Mittwoch, 16. August 2017

Louis Killen - A Bonny Bunch (1993)

A mainstay of British folk music since the '50s best known for his collections of sea shanties and whaling songs, Louis Killen was a singer, archivist, lecturer, and historian on the level of Ewan MacColl, Pete Seeger, and A.L. Lloyd, all of whom Killen worked with at one time or another. In 2010, at the age of 76, Killen began living and performing as a woman, and underwent a sex-change operation in 2012. Now known as Louisa Jo Killen, she lived only a brief time longer, dying of cancer at her home in Gateshead, England in August 2013 at the age of 79.              

The tracks on "A Bonny Bunch" - a collection of traditional songs from Engald, Scotland and Ireland - were recorded in San Francisco in 1991/93.

Tracklist:

  1. Lovely Joan
  2. The Wind That Shakes the Barley
  3. The Unquiet Grave
  4. The Recruited Collier
  5. Rap Her to Bank
  6. The Painful Plough
  7. The Verdant Braes of Skrene
  8. Na' Bhouchaill N'Gruage Bhui
  9. The Gallawa' Hills
  10. The Fireship
  11. The Croppy Boy
  12. The Lag's Song (Ewan MacColl)
  13. Van Diemen's Land
  14. The Kielder Hunt
  15. General Wolfe
  16. The Death of Nelson
  17. The Bonny Bunch of Roses

Louis Killen - A Bonny Bunch (1993)
(256 kbps, front cover included)

Dienstag, 15. August 2017

Mikis Theodorakis - Epitafios (1964)

Michael “Mikis” Theodorakis (born 29 July 1925) is a Greek songwriter and composer who has written over 1000 songs. He scored for the films Zorba the Greek (1964), Z (1969), and Serpico (1973). He composed the “Mauthausen Trilogy” also known as “The Ballad of Mauthausen”, which has been described as the “most beautiful musical work ever written about the Holocaust” and possibly his best work. He is viewed as Greece’s best-known living composer. He was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize.

Politically, he is associated with the left because of his long-standing ties to the Communist Party of Greece. He was an MP for the KKE from 1981 to 1990. Nevertheless, in 1989 he ran as an independent candidate within the centre-right New Democracy party, in order for the country to emerge from the political crisis that had been created due to the numerous scandals of the government of Andreas Papandreou,[9] and helped establish a large coalition between conservatives, socialists and leftists. In 1990 he was elected to the parliament (as in 1964 and 1981), became a government minister under Constantine Mitsotakis, and fought against drugs and terrorism and for culture, education and better relations between Greece and Turkey. He continues to speak out in favor of left-liberal causes, Greek–Turkish–Cypriot relations, and against the War in Iraq. He has consistently opposed oppressive regimes and was a key voice against the 1967–1974 Greek junta, which imprisoned him.

He went to Athens in 1943, and became a member of a Reserve Unit of ELAS, and led a troop in the fight against the British and the Greek right in the Dekemvriana. During the Greek Civil War he was arrested, sent into exile on the island of Icaria and then deported to the island of Makronisos, where he was tortured and twice buried alive.
During the periods when he was not obliged to hide, not exiled or jailed, he studied from 1943 to 1950 at the Athens Conservatoire under Filoktitis Economidis. In 1950, he finished his studies and took his last two exams "with flying colours". He went to Crete, where he became the "head of the Chania Music School" and founded his first orchestra.  At this time he ended what he has called the first period of his musical writing.

In 1954 he travelled with his young wife Myrto Altinoglou to Paris where he entered the Conservatory and studied musical analysis under Olivier Messiaen and conducting under Eugene Bigot. His time in Paris, 1954–1959, was his second period of musical writing.

In 1960, Theodorakis returned to Greece and his roots in genuine Greek music: With his song cycle Epitaphios he started the third period of his composing and contributed to a cultural revolution in his country.

This album features the first recording of Epitaphios from August 1960 with Nana Mouskouri on vocals.

