Gordon Chin – Cello Concerto + Symphony No.3 (“Taiwan”) (2015)

FrontCover1Gordon Chin is one of Taiwan’s leading composers, and increasingly honoured by commissions and performances from major ensembles in North America, Asia and Europe. Featuring an array of exotic Chinese percussion instruments, Symphony No. 3 ‘Taiwan’ is a dramatically powerful work cast in three movements which explore his native country’s turbulent history. Specific literary quotations from Shakespeare, Blaise Pascal and Samuel Johnson elucidate the expressive moods of the three-movement Cello Concerto No. 1. — naxos.com

Gordon Chin is one of Taiwan’s leading composers, music director of the Yin-Qi Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in Taipei, and a faculty member at the National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU). As a composer he has received commissions and performances from North America (where he studied), Asia and Europe. Now in his late fifties, he has produced a number of substantial compositions including an opera, four symphonies, numerous concertos and choral works. These two impressive examples of his music were written ten years apart and are here given their world premiere recordings.

Shao-Chia Lu

The three-movement Cello Concerto No.1 is placed first. Some literary quotations from Shakespeare, Pascal and Dr. Johnson, quoted by Chin in his own booklet note, aim to elucidate the expressive moods of each movement. I am not sure they are especially helpful in that respect, but the music hardly needs any literary support, so direct is its strength and immediate appeal. It is on a large scale and full of arresting orchestral incident. Its modernist idiom will present few problems to admirers of the cello concertos of Martinu or Shostakovich, for it is in an acerbically tonal style with many exotic effects, and punchy assertive gestures dominate. Yet this is clearly the statement of an individual voice. The orchestral colours are alluring and the cello solo is wide-ranging, idiomatic.

It has quite a few challenges for the player – all of which cellist Wen-Sinn Yang has mastered. His dazzling virtuosity serves the work rather than the other way around. One hopes this disc will encourage other cellists to look at the music.

Symphony No.3 (subtitled Taiwan) is a dramatic work also cast in three movements, each of which explores the turbulent history of Chin’s native country. The first movement is subtitled Plunder, the second Dark Night and the third Upsurge. There are even motifs with such titles identified in the composer’s note, complete with musical illustrations. That first movement is almost a percussion extravaganza, becoming a timpani concerto at some points. The lyrical second movement draws upon a Taiwanese folk song, is punctuated by angry episodes and grows to a passionate climax. The finale pulls everything together in a satisfying way and leads to a heroic conclusion. The symphony is enjoyable and often striking, if at first slightly less compelling perhaps than the cello concerto. The performance of the excellent Taiwan Philharmonic under Shao-Chia Lü is certainly persuasive and sounds committed throughout.
The recording is very good, full and well-balanced with plenty of impact. This disc will appeal to anyone curious to know what can be made of the western classical tradition when its techniques and colours are expertly refracted through an East Asian lens. It is to be hoped that Naxos, whose second disc of Chin’s music this is will continue the series. The first disc is Naxos 8.570221: Double Concerto and Formosa Seasons. (Roy Westbrook)


Gordon Shi-Wen Chin,(born 1957), a Taiwanese composer and conductor, is a member of the faculty of National Taiwan Normal University. He earned his doctoral degree at the Eastman School of Music under Christopher Rouse and Samuel Adler.[2] As one of Taiwan’s most prolific composers, his works have been performed by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony Orchestra, and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, as well as by ensembles in Tokyo (Euodia Orchestra), France (Ensemble 2e2m), the International Sejong Soloists (United States), and many others.[3] The Los Angeles Times has called him a “confident master of the Western modernistic large orchestral idiom used for dramatic rather than abstract purposes.” Chin is now the music director of the Yinqi Chorus & Orchestra (by wikipedia)

Gordon Chin

Wen-Sinn Yang (cello)
Taiwan Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Shao-Chia Lu



Cello Concerto No. 1:
01. Allegro 13.29
02. Dreams Trapped Inside The Mirror 10.37
03. After Great Pain 11.38

Symphony No. 3, “Taiwan”;
04. Plunder 9.32
05. Dark Night 8.40
06. Upsurge 8.16



Jay Jesse Johnson – Set The Blues On Fire (2015)

FrontCover1Set The Blues On Fire is the fifth solo album by Ohio native Jay Jesse Johnson. With a equal parts Robin Trower like explosiveness, some Foghat hard boogie blues and influences from the British Blues Explosion that clearly influenced artists like Bonamassa, JJJ set serves up 12 tracks that deliver on the title tracks promise. From some smokin’ slow blues and fast paced rocking boogie they set the blues on fire from both ends.

