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Lessons in Keyboard Choreography20 Lessons in Keyboard Choreography

by Seymour Bernstein
studio
OCMSOCMS
Classical Music:
The 50 Greatest Composers and Their 1,000 Greatest Works

by Phil G. Goulding
studio

Reviews
Classical Music and Scores Editor's Recommended Book
This is a fun, approachable guide to classical music that uses a light touch, fun facts and humorous anecdotes to help the neophyte make sense of classical music and its origins.

Who are the ten most important classical composers? Who in the world was Palestrina? Why did Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" cause a riot? Which five of each important composer's works should you buy? What is a concerto and how does it differ from a sonata?

Maybe you don't know the answers to these questions; author Phil Goulding certainly didn't. When Goulding first tried to learn about classical music, he found himself buried in an avalanche of technical terms and complicated jargon--so he decided to write the book he couldn't find.

The result is a complete classical music education in one volume. Comprehensive, discriminating, and delightfully irreverent, Classical Music provides such essential information as:
  • Rankings of the top 50 composers (Bach is #1. Borodin is #50)
  • A detailed and anecdotal look at each composer's life and work
  • The five primary works of each composer and specific recommended CDs for each.
  • Further great works of each composer--if you really like him
  • Concise explanations of musical terminology, forms, and periods
  • A guide to the parts and history of the symphony orchestra
"This book uses every conceivable gimmick to immerse readers in the richness of classical music: lists, rankings, sidebars devoted to lively anecdotes, and catchy leads."
----The Washington Post

"One terrific music appreciation book...The information is surprisingly detailed but concisely presented. Goulding's writing style is breezy yet mature....[He] has raised music appreciation from a racket to a service."
--The Arizona Daily Star

Synopsis
From Bach to Mozart to Wagner, this comprehensive, opinionated, one-volume guide ranks the top 50 classical composers, provides a detailed and anecdotal look at the life of each, and analyzes five essential works of each composer. Goulding offers specific recommendations for the best CDs, concise explanations of music terms, and more.

Did Mozart come before Beethoven? Who in the world was Palestrina? Why did Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" cause a riot? Which of Haydn's 104 symphonies should you buy? What is a concerto and how does it differ from a sonata? There are so many composers - who are the ten you really should know? And where can you get answers to these and all your other classical music questions without getting bogged down in technicalities and jargon? Now you can turn to this lively and refreshingly opinionated guide to the top classical composers, designed expressly for beginners. Written by a former classical music novice who grew frustrated by the lack of material aimed at listeners like himself, Classical Music is guaranteed to give you the confidence and the knowledge you need for a lifetime of informed listening. Comprehensive, discriminating, and delightfully irreverent, Classical Music provides such essential information as rankings of the top 50 composers; a detailed look at each composer's life and work; Starter Kits of the five most essential works of each composer; master collections of 25 selections for expanding your library beyond the Starter Kits; specific recommendations for the best CDs of all 250 Starter Kit selections; concise explanations of musical terminology (tone color vs. tonality), forms (sonata vs. concerto), and periods (Baroque vs. Classical); a guide to the parts and history of the symphony orchestra; and the composers' (not always flattering) opinions of each other. Whether you are just starting your music library, expanding an existing collection, or branching out into new works and new composers, you'll find Classical Music an essential guide to the galaxy of classical music stars. It is a complete classical music education in one delightful volume.

From the Publisher
Phil Goulding has written a completely accessible guide to classical music, and the best part is he has the audacity to "rate the composers." If you've ever wanted to know more about classical music, this probably the most approachable guide you could have.
-- Sue Miller, National Accounts Manager

OCMSOCMS

The Definitive Biography of P. D. Q. Bach, 1807-1742?
by Peter Schickele
studio

Reviews
Amazon.com
Kliatt, Nov. 1996
I've been a fan of Schickele for over 25 years. The print version of this work, first released in 1976, was funny then. Now it's hysterical. The original work was full of irreverent jabs at the "stuffed shirtism" of classical music by a man who knew a great deal about the subject. The footnotes were a delight and the whole thing parodied those heavy-handed scholarly works that serious students of music know all too well. The audio version [HighBridge] of this has Schickele in his own inimitable and lunatic fashion ringing doorbells to indicate footnotes and using a clicker to indicate the presence of quotations; it has an audio glossary of bizarre instruments, and is extremely entertaining, to say the very least....I played this on a solo car trip and almost got into accidents several times from belly laughing out loud.
--This text refers to the audio cassette edition of this title

More about P.D.Q. Bach.

Music of P. D. Q. Bach (Schickele)
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A History of Western Music
Donald Jay Grout, Claude V. Palisca (Contributor)
studio

Amazon.com Customer Comments
This is the finest text on the history of western music. This book is Donald J. Grout's masterpiece. Scholarly, detailed, and carefully considered, it includes analyses of pieces from every period in the history of western music. Grout interweaves the development of harmony, rhythm, and usage with the evolution of various instruments and vocal trends, and presents all in the context of social and political history.

More about Grout.
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MIDI Manual
by David Miles Huber, Craig Anderton

Puts MIDI to work for any beginning- and intermediate-level user! A comprehensive guide to Musical Instrument Digital Interfacing. "Provides introductory coverage of electronic music technology. Studies the multiple uses of MIDI. Includes a reference and equipment guide with advice on which system to purchase. Written for music students, professional musicians, and audio engineers".

Book Description
MIDI is a digital language that allows multiple electronic instruments, performance controllers, computers and other related devices to communicate with each other within a network in a performance setting, so that a musician can create, develop, and/or perform a song in a practical, flexible and affordable production environment. This book has been established as the most complete reference on the subject, by a very respected sound engineer and author.

Synopsis
Puts MIDI to work for you. This book is a serious, comprehensive guide to Musical Instrument Digital Interfacing that provides introductory coverage of electronic music technology; studies the multiple uses of MIDI; and includes a reference and equipment guide with advice on which system to purchase. Written for music students, professional musicians, and audio engineers.

From the Publisher
This manual has been revised and updated to include the new developments in hardware and software. Tips and practical examples on sequencing and mixing techniques have been added to enhance its usefulness as a reference tool for sound engineers, musicians and students.

OCMSOCMS

The Mozart Effect:
Tapping the Power of Music to Heal the Body, Strengthen the Mind and Unlock the Creative Spirit


Classical Music and Scores Editor's Recommended Book
With a subtitle of Tapping the Power of Music to Heal the Body, Strengthen the Mind, and Unlock the Creative Spirit, the casual reader might jokingly ask if the book could also improve chances for world peace, bring free and open elections to third world countries, and give your wash whiter whites and brighter brights. Don Campbell's premise is, however, reasonably straightforward: he asserts that the kind of noise to which one is exposed can have important effects on mental and bodily health. As a trial, try protecting your hearing for a few days from the continuous barrage of noise in a typical urban environment; it really does seem to improve one's attitude and fatigue levels. Where Campbell's ideas become more provocative is in the realm of music. Supported by much anecdotal evidence, he proposes that Classical music with a big "C" (the music of Mozart's period) can reach out to those who are mentally isolated from their fellows, like the autistic, and can help infants react and think better. (Will prenatal music classes be the next big trend for yuppie babies?) In addition, the music of Mozart contributes to the improved functioning of the higher cerebellar functions, including the ability to deal with logical and mathematical concepts, while contemporary rock actually decreases mental acuity.

More about Mozart.

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Musichound SoundtracksMusichound Soundtracks: The Essential Album Guide to Film, Television and Stage Music

by Didier C. Deutsch (Editor)

Editorial Reviews

The publisher, Visible Ink Press , January 13, 2000 "If you're interested in diving further into the realm of soundtracks and don't know where to start, look no further. It's all here with brief yet educating passages about the flicks, the year they were made and their music and composers. This is something you should not be without ... this book is so fat with information, it may just break your arm when you're trying to pick it up!"