Tracklist:

Πού Πέταξε Τ' Αγόρι Μου
Χείλι Μου Μοσκομύριστο
Μέρα Μαγιού
Βασίλεψες Αστέρι Μου
Νάχα Τ' Αθάνατο Νερό
Στο Παραθύρι Στεκόσουν
Ήσουν Καλός Ήσουν Γλυκός
Γλυκέ Μου Εσύ
Βρέχει Στην Φτωχογειτονιά
Ένα Το Χελιδόνι
Οι Χαρταετοί

Mikis Theodorakis - Epitafios (1964)
(flac, cover art included)

Montag, 14. August 2017

Jowel Klezmorim - Unterwejgen

From the linernotes:
"Jowel Klezmorim reflects with great authenticity and stylistic accuracy the atmosphere of the music made by the Jews of central and eastern Europe.

Their album "Unterwejgen" gives palpable expression to the emotional life of a people accustomed to tears, whether of bitter sorrow or helpless mirth. The ensemble´s remarkable technical prowess enables them to penetrate deeply into the style of klezmer music and convey a sense of its essential spontaneity. Familiar and new melodies alike receive very colourful and original treatment."

Tracklist:

Schwartz Sirba
Freyt Aykh Yidelekh
Rebe Eimeiekh
Mazl Tov
Simchat Nigun
Papirosn
Unterwejgen
Falaffelpizz(a)
Far Dem Chosn Un Far Der Kale
Szol A Kakas Mar
Oj Mischpoche
Berditschever Bulgar
Eyner is Got
Is Gewejn
Oyfn Veg Shteyt A Boym
Sol Sayn Gelebt
A Yidishe Mame
 Schlof Majn Kind    

Jowel Klezmorim - Unterwejgen
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Sonntag, 13. August 2017

Gisela May - Heute zwischen gestern und morgen - Gisela May singt Tucholsky

Beginning with her first peformances for the Berliner Ensemble in postwar East Berlin, Gisela May became one of the best-known interpreters of the theater music written for Brecht by Eisler, Weill and Dessau. Eisler "discovered" her at a performance at the Berlin Ensemble in 1957, the year of Brecht's death, and guided her through the first five years of her singing career.

Kurt Tucholsky was one of the most significant journalists of his time: a satirist, a cabaret writer, a socialist and pacifist. He was a "solitary figure among Weimar Republic intellectuals," as his biographer Rolf Hosfeld wrote. And the Republic not only politicized, it also danced. Frantically - at least in Berlin. There the entertainment industry boomed in the 1920s. There were the risqué naked shows and the so-called amusement cabarets, but serious theater also blossomed and cinema became popular. In Berlin, Kurt Tucholsky discovered his stage, he wrote the lyrics for revues and literary cabarets - honed, polemical texts with a shot of ribald humor. His first record appeared, a shellac treasure with the song "When the Old Motor Ticks Again." It was a massive hit.

Tracklist:
1.Das Leibregiment3:41
2.Das Ideal2:53
3.Stationen2:17
4.Sie, zu ihm2:16
5.Lamento2:45
6.Die geschiedene Frau2:38
7.Die Nachfolgerin1:23
8.Danach1:55
9.Wenn eena jeborn wird2:28
10.Wenn eena dot is1:38
11.Mutterns Hände1:11
12.Heinrich Zille2:24
13.Heute zwischen gestern und morgen2:14
14.Berliner Gerüchte2:11
15.Das Lied von der Gleichgültigkeit2:40
16.Das Lächeln der Mona Lisa1:11
17.Der Pfau2:21
18.Chanson2:13
19.Augen in der Großstadt2:39
20.In Weissensee2:35
21.Der Graben3:33
22.Krieg dem Kriege4:17

Gisela May - Heute zwischen gestern und morgen - Gisela May singt Tucholsky
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Samstag, 12. August 2017

Camberwell Now - The Ghost Trade (1986)

After the demise of the legendary U.K. avant-rock group This Heat in 1982, drummer and vocalist Charles Hayward joined forces with Trefor Goronwy and Stephen Rickard to record quieter, subdued song-based music. As atmospheric and deliberate, yet without the hard beats and cutting angles of his former group, Camberwell Now is as challenging, experimental, and brilliantly realized, and features more than an echo of the This Heat sound.

