follow up with Silje Nergaard Unclouded, an album based on the concept trio consisting of herself and the two guitarists Hallgrim Bratberg and Havar Bendiksen. Silje has also been joined by musicians – especially guitarists – which has meant a lot to her throughout her career. ¤  With the album include the Knut Reiersud, Jojje Wadenius, Nils Einar Vinjor and renowned jazz guitarist John Scofield. Trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer also contributes, and Silje singing a duet with Kim SiljeNergaardRysstad the song “Norwegian Boat Song. ”Unclouded focuses on the interplay between the vocals and guitar, inspired by Nergaards childhood with a guitar-playing father. The sound is stripped down significantly, and the muted instrumentation lets the melodies shine extra strong — as well as variation in the expression gives the album life, with a range that goes from the soft, beautiful to the rougher and more playful. (

In the spring of 2012, Siljereleased her 13th album, Unclouded, whichincludes nine original songs composed by the songwriter plus special contributions by American guitarist John Scofield, blues guitarist Knut Reiersrud and jazz trumpeter Nils Petter Molvær. The album’s title refers to the carefree attitude of children and their spontaneity, a quality Silje had been longing for and one that she has successfully recreated with these new songs. Accompanied by only two guitarists, the singer masterfully uses all the nuances of her voice to interpret songs that are true poetry. Although Unclouded marks a shift from her previous albums, Silje remains true to herself, redefining her relationship with jazz in each new song she sings. (

Halgrim Bratberg (guitar, bass)
Haar Bendiksen (guitar, bass)
Silje Nergaard (vocals and compositions
Frida Annevik (vocals)
Peter Hallström (background vocals)
Jon Pal Inderberg (saxophone)
Nils Petter Molvaer (trumpet)
Knut Reiersrud (guitar)
Kim André Rysstad (vocals)
John Scofield (guitar)
Pal Svenre (background vocals)
Nils Einar Vinjor (guitar)
Jojje Wadenius (guitar)
Martin Winstad (percussion)


01. All I Had 5.08
02. Norwegian Boatsong 6.22
03. God’s Mistakes 4.13
04. The Moon’s A Harsh Mistress 5.11
05. Ordinary Sadness 5.00
06. When The Morning Comes 3.52
07. Det Var For Sent 4.35
08. When Our Tune Is Played 3.28
09. He Must Have Been Telling A Lie 3.11
10. I Will Write You Every Da 3.43
11.Human 4.48

All songs written by Silje Nergaard + Mike McGurk



David Garrett – Music (2012)

FrontCover1With one foot planted firmly in pop and the other less securely in classical, David Garrett appears, out of necessity, to be a permanent crossover artist, not merely an occasional dabbler in genres. As he has demonstrated in his previous albums, he wants to encourage fans from the world of rock to appreciate his roots in classical music, while attracting admirers from the classical sphere for his technical flair and clever arranging skills. Music, Garrett’s 2012 release on Decca, is a mix of pop hits — Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida,” Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River,” Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature,” Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” etc. — and adaptations of pieces by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Clementi, and Khachaturian, among other selections that showcase his flamboyance and high energy. Of course, purists will dismiss this CD as a dilution of the originals, because the rock tracks are fairly constrained, even sanitized, in the effort to make them more piquant and delicate, while the classical pieces are coarsened by synthesizers, drum machines, and fake symphonic bombast (the Scherzo and the Ode to Joy from Beethoven’s Ninth are to be lamented most for their mishandling). But showmanship is Garrett’s claim to fame, not subtlety, and he displays a curious blend of camp and sensitivity to his materials to make his over-the-top showmanship somehow forgivable, if not appealing to everyone. Still, casual listeners will get something out of this album, or at least recognize a few tunes that will point them to other recordings. (by Blair Sanderson)

Jeff Allen (bass)
David Garrett (violin)
John Haywood (piano)
Franck van der Heijden (guitar)
Jeff Lipstein (drums)
Markus Wolf (guitar)
The European Community Choir (choir on 15.)
David Foster (piano on 06.)
Ricciotti Ensemble
Arturo Sandoval (trumpet on 05.)

