CHOPIN - PIANO WORKS DIVINE ART DDL 12401
Burkard Schliessmann has been distinguished by the award of three Silver Medals at the Global Music Awards 2017 – as instrumentalist and ‘classical artist’ and for his spectacular Divine Art album ‘Chronological Chopin’. Divine Art’s first vinyl release is a selection of tracks from this triple SACD, which received glowing reviews from music critics the world over. An audiophile two-disc set recorded and mastered at 24-bit quality, this is a rare opportunity to obtain new recordings of Chopin’s masterpieces in the best sound and by a compelling interpreter. German pianist Burkard Schliessmann is a performer with a passion and vision – to seek out and interpret the forms, colours and textures, indeed the soul and expression: the poetic impact, of works we believe have already been fully explored. His previous recordings have received worldwide acclaim – ‘Schliessmann is too good a pianist for anyone to pass on this.’ – American Record Guide. Chopin is above all his composer of choice to whom he has devoted endless hours of study and appreciation. Pressed in 180-gram blue vinyl by Pallas of Berlin in a luxury gatefold sleeve, this a true collector’s edition. Sound quality is warm yet precise, matching Schliessmann’s sensuous and brilliant performances of this sublime music. The nine tracks include Ballades Nos. 1, 3 & 4, the impressionistic Barcarolle in F sharp minor, the dramatic Scherzo No. 2 in B flat minor, and the breathtaking Polonaise-Fantaisie in A flat major. Highly recommended.
BIG BILL BROONZY SINGS FOLK SONGS FA2328/SFW40023
Big Bill Broonzy was a prolific American blues singer, songwriter and guitarist. His career began in the 1920s, when he played country blues to mostly African-American audiences, and through the 1930s and 1940s he successfully navigated a transition in style to a more urban blues sound popular with working-class African-American audiences. In the 1950s a return to his traditional folk-blues roots made him one of the leading figures of the emerging American folk music revival and an international star. He copyrighted more than 300 songs during his lifetime, including adaptations of traditional folk songs and original blues. Big Bill Broonzy Sings Folk Songs was originally released by Folkways Records in 1962. The album has now been reissued on vinyl by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings after being remastered for Vinyl Me, Please by Grammy-award winning Pete Reiniger. The songs demonstrate Broonzy’s mastery of a variety of music styles, including blues, folk songs, spirituals, and popular songs. These performances from the mid-1950s showcase Big Bill’s expressive vocals and his driving guitar accompaniment. They are among Broonzy’s last recordings, as the cancer he fought for his final two years took his life in 1958. Moses Asch of Folkways Records released this album as a memorial to the influential yet commercially underappreciated musician and songwriter about whom Muddy Waters simply said, ‘I try to be like him.’ It captures Broonzy at a time when he was touring regularly in Europe as a trailblazing ambassador of the blues. In particular, his appearances inspired a set of British teenagers including Pete Townshend, Keith Richards, Ray Davies, and Eric Clapton, who described his experience watching Big Bill perform as feeling ‘like I was looking into heaven.’ This reissue was remastered from the original analog master tapes and features the original album artwork, song lyrics, a 1962 tribute essay by Charles Edward Smith, as well as a new reflection on Broonzy’s lasting influence by Bob Riesman.
DEEP PURPLE - THE VINYL COLLECTION ’72-’87
Formed in Hertford, England in 1968, Deep Purple are widely considered, alongside Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, as pioneers of heavy metal and modern rock. Originally created as a progressive rock band, Deep Purple shifted to a heavier sound in 1970 and became phenomenally successful worldwide. They were listed in the 1975 Guinness Book of World Records as ‘the globe’s loudest band’ following a 1972 concert at London’s Rainbow Theatre, and have sold over 100 million albums worldwide. Still active today, the group has survived many line-up changes over the years and launched the careers of many high-ranking rock performers, including Ritchie Blackmore, David Coverdale and Ian Gillan. Universal Music has now released ‘The Vinyl Collection’, a handsome seven-LP collection featuring the group’s albums from the period 1972-1987: Machine Head, Who Do We Think We Are, Burn, Stormbringer, Come Taste the Band, Perfect Strangers, and The House of the Blue Light. All have been re-mastered from the original tapes (including the first official re-masters of titles, Perfect Strangers and The House Of The Blue Light) pressed on 180gm vinyl, and come complete with original inserts within replica sleeves, housed together in a sturdy, deluxe box. Each album will also be made available as a stand-alone title.