The group is driven along by a tight melodic sound; Hayward's beautiful, intellectual lyrics are more present than on the two previous mini albums that pre-date this 1986 release. Electronics and tape-loops create a rich textural backing, that on the closing title track culminates in a syncopated Krautrock groove that is elating, while the lyrical chant is a dark rumination on the flaws of Western society. "The Ghost Trade" contains some of Charles Hayward's more profound lyrical work.  

Arriving in 1986, The Ghost Trade, the group’s sole full-length LP, was what existed at the confluence of live performance and studio experimentation. Similar to This Heat’s process, the group spent two years in Cold Storage experimenting with the studio and assembling finished songs from vast quantities of tapes.

The tracks that eventually formed The Ghost Trade were songs forged in the bleak beauty of Thatcher’s London. “To me, the sounds invoked humanity trapped behind and inside a world constructed of glass, steel, and concrete, frozen inside the textures like prisoners of the twilight zone, humanity haunting a landscape it had made for itself,” says Hayward.

Tracklist:

Working Nights 7:41
Sitcom 4:40
Wheat Futures 6:11
Speculative Fiction 6:09
Green Lantern 3:11
The Ghost Trade 11:11
  
Camberwell Now - The Ghost Trade (1986)
(192 kbps, cover art included)
     

Freitag, 11. August 2017

Gisela May - Brecht-Songs - Eisler - Dessau

Gisela May was, along with Helene Weigel and Lotte Lenya, one of the definitive postwar interpreters of the music composed for Bertolt Brecht by Kurt Weill, Hanns Eisler and Paul Dessau. The husky simplicity of her voice particularly suited Eisler - who despised sentimentality and valued clarity of expression. The power of Brecht's poetry shines through her delivery of songs like the astonishing "O Falladah, die du hangest" - written from the angle of an exhausted horse lying helplessly on a busy street as a mob of desperate Depression-era Berliners carve up her living body for meat. 

This is not a comfortable image - but Brecht is showing us that economic injustice has uncomfortable consequences. Compare "O Falladah" with the "Song of the Invigorating Effects of Money" and the listener begins to understand that Brecht and Eisler deserve to be remembered not only as talented agitators for Marxist revolution but also as acute observers of human nature. One cannot say if the results of the famous Brecht-Eisler collaboration are timeless, but they certainly have a long shelf life.

Also noteworthy in this album are the "Song of the Moldau" and two anti-war hits  - "Song of the Woman and the Soldier" and "Song of a German Mother." Note also the contrast between Eisler's lively, jazz-influenced style and Dessau's sometimes plodding treatment of songs from Brecht's later plays, which constitute the second half of the CD.


Like other albums in Edel's "Berlin Classics" series, the Gisela May CD offers digitally-remastered analog recordings from the GDR (East German) recording industry. 



Tracklist:


       Hanns Eisler (1898-1962):
1Lied Eines Freundenmädchens
2Lied Von Der Belebenden Wirkung Des Geldes
3Kuppellied
4Das Frühjahr
5Mutter Beimlein
6O Falladah, Die Du Hangest!
7Ballade Von Der Judenhure Marie Sanders
8Das Lied Von Der Moldau
9Das Lied Vom Kleinen Wind
10Das Lied Vom Kelch
11Und Was Bekam Des Soldaten Weib
12Ballade Vom Weib Und Dem Soldaten
13Lied Einer Deutsches Mutter

 Paul Dessau (1894-1979):
14Lied Der Mutter Courage
15Lied Vom Fraternisieren
16Salomon Song
17Lied Von Der Grossen Kapitulation
18Als Ich Nachher Von Dir Ging
19Sieben Rosen Hat Der Strauch
20Das Pferd
21Der Rabe
22Der Igel
23Die Kellerassel
24Lied Vom Achten Elefanten
25Ballade Vom Forster Und Der Grafin
26Kleines Lied
27Grusches Lied Vier Generäle
28Lied Einer Deutsches Mutter
29An Meine Landsleute