-- The Aquarian Weekly

The publisher, Visible Ink Press , November 16, 1999 IN A "SOUNDTRACK-CRAZY" WORLD, HOW DO YOU CHOOSE?
Where once soundtracks were primarily sought out by collectors of the genre, today they are marketed to and purchased by a complete cross-spectrum of consumers. Nearly every film, and more and more television shows, are producing and heavily promoting soundtrack CDs. Add these to the tremendous number of releases from the last several years, as well as countless reissues or re-creations of vintage scores (covering more than 70 years of film, stage and television music) and the choices are staggering. Advice on what to buy has never been needed more.

Fortunately, the folks at MusicHound® have recognized this need and have created MusicHound® Soundtracks: The Essential Album Guide to Film, Television and Stage Music which rates and reviews 3,000 soundtrack recordings available on CD. The CDs are reviewed in an A to Z format with each being identified as either a film, television or stage soundtrack. Each entry provides complete production information and a review that takes into consideration production quality, musical quality, and the degree to which the music relates to the dramatic work that it supports. Finally, each entry is awarded a traditional MusicHound "bone" rating, from "5 Bones" (superb) to "Woof!" (a real dog). Five indexes make for easy cross-referencing.

Following the A to Z entries, MusicHound Soundtracks provides two sections on compilation albums. The first covers compilations based on themes ("Great Epic Film Scores"), sub-genres ("British Film Music") and actors or directors ("Music from the Films of Astaire & Rogers"). The second reviews composer compilations (Sondheim: Putting It Together"), of which there are many. Also of interest are the book's two forewords, which offer insight into the two different approaches to soundtracks. The first, by Lukas Kendall, editor of Film Score Monthly, explains why "traditional" film music (music scored expressly for a film) is so unique and satisfying. The second foreword, by Julia Michaels, former Director of Soundtracks at Capitol Records, takes us on a "tour" of how a "pop song compilation" soundtrack (also referred to as a "songtrack") is created. MusicHound Soundtracks was published in an earlier edition in 1997 under the VideoHound® banner. This new edition is completely revised and expanded with 1,000 new entries and the addition of 100 photographs. It has also been re-designed for easier use. Once again, the compiling of this massive undertaking was brilliantly commandeered by Didier C. Deutsch, one of the few practitioners in the business qualified to pull it off. Deutsh has no less than 65 soundtrack production credits to his name including West Side Story, The Bridge on the River Kwai, and My Fair Lady. Deutsch wrote the bulk of the reviews in MusicHound's Soundtracks himself, but compiled an impressive group of more than 15 other contributors to complete the task.

So whether your idea of a great soundtrack is the symphonic lushness of "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace" or the collection of great songs that accompanied "City of Angels," MusicHound Soundtracks will help you find what you want and will let you know if it is a worthwhile investment.
OCMSOCMS

Musical Prodigies: Perilous Journeys, Remarkable Lives
by Claude Kenneson, Contribution by Bejun Mehta, Foreword by Van Cliburn

From The Publisher:
This is a celebration of the remarkable lives of forty-four musical prodigies from the eighteenth century to the present. With a profound appreciation for their gifts, Claude Kenneson tells the amazing stories of Mozart and Paganini, Andrés Segovia and Samuel Barber, Van Cliburn and Ruggiero Ricci, Shauna Rolston and Yo-Yo Ma, to name a few. The author has nurtured several prodigies among his own cello students and brings a teacher's sensitivity to these accounts of many a perilous journey to maturity. He explores early family life, first teachers, the importance of peers, and the inevitable struggles for independence and acceptance as an adult musician. Parents and families of gifted children in all the arts will welcome this book. Young musicians will find companionship, reassurance, and insight into their own lives. And for all who have the opportunity to guide prodigious gifts, Kenneson has created an invaluable resource.

OCMSOCMS


The Music Teacher's Almanac:
Ready-To-Use Music Activities for Every Month of the Year

by Loretta Mitchell

A reader
This is a must have for all elementary school music teachers If you don't already have this book, you need to get it! It has activities for special days throughout the year (even days you might have never known about). The material is well suited to any age and is well liked by the upper grades (which can sometimes be hard to find). The activities are easy to set up and usually fill up one class period. I highly reccommend investing in this book. It saved me my first year of teaching and I plan to use it for as many years as they'll let me teach!

OCMSOCMS

Norton Anthology of Western Music: Ancient to Baroque
by Claude V. Palisca (Editor)

A reader from Port Townsend, WA,
A thorough survey of western music from written sources. Editors Palisca and Grout present a thorough survey of western music from written sources, with a welcome emphasis on lesser-known works. They include neumes and other ancient methods of notation. Entirely scholarly and accompanied by beautifully executed recordings of each piece, this book is a must for every student of musicology, and a boon to anyone interested in ancient music.

A reader from Philadelphia, PA
This is a collection of scores to the CD selections Both volumes of the (paperback) Anthology (N.B.: 3d ed. goes with 5th ed. of the "History" text) are primarily fully reproduced (though reduced in size) scores to the music reproduced audiophonically on the CD's in Volumes 1 and 2 of "Recorded Anthology." The Anthology, according to its 3d ed. preface, now contains almost no text of its own. The "History" text (clothbound and yes, definitive) contains minimal examples in musical notation and refers to these two volumes frequently. Despite the above review being included with this volume, be advised that the study guide by J. Peter Burkholder is to the "History" text, not primarily to the Anthologies, which also supplement the History (along with the CD's).

Norton Anthology of Western Music: Classic to Modern
Claude V. Palisca (Editor)
studio

OCMSOCMS

Star Wars Episode I : Incredible Cross-Sections
by David West Reynolds, et al

Amazon.com

Want to get a battle-droid's-eye view of the inside of an AAT battle tank? Care to see what Darth Maul's hiding in the trunk of his sinister-looking Sith Infiltrator? You're in luck: the crew that brought us the super-cool Star Wars Visual Dictionary and the Incredible Cross-Sections for the first movie trilogy is back. Boy wonder archaeologist-author David West Reynolds has put together another Incredible Cross-Sections guide, this time pulling apart the vehicles and vessels in Episode I: The Phantom Menace. DK has mastered the art of making Star Wars fans drool, and this latest guide is definitely state of the art, opening up everything from Naboo starfighters to Trade Federation transports. As always, Reynolds approaches the Star Wars universe with the respect and love of a fan, putting each ship in context with his characteristic friendly but scientific style. The clean chromium lines and meticulous wiring of Queen Amidala's Royal Starship reflect the order and honor of Naboo royalty; the flowing, shell-like details on a tribubble bongo sub show off the Gungans' organic aesthetic. The best ships, of course, belong to the bad guys: you can check out the secret weapons and cloak field generator packed aboard Maul's Infiltrator (which, we learn, has an "experimental" ion engine that will later put the I-E in TIE fighters), and the Trade Federation's droid starfighter and control ship get a full giant fold-out. From the "bunker-buster" high explosive shells spit out by an AAT to the flame emitter weapon on Sebulba's podracer, this inside-out tour makes all the stops you want it to.
--Paul Hughes


For more , see Star Wars at amazon.com

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The Story of Opera
by Richard Somerset-Ward

A gorgeously presented history of classical music's most grandiose form, THE STORY OF OPERA examines opera and its mechanics from a critical perspective while providing neophytes with a sense of the form's evolution over the past 400 years.

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Time Traveler's Guide to Music History, Books 1 and 2 with MIDI disks
Alfred Publishing
studio

Experience music's evolution through the melodies and stories of it's masters.
  • Each chapter contains informative text on a time period and repertoire from that period
  • Fascinating and fun "Did You Know?" anecdotes entertain while they teach
  • Colorful, animated cartoons and illustrations bring music history to life
  • With a general MIDI keyboard you can play each selection using an historically acurate instrument sound
Time Traveler's Guide to Music History is available from the Music Studio or from local music stores.
OCMSOCMS

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Topsy-TurvyTopsy-Turvy - The Music of Gilbert & Sullivan; Screenplay

by Mike Leigh

Editorial Reviews
Amazon.com
In this screenplay, Mike Leigh-director of Secrets and Lies-brings Gilbert and Sullivan and fin de sicle London to life.