Bassist Reed Bogart and drummer Jeff “Smokey” Donaldson combine to deliver a tight rhythm section accompanying JJJ’s guitar throughout this fast-paced, energetic thrill ride that the majority of this album is going to take you on. The frighteningly fast boogie of “Hell or High Water” declares that this band is here to rock you right from the start. The next track “Ghosts of Texas” is where the work of keyboardist Lee Evans work is most prominent with some great organ playing. There is a definite SRV Reese Wynans feel to this one. “Since My Baby’s Gone” is a captivating slow blues with a beautiful guitar tone reminiscent with just that little delay and hint of echo of Gary Moore. The boogie train takes off again with “Wheelhouse Boogie” where the slower pace really lets JJJ take the time to make that guitar groan and growl during the choruses.

Jay Jesse Johnson02

Another slower but positively rocking blues is delivered with “Midnight Dream” where the band lays down a rhythm and just lets JJJ go to town for an first-rate solo in the middle. A powerful rhythm section that sets a slightly funky yet ominously dark tone to the warning of “Don’t Mess With Baby.” “If I Knew Then” is a slow burning blues that should not be missed. From there the thrill ride drops off the edge of the precipice with the fast paced “Ace In The Hole.” “Grinding Blues” is exactly what is describes. However, the highlight of this album is the instrumental closing track “Rio de los Suenos (River of Dreams)” which has all the beautiful feel, mood, and superior tone of something you would expect to hear from Eric Johnson. This is truly an amazing song where JJJ shows the depth of his guitar mastery.

With excellent songwriting of Set The Blues On Fire and the killer tone that he can wring out of his Strat, Jay Jesse Johnson delivers a clear message to everyone that he is here to ignite the flame of the candle placing him on the blues-rock altar. (Kevin O’Rourke)

Jay Jesse Johnson03

Reed Bogart (bass)
Donaldson (drums)
Lee Evans (keyboards)
Jay Jesse Johnson  (guitar, vocals)


01. Hell Or High Water 3.54
02. Ghosts In Texas 4.21
03. Since My Baby’s Gone 4.57
04. Wheelhouse Boogie 5.03
05. Set The Blues On Fire 4.01
06. Midnight Dream 5.49
07. Voodoo Woman 4.07
08. Don’t Mess With Baby 4.30
09. If I Knew Then 5.25
10. Ace In The Hole 4.30
11. Grinding Blues 4.51
12. Rio De Los Sueños (River Of Dreams) 5.25

All songs written by Jay Jesse Johnson


Jay Jesse Johnson01

Les Musiciens des Saint Julien – The High Road To Kilkenny – Gælic Songs and Dances (2015)

FrontCover1The High Road to Kilkenny follows our recording of the complete fl ute sonatas of J. S. Bach (Alpha 186).
My research on the diversity of musical phrasing at the time of Bach, in the light of period documents and more especially of the Solfeggi of J. J. Quantz, resonates with that of living Irish music.
This programme is the outcome of a patient exploration of the musical sources, composed in Ireland chiefly in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and published in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and of the original sung texts. For the sake of variety I have chosen works belonging to different genres, with an extremely refi ned and skilled repertory of settings of poetry (Lord Mayo, Sir Ulick Burke, among others) and a lighter repertory of songs and dances (Do Chuirfi nnse Féin Mo Leanbh a Chodladh, Oro Mhor a Mhoirin, Kitty’s Wishes).
I discovered Irish music and its performing practice around twenty years ago, when I was still a student in Barthold Kuijken’s Baroque flute class in Brussels. To attune one’s ear to the demands of an oral tradition was an eminently complementary training to what we were taught at the conservatory.
I have joyful memories of my fi rst backpacking trip around the Emerald Isle in the late 1990s. What an enchantment! The verdant landscapes, the fairytale (though fl eeting!) moments when the sun came out, the atmospheres so different from anything I’d known elsewhere are engraved on my memory.
And, above all, the hospitality and the musical encounters were particularly rich and enlightening in this country where music has remained a way of life. But this ‘popular’ practice shouldn’t obscure the fact that the old harper-poets like Turlough O’Carolan and his predecessors played for ‘polite society’: the music they left us is the music of the aristocracy.
It is with joy that I share these emotions of different kinds today with listeners to this latest production of Les Musiciens de Saint-Julien. (liner notes, written by François Lazarevitch)

