Category Archives: C – LISTENING

First-time listening for August 2014

24602. (Cocteau Twins) BBC Ses­sions
24603. (Armens) Six dif­férents
24604. (Lon­don Gram­mar) If You Wait
24605. (Johannes Ock­egham) Vire­lai: “Ma bouche rit
24606. (Johannes Ock­egham) Ron­deau: “Presque transi
24607. (Johannes Ock­egham) Rondeau-Canon: “Prenez sur moi Read more »

First-time listening for July 2014

24560. (Josquin des Prez) Missa Mal­heur me bat
24561. (Josquin des Prez) Missa For­tuna des­per­ata
24562. (Nol­wenn Leroy) Bre­tonne
24563. (Wil­son Pick­ett) The Very Best of Wil­son Pick­ett
24564. (Trey Anas­ta­sio) Sur­ren­der to the Air
24565. (Soeurs Goadec) Pub­lic à Bobino Read more »

First-time listening for June 2014

24527. (Sol­dat Louis) Pre­mière bor­dée
24528. (Cole­man Hawkins) Desa­fi­nado
24529. (Armens) Une ombre
24530. (Giuseppe Verdi) Messa solenne
24531. (Giuseppe Verdi) Qui tol­lis
24532. (Giuseppe Verdi) Tan­tum ergo in F Read more »

Sibelius Quartets

"Kullervo paimenessa" (1896) by Sigfrid August Keinänen

“Kullervo paime­nessa” (1896) by Sigfrid August Keinänen

The concert-going pub­lic doesn’t asso­ciate Sibelius with cham­ber music, but he actu­ally com­posed quite a bit of it, includ­ing four string quar­tets. One of them, the Quar­tet in D Minor, Op.56, known as “Voces Inti­mae”, has made it into the stan­dard reper­toire. With it’s jaunty rhythms, pecu­liar twists and turns, and fre­netic pas­sages that must work up a sweat among the play­ers, it has won a place in the sun, though it’s not in the same league with the famous Beethoven, Bartók, or Dvořák quar­tets. It’s always been a favourite of mine, because it seems to con­vey a mood that hits me occa­sion­ally, for which there is no com­mon name. It was com­posed around the time of the stark, intro­spec­tive Fourth Sym­phony, and it shares some of its strange­ness. But Sibelius com­posed three oth­ers, sel­dom per­formed. The first, in E-flat, is a youth­ful effort with lit­tle to com­mend it. It’s just warmed-over Hay­den, con­structed by the book. But the sec­ond and third ones, in A Minor and B-flat, are lis­ten­able and enter­tain­ing. Sibelius pretty obvi­ously drew his inspi­ra­tion from Dvořák, but you can hear dis­tinc­tively Sibelian ele­ments in both. The B-flat one has evolved suf­fi­ciently to stand next to Voces Inti­mae with­out shame, and it should be played more.

First-time listening for May 2014

24501. (Penn Kazh) mesKad
24502. (Giuseppe Verdi) Aïda [com­plete opera: von Kara­jan; Tebaldi, Simion­ato, Bergonzi]
24503. (Denez Pri­gent) Irvi
24504. (Kanye West) Yeezus
24505. (Open Folk) Bre­ton­stone Read more »

First-time listening for April 2014

24487. (Bruno Mars) Doo-Wops & Hol­li­gans
24488. (Char­lie Parker) Gitanes Jazz
24489. (Mor­ton Sub­ot­nick) Sil­ver Apples of the Moon
24490. (Trey Anas­ta­sio) Trey Anas­ta­sio
24491. (Joey Dee & the Star­liters) Hey Let’s Twist! The Best of the Joey Dee & the Star­liters Read more »

First-time listening for March 2014

24442. (Jean-Philippe Rameau) Pyg­malion [com­plete opera; d. Leon­hardt; Elwes, van der
. . . . . Sluis, Van­hecke, Yakar]
24443. (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) Mos­quito
(Kiri Te Kanawa) Solo e Amore — Puc­cini Arias:
. . . . 24444. (Gia­como Puc­cini) “Vissi d’arte” from Tosca
. . . . 24445. (Gia­como Puc­cini) “Se come voi” from Le Villi
. . . . 24446. (Gia­como Puc­cini) “In quelle trine mor­bide” from Manon Lescaut Read more »

First-time listening for February 2014

24241. (Henry Pur­cell) Dido and Aeneas [com­plete opera; d. Pin­nock; von Otter, Var­coe, Rogers]
24242. (Fuck But­tons) Slow Focus
24243. (Tomasso Albi­noni) Dou­ble Oboe Con­certo, Op.7 #11: Ada­gio
24244. (Tomasso Albi­noni) Dou­ble Oboe Con­certo, Op.7 #2: Ada­gio
24245. (Tomasso Albi­noni) Sin­fo­nia for Two Oboes: Ada­gio Read more »

JB Lenoir

14-02-16 LISTENING LenoirIt would be inter­est­ing to imag­ine what would have hap­pened to blues­man JB Lenoir if he had lived beyond his span of 38 years, cut short by an auto­mo­bile acci­dent. Unlike most blues artists of the fifties, he was polit­i­cally ori­ented. One of the three albums I have, Eisen­hower Blues (1954), is a satir­i­cal stab at that President’s poli­cies. He was active in the Civil Rights move­ment. Another album I have, a com­pi­la­tion put together to accom­pany Mar­tin Scorcese’s film his­tory of the blues, draws heav­ily from Eisen­hower Blues and other Chess record­ings from the 1950s. So does a 1993 Charly label com­pi­la­tion I just found, Mama Watch Your Daugh­ter. Dur­ing this period, despite some chart suc­cess with songs like “Don’t Dog Your Woman”, Lenoir had to sup­port him­self work­ing in kitchens. It’s in the six­ties, just before his sud­den death, that he achieved real recog­ni­tion. Down In Mis­sis­sippi, issued posthu­mously in 1970, dates from that period. 

Lenoir sang in falsetto, his voice float­ing like a bub­ble on waves of rhythm gui­tar, and the arrange­ments were closer to early Rock ‘n’ Roll than to tra­di­tional blues. He affected gar­ish suits, and oth­er­wise fit well into the Rock ‘n’ Roll esthetic. His later work was elec­tric boo­gie, and he should really be seen as hav­ing a promi­nent place in the his­tory of Rock. Cer­tainly, a num­ber of promi­nent rock artists were famil­iar with, and were influ­enced by his work — John May­all, for exam­ple. Per­haps, if he had lived past 1967, that would now be the case. 

Although you will usu­ally see his name printed as “J. B. Lenoir”, his first name was actu­ally “JB”, which was not ini­tials for any­thing. His sur­name was pro­nounced in the French manner.

First-time listening for January 2014

24214. (John Field) Piano Con­certo #1 in E-f, H.27
24215. (John Field) Piano Con­certo #2 in A-f, H.31
24216. (Olivier Mes­si­aen) Huits préludes pour piano (1928–29)
24217. (Booker T & The MGs) Green Onions
24218. (Gia­como Meyer­beer) Le Prophète [com­plete opera; d. Lewys; Horne, McCracken,
. . . . . . Scotto] Read more »