François Couturier : French pianist + Tarkovsky Quartet make genre-defying music

“I believe that the music belongs to the true interpreter, the true artist,” said 20th century Spanish composer and pianist Federico Mompou. “Here is the music. What does it suggest to you?” German cellist Anja Lechner and French pianist François Couturier took that challenge head-on in their album, Moderato cantabile. Though Moderato cantabile is Lechner and … Continue reading François Couturier : French pianist + Tarkovsky Quartet make genre-defying music

Two Portraits of Bob Dylan

For most, if not all, Bob Dylan fans his tenth studio album, Self Portrait, released on June 8, 1970, was infuriating and a disappointment.  Over the years the response has softened somewhat, but the recording stubbornly remains one of his least popular. "What is this shit?" – kicked off Griel Marcus' infamous review of Self Portrait in Rolling … Continue reading Two Portraits of Bob Dylan

The Winding Stream: deftly crafted documentary celebrates the Carter and Cash families

Beth Harrington celebrates the Carter and Cash family and its enduring contributions to country, folk and roots music in “The Winding Stream,” an impressively researched and deftly crafted feature that doubtless will find an appreciative audience through exposure in home-screen platforms. Clearly a long-gestating labor of love, “The Winding Stream” boasts among its highlights a … Continue reading The Winding Stream: deftly crafted documentary celebrates the Carter and Cash families

Harry Smith and the Anthology of American Folk Music

Sixty-five years ago this year an event occcured which changed the course of American music.  A unassuming man, unknown, with no professional expertise other than his devotion to old 78s of American vernacular music, released to the public the Anthology of American Folk Music. “Had he never done anything with his life but this Anthology, … Continue reading Harry Smith and the Anthology of American Folk Music

Eilen Jewell : Soulful, Understated Narratives

Eilen Jewell is an American singer-songwriter from Boise, Idaho. "I always felt like I wanted to leave," Jewell says. "And I remember when I learned the word 'wanderlust,' I felt like I finally had a word to describe myself." Jewell attended college in Santa Fe, New Mexico where she began busking on the streets of Sante … Continue reading Eilen Jewell : Soulful, Understated Narratives

The Steel Wheels : Wild As We Came Here

The Steel Wheels are a roots and Americana band, writing and playing music in the closely related but unique styles of blues, bluegrass, old-time music, and fiddle music. Virginia musician Trent Wagler is the lead vocalist and the band's primary songwriter. Jay Lapp (mandolin, guitar, vocals) had been touring in several bands throughout the Midwest … Continue reading The Steel Wheels : Wild As We Came Here

The hidden Baroque : Björn Schmelzer, Peter Paul Rubens and Orazio Vecchi

“I have never felt this “other” Baroque with quite the sense of anachronistic shock which I experienced when first encountering the cover photgraph for this CD.  At first glance, it almost looks as though it represents the lamenting Mediterrean culture of pleureuses (professional mourners), but it is in fact a funeral procession on the little … Continue reading The hidden Baroque : Björn Schmelzer, Peter Paul Rubens and Orazio Vecchi

The St. Gregory Society Schola : Palestrina and the Tridentine Mass

I was raised in the Catholic Church, educated at Jesuit schools and was an altar boy for several years from the age of eight, or so. I was taught enough of the Latin Mass to be able to assist the priest and recite the proper responses during the mass (we also had four years of Latin … Continue reading The St. Gregory Society Schola : Palestrina and the Tridentine Mass

HIP Debussy and Ravel : The Eroica Quartet

Eroica Quartet Peter Hanson violin 1 Julia Hanson violin 2 Vicci Wardman viola In Britain, the Eroica Quartet, founded in 1993 by four of the country's leading period-instrument performers, have the field virtually to themselves. Three of the members are principals in John Eliot Gardiner's Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique (which specialises in early 19th-century repertoire) and … Continue reading HIP Debussy and Ravel : The Eroica Quartet

The Orlando Consort’s latest : the radical development of music between the late-13th and mid 15th centuries

The Orlando Consort has paused their traversal of the songs of Guillaume de Machaut (their intention to record them all has yielded three CDs so far) and devoted their latest release to charting the radical development of music between the late thirteenth and mid fifteenth centuries—the transition from what is at essence embellished chant to … Continue reading The Orlando Consort’s latest : the radical development of music between the late-13th and mid 15th centuries