Gisela May - Brecht-Songs - Eisler - Dessau
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Donnerstag, 10. August 2017

The New Lost City Ramblers - Same (1958)

During the folk boom of the late '50s and early '60s, the New Lost City Ramblers introduced audiences to the authentic string band sound of the 1920s and '30s, in the process educating a generation that had never heard this uniquely American sound of old-time music. While maintaining music with a social conscience, they added guts and reality to the folk movement, performing with humor and obvious reverence for the music. In 1958, Mike Seeger, John Cohen, and Tom Paley modeled their band after groups like the Skillet Lickers, the Fruit Jar Drinkers, and the Aristocratic Pigs, choosing a name in keeping with the past.

The performances of this group certainly improved with age, with the eventual replacement of one of the members not upsetting the status quo. That is not to say there is anything at all wrong with this album, the very first of the group's efforts and one of the miraculous times Folkways released a project the same year it was recorded. Perhaps this demonstrated great enthusiasm for the concept. For a young group to record new versions of traditional folk and old-timey music classics from the early 20th century turned out to be something along the line of marching orders for the entire folk revival of the '60s, as well as the basic operating principle for groups such as the Rolling Stones and the Beatles when they started digging into Delta blues and rockabilly. An important aspect of the Ramblers' music, and something that has continued to make their records highly enjoyable over the years, was the type of material they would find. Demonstrating the widest range of material was always a priority, nobody caring whether a tune was "hip" or not. The presence of a number such as "It's a Shame to Whip Your Wife on Sunday" shows that the politically correct police were also not supervising this project. Many of the songs are also tied in with social concerns, a theme that each of these players would return to again and again in their own work. While someone involved felt it was important to put someone else's picture on the front - and anyone who looked like a hillbilly old-timer would do - the members of the group even at this early juncture were seeking to put a personal imprint on the material. One of the highlights is the very first track on the album, a simple but riveting instrumental entitled "Forked Deer." Another is Seeger's solo version of "East Virginia Blues" which gives Bob Dylan a run, although perhaps not for his money. Some of the multi-tracking done by Seeger is also quite interesting. The enclosed booklet includes lyrics, complete documentation of the chosen selections with information about the original artists, and several statements of purpose from the group members.          

Tracklist:

A1Forked Dear
A2Don't Let Your Deal Go Down
A3I Truly Understand
A4Dallas Rag
A5Tom Cat Blues
A6Railroading And Rambling
A7Colored Aristocracy
A8Sailor On The Deep Blue Sea
A9East Virginia
B1Battleship Maine
B2Davy, Davy
B3Roving Gambler
B4Take A Drink On Me
B5Likes Liquor Better Than Me
B6It's A Shame To Beat Your Wife
B7Brown's Ferry Blues
B8Old Fish Song
B9Crossed Old Jordan's Stream

The New Lost City Ramblers - Same (1958)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Mittwoch, 9. August 2017

Ernst Busch - Der rote Orpheus

"Der rote Orpheus" is a collection of original recordings from the 1930s of Ernst Busch singing Brecht/Eisler and other popular working-class songs. The songs were recorded in Berlin before Hitler's rise to power, and in the Soviet Union after Busch's flight from Germany.

This collection was released in 1996 by "Edition BARBArossa".