W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan were the most astonishing partnership in the history of musical entertainment, and in Mike Leigh's first historical film-as well as his first film to use famous characters from an earlier era-their lives and times are fully, richly explored. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, all things Japanese enjoyed an unexpected vogue in London society. This was not lost on the celebrated duo of Gilbert and Sullivan, who promptly set to work on The Mikado. Leigh's film presents the trials and tribulations they encountered in bringing their best-loved operetta to the London stage. It re-creates the lost grandeur of Victorian London and its great palaces of entertainment: a city of swirling fog and sputtering gaslights, of horse-drawn carriages and their irascible cabbies, of the newly rich, the nobility, the clubmen and courtiers, the Gaiety Girls and their stage-door Johnnies. Known not only for his acclaimed films, including Secrets and Lies, Naked, and High Hopes, but also for his unusual working method whereby his films are created through improvisation with the actors, Leigh has extended his considerable range still further in this extraordinarily vibrant new work.
20 Black-and-White Photographs

Information about Topsy-Turvey Soundtrack
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With Your Own Two HandsWith Your Own Two Hands - Self Discovery Through Music

by Semour Bernstein
studio

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Click here for Children's Books


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OCMS Compact Discs OCMS

Thanksgiving Music for the Whole Family!



Classical
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


See other musicians whose names begin with "A" on the Music Page

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Anderson, Leroy
(Anderson) Blue Tango- Symphonic Pops by Leroy Anderson
by Leroy Anderson

This CD has listening samples.

(Anderson) Fiddle Faddle - 15 Favorites by Leroy Anderson
by Leroy Anderson
Abravanel

This CD has listening samples.

More about Anderson.

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Anonymous

Anonymous: Sarum Chant - Missa in Gallicantu


Composer: Anonymous
Conductor: Phillips
Performers: Tallis Scholars

Review
Amazon.com essential recording
The Sarum Rite, England's own version of the Roman Catholic liturgy, was developed early in the 13th century at Salisbury Cathedral. This distinctive body of plainchant was used throughout England until the Reformation. This disc features music from the First Mass of Christmas, celebrated on Christmas Eve in gallicantu--at the cockcrow. All the sung parts of the Mass are performed here by nine male singers who together demonstrate a prodigious understanding of the principles of phrasing and inflection essential to proper interpretation of chant. This includes everything from subtle stresses and syllabic de-emphases to the many instances of extended melismas and florid ornamentation. Like the music itself, the Tallis Scholars' performance transcends the physical confines of notation and text, allowing listeners, undistracted by harmony, instruments, or complex vocal textures, to contemplate this eloquent and beautiful music's higher purpose.
--David Vernier

This CD has listening samples.


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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


See other musicians whose names begin with "B" on the Music Page

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Bach, Johann Sebastian
The music of Johann Sebastian Bach exerts a profoundly moving effect that is unlike any other. Bach's sacred choral music was central to his vast output, and his Magnificat in particular contains many of the secrets of Bach's art.

Bach: The Art of Fugue, Musical Offering


Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor: Neville Marriner

Review
Amazon.com essential recording
There are many apocryphal stories in the classical-music world, but the one in which Frederick the Great challenged Bach to improvise a six-part fugue on a theme of the king's own invention is true, and The Musical Offering was, after a period of further reflection, the result. As with all the works of Bach's later years, the work is both great art and a "teaching piece," which shows everything that he thought could be done with the king's theme. The Trio Sonata based on the theme is the only major piece of chamber music from Bach's last decades in Leipzig, and that makes the work and essential cornerstone of any Bach collection. This performance, led by Neville Marriner, is both polished and lively, and very well recorded. At a "twofer" price, coupled with The Art of Fugue, it's the preferred version of the work on modern instruments.
--David Hurwitz

This CD has listening samples.

Bach: Brandenburg Concertos 1-6


Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
Orchestra: Il Giardino Armonicobr

Review
Amazon.com essential recording
Il Giardino Armonico is an original instruments group made up of skilled young Italian specialists in Baroque music. They bring a light, airy touch to the Brandenburg Concertos, with deeply felt slow movements, sprightly Allegros, and blistering Prestos. Unlike some of their ilk, they play with vitality while avoiding interpretive extremes; the finale of No.3, for example, is taken at a blistering pace but never feels too fast for the music. Solos are highly accomplished, with scintillating violin and wind contributions, along with charmingly blatty period horns in No. 1. The engineering is a big plus, helping to make this one of the best period performances of these perennial favorites.
--Dan Davis

This CD has listening samples.

Bach: The 6 Cello Suites


Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor: Ton Koopman
Performer: Pablo Casals

Review
Amazon.com essential recording
Casals crusaded for this music. When he first picked up a used copy of the score in a music store, Bach was not very popular with general audiences, and the cello suites were never played in public. If cellists knew them at all, they used them as finger exercises. After two decades of study, Casals finally gave his first public performances of the suites. For all we know, they may have been the world premieres. Casals thoroughly mastered the music, and by the time he made his recordings, in the 1930s, he gave mature, adept, and loving performances. If his style seems a bit on the romantic side for our 1990s conception of Bach, it is never offensively so. Every music lover should hear this set, with recorded sound that holds up remarkably well. At the same time, we can now realize that Casals sometimes works too hard to make a point, probably knowing that most of his listeners had never heard the music before. So we should also hear more recent recordings of these suites (especially Starker's on RCA) for a more inward, subtle version of the music, which is too great to be fully realized in any one performance.
--Leslie Gerber

This CD has listening samples.

Bach: Goldberg Variations (1955 Recording)


Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer: Glenn Gould

Review
Amazon.com essential recording
In the summer of 1955, a brash, eccentric, and awesomely gifted 22-year-old pianist swept the didactic cobwebs off this monumental opus, and a star was born. For listeners weaned on romantic Bach stylings of Fischer, Casals, and Landowska, the effect was like stepping into an ice cold shower. Glenn Gould's agile, independent hands and hair-trigger rhythm ignited Bach's virtuosic writing with insight and irreverence, sprucing up the counterpoint with crisp articulation, perky accents, and jaw-dropping tempos. This debut recording is the best-known and arguably the finest of Gould's commercial discs.
--Jed Distler

This CD has listening samples.

Bach: Mass in B minor


Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor: Gardiner
Performers: English Baroque Soloists

Review
Amazon.com essential recording
One of the most frequently mentioned "favorite" works of Bach, the B Minor Mass is not really a functional liturgical work, but an assemblage of movements written over a period of many years. Its grand scale is certainly awesome, but its musical and spiritual unity is more remarkable, considering its origin and the fact that it contains several different compositional styles--not to mention some of Bach's most profound and beautiful music. Performing this work and preserving a sense of its grand design while bringing out the considerable musical details is a challenge that most choirs, orchestras, and conductors are not up to. Almost by consensus, however, John Eliot Gardiner's version is the most successful--and it is indeed a phenomenal recording--at once sumptuous and penetrating, with gorgeous choral and solo singing, and spacious, vibrant sound.
--David Vernier

This CD has listening samples.

Simply Baroque
Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach, Luigi Boccherini
Conductor: Ton Koopman
Performer: Ton Koopman, Yo-Yo Ma
Orchestra: Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra

Review
Amazon.com
It was only a matter of time before the remarkable Yo-Yo Ma went along with the tide and dipped his talent into the so-called authentic instrument movement. On this recital, abetted by Ton Koopman--one of the most respected names in early-music practice--Ma plays Bach and Boccherini. The Bach are all transcriptions and very fine ones, indeed--the alto aria Erbarme Dich from the St. Matthew Passion; the equally famous Air on a G String from the Third Orchestral Suite; Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring; and six others, most less well-known. These are followed by two fascinating cello concertos by Boccherini, made all the more interesting by Koopman's cadenzas, which are pretty outrageous. Throughout, Ma's stunning virtuosity is matched by his taste and musicality. The Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra plays handsomely, and the recorded sound is warm and full. "Authentic" or not, this is mighty fine playing, and wait till you hear those cadenzas.
--Robert Levine

This CD has listening samples.

Read Amazon.com's Get Started in Classical feature

Bach in the Children's Section

More about J.S. Bach.