Les Musiciens des Saint Julien01

After For Ever Fortune (Alpha Classics, 2010), this second incursion of Les Musiciens de Saint-Julien in Celtic lands, The High Road to Kilkenny, combines refined, ‘highbrow’ pieces along with an entertaining repertoire of songs in Gælic and dances from the Irish Baroque.

Embodied in a language, dances and emblematic instruments, Irish music also bears in it the mark of an insular pœtry and a turbulent history. Thus, it is to these that this exhilarating, entrancing programme bears witness, and for which François Lazarevitch went back to original texts and collections of the 18th and 19th centuries. Varied couplets, lullabies, minstrel songs and hymns to Nature relate and dance to themes of love, infidelity, and the seasons as well as occupation and exile.

François Lazarevitch

François Lazarevitch

Sensitive to interpreting this repertoire today, short of the picturesque or ossified codes, Les Musiciens de Saint-Julien find inspiration in the art of phrasing and ornamentation taught in numerous Baroque treatises, the energy and pœtry of period instruments, and the mix of musical traditions and sources. Here they are at home at the table of the great Irish names of the 17th and 18th centuries, and once again cross paths with one of their faithful partners: tenor Robert Getchell, very much present on the Baroque lyric stage and impassioned by different kinds of Irish music.

What a great album … music from centuries many years ago …  but still a fascinating music !

Les Musiciens des Saint Julien02

Lucile Boulanger (viola da gamba)
Marie Bournisien (harp)
Caitlín Nic Gabhann (dance)
Robert Getchell (vocals)
David Greenberg (violin)
Bruno Helstroffer (theorbo, lute)
François Lazarevitch (flute, tin whistle, smallpipes)
Bill Taylor (harp)

Bruno Helstroffer.jpg
Bruno Helstroffer

01. Óró Mhór a Mhóirín – The Gorum 4.48
02. Sir Uillioc de Búrca 4.44
03. An Drumadóir 2.39
04. Cuckold Come Out the Amery 4.15
05. Edward Corcoran 2.37
06. Síle Bheag Ní Chonnalláin 3.09
07. Sir Arthur Shaen – Colonel Irwin – Clonmell Lassies – The Scolding Wife 5.12
08. Tiarna Mhaigh Eo 6.10
09. Soggarth Shamus O’Finn 3.29
10. When She Cam Ben, She Bobbit – Kitty’s Wishes 5.09
11. Do Chuirfinnse Féin Mo Leanbh a Chodladh 3.42
12. The Banks Of Barrow 3.41
13. James Betagh – Lady Wrixon 4.03
14. O’Neill’s Riding Barrack Hill – Petrie No. 94 – Irish Air 4.13
15. King Of The Blind 3.18
16. Molly Nic Ailpín 3.25
17. The Cunning Young Man 1.32
18. The High Road To Kilkenny – Toss the Feathers – The Mill Stream – Money Musk 3.19

Lucile Boulanger

Lucile Boulanger



Jan Garbarek – Live At The Beethovenfest (2015)