01. Viva La Vida (Martin/Berryman/Buckland/Champion) 4.16
02. Cry Me A River (Timberlake/Storch/Mosley) 3.13
03. Scherzo (Beethoven) 3.06
04. Human Nature (Bettis/Porcaro) 3.52
05. Tico Tico (d.Abreu) 2.27
06. Nocturne (Chopin) 3.11*Featuring –
07. Whole Lotta Bond (Page/Bonham/Jones/Norman/Plant) 2.58
08. Sonatina (Clementi) 3.15
09. Sandstorm (Salovaara/Virtanen) 3.16
10. Music (Miles) 5.09
11. Sabre Dance (Khatchaturian) 3.08
12. Double Harpsichord Concerto In C Major (Bach) 3.35
13. We Will Rock You (May) 2.54
14. Celtic Rondo (Traditional) 3.22
15. Ode To Joy (Beethoven) 3.58


Simeon Soul Charger – Harmony Square (2012)

FrontCover1Simeon Soul Charger is an American Psychedelic Rock band. Their music has been described as a cinematic pastiche of folk, blues, progressive, 70’s psychedelic and stoner rock.

US quartet SIMEON SOUL CHARGER was formed in 2008, and released two initial EPs in quick succession following the formation. Then they signed to the German label Gentle Art of Music, which released their debut album “Meet Me in the Afterlife” in 2011 as well as their most recent production “Harmony Square” from September 2012.

Booklet02ASimeon Soul Charger’s second album “Harmony Square” is an album that should appeal broadly. Fans of progressive rock and classic rock both should find lots to enjoy here, and in particular those amongst them with a soft spot for psychedelic flavored music. If a general description such as retro-oriented concept album with a foundation in late 60’s to early 70’s psychedelic progressive rock sounds intriguing, you are most BookletFrontCoverAlikely a part of the core audience for this fine band. (by windhawk)

And the story of Simeon Soul Charger is a real crazy story:

Moving from Ohio to Bavaria’s countryside? That’s not the typical route for a rock band to go. Simeon Soul Charger, however, went down that road – courageously and successfully. The band’s albums, impressively shows that these four Americans do not think much of conventional approaches altogether.

Booklet10ASimeon Soul Charger have experienced quite some things since their inception in 2008. First there was the rather unusual decision to relocate the entire band from the members’ native Akron, Ohio to placid Bavaria, Germany ()Freising, near Munich)

This step was quickly followed by the two critically acclaimed albums Meet Me in the Afterlife and Harmony Square as well as various tours and countless live shows.

Aaron Brooks (vocals, guitar, piano, kalimba, percussion)
Joe Kidd (drums, percussion, vocals)
Spider Monkey (bass, vocals, percussion)
Rick Phillips (guitar, vocals, mandolin, percussion)
Manfred Feneberg (percussion)
Sandra Rieger (violin)
Susi Salomon (violin)
Friederike Seeßelberg (cello)
Claudio Vollino (harp)

01. Overture 3.29
02. Babylon Grove 5.31
03. All’s Fair in Harmony Square 6.02
04. Ms. Donce 3.14
05. Spinning Across the Grass 2.29
06. Doris 2.12
07. Oh What a Beastly Boy 3.18
08. The Piper’s Prize 2.41
09. The Devil’s Rhapsody 5.20
10. The Changing Wind and Reign 6.11
11. The Advent of Awakening 6.21
12. King Charles Norman’s Castle 8.01
13. See Sharp 2.55
14. Rayoweith’s Guillotine / A Gift from the Sky 3.43
15. Ashes 5.57

Music: Aaron Brooks – Joe Kidd – Spider Monkey – Rick Phillips
Lyrics: Aaron Brooks