CREAM ALBUMS - VINYL BOX SET
Cream were the first and best British rock supergroup of the 1960s. Formed in 1966, the band consisted of bassist/singer Jack Bruce drummer Ginger Baker, both formerly jazz-influenced members of the Graham Bond Organisation, and blues guitarist/singer Eric Clapton, who had worked with The Yardbirds and John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. As premier musicians, they naturally became the ‘cream’ , creating a unique sound that fused blues with rock music and and psychedelia. Clapton’s superb guitar work, Bruce’s powerful vocals and prominent bass playing, and Baker’s pulsating drumming were the perfect medium for Pete Brown’s poetry-inspired lyrics. The group’s third album, Wheels of Fire, became the world’s first platinum-selling double album and the band went on to sell sold over 15 million albums worldwide. Their music included songs based on traditional blues such as Crossroads and Spoonful, as well as modern blues such as Born Under a Bad Sign and powerful, idiosyncratic songs such as Strange Brew, Tales of Brave Ulysses and Toad. USM has now released on vinyl all of the band’s studio and live albums made between 1966 and 1972. The full set includes Fresh Cream (1LP), Disraeli Gears featuring the wonderful Sunshine of Your Love (1LP), Wheels Of Fire (2LP), Goodbye (1LP), and live albums Live Cream (1LP) and Live Cream Volume II (1LP). All titles are pressed on 180gm Heavyweight Vinyl and include download vouchers. The volatile relationship between Bruce and Baker, who were notorious for their quarrelling, led to the break-up of Cream after just two years. The band’s musical legacy remains immortal and they have sound great on vinyl.
THE COMPLETE AMERICAN RECORDINGS OF JOHNNY CASH
J.R. ‘Johnny’ Cash, the Man in Black, was a singer, guitarist and songwriter whose music remains unique and unmistakable. Born in 1932, in Kingsland, Arkansas, Cash joined the Air Force in 1950 and trained in Texas where he met his first wife. After his service and discharge, he formed a band and landed a record deal. By the early 1960s, he was a musical superstar, with his own TV show and a string of hit songs such as I Walk the Line, Folsom Prison Blues, Ring of Fire, and the humorous A Boy Named Sue. In 1967, he married June Carter and continued to play music that innovatively mixed country, rock, blues and gospel influences. He recorded his last track of his final album a week before his death in 2003. One of the most influential artists of the 20th century and revered by Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash was a multi-platinum-selling country music legend who redefined the genre and earned a long line of awards and accolades throughout his 40-year career, including seventeen GRAMMY® Awards, a GRAMMY® Lifetime Achievement Award, nine Country Music Association awards, Academy of Country Music and MTV Awards. He was the only artist to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. In the 1990s, he entered a professional renaissance after signing with Rick Rubin’s American Recordings where his label debut launched a fertile, decade-long creative period that saw him record a variety of songs that crossed different genres and spanned nearly a century. Johnny Cash’s complete American Recordings have now been released in this splendid Vinyl Box Set featuring all six of that label’s albums: American Recordings, American Recordings II: Unchained, American Recordings III: Solitary Man, American Recordings IV: The Man Comes Around, American Recordings V: A Hundred Highways and American Recordings VI: Ain’t No Grave. The recordings are a magnificent achievement, with 79 tracks that include a profoundly moving version of Josh Haden’s Spiritual, Leonard Cohen’s Bird On A Wire, Delia’s Gone, Sea Of Heartbreak, Meet Me In Heaven, I Won’t Back Down, I See A Darkness, Wayfaring Stranger, The Man Comes Around, Hurt, Streets Of Laredo, Rose Of My Heart and Can’t Help But Wonder Where I’m Bound. These are essential tracks from one of America’s greatest artists, sounding better than ever on vinyl.
BLONDIE - VINYL BOX SET
Although successful in the United Kingdom and Australia, Blondie was regarded as an underground band in the United States until the release of Parallel Lines in 1978. Over the next three years, the band achieved several hit singles including "Call Me", "Atomic" and "Heart of Glass" and became noted for its eclectic mix of musical styles incorporating elements of disco, pop, rap, and reggae, while retaining a basic style as a new wave band. Blondie’s studio LPs originally released between 1976 and 1982 have now been brought together for the first time in this boxed set from UMC. Each LP will have exact reproductions of original artwork to retain authenticity, and will be pressed in 180 gram heavyweight audiophile vinyl and contained in a rigid slipcase box. The Box Set, available from December 1st 2014, includes Blondie (1976), Plastic Letters (1978), Parallel Lines (1978), Eat to the Beat (1979), Autoamerican (1980), The Hunter (1982).
WHO KNOWS WHERE THE TIME GOES? - FAIRPORT CONVENTION FOLKPRINT FP005PLP.