FrontCover1Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek’s icy tone and liberal use of space and long tones has long been perfect for the ECM sound and, as a result, he is on many recordings for that label, both as a leader and as a sideman. He had won a competition for amateur jazz players back in 1962, leading to his first gigs. Garbarek worked steadily in Norway throughout the remainder of the ’60s, usually as a leader but also for four years with George Russell (who was in Scandinavia for a long stretch). Garbarek began recording for ECM in the early ’70s and, although he had opportunities to play with Chick Corea and Don Cherry, his association with Keith Jarrett’s European quartet in the mid-’70s made him famous, resulting in the classic recordings My Song and Belonging. In the ’80s, Garbarek’s groups included bassist Eberhard Weber and at various times, guitarists Bill Frisell and David Torn. Garbarek, whose sound has remained virtually unchanged since the ’70s, collaborated with the Hilliard Ensemble in 1993 (a vocal quartet singing Renaissance music) and the result was a surprisingly popular recording. Visible World followed in 1995, and four years later he resurfaced with Rites. In April of 1999, Garbarek and the Hilliard Ensemble returned with Mnemosyne. He issued In Praise of Dreams in 2004, and finally released his first live album as a leader, Dresden, in 2009. In 2012, ECM released the live archival recording Magico: Carta de Amor, by the Magico trio that also included guitarist Egberto Gismonti and bassist Charlie Haden. ( by Scott Yanow)

And this is another brilliant live concerts with Jan Garbarek and his group.

Without any doubts he´s one of the finest jazz musician our time !

Recorded live at Beethovenfest, Rhein Sieg Halle, Siegburg, Germany; October 2, 2015.
Excellent webcast.


Rainer Brüninghaus (keyboards)
Yuri Daniel (bass)
Trilok Gurtu (drums, percussion)
Jan Garbarek (saxophone)


01. One Goes There Alone (Garbarek) 8.29
02. Life Without Balcony (Garbarek) 5.15
03. Red Dust (Garbarek) 8.37
04. Transformations (Brüninghaus) 6.39
05. Stolt Oli 10:46 (Garbarek) 10.46
06. Maracatu 1:42 (Daniel) 1.42
07. Vignette 5:08 (Garbarek) 5.08
08. Pendant  (Garbarek) 8.52
09. La Pasionaria (Garbarek) 9.21
10. Drum Solo 13:26 (Gurtu) 13.26
11. It’s High Time (Garbarek) 4.38
12. Paper Nut (Shankar) 4.38




Joan Baez – Live At The Paléo Festival (2015)

FrontCover1You could write enough books to fill a bookshelf just recounting the life of this Madonna of the poor and downtrodden. She was responsible for bringing traditional English and Irish songs into fashion in the ’60s, and for introducing the politically committed voice and guitar of Bob Dylan to a wider audience, for starting a movement that created admirable links between music and politics, and for being that woman who marched alongside Martin Luther King in 1965 in the hope of gaining respect for civil rights. At the age of 74, Joan Baez hasn’t changed, her ideals haven’t rusted and she remains true to herself: full of tenderness, true to her values, ready for adventure… and songs. (Thanks to kingfrippson for sharing the show at Dime.)

Recorded live at the Paléo Festival, Nyon, Switzerland; July 25, 2015.
Very good FM broadcast. (Incomplete show, complete broadcast.)

Joan Baez (vocals, guitar)
Gabriel Harris (percussion)
Dirk Powell (guitar, bass, mandolin, violin, banjo, piano)
Grace Stumberg (background vocals)

01. God Is God (Earle) 3.30
02. Silver Dagger (Traditional) 3.49
03. It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue (Dylan) 4.29
04. Me And Bobby McGee (Kristofferson) 4.43
05. Chanson pour l’Auvergnat (Brassens) 4.17
06. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot (Traditional) 3.24
07. Joe Hill (Robinson) 3.45
08. Give Me Cornbread When I’m Hungry (Fahey) 5.11
09. The House Of The Rising Sun 4.12
10. Le temps des cerises (Clément) 3.39
11. Gracias a la vida (Parra) 5.29
Track 12. Imagine [John Lennon] 4:14 (7.1MB)
Track 13. Here’s to You [Ennio Morricone] 2:14 (3.8MB)


Joan+GabrielBaezJoan Baez with her son, Gabriel Harris

Ricardo Januario – Urban Cello (2015)

FrontCover1Another piece of music which I bought in Portugal 2 weeks ago … Ricardo Januario played in a street of Porto, but he´s much more than just a “street musician” :

Ricardo Januário Ribeiro Ferreira was born in Mirandela in 1984. He began his musical studies at the age of 12 at the “Escola Profissional de Arte de Mirandela (Esproarte)” – Mirandela Vocational School of the Arts, under professor Arnold Richard Allum. From 2002 to 2007 he studied under Eliaz Arizcuren and Ran Varon at the Utrecht University of Music in the Netherlands, where he graduated with distinction in Music Teaching and Performance.