Tracklist:

1In Hamburg an der Elbe3:09
2Min Jehann2:55
3Seeräuber Ballade3:14
4O Suzannah (Alabama-Song)3:12
5Californische Ballade2:42
6Die Ballade von den Säckeschmeißern3:19
7Anrede an ein neugeborenes Kind2:52
8Ballade vom Nigger Jim2:48
9Ballade vom Soldaten2:51
10Das Lied vom Schlaraffenland2:57
11Der Bäcker backt uns Morgenrot3:08
12Bandera Roja2:19
13U.H.P. (Union De Hermanos Proletarios)2:55
14Ballade der XI. Brigade3:09
15Los Cuatro Generales2:39
16Lied der Interbrigaden2:26
17Lied der Einheitsfront2:45
18De brave Peter3:12
19Myn Tohan2:59
20Solidaritätslied                                            2:29

Ernst Busch - Der rote Orpheus
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Dienstag, 8. August 2017

Mitsuko Shirai & Hartmut Höll - Hölderlin Gesänge, Hölderlin Songs

This highly recommended album features recent recording on songs set to Hölderlin poetry by Eisler, Britten, Ullman, Komma, Reutter, Fröhlich, Cornelius, Jarnach, Hauer, Pfitzner and Fortner. An excellent album showing how the 19th-century Hölderlin inspired some of the great 20th-century composers.

This CD features settings of Friedrich Hölderlin poems by 11 different composers, as follows:

a. Viktor Ullmann: (1) "Abendphantasie" (Evening Fantasy), (2) "Der Frühling" (Spring)
b. Hanns Eisler: "Hölderlin-Fragmente"
c. Karl Michael Komma: 'Five Fragments of Friedrich Hölderlin'
d. Hermann Reutter: 'Three Songs after Poems of Friedrich Hölderlin'
e. Friedrich Theodor Fröhlich: "Rückkehr in die Heimat" (Return to the Homeland)
f. Peter Cornelius: "Sonnenuntergang" (Sunset)
g. Philipp Jarnach: "An eine Rose" (To a rose)
h. Josef Matthias Hauer: "Ehmals und jetzt" (Then and now)
i. Hans Pfitzner: "Abbitte" (Plea for forgiveness)
j. Wolfgang Fortner: "Geh unter, schöne Sonne" (Go down, then, lovely sun)
k. Benjamin Britten: "Hälfte des Lebens" (Half of life)

The lions' share of selections comes with selections (a) through (d), which take up over half the album's running time. Ullmann is the only composer represented with two stand-alone lieder, totaling over 10 minutes. Eisler, Komma and Reutter are represented with brief song cycles. With one exception, all of the music inhabits generally tonal or mildly chromatic harmonic territory, no surprise with Fröhlich, Cornelius, Pfitzner and Britten, in particular. Josef Matthias Hauer, who developed his own mild-version of twelve-tone composition, stretches harmonic bounds a bit more by comparison. The most "modern"-sounding of the works, to this ear, is the Komma cycle, sounding almost like an updated Alban Berg at times. Perhaps the biggest surprise, again to this listener, is the Hermann Reutter cycle, where Reutter uses a fundamentally tonal language, yet has just enough chromatic spice to make his tonality sound fresh.

In all of the cases, the composers never overwhelm the texts and make their music serve the text, rather than the other way around, as the quirky liner note by Alois Büchl accuses Richard Strauss of doing. Perhaps deliberately then, this album includes no settings of Hölderlin by Richard Strauss. It is very nice that several unfamiliar names are included, such as Philipp Jarnach, who is remembered, when remembered, for completing Busoni's opera "Doktor Faust", so it's good that Jarnach has a chance to show his own compositional work.

The husband-and-wife team of pianist Hartmut Höll and soprano Mitsuko Shirai give good performances throughout the album. There is a slightly diffident sound to the piano timbre at times. At one point, Shirai deviates ever so slightly from the printed text, in the Fröhlich setting, where she sings "....Jugend und Lieb und Glück" instead of the printed text ".....Jugend und Lieb und Lust". But that's a minor point.

None of these selections are claimed to be first recordings, but these works are hardly thick on the ground in terms of recordings. So if you have a taste for the adventurous and are interested in the poetry of Hölderlin, this album should be of interest to you, and is worth a listen.