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Bach, PDQ (Schickele)

The Definitive Biography of P. D. Q. Bach, 1807-1742? (audiotape)
by Peter Schickele
studio
Reviews
Amazon.com
Publishers Weekly, Sept. 2, 1996
The release of this audio [HighBridge] marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of the book upon which is it based. Schickele has in the meantime achieved pop culture recognition for what once seemed an academic's onetime, ultimate insider joke at best: the parodic imagined life of composer P.D.Q. Bach. Now Schickele's committed audiences enthusiastically seek out his performances and musical recordings.

An Evening With PDQ Bach
PDQ Bach (Schickele)


This CD has listening samples.

An Hysteric Return - PDQ Bach at Carnegie Hall
PDQ Bach (Schickele)


This CD has listening samples.

The Intimate PDQ Bach
PDQ Bach (Schickele)


This CD has listening samples.

A Little Nightmare Music
P D Q Bach Csvang Cv79448
studio

This CD has listening samples.

PDQ Bach: 1712 Overture and Other Musical Assaults
PDQ Bach (Schickele)

Customer Comment
Amazon.com

One track alone is worth the price of the entire CD! The first time I heard the 1712 Overture, I was driving home from work in rush hour traffic. I was listening to the classical music radio station in Orlando, Florida and they played this piece. I laughed so hard I thought I was going to hit the car in front of me. I couldn't see because tears of laughter were pouring down my face. When I finally found a copy of the CD, I immediately bought it with no hesitation. The rest of the pieces are great, as well, especially the introduction to The Preachers of Crimetheus.

This CD has listening samples.

PDQ Bach on the Air with Professor Peter Schickele
by P D Q Bach Csvang Cvsd719-20
studio

Customer comments
A music fan from Washington State , February 4, 1999 Sportcasters, step aside! Before this CD was untimely ripped from my possesion, I almost wore a hole in track 2. The inimitable play-by-play recounting of Beethoven's 5th Symphony in C minor is something even a complete music novice can appriciate and love-- but if you know anything about music, this CD will have you ROTFL! This CD has listening samples.

PDQ Bach: Oedipus Tex and other Choral Calamities
P D Q Bach
studio

Customer Comments
Amazon.com
A music fan from Fulton, MO , January 1, 1999 Love it. Laugh at it. Live with it. Aficionados of choral music will find this work hilariously funny, punny as well as naughty. This was my first PDQ Bach recording purchase after having been introduced to the master's works in my college choir as we sang "My Bonnie Lass She Smelleth". Oedipus Tex is a gem with many hauntingly annoying words and tunes that revisit one's mental crannies.

A music fan from Berkeley CA , September 14, 1998 Brilliant. Best of Genre The ode to Oedipus Tex is so filled with literary and music puns that it made my head spin. One of the funniest of all of Schickele's work, it makes one want Mr. Peter to turn his genius back on and create additional "operas" for the masses. This CD has listening samples.

Portrait of P D Q Bach
by P D Q Bach Csvang Cv79399
studio

This CD has listening samples.

Wurst of P D Q Bach
by P D Q Bach Csvang Cvsd719-20
studio

This CD has listening samples.

Books on P.D.Q. Bach

More about P.D.Q. Bach .

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Beethoven, Ludwig von
Piano Music

The piano had a special significance for Beethoven in his quest for self-expression. These three famous sonatas exemplify the emotional range and concentrated intensity which he brought to the keyboard.
Beethoven: 5 Piano Concertos
Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Brendel
Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

Review
Amazon.com
Though some musicians rerecord the same repertoire, refining the same concept over time, Alfred Brendel's Beethoven concertos change significantly with every go-around. One of the defining influences in this latest go-around is conductor Simon Rattle. He's one of the stronger minded and truly collaborative conductors that Brendel has ever had, and his bent toward historically informed performance inspires the pianist to a radical reevaluation, resulting in interpretations that achieve a new level of cogency over his previous take. Phrases have an even greater sense of purpose and direction than ever before, forming tiny, mosaic-like entities within the music, often accompanied by something rarely heard from Brendel: rubato. At his considerable best, Brendel's playing has a great sense of inevitability amid the surprises that always come with a great musical mind approaching the music afresh. The only letdown here is the "Emperor" concerto. Although excellent, the reading is just a tad conventional. If you'd like to delve deeper into Beethoven's concertos, you'll enjoy Leon Plantinga's thorough study of all the composer's essays in the genre.
--David Patrick Stearns

This CD has listening samples.
"Moonlight" Sonata, "Pathetique Sonata and "Appassionata" Sonata
Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Rudolf Serkin, piano

Review
Amazon.com essential recording
Rudolf Serkin's early 1960s accounts of the most popular "name" sonatas, on a CBS "Great Performances" mid-price CD, are compellingly direct and offer excellent value. The playing is deliberate, but hardly theatrical: as always, the pianist emphasizes the virtues of literalism. The recordings are closely miked and sonorous, and convey good piano tone along with every breath, sigh, groan, and vocalization Serkin produces. The Adagio of the Pathetique is especially lovely.
--Ted Libbey

This CD has listening samples. Symphonies

Beethoven's Seventh Symphony is one of his most joyful, physically charged works.

Read Amazon.com's Get Started in Classical feature

Beethoven in the Children's Section

More about Beethoven.

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Boccherini, Luigi

Simply Baroque
Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach, Luigi Boccherini
Conductor: Ton Koopman
Performer: Ton Koopman, Yo-Yo Ma
Orchestra: Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra

Review
Amazon.com
It was only a matter of time before the remarkable Yo-Yo Ma went along with the tide and dipped his talent into the so-called authentic instrument movement. On this recital, abetted by Ton Koopman--one of the most respected names in early-music practice--Ma plays Bach and Boccherini. The Bach are all transcriptions and very fine ones, indeed--the alto aria "Erbarme Dich" from the St. Matthew Passion; the equally famous "Air on a G String" from the Third Orchestral Suite; Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring; and six others, most less well-known. These are followed by two fascinating cello concertos by Boccherini, made all the more interesting by Koopman's cadenzas, which are pretty outrageous. Throughout, Ma's stunning virtuosity is matched by his taste and musicality. The Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra plays handsomely, and the recorded sound is warm and full. "Authentic" or not, this is mighty fine playing, and wait till you hear those cadenzas.
--Robert Levine

This CD has listening samples.

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Brightman, Sarah
(Brightman) Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection
Sarah Brightman
studio

Reviews
Amazon.com
Sarah Brightman's career was launched by her success in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera, so it's no surprise to hear the soprano paying homage to the composer on this disc. Really a Brightman best-of, the album includes the Phantom theme (a duet with Michael Crawford), the light-opera fare of "Chanson D'enfance" from Aspects of Love, "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" from Evita, and numerous other Lloyd Webber classics. Throughout, Brightman's diminutive voice lends a fragility to these musical theater tunes that you'll either love or despise. On Evita's "Another Suitcase, Another Hall" and Cats' "Memory," she literally chirps through the vocal lines. No matter. The growing legion of Brightman fans wouldn't have it any other way.
--Jason Verlinde

This CD has listening samples.

More about Brightman.

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Chopin, Frédéric
(Chopin)Evgeny Kissin Plays Chopin
Composer: Frédéric Chopin
Performer: Evgeny Kissin


Reviews
Amazon.com
Ever since the start of his career as a sensational child prodigy, Kissin has displayed a strong affinity for the music of Chopin, in concert and on numerous records. Here he performs a program of substantial pieces: the four ballades, written several years apart and not conceived as a group, which nevertheless complement one another through their contrasts as well as their shared narrative and descriptive atmosphere; the lovely, peaceful berceuse; the swaying, rocking barcarolle; and the brilliant, witty Scherzo No. 4. Throughout, Kissin's effortless virtuosity, his beautiful, singing tone, his command of voicing, dynamics, touch, color, and legato are phenomenal; cascades of notes flow from under his fingers with the speed and glittering lightness of dancing waters; his build-ups achieve orchestral sonorities. Musically, he seems to have lost some of his irresistible earlier spontaneity; the dramatic nature of the ballades encourages exaggeration, and the liberties sound a bit planned. However, the berceuse is a simple, expressive lullaby; the barcarolle surges to a grand climax; the scherzo sparkles with humor--its middle part projects a plaintive, ardent yearning.
--Edith Eisler

This CD has listening samples.