Throughout that period, he enjoyed the sustained support and dedication of the great cellist and teacher Madalena de Sá e Costa. He dedicated his final course dissertation to Madalena de Sá e Costa; and he wrote his professional aptitude test under the title: “The life and works of Madalena de Sá e Costa”.

RicardoJanuario01He has attended master classes with cellists of international renown, including: Paulo Gaio Lima, Miguel Rocha, Pieter Wispelwey, Anner Bylsma, Patrick Demenga, Márcio Carneiro, Dimitri Perlin, Dimitri Fertshman, Timora Rosler, Raphael Wolfish, Jeroen den Herder, Gavriel Lipkind, Asier Polo and Vivian Makie.
He has played with several groups, including: the Benelux Trio, Modern Quartet, HKU string quartet, Camerata Ibero Americana, Netherlands Camerata, Luso Cello Ensemble, Aproarte, Esproarte, Metropole Erasmus Orchestra, HKU String Orchestra, NSO Orchestra and the Rotterdam Continuo (Opera).

LiveInPortoAugust2015_2Ricardo has been intensely involved in teaching since 2007. He taught a Young Talent class at Utrecht, taught cello and was the orchestra director and coordinator of the Mirandela Generation Orchestra project. He has been a cello teacher at the Mirandela Academy of Music, coorinator of stringed instruments at the Bragança Music Conservatory, cello teacher at Esproarte and leader of the Esproarte symphony orchestra.
He has regularly performed solo in concerts, with orchestras, in duets and trios, playing in major musical centres. He has conducted master classes throughout Portugal, including Braga, Bragança and Seia, as well as abroad in France and Switzerland. He has also been a teacher in master classes given by the International String Academy, assisting Professor Ran Varon.
He is currently cello tutti with the orquestra do norte (orchestra of the north)

And this is his very first solo-album; it´s a private release and you can buy this CD if you are lucky enough to meet Ricardo Januario in the streets of Porto.

And it´s a brilliant CD: a perfect mixture between classical and avantgarde music, I guess, this is probably one of the best albums I ever presented in this blog.

All you have to do is to listen and to marvel … In other words: A fantastic album !

And I add as a bonus two more songs, which I found on youtube !

Ricardo Januario (cello, electronics)
Pedro Teixeira (duduk, oboe on 08. + 09.)

01. Braun Inspiration 7.07
02. Drawing 6.44
03. Vivents 3.56
04. Do You Felt 4.07
05. Looping 8.35
06. Loving Pizz 4.05
07. Final Sketch 7.25
08. Voyage (bonus track) 7.32
09. Cello and Live Electronics – Full improvisation (bonus track) 11.44

Music composed by Ricardo Januario



Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers Live (2015)

FrontCover1 “We’re going to do something we’ve never done before,” Mick Jagger said early in the Rolling Stones’ not-so-“secret” show Wednesday night at the 1,200-capacity Fonda Theatre in Hollywood to launch the group’s 2015 Zip Code tour.

The Stones’ set list from their Wednesday night “secret” show at L.A.’s Fonda Theatre. (Randy Lewis / Los Angeles Times)

You wouldn’t think the “world’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll band,” 50-plus years down the line, would have much left to accomplish (or at least attempt to accomplish), but this was the Stones’ first time playing one of their albums in its entirety. Crossing that off the bucket list, the band ripped through all 10 songs from their watershed 1971 album “Sticky Fingers” live. A rep confirmed to the Times that Wednesday night will be the only night the Stones will play the album in its entirety.

Unsurprisingly, nobody groused that the Stones were simply engaging in a savvy marketing move to sell more copies of the recently remastered edition of “Sticky Fingers,” the album that gave the world “Brown Sugar,” “Dead Flowers,” “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking,” “Wild Horses” and a half-dozen others.