This limited edition of 1000 pressings of the band's latest release as a vinyl picture disc has been produced in conjunction with Woodworm Records, who originally released these tracks on CD. This collector's item is the first commercial vinyl release from Fairport Convention since 1992's Five Seasons and preserves the high quality sound of the original. The number of tracks has been trimmed from 12 to 9 but still includes Sandy Denny singing the title song as well as the band’s versions of John Gaudie, Sailing Boat, Kristina Olsen’s Dangerous, Spanish Main, Life’s A Long Song, Bowman’s Retreat, The Wishfulness Waltz, Moonlight On The Water, Who Knows Where The Time Goes? and Heard it Through the Grapevine.
BRAHMS VIOLIN CONCERTO - ERICA MORINI SPEAKERS CORNER - WESTMINSTER WST 14037
Erica Morini’s 60-year career included concert performances with leading orchestras such as the Leipzig Gewandhaus and Berlin Philharmonic but regrettably she made few recordings. It’s a rare pleasure, therefore, to hear this supreme violinist at her finest in this stereo recording of Brahms’s Violin Concerto in D major, which the 61-year-old Morini made with the Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Artur Rodzinski. It was recorded in 1956 at Walthamstow Assembly Hall in London for the Westminster label and clearly demonstrates the performer’s clean and highly differentiated timbre, lyrical expression, technical perfection, and the thrilling passion that was her trademark. This outstanding LP is one the collector will treasure for its documentary value and which the music-lover will appreciate for its insight into the work of an artist of real musical integrity.
SWAN LAKE - TCHAIKOVSKY SPEAKERS CORNER - DECCA SXL 2107-8.
A true delight for ballet fans and music-lovers, this recording of Tchaikovsky’s most popular ballet, Swan Lake, by Ernest Ansermet and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande is a masterly performance now available as a new pressing in vinyl. This double LP, although not a complete recording, comprises the most beautiful and expressive scenes and captures both the tragic moments of the fairy tale and the festive dance scenes.
THE ART OF CLARA HASKILL SPEAKERS CORNER - WESTMINSTER XWN 18381
Clara Haskil began her career late in life and left few recordings to posterity. Perhaps for this reason the Rumanian pianist’s recordings possess a magical aura and her interpretation of Domenico Scarlatti’s Sonatas has taken on legendary status. Always careful to preserve the baroque clarity of these unique pieces, she allows the playful, lithe piano miniatures to unfold and conjures moments of delicate expression. The tonal character of her instrument, a ‘cross’ between a harpsichord and a historical hammerklavier, is ideal and the old mono recording technique is perhaps better suited to preserve piano music than stereo. With such fresh and spacious sound reproduction, no one minds becoming a mono fan.
DAPHNIS ET CHLOE - RAVEL SPEAKERS CORNER - DECCA SXL 2164.
Pierre Monteux conducts the London Symphony Orchestra, with the Chorus of the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, in this wonderful historic recording from 1959. Daphnis et Chloe - the complete ballet score is performed here - originally had mixed reviews but is now seen as one of Ravel’s masterworks.
SYMPHONIE FANTASTIQUE SPEAKERS CORNER - DECCA SXL 2009.
The Symphonie Fantastique by Berlioz was one of the most powerful musical compositions of its day and provoked much controversy. The various scenes of the intoxicating programme music are approached with daring; dreadful, macabre ideas are presented in a low, gloomy and dark timbre until finally a heroic attitude comes to the fore, accompanied by thundering drum rolls, when the death sentence is pronounced. Fantastique! Ataulfo Argenta conducts the Paris Conservatoire Orchestra.
PETRUSHKA - STRAVINSKY SPEAKERS CORNER - DECCA SXL 2011.
Stravinsky’s inspired setting of the story of the puppet Petrushka to music is one of the greatest achievements ever in ballet music. On this LP Ernest Ansermet the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande show an infallible perception of Stravinsky’s compositional language, admirably presenting the varied colouring of the highly complex score.
JOHNNY HODGES/BILLY STRAYHORN SPEAKERS CORNER - VERVE V6-8452
This album celebrates the legacy of alto saxophonist Johnny Hodges, Billy Strayhorn and The Orchestra’ in concert performaces recorded from 1961. In the lyrical, gentle solos of Hodges the notes seem to pour effortlessly out of his instrument in melodies were almost always penned by Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellengton’s friend and alter ego. Johnny Hodges had already released more than a dozen LPs when this recording captured him at the summit of his career. Tracks include Your Love Has Faded, Tailor Made, Don’t Get Around Much Anymore, Day Dream and I’m Just A Lucky So And So. These catchy melodies make this album excitingly accessible and it’s a pleasure to hear members of the Ellington Band so obviously enjoying performing in the background for a change. Speakers Corner are to be congratulated for making these marvelous recordings available again in a welcome re-release of Verve 8452.