More about Chopin.

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Clarke, Jeremiah
(Clarke) Classic Wynton
by Jeremiah Clarke (Composer), et al
Sony Music, Audio CD

Click here for sample tracks.

Wynton Marsalis may not have an easily recognizable or even particularly handsome tone, but this erstwhile jazz trumpeter is an amazing virtuoso with a fine sense of classical style. If you've never owned/heard any of his classical CDs, and you love (mostly baroque) trumpet music, this compilation--a sort of "greatest hits"--is for you. From such cruddy, sensationalistic works as Carnival of Venice to the glories of Haydn's E-Flat Concerto, this is grand entertainment. Marsalis is joined by Kathleen Battle in an exciting version of Handel's "Let the bright seraphim," and the treat there is doubled. A fine piece by Hovhaness for trumpet and organ, never before released, is another surprise. Come listen to the endless, seemingly casual roulades that come out of this guy's trumpet--they'll wake you right up.
--Robert Levine

More about Clarke.

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Copland, Aaron
The direct appeal and irresistible imagination of Aaron Copland's works--above all the beloved suite from his ballet score Appalachian Spring--make him one of the defining voices of American music.

Read Amazon.com's Get Started in Classical feature

More about Copland.

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Debussy, Claude
(Debussy) "La Mer"
by Debussy: La Mer, Nocturnes, etc / Boulez, Cleveland Orch ~ Claude Debussy (Composer), et al
Amazon.com
Debussy's compositions flow like wind through grassy fields, unpredictable and delightful, with phrasings and arrangements at the whim of mood and evocative recollection. La Mer is perhaps the closest Debussy ever came to capturing the ever-changing flux of nature within a cohesive structure. Its three movements contain all the transcendental elements of the natural world that often inspired Debussy's poetic impulse. Perfect for quiet contemplation beside your favorite stream.
--Matthew Cooke

This CD has listening samples.

More about Debussy.

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Dvorak, Anton
Dvorak: "In Nature's Realm"/Liszt: "Les Preludes"
The Philadelphia Orchestra
Wolfgang Sawallisch, conductor


Reviews
Amazon.com
Audiophiles should rejoice upon hearing this disc, for it's something truly special. Earlier this year, Water Lily Acoustics captured the Philadelphia Orchestra under Wolfgang Sawallisch with an all-analog, all-tube recording setup (technology that hasn't been used on a major orchestra in 20 years, yet still sounds incredible--even on CD) performing Liszt's "Les Preludes" and Dvorak's "In Nature's Realm" overture trilogy. The recorded volume may be low for some tastes, but the warm and (not-so) fuzzy sound of analog still comes through. Proof positive that, with a little ingenuity, all those stateside orchestras dropped from major labels can still release excellent, world-class music.

This CD has listening samples.

More about Dvorak.

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Feldman, Morton
Coptic Light
Composer: Morton Feldman
Conductor: Michael Tilson Thomas
Orchestra: New World Symphony

Reviews
Amazon.com
Sure, it takes a bit of patience and an open ear, but the late Morton Feldman's "Coptic Light" is a powerful undertaking. Michael Tilson Thomas leads the New World Symphony through this glacial piece that focuses less on rhythms and traditional structure than emotional heft. It's a moving sonic landscape that slowly evolves over time. Highly recommended.

This CD has listening samples.

More about Feldman.

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Foster
new "Appalachian Journey"
Composer: Stephen Foster
Performers: Yo-Yo Ma, cello; Edgar Meyer, bass; Mark O'Connor, violin

Review
Amazon.com
With the help of some friends (James Taylor and Alison Krauss lend some vocal support), the trio of Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, and Mark O'Connor have created yet another fascinating hybrid of chamber music and bluegrass. This follow-up to 1996's Appalachia Waltz is filled with highly lyrical string passages, a homage or two to Copland, and plenty of tracks where Meyer's bass vamps with the best of them. This is reflective (and relaxing) music, lacking the intricate structure of classical music and the rough edges of folk. But, boy, is it catchy! Yo-Yo Ma fans may be disappointed to hear that--aside from the gorgeous "Duet for Cello and Bass"--the cellist takes more of a supportive role on this disc. Still, this is fun music, more intimate than Short Trip Home (Meyer's other crossover project for Sony), but still lively (just check out listening samples "1B" or "Caprice for Three").
--Jason Verlinde
This CD has listening samples.

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Glass, Phillip

The CIVIL warS
Composer: Philip Glass
Conductor: Dennis Russell Davies
Performer: Laurie Anderson, Denyce Graves, et al.
Orchestra: American Composers Orchestra, Morgan State University Choir

Reviews
Amazon.com
Philip Glass's breakthrough achievement in 1976 with Einstein on the Beach proved a milestone in contemporary opera, and Glass has been remarkably prolific--as well as uneven--in his various mutations of the genre ever since. This is the premier recording of one of Glass's more "operatic" ventures. The "Rome Section" is the fifth, final act of the CIVIL warS, originally conceived by Einstein director-designer Robert Wilson for the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles as a multinational collaboration on themes of war and peace. Wilson's trademark theater of images--as opposed to narrative--took its inspiration from Matthew Brady's grimly eloquent photographs of the American Civil War and mixes figures from classical mythology with iconic representations of Abraham Lincoln and his wife, Robert E. Lee, and the Italian revolutionary Garibaldi. The familiar repetitive patterns of Glass's music here play a crucial role in integrating and connecting the text's dream-like montage of material: Seneca's tragedies, Hopi ritual, war narratives, and stream-of-consciousness monologues (narrated by Wilson and Laurie Anderson). Glass calls for high-flying, lush vocalism that at first sounds like a parody of operatic extremes, but over time its sustained emotional pitch creates a mesmerizing effect. The scoring is imaginative and garbs the composer's rhythmic cells and churning major-minor arpeggios in rich colors, with a particularly elegiac prominence given to trumpet and trombone. Dennis Russell Davies balances the large forces here--including some beautifully fluent choral writing--with a sweeping confidence that makes a kind of orchestral counterpart to the famous unanimity of Glass's own touring ensemble. Although the opera's total effect can truly be appreciated only in a full staging, this is an important document of Glass's ongoing experiments in music theater.
--Thomas May

This CD has listening samples.

Phillip Glass "Dracula" score makes news. 1999
Dracula
Composer: Philip Glass
Orchestra: Kronos Quartet

Reviews
Amazon.com
It's no surprise that some of Philip Glass's most inspiring projects have been multimedia. The composer's minimalist tendencies lend themselves to the accompaniment of vast landscapes, silent films, and--now--Tod Browning's 1931 horror classic, Dracula. With longstanding collaborators the Kronos Quartet performing the score, Glass has created a soundtrack that moves with rapid-fire momentum and a timeless chamber-music feel. Dracula never sounds sinister or ironic, just ominous--the perfect companion to a film with plenty of dialogue but no pre-existing score. So what if we've already heard Glass's stylistic trademarks--striking arpeggios, repeated motifs, and the like--on any number of albums (for example, the Kronos/Glass soundtrack to Mishima or Uakti's 1999 release, Aguas de Amazonia)? Unlike the epic three and a half hours of Music in Twelve Parts, this enjoyable disc takes just over an hour and it's well worth hearing. In the new video release of Dracula, accompanied by Glass's score, you'll never see Bela Lugosi's mug the same way again.
--Jason Verlinde

This CD has listening samples.