Mitsuko Shirai & Hartmut Höll - Hölderlin Gesänge, Hölderlin Songs 
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Montag, 7. August 2017

Ernst Busch - Merkt ihr nischt - Ernst Busch singt Tucholsky / Eisler

Kurt Tucholsky was one of the Weimar Republic's most loved and hated writers: a muckraking journalist and political poet, he was both a thorn in the side of Germany's ineffectual politicians and an uncompromising opponent of the rising Nazi movement. When Hitler seized power in 1933, Tucholsky fled to Sweden where - hopeless and depressed - he committed suicide.
But his poems - some of them sarcastic, others tender, but always sensitive to the human condition - deserve to live. In Germany, their revival was due largely to radical singer/actor Ernst Busch, who survived the war in Nazi prisons. In the 1950s he approached composer Hanns Eisler in Berlin and asked him to compose music for several Tucholsky poems. Eisler began to work, but Busch returned again and again with more texts. Eventually, a complete song cycle emerged. 

These songs are a testament to a simpler time when radical poets like Tucholsky, playrights like Bertolt Brecht, actors like Busch and composers like Eisler and Kurt Weill thought they were inventing new art forms that could change the world. Their hope was shattered, but in these songs the vision of a generation of creative and courageous artists is represented. It was a clear vision that did not turn away from the painful terms of human existence. For that reason their art can be instructive for our own time.


Tracklist:

 1. Die freie Wirtschaft
  2. Wohltätigkeit
  3. Immer raus mit der Mutter
  4. Rosen auf den Weg gestreut
  5. Zuckerbrot und Peitsche
  6. Nach der Schlacht
  7. Merkt ihr nischt
  8. Der Graben
  9. Couplet für Die Bierabteilung
  10. Das alte Vertiko
  11. Feldfrüchte
  12. Vor acht Jahren
  13. Der schlimmste Feind
  14. Das Lied vom Kompromiss
  15. Rückkehr zur Natur
  16. An den deutschen Mond
  17. Friedensweihnachten

  18. Einkäufe

Ernst Busch - Merkt ihr nischt - Ernst Busch singt Tucholsky / Eisler
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Sonntag, 6. August 2017

Hanns Eisler - Klingende Dokumente I (NOVA, 1974)


Hanns Eisler on the meaning of music:"Someone who knows only music, understands nothing about it."

Some composers may have tried to escape the upheavals of their century through the illusion of "pure music," but not Hanns Eisler. His lifelong conviction was that music should not be subjective but objective, not obscure but transparent, not metaphysical but grounded in history. Eisler's art held up a mirror to the revolutionary hopes and bitter disappontments of his generation - a generation that witnessed two world wars, the rise and fall of empires, an age of revolutions.


"A composer knows," Eisler wrote on the eve of his expulsion from the United States, "that music is written by human beings for human beings and that music is a continuation of life, not something separated from it."

The album "Klingende Dokumente I" was released on the label NOVA (catalog number 8 85 039) in 1974. It contains vocal music with various performers, including Hanns Eisler, and interviews with the composer.

Tracklist:

Side 1:
01. Anmut sparet nicht noch Mühe (Vocals: Hanns Eisler)
02. Das Lied im Kampfe geboren (Interview with Hanns Eisler, December 1957)
03. Ohne Kapitalisten geht es besser (Vocals: Gisela May)
04. Über die Dummheit in der Musik (Interview with Hanns Eisler by Hans Bunge, September 1961)
05. Die haltbare Graugans (Vocals: Hanns Eisler and Irmgard Arnold, recorded in 1958)

Side 2:
01. Handwerkliches Können und Höhe der Musik (Interview with Hanns Eisler by Nathan Notowicz, March 1958)
02. Die Ballade vom Wasserrad (Vocals: Hanns Eisler, recorded 1958)
03. Über Brecht (Interview with Hanns Eisler by Hans Bunge, May 1958)
04. Begegnungen mit einem Literaturindustriellen (Interview with Hanns Eisler by Hans Bunge, May 1958)
05. Lied von der belebenden Wirkung des Geldes (Vocals: Hanns Eisler, recorded 1958)

Hanns Eisler - Klingende Dokumente I (NOVA, 1974)
(192 kbps, cover art included)


Samstag, 5. August 2017

Dollar Brand - Anatomy Of A South African Village (1965)

Yesterday I had fortunately the chance to experience the wonderful music of Abdullah Ibrahim and Ekaya live on stage. So this is a good occassion for sharing some of his music.