Stones01The album, and the live presentation of the songs — albeit not in their original order — harkened back to a time when the Stones were indeed still dangerous, still menacing, still dancing with the devil, in dark set pieces such as “Moonlight Mile” and, especially, “Sister Morphine.”

“You might hear some ‘60s drug references,” Jagger said before he and his longtime band mates delved into the darkness of that life-denying workout.

Stones03“That’s a bit of a downer song,” he added at the end of “Morphine,” “and there are more to come. It must have been a down period.”

Yet, if the early ‘70s did constitute some rough going for the Stones — emotionally, physically, financially — Wednesday’s show was characterized more by the broad smiles Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards flashed often, along with some faux-menacing mugging from guitarist Ron Wood, while cool-as-ever drummer Charlie Watts nonchalantly powered the whole rock juggernaut for a muscular 90 minutes.

Jagger himself was impressively animated, prancing and preening in his signature style, twisting, contorting and shimmying his still-lithe body in ways that seemed to belie his 71 years. All quips aside about septuagenarian rockers being better suited to walkers, the Rolling Stones, as ever, once again gave vibrant testament to the fountain-of-youth magic of rock ‘n’ roll.

The lineup: Jagger, Richards, Wood and Watts, bassist Darryl Jones and touring keyboardist Chuck Leavell, supplemented at the Fonda by a pair of sax/woodwind players, two singers and an additional keyboardist. Orange County-born saxophonist Karl Denson has stepped in for Texas tenor player Bobby Keys, who died in December. Keys was a vital cog on the Stones machine when they made “Sticky Fingers,” and Denson largely stuck to Keys’ signature solos that contributed so colorfully to “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin'” and “Brown Sugar.”

“It’s great to be back in L.A.—it’s been couple of years,” Jagger said at one point. “A little bit smaller than Staples Center,” referencing the previous tour’s most recent stop in L.A. proper.

Stones04At the Fonda, the Stones attempted to avoid the commonplace sea of cellphones, requiring fans to leave cameras and smartphones at home or check them at the door.

“It feels so good not to have my phone,” one compliant fan was overheard telling a friend.

Still, a smattering of concert-goers managed to sneak their devices in, snapping photos or trying to take video footage surreptitiously.

“Wouldn’t it be so much better to remember this show in your heads and in your hearts than on your iPhones?” one of the band’s crew announced just before the show kicked off with “Start Me Up,” which segued into “When the Whip Comes Down,” then “Exile on Main Street’s” “All Down the Line” and then the “Sticky Fingers” songs.

Jagger-Richards & Co. also once more indulged their youthful passion for American blues and R&B at the show’s end. Following a tribute performance of “Rock Me, Baby” in honor of the late B.B. King, who died at 89 last week at his home in Vegas, they closed out with Otis Redding’s “Can’t Turn You Loose,” which has one of the most infectious guitar-bass-drums-saxophone vamps ever committed to vinyl. (by Randy Lewis; LA Times, May 21, 2015)

And here are all ten songs from the grat “Sticky Fingers” album (excellent soundboard recording !).

Recorded live at the Fonda Theatre, Los Angeles, May 20, 2015

Mick Jagger (vocals, guitar)
Keith Richards (guitar)
Ron Wood (guitar)
Charlie Watts (drums)
Karl Denson (saxophone)
Darryl Jones (bass)
Chuck Leavell (keyboards)
two singers and an additional keyboardist

01. Sway (Jagger/Richards) 3,37
02. Dead Flowers (Jagger/Richards) 4,14
03. Wild Horses (Jagger/Richards) 4.42
04. Sister Morphine (Jagger/Richards) 5.55
05. You Gotta Move (McDowell) 3.38
06. Bitch (Jagger/Richards) 4.27
07. Can’t you Hear Me Knockin’ (Jagger/Richards)
08. I Got The Blues (Jagger/Richards) 7.21
09. Moonlight Mile (Jagger/Richards) 4.41
10. Brown Sugar (Jagger/Richards) 7.22