Koyaanisqatsi (1998 Re-recording) [SOUNDTRACK]
Composer: Philip Glass


Reviews
Amazon.com essential recording
Fifteen years after its initial release, Philip Glass's score to Godfrey Reggio's film Koyaanisqatsi is still as timeless as it was meant to be. Glass's epic score, virtually the only sound in this non-narrative movie, accompanied an exhilarating, wordless meditation of images ranging from expansive, slow-motion landscapes to whirling-dervish city scenes shot using time-lapse techniques. Glass's music was a perfect match. The opening chant is still unlike anything Glass has composed, a Tibetan monk operatic growl that set up the foreboding sense of loss the film engenders. Most of the score, however, casts Glass's minimalist themes in orchestral expanses. Bass strings troll the bottom while flutes draw circles in the air. On "The Grid," manic keyboards drive into the night, pounding out the cyclical refrains that are a Glass trademark. When Koyaanisqatsi came out, it seemed opulent with its orchestral forces, but always at the center were the keyboards, reeds, and voice that are Glass's characteristic sound. Koyaanisqatsi means "life out of balance," but Glass's remarkably austere score remains perfectly poised. This newly re-recorded edition adds nearly 30 minutes to the previous CD release with two previously unissued tracks and extended versions of "The Grid" and "Prophecies," the two signpost works of the film.
--John Diliberto

New York Times
The range of instrumental colors is astonishing. If one particular timbre has come to characterize "Koyaanisqatsi," it is the dark, subterranean growl that opens and closes the score.

This CD has listening samples.

Kundun (Soundtrack)
Composer: Philip Glass
Orchestra: Kronos Quartet


Reviews
Amazon.com
For the second of 1997's dueling Buddhist epics (the other being Seven Days in Tibet, scored by John Williams), director Martin Scorsese made a wise--if commercially challenging--choice in tapping noted minimalist composer Philip Glass to score Kundun. Glass (who's previously scored the avant garde documentary Koyaanisqatsi trilogy, Mishima, and the strange Candyman horror series), is the perfect choice here; his own Buddhist beliefs play a key role in meshing image and music. Glass's familiar compositional techniques are wedded on Kundun to a sensitive use of ethnic instruments and the voices of the Gyuto Monks, adding an aura of spiritual power missing from most Hollywood fare.
--Jerry McCulley

What the Critics Say
Eighteen tracks traverse a wide stylistic field, accumulating a symphonic sweep.... Glass is no stranger to Tibetan culture: portentous, processional, but never pompous, he proves himself an ideal choice for this work.

This CD has listening samples.

La Belle et la Bête
Composer: Philip Glass
Conductor: Michael Riesman
Performer: Janice Felty, John Kuether, et al.
Orchestra: Philip Glass Ensemble
Conducted by Michael Riesman

Reviews
Amazon.com essential recording
This is an extraordinary retelling of the classic story "The Beauty and the Beast", this time based on the Jean Cocteau film La Belle et la Bete. Philip Glass, one of our reigning minimalists, studied under Darius Milhaud and Nadia Boulanger in Paris and his music has always had a quiet Debussy-like character to it. What is amazing is that Glass is one of the minimalists who have made a successful transition into opera (John Adams is the other). And catch the scary silent-movie-house organ! This is a superlative recording of a clear masterpiece. Highly recommended.
--Paul Cook

This CD has listening samples.

More about Glass.

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Handel, Franz Joseph
Handel: Messiah / Hogwood, Academy of Ancient Music


Composer: Handel
Conductor: Christopher Hogwood
Performer: Paul Elliott, Emma Kirkby, et al.
Orchestra: Academy of Ancient Music, Christ Church Cathedral Choir

Reviews
Amazon.com essential recording
This is the Messiah that started it all--the first period instrument performance recorded with a choir of men and boys. It introduced music lovers the world over to Christopher Hogwood, Emma Kirkby, and a whole host of performers who have since become ubiquitous as the "English Early Music Mafia," appearing as they do under zillions of different ensemble names on a variety of labels. Hogwood's performance still holds its own, however, as one of the finest and freshest available. A first-rate.
--David Hurwitz

This CD has listening samples.
Handel in the Children's Section

More about Handel.

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Hildegard of Bingen
Hildegard von Bingen: Ordo Virtutum / Sequentia



Composer: Hildegard of Bingen
Performer: Benjamin Bagby, Elizabeth Gaver, et al.
Orchestra: Sequentia

Reviews
Amazon.com essential recording
Sequentia brought this extraordinary allegorical proto-opera to public attention with a recording and tour in 1982, at the beginning of the Hildegard boom. This new release is the culmination of the label's series of Hildegard's complete works in honor of the 900th anniversary of her birth. The earlier recording included a lot of intrusive instrumental doodling, but 16 years of experience have given Sequentia the courage to let the vocal lines (however plain) speak for themselves--and what glorious lines they are. The Soul's weary lament as she returns from her sojourn with the Devil and Victory's soaring solo upon the Devil's final defeat are astonishing. Fine singing and playing make this disc as fine a tribute as Hildegard and her fans could want.
--Matthew Westphal

This CD has listening samples.

More about Hildegard of Bingen.

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Holst, Gustav
Holst: The Wandering Scholar
Composer: Holst
Performer: Ingrid Attrot; Neill Archer; Northern Sinfonia; Richard Hickox


Reviews
Amazon.com
The latest disc from Chandos featuring the music of Gustav Holst seems to pluck works from his entire career. It's a fine offering, featuring the light "Suite de Ballet" of 1899, the comic operetta "The Wandering Scholar" from the '30s, and "A Song of the Night" (1905)--the composer's last orchestral work before he delved into folk song. As always, Richard Hickox delivers strong performances, especially on "The Wandering Scholar."

This CD has listening samples.

More about Holst.

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(Kissin)Evgeny Kissin Plays Chopin
Composer: Frédéric Chopin
Performer: Evgeny Kissin


Reviews
Amazon.com
Ever since the start of his career as a sensational child prodigy, Kissin has displayed a strong affinity for the music of Chopin, in concert and on numerous records. Here he performs a program of substantial pieces: the four ballades, written several years apart and not conceived as a group, which nevertheless complement one another through their contrasts as well as their shared narrative and descriptive atmosphere; the lovely, peaceful berceuse; the swaying, rocking barcarolle; and the brilliant, witty Scherzo No. 4. Throughout, Kissin's effortless virtuosity, his beautiful, singing tone, his command of voicing, dynamics, touch, color, and legato are phenomenal; cascades of notes flow from under his fingers with the speed and glittering lightness of dancing waters; his build-ups achieve orchestral sonorities. Musically, he seems to have lost some of his irresistible earlier spontaneity; the dramatic nature of the ballades encourages exaggeration, and the liberties sound a bit planned. However, the berceuse is a simple, expressive lullaby; the barcarolle surges to a grand climax; the scherzo sparkles with humor--its middle part projects a plaintive, ardent yearning.
--Edith Eisler

This CD has listening samples.

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Liszt, Franz
Liszt: "Les Preludes" and Dvorak: "In Nature's Realm"
The Philadelphia Orchestra
Wolfgang Sawallisch, conductor


Reviews
Amazon.com
Audiophiles should rejoice upon hearing this disc, for it's something truly special. Earlier this year, Water Lily Acoustics captured the Philadelphia Orchestra under Wolfgang Sawallisch with an all-analog, all-tube recording setup (technology that hasn't been used on a major orchestra in 20 years, yet still sounds incredible--even on CD) performing Liszt's "Les Preludes" and Dvorak's "In Nature's Realm" overture trilogy. The recorded volume may be low for some tastes, but the warm and (not-so) fuzzy sound of analog still comes through. Proof positive that, with a little ingenuity, all those stateside orchestras dropped from major labels can still release excellent, world-class music.

This CD has listening samples.

More about Liszt.

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Lloyd Webber, Andrew
(Lloyd Webber) Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection
Sarah Brightman
studio

Reviews
Amazon.com

Sarah Brightman's career was launched by her success in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera, so it's no surprise to hear the soprano paying homage to the composer on this disc. Really a Brightman best-of, the album includes the Phantom theme (a duet with Michael Crawford), the light-opera fare of "Chanson D'enfance" from Aspects of Love, "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" from Evita, and numerous other Lloyd Webber classics. Throughout, Brightman's diminutive voice lends a fragility to these musical theater tunes that you'll either love or despise. On Evita's "Another Suitcase, Another Hall" and Cats' "Memory," she literally chirps through the vocal lines. No matter. The growing legion of Brightman fans wouldn't have it any other way.
--Jason Verlinde

This CD has listening samples.

(Lloyd Webber) The Phantom Of The Opera (1986 Original London Cast) [BOX SET] [SOUNDTRACK]
Andrew Lloyd Webber, Michael Crawford, Sarah Brightman, Steve Barton, Charles Hart

This CD has listening samples.