The melodic sounds of South Africa are fused with the improvisation of jazz and the technical proficiency of classical music by South Africa-born pianist Dollar Brand or, as he's called himself since converting to Islam in 1968, Abdullah Ibrahim. Since attracting international acclaim as a member of the Jazz Epistles, one of South Africa's first jazz bands, Ibrahim has continued to explore new ground with his imaginative playing.

In the mid-1960's, Abdullah Ibrahim (then known as Dollar Brand) was an avant-garde pianist influenced by Thelonious Monk who was not yet displaying much of his South African heritage in his music. This album was recorded at the Montmartre Jazzhuis, Copenhagen, 30th January 1965.

Tracklist:

A1 Anatomy Of A South African Village 15:11
A2 Light Blue 6:56
B1 Tintiyana 4:31
B2 Honey 6:01
B3 'Round Midnight 6:30



Dollar Brand - Anatomy Of A South African Village (1965)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Donnerstag, 3. August 2017

The Red Army Choir - The Best Of - The Definitive Collection

The most prestigious vocal group in Russia, the Red Army Choir was renamed in 1978 after Boris Alexandrov, the troupe's director from 1946 until 1986. A large group featuring a male choir, mixed dance group, and orchestra, the Red Army Choir attracted international attention when it took first place at the Paris Universal Exhibition in 1937.
Much of the group's repertoire, including such tunes as "We Are the Red Cavalry" and "Song of the Volga Boatmen," has passed into Russian folklore. In a review of the choir's self-titled 1994 album, recorded under the direction of conductor Victor Federov and released on the Naxos label, American Record Guide wrote "Naxos' sound is rich, full, vibrant, and spacious -- just like the choir itself."                

Even though I cannot speak Russian, the quality of this choral group is beyond excellent. Many of these pieces are extremely moving and stirring. Both the compositions and the performance are remarkable, above expectations.
The music is very emotive, these emotions can be shared beyond ideological questions. You can perceive a very intense feeling of comradeship and solidarity which is essential for all human beings. Also some of the exaggeration and grandiloquence that was characteristic of the Soviet regime can be found sometimes, but in this case it sounds sincere. The performance is very appropriate for this kind of music. It has nothing to do with the meaningless, empty and mechanical interpretation quite usual in military music.

The Red Army Choir - The Best Of - The Definitive Collection CD 1
The Red Army Choir - The Best Of - The Definitive Collection CD 2
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Mittwoch, 2. August 2017

Ernst Busch - Erich Kästner (Aurora)

Erich Kästner was a pacifist and wrote for children because of his belief in the regenerating powers of youth. He was opposed to the Nazi regime in Germany that began on 30 January 1933 and was one of the signatories to the Urgent Call for Unity. However, unlike many of his fellow authors critical of the dictatorship, Kästner did not emigrate. Kästner did travel to Meran and to Switzerland just after the Nazis assumed power, and he met with exiled fellow writers there. However, Kästner returned to Berlin, arguing that he could chronicle the times better from there. It is probable that Kästner also wanted to avoid abandoning his mother. His epigram "Necessary Answer to Superfluous Questions" ("Notwendige Antwort auf überflüssige Fragen") in "Kurz und Bündig" explains Kästner's position:

I'm a German from Dresden in Saxony
My homeland won't let me go
I'm like a tree that, grown in Germany,
Will likely wither there also.

