Grieg: Piano Concerto; Holberg Suite (1988) by Various Artists

Categories: 1988 and Music.

This is one of those extremely annoying compilations where there is virtually no information: we know the performers of the pieces but not when or where. Labels like Quintessence get their hands on recordings that don’t have copyright protection in North America and release these recordings to unsuspecting consumers (such as libraries). When someone like me listens to this music, it’s annoying to know so little. I don’t know the music and so I cannot really comment on the performances. (Though I can comment on the sound quality: it is shockingly good given the label.) The Concerto is a definite Read More

Chimes of Freedom: the Songs of Bob Dylan (2012) by Various Artists

Categories: 2012 and Music.

This is, I guess, a fitting tribute to the greatest English-language singer-songwriter of the second half of the twentieth century (of the whole century? of any language?). It is extremely vast, though that is appropriate, as there are over 70 songs. The problem with all tribute albums, but especially one that attempts to deal with so much of such a large oeuvre, is that this is really hit and miss. The music falls into several categories: Decent performances that fail to move beyond the original or the definitive version (not necessarily by Dylan): The Belle Brigade: “No Time to Think”  Read More

Essential Delius (2011) by Various Artists

Categories: 2011 and Music.

This is a compilation and so we have to treat it with a bit of skepticism. But it does contain most of the major orchestral works of his, and so it does offer a good intro, even the performances aren’t exactly standardized. I remain slightly reticent to get into Frederick Delius and I can’t exactly say why. But I think if I do find my way into his music and enjoy it as much as I think I’m supposed to, it will likely be through this. But that will no doubt take some time. 7/10 On Hearing the First Cuckoo Read More

Women in Jazz (1998, Retro Music) by Various Artists

Categories: 1998 and Music.

The cheapie box set is an interesting phenomenon: Gather some recordings from major artists where the copyright has lapsed (or never existed), Put the recordings in any arbitrary order you choose, Use more discs than are necessary to convince the buyer they are getting a great bargain, Give it a catchy title. I have a Scott Joplin compilation with no credits (funnily enough, from a Quebec label, just like this set) but you can clearly hear differences in piano and recording quality. I have a Muddy Waters box set which is all demos, but nowhere on the outside does it Read More

Marie Antoinette [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] (Verve 2006)

Categories: 2006 and Music.

I must say, first off, that I did not like this movie. It is one thing to use non-period music for your soundtrack when you are making a film (if the film has some meta quality to it, it makes sense), but when this film is a docudrama, it is hard to justify the decision. I know why she claimed it worked, but it didn’t…in any way. So I must look at this soundtrack as music on its own, otherwise I won’t like it. The first CD is a pretty good mixtape, all things considered, of (mostly) British post-punk / Read More

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] (Maverick 1998)

Categories: 1998 and Music.

It is befitting of a Tarantino knock off (albeit a very good one) that its soundtrack is also a Tarantino knock off. The problem is that it’s a transparent Tarantino knock off and, more importantly, that it lacks the main quality of most Tarantino soundtracks: the obscurity. Yes, there is some relatively obscure stuff here, but on most Tarantino soundtracks most if not all of the music (save usually for one old-timey radio hit) is obscure. This isn’t the case here. It’s also a little more stylistically coherent which, again, is something that a Tarantino soundtrack usually isn’t. So it’s Read More