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Ma
new "Appalachian Journey"
Composer: Stephen Foster
Performers: Yo-Yo Ma, cello; Edgar Meyer, bass; Mark O'Connor, violin

Review
Amazon.com
With the help of some friends (James Taylor and Alison Krauss lend some vocal support), the trio of Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, and Mark O'Connor have created yet another fascinating hybrid of chamber music and bluegrass. This follow-up to 1996's Appalachia Waltz is filled with highly lyrical string passages, a homage or two to Copland, and plenty of tracks where Meyer's bass vamps with the best of them. This is reflective (and relaxing) music, lacking the intricate structure of classical music and the rough edges of folk. But, boy, is it catchy! Yo-Yo Ma fans may be disappointed to hear that--aside from the gorgeous "Duet for Cello and Bass"--the cellist takes more of a supportive role on this disc. Still, this is fun music, more intimate than Short Trip Home (Meyer's other crossover project for Sony), but still lively (just check out listening samples "1B" or "Caprice for Three").
--Jason Verlinde
This CD has listening samples.

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Mahler, Gustav
For Gustav Mahler, composing a symphony meant constructing an entire world. This wonderfully sensitive performance of his Symphony No. 1 is a great way to encounter Mahler's soul-searching extremes.

Mahler Mahler: Das Klagende Lied
Composer: Gustav Mahler
Conductor: Michael Tilson Thomas
Performer: Michelle DeYoung, Sergei Leiferkus, et al.
Orchestra: San Francisco Symphony Chorus, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra
Review
Amazon.com
Tilson Thomas plays the now traditional edition of the work that unites the original Part One with the revised versions of Parts Two and Three. Now that the originals of the second and third parts are in print, it's possible to do the whole thing in Mahler's original version, but this will always be a matter of personal choice. And though musical scholars now have another cause to yak about, in a performance as good as this one, it really doesn't matter. Thomas has clearly thought hard about how this music should be played, and he has his singers and players attacking the music with blazing conviction. This is the finest available recording of this work in this edition.
--David Hurwitz

This CD has listening samples.

Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde
Gustav Mahler

Review
Amazon.com
Eiji Oue has been getting great press since he became music director of the Minnesota Orchestra. This brand new recording of Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde gives us an idea why. The crystal-clear audiophile recording allows us to hear all of Mahler's colors--just listen, in the first song, as the mood ranges from exhilaration over the joys of life and the perfect blue sky to the howling ape. One of the great things about this set is Oue's willingness to let the orchestra loose, here and elsewhere. Jon Villars sounds as if he's at the start of a fine tenorial career--the voice is big and bright, with almost no sense of strain, even at Mahler's cruel climaxes. But the true find here is mezzo Michelle DeYoung, who sings with a warmth and communication reminiscent of Christa Ludwig (although their actual sounds could not be more different). Her "Abschied" ends hypnotically, as it should, but without exaggeration. This is a wonderful set, performed with intelligence and feeling, and it should rise to the top of any list of superb Das Lieds on the market.
--Robert Levine

This CD has listening samples.

Mahler: Symphony no 7
Composer: Gustav Mahler
Conductor: Michael Tilson Thomas
Performer: Ian Bousfield
Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra
Review
Amazon.com
The Seventh remains the least well-known among Mahler's symphonies. Precisely because its material is so enormously wide-ranging, its colors so thrillingly kaleidoscopic, this work is also perhaps the one that relies the most on a knowing, strong-willed interpretive presence. This Michael Tilson Thomas provides in spades, in one of his finest performances on disc. The Seventh has been given the picturesque--if ultimately inaccurate--epithet "Song of the Night" because of its preoccupation with a nocturnal sound world, by turns creepily unsettling and sweetly charming in the three middle movements.

But MTT clearly understands what's at stake here in the larger architecture of the piece, particularly in the problematic, ambiguous meanderings of its two gigantic outer movements. He keeps the flow of invention keenly on course from the marvelous cantorial tenor horn opening against dark, plodding chords, so that the expanse of Mahler's imagination has freedom to roam, but with purpose. The juxtapositions of richly characterized solos with ensemble work of brilliant choreography from the London Symphony seem constantly to open up new sonic vistas, perhaps most tellingly in the Elysian chimera announced by sweeping harp glissandi at the development's climax in the first movement. MTT's sense of scale is right on target for the strange rhythms of the spectral scherzo and for the enchanting intimacy (aided by mandolin and guitar) of the serenading second "Nachtmusik." In an Amazon.com interview, MTT compares the finale to "having psychotic breaks while conducting a performance of Meistersinger." While several notches below the seismic force that propels Bernstein's exuberant second recording, this account conveys its emotional richness and insight in thrilling recorded sound. The booklet notes are by one of the best in the business, Michael Steinberg.
--Thomas May

This CD has listening samples.

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Marsalis, Wynton
Marsalis: At the Octoroon Balls
Wynton Marsalis Performer: Tim Eddy, Daniel Phillips, et al.
Orchestra: Orion String Quartet, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center


Reviews
Amazon.com
The sound world of Wynton Marsalis just keeps expanding. With At the Octoroon Balls, the composer/jazz trumpeter has written his first composition for string quartet. Filled with Americana references and plenty of New Orleans soul, the piece may surprise you. "Come Long Fiddler" flows between the rollick of Appalachian Spring and the somber quietude of Satie. "Hellbound Highball" swings with the rhythmic intensity of a locomotive and "Blue Lights on the Bayou" is a somber tone poem. The Orion String Quartet treats these new works as if they were standards, with plenty of zest and energy. The bonus on this disc is A Fiddler's Tale Suite, featuring the instrumental highlights from Marsalis's Fiddler's Tale disc. Marsalis, playing alongside a crackerjack woodwind and horn ensemble from the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, especially shines here. Recorded as part of Marsalis's Swing into the 21st Century series of releases in 1999, this musical gumbo may too diverse for some ears, but Marsalis fans will be begging for more.
--Jason Verlinde

This CD has listening samples.
(Marsalis) Classic Wynton
by Jeremiah Clarke (Composer), et al
Sony Music, Audio CD

Click here for sample tracks.

Wynton Marsalis may not have an easily recognizable or even particularly handsome tone, but this erstwhile jazz trumpeter is an amazing virtuoso with a fine sense of classical style. If you've never owned/heard any of his classical CDs, and you love (mostly baroque) trumpet music, this compilation--a sort of "greatest hits"--is for you. From such cruddy, sensationalistic works as Carnival of Venice to the glories of Haydn's E-Flat Concerto, this is grand entertainment. Marsalis is joined by Kathleen Battle in an exciting version of Handel's "Let the bright seraphim," and the treat there is doubled. A fine piece by Hovhaness for trumpet and organ, never before released, is another surprise. Come listen to the endless, seemingly casual roulades that come out of this guy's trumpet--they'll wake you right up.
--Robert Levine

Marsalis: A Fiddler's Tale
Wynton Marsalis
Performer: André De Shields, Stefon Harris, et al.
Orchestra: Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center


Customer Comments
pure wit and magic
Marsalis and company have taken the old story about the artist who sells his or her soul to the devil and updated it with some wonderful narrative twists. Especially clever and interesting is the way in which the narrator and the devil struggle for control of the story. And the musical score is sensational.

This CD has listening samples.

More about Marsalis.

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Meyer
new "Appalachian Journey"
Composer: Stephen Foster
Performers: Yo-Yo Ma, cello; Edgar Meyer, bass; Mark O'Connor, violin

Review
Amazon.com
With the help of some friends (James Taylor and Alison Krauss lend some vocal support), the trio of Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, and Mark O'Connor have created yet another fascinating hybrid of chamber music and bluegrass. This follow-up to 1996's Appalachia Waltz is filled with highly lyrical string passages, a homage or two to Copland, and plenty of tracks where Meyer's bass vamps with the best of them. This is reflective (and relaxing) music, lacking the intricate structure of classical music and the rough edges of folk. But, boy, is it catchy! Yo-Yo Ma fans may be disappointed to hear that--aside from the gorgeous "Duet for Cello and Bass"--the cellist takes more of a supportive role on this disc. Still, this is fun music, more intimate than Short Trip Home (Meyer's other crossover project for Sony), but still lively (just check out listening samples "1B" or "Caprice for Three").
--Jason Verlinde
This CD has listening samples.