The Gestapo interrogated Kästner several times, and the writers' guild excluded him. The Nazis burnt Kästner's books as "contrary to the German spirit" during the infamous book burnings of May 10, 1933, which was instigated by the then Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. Kästner witnessed the event in person. Kästner was denied entry into the new Nazi-controlled national writers' guild, the Reichsschrifttumskammer, because of what officials called the "culturally Bolshevist attitude in his writings predating 1933." This amounted to a gag order for Kästner throughout the Third Reich. Instead, Kästner published apolitical, entertaining novels such as "Drei Männer im Schnee" (Three Men in the Snow) (1934) in Switzerland. Kästner received an exemption to write the well-regarded screenplay "Münchhausen" under the pseudonym Berthold Bürger in 1942.

Ernst Busch - Erich Kästner (Aurora)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Tracklist       
                                               
A1 Helde in Pantoffeln
A2 Die Tretmühle
A3 Stimmen aus dem Massengrab
A4 Sergeant Waurich
Music By – H. Eisler*
B1 Kennst du das Land
Music By – G. Freundlich
B2 Das Führerproblem, genetisch betrachtet
B3 Die andere Möglichkeit
C1 Fantasie von Übermorgen
C2 Denn ihr seid dumm
D1 Der eingeseifte Barbier
D2 Hymnus auf die Bankiers
Music By – W. Simoni
D3 Der Gordische Knoten

Dienstag, 1. August 2017

Lightnin' Hopkins‎ - Broken Hearted Blues

Sam “Lightnin’” Hopkins has been called "the last of the Great Blues Singers" – a poetic, haunting and unforgettable country blues bard.

These are the 1950-52 recordings, produced and recorded by Bob Shad for  his "Sittin In With" and "Jax" labels.  A strong song selection with an excellent sound.













Tracklist:

1Hello Central
2Mary Contrary
3Bald Headed Woman
4One Kind Favor (See That My Grave Is Kept Clean)
5I Wonder Why
6Tap Dance Boogie
7Down To The River
8New Short-Haired Women
9Broken Hearted Blues
10New York Boogie
11Long Way From Texas
12Mad As I Can Be
13 I'm Beggin' You
14Why Did You Get Mad At Me?
15 Home In The Woods
16Praying Ground Blues
17 Back Home Boogie
18My Heart To Weep
19Everybody's Down On Me
20New Worried Life Blues
21I'll Never Forget The Day 

Lightnin' Hopkins‎ - Broken Hearted Blues 
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Donnerstag, 27. Juli 2017

Memphis Slim & Willie Dixon - In Paris - Baby Please Come Home!

Piano pumper Mephis Slim (1915 - 1988) and bass thumper Willie Dixon (1915 - 1992) were kindred spirits. Both men were commanding vocalists and brilliant songwriters who played key roles in shaping the Chicago blues sound of the 50s, though their roots were in an earlier era.

The tow blues men usually worked separately, but duting the late 50s and early 60s they frequently teamed up for recordings, club dates, and concerts, often in Europe.

This recording of a 1962 show in Paris is a vital document of that accosication. It's not a landmark event in either of the blues legends' distinguished recording careers, but it's a nice enough outing with a friendly, low-key tone. Slim recorded a lot of LPs in the early '60s, often as a solo pianist/vocalist, and this is frankly more lively than his norm for the era, if for nothing else than the fact that he's playing in a band. The Dixon-sung tracks are interesting inasmuch as he didn't record much during this period, though he's really adequate at best as a singer. When Slim sings, he sticks mostly to self-penned material; the Dixon-fronted cuts may stir some curiosity among blues fans due to the inclusion of some of Willie's more obscure compositions, like the novelty-tinged "African Hunch with a Boogie Beat."

Tracklist:

1Rock And Rolling The House4:28
2Baby Please Come Home2:16
3How Make You Do Me Like You Do4:59
4The Way She Loves A Man3:08
5New Way To Love5:30
6Afican Hunch With A Boogie Beat3:35
7Shame Pretty Girls3:24
8Baby-Baby-Baby3:04
9Do De Do2:41
10Cold Blooded5:37
11Just You And I2:55
12Pigalle Love3:59
13All By Myself1:44

Memphis Slim & Willie Dixon -  In Paris - Baby Please Come Home!
(192 kbps, cover art included)