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G. T. King "bwv132" (Pretoria, South Africa)
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Harvey: Body Mandala, Timepieces, Tranquil Abiding, White As Jasmine ...Towards A Pure Land
Harvey: Body Mandala, Timepieces, Tranquil Abiding, White As Jasmine ...Towards A Pure Land
Price: 13.18

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A profound listening experience, 21 Feb 2013
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Jonathan Harvey who died recently is a composer who has drawn on several religious influences for some of his music. His choral music for Christian usage is well known and highly regarded (and can be pretty difficult to sing, as I have experienced). But here we have music largely influenced by Buddhist traditions, and it makes for riveting listening -- but you need to sit (or lie) and allow it to permeate your brain. This is not background music.


Brahms: Four Balladen, Op.10
Brahms: Four Balladen, Op.10

5.0 out of 5 stars A very satisfying performance, 21 Feb 2013
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A completely unfussy performance, deep musical insight, impeccable playing, and a superbly recorded piano. You could do a lot worse.


Bach: Mass in B minor - Live in Fontfroide Abbey [2 DVDs + 2 SACDs]
Bach: Mass in B minor - Live in Fontfroide Abbey [2 DVDs + 2 SACDs]
Price: 28.39

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A performance to treasure, 21 Feb 2013
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Savall brings to this performance a lifetime's experience of varied types of music from many different cultures. Not the least of these is dance music of various kinds, and in this performance Savall allows Bach's music, above all, to dance. And this is not in the slightest bit odd in this pinnacle of sacred music: Wilfred Mellers once wrote a perceptive book called *Bach and the Dance of God*. Bach manages to express an earthiness in almost all of his sacred music, which is arguably the most important part of his entire output, while creating the most 'divine' conception of all the myriads of musical settings of the Christian Mass. Everything seems to work in the most satisfying synergy: the building, the instrumental band, the chorus and soloists. A minor criticism might be the somewhat resonant acoustic, but for me this is a bonus, allowing one to hear the music in the kind of religious space for which it is suited. There are so many musical felicities in this performance, based on the most intelligent assessment and interpretation of Bach's score, that I shall not even attempt to mention them. But the buyer should note that apart from the double CD recording of the performance you get the complete performance on a separate DVD, plus yet another DVD which documents some of the preparations and rehearsals for the performance, interlaced with snatches of interviews with Savall and some of his musicians, all photographed quite magnificently. I have several versions of the B minor Mass, all of which I regard highly for different reasons (and all in excellent period performances), but this is the one I would keep were I forced to discard the others. It is, simply, overwhelming. What a fantastic buy this is! Get it!


Batalha - Iberian Organ Music
Batalha - Iberian Organ Music
Price: 14.51

5.0 out of 5 stars Lively, imginative playing, 8 Aug 2011
Ton Koopman shouldn't need an introduction to any organ lover. His complete Bach organ works are a superb achievement. Here he plays on a small, characterful Spanish-style organ in Belgium in a delightful programme of lesser-known Spanish pieces from the 17th century. Superb articulation, a lively sense of humour and great musicality. The trompeta real is fearsomely splendid while the recording itself sounds like demonstration quality.


Svang
Svang
Price: 13.79

5.0 out of 5 stars Great music-making, 23 Dec 2010
This review is from: Svang (Audio CD)
Svaeng is a highly accomplished and intensely musical group from Finland who are masters of the harmonica in its various forms, from treble to deep bass (these really has to be heard to be believed!). Their arrangements are almost all done by themselves and are supremely compelling and often quirky in the best sense. Their repertoire is a kind of postmodern folk music (though don't let this label of mine put you off). Well worth listening to for something unusual, yet entirely satisfying.


Istanbul: Dimitrie Cantemir, The Book of Science of Music and the Sephardic and Armenian Traditions
Istanbul: Dimitrie Cantemir, The Book of Science of Music and the Sephardic and Armenian Traditions
Price: 14.25

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, 4 Feb 2010
I guess you either like this kind of music or you don't. But for me it's a terrific album, expertly put together and superbly performed. It opens up(for those totally unfamiliar with the great musical culture of the Ottomans and their Istanbuli contemporaries)a whole new world of expression and feeling. This is highly sophisticated music, yet it speaks directly to one.


Este Mundo
Este Mundo
Price: 11.61

0 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Possible alternatives, 4 Feb 2010
This review is from: Este Mundo (Audio CD)
Only listened to a couple of the excerpts on this web page but don't think it's my cup of tea. If you want to hear really good cross-over stuff, rather look out for Spontaani Viri or Svaeng, both Finnish groups that actually have something to say.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 1, 2012 4:52 PM GMT


Bach/Vivaldi: Concerti and Praeludia
Bach/Vivaldi: Concerti and Praeludia

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Bach, 8 July 2009
There have been many approaches to performing Bach, which is perfectly natural, given the variety of his music and the profound nature of so much of it. Nonetheless, in my view a sine qua non is some kind of understanding of the prevailing aesthetic of the time, which is centred on matters such as rhetoric, the affects and articulation. Bach wasn't in the business of writing 'nice' or 'beautiful' music as such, at least not in terms of the later Romanticist aesthetic. So it makes no sense to judge Bach performances today according to those criteria.

It's much more difficult to achieve some of these aspects using modern (really late 19th-century instruments), but the real point is understanding something of what lies behind the music -- the energy and (in Bach's case) sheer humanity. I don't believe an interpretation of his music can ever be successful if it doesn't take all of this into account. So that more or less eliminates 90% of the market for me.

Skip Sempe and Oliver Fortin ate mong the realtively small percentage of active musicians today who know what to do with Bach. They achieve a splendidly elemental performance that I find exhilharating. The clarity, energy (even rawness) and musical insight is tremendous. The sound is fabulous. Try doing this on a piano (or two pianos) and see what happens!Their fresh performances are not so much 'historical' (although they clearly understand hsitorical performance) as thoroughly modern -- late 20th and early 21st century -- taking the listener out of any comfort zones s/he may be accustomed to. Get this CD and change your life.


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