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Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's music never seems to lose its appeal. Take, for example, these performances of his Piano Concertos Nos. 20 and 21, which sum up the essential facets of Mozart's genius.

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(Mozart, Wagner, Puccini) Best of Kiri Te Kanawa - Mozart, Wagner, Puccini, et al
by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Composer), et al
Amazon.com
Whether this is truly the "best" of Kiri Te Kanawa's recordings is a moot point; suffice it to say that it's pretty good. Fiordiligi's two arias from Così are splendidly sung and thought out--what a fine Mozart singer she is! The Bohème excerpts are sweet (and Richard Leech is a nice Rodolfo), but they'll hardly erase memories of your favorite Mimi. The same can be said for Dame Kiri's Tosca, but her "O mio babbino caro" remains world class. The two excerpts from Tannhäuser are beautifully done, while a song each by Schumann and Holst are nicely intimate. And if you can stomach Michel Legrand's "The Windmills of Your Mind," you're stronger than most people. Kiri's fans won't be disappointed.
--Robert

This CD has listening samples.

(Mozart) Mozart for Morning Meditation - Serene Serenade for the Soul

Click here for sample tracks.

(Mozart) Music for The Mozart Effect: Strengthen the Mind

Click here for sample tracks.

Customer Comment
A music fan from Fishkill, NY , September 10, 1998 said: "Wonderful background music - anti-stress! I borrowed this CD from a co-worker after hearing it playing in his office. I was already interested in the Mozart effect after seeing how much my infant daughter loved her "Baby Mozart" video. I play this CD on my computer while I work in the office - I really think it keeps me more relaxed and focused while I'm working. I don't get as stressed out. I liked it so much that I did an internet search for it - thanks to Amazon.com, I'm ordering my own copy today. I also plan to play it in my car CD player - my daughter and I will both enjoy it! I highly recommend this CD."

(Mozart) Piano Concertos nos 10, 19 & 20
Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor: Alexandre Rabinovitch, Jorg Faerber
Performer: Alexandre Rabinovitch, Martha Argerich
Orchestra: Orchestra Di Padova E Del Veneto, Wurttembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn

Reviews
Amazon.com
These are glorious performances of three very different piano concerti by Mozart. No. 19 (K. 459) is a handsome showpiece, filled with dramatic turns for the soloist; No. 10 (K. 365) for two pianos is simply lovely; and No. 20 (K. 466) is a deeply felt, intricately woven, brooding, but finally exultant masterpiece. Martha Argerich tears into No. 20's darkness with great fury, abetted by Rabinovitch's tense, turmoil-filled accompaniment; she plays Beethoven's appropriately heavy cadenzas with brilliance, and her headlong blaze into the final movement is breathtaking. Rabinovitch plays and leads No. 19 with charm and virtuosity. And the two pianists zip through K. 365 as if it were a delicious ice-cream sundae, which, frankly, it is. A terrific disc, highly recommended.
--Robert Levine

This CD has listening samples.

More Mozart in the Children's Section

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Ockegham
Ockeghem: Requiem, etc
Composer: Johannes Ockeghem, Pierre de La Rue, et al.
Conductor: Edward Wickham
Ensemble: The Clerk's Group
Review
Amazon.com
Ockeghem's Requiem, the oldest surviving polyphonic setting of the funeral Mass, is Ockeghem's most famous work, and his most unusual. The style varies widely from movement to movement: the opening Introit, very plain and syllabically set, might have been written in the 1430s by Dufay; the rhapsodic duos in the tract Sicut cervus might have been written 70 years later by Josquin. The chanson "Fors seulement" and the Mass based on it both have a consistently fluid, melodious style and explore very low vocal ranges (as does Brumel's exquisitely gloomy setting of the chanson). The Clerks' Group won a well-deserved Gramophone Award for this disc, the centerpiece of their Ockeghem series.
--Matthew Westphal

This CD has listening samples.

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O'Connor
new "Appalachian Journey"
Composer: Stephen Foster
Performers: Yo-Yo Ma, cello; Edgar Meyer, bass; Mark O'Connor, violin

Review
Amazon.com
With the help of some friends (James Taylor and Alison Krauss lend some vocal support), the trio of Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, and Mark O'Connor have created yet another fascinating hybrid of chamber music and bluegrass. This follow-up to 1996's Appalachia Waltz is filled with highly lyrical string passages, a homage or two to Copland, and plenty of tracks where Meyer's bass vamps with the best of them. This is reflective (and relaxing) music, lacking the intricate structure of classical music and the rough edges of folk. But, boy, is it catchy! Yo-Yo Ma fans may be disappointed to hear that--aside from the gorgeous "Duet for Cello and Bass"--the cellist takes more of a supportive role on this disc. Still, this is fun music, more intimate than Short Trip Home (Meyer's other crossover project for Sony), but still lively (just check out listening samples "1B" or "Caprice for Three").
--Jason Verlinde
This CD has listening samples.

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Orff
Carmina Burana
by Carl Orff
Review
Amazon.com
Every concert-season programmer can depend on Carmina Burana to bring down the house. Since its premiere in 1937, Carl Orff's theatrically vivid, earthy cantata setting of the medieval poetry of wandering minstrels has kept its extraordinarily popular status. Christian Thielemann's new recording by no means displaces the classic accounts by Jochum or Ormandy, but it dusts off many of the clichés that have gathered around Carmina and conveys an overarching, coherent vision that is frequently lacking in performance. Thielemann brings this triptych of scenes to life--springtime, the tavern, and the court of love--with an understanding of pleasure and pain as opposites of the same coin in each, so that the framing chorus to "Fortune, Empress of the World" carries tremendous weight. Contrasts between Orff's exuberant, Stravinsky-derived rhythmic vigor and the score's more introspective moments are favored, with subtle adjustments of tempo along the way. Rich percussive details as well as the choral body itself are sometimes obscured in the recorded sound (not nearly so bright or forward as in Previn's fine 1975 account), but one of this disc's great assets is its trio of soloists, including a fantastically expressive baritone in Simon Keenlyside and a ravishing portrayal by Christiane Oelze of the young girl in the tunic who comes to discover love. Thielemann allows them ample freedom to shape their phrases with the most varied meaning. This performance isn't interested solely in pumping up your metabolism, but in searing your heart as well.
--Thomas May

This CD has listening samples.

More about Orff.

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Palestrina
Prince of Music
Giovanni Palestrina
Voices of Ascension

Review
Amazon.com essential recording
Voices of Ascension's Palestrina disc is something of a "greatest hits" collection: a dozen of the prolific composer's best-known motets--including several, such as Super flumina Babilonis, Tu es Petrus, and Sicut cervus, that many listeners will have sung in church or college choirs--and the legendary "Pope Marcellus" Mass. Yet the performance is not the slowly flowing honey usually served up by, say, the Tallis Scholars (as good as that is). Particularly in the Gloria and Credo of the Mass, Dennis Keene deliberately de-emphasizes the rise and fall of the different voices' lines in favor of a more naturally speech-like declamation of the long Latin texts. This means a surprisingly fast tempo--and some rhythmic spring and syncopation one might not expect in Palestrina. Some (not all) of the motets get a similar treatment: it works well in joyous pieces like the Pentecost motet Dum complerentur, but listeners might miss that melodic rise and fall in some of the slower works. The singers of Voices of Ascension are quite skillful, and the slight edge in their tone helps make the different melodies unusually audible. Very worthwhile, but not your father's Palestrina.
--Matthew Westphal

This CD has listening samples.

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Pandolfi
Pandolfi: Complete Violin Sonatas
by Pandolfi
Andrew Manze, conductor
Richard Egarr, harpsichord

Reviews
Amazon.com
First question: Where the heck does Andrew Manze find these lost baroque composers? On this disc, Manze performs the complete violin sonatas of a composer who, except for a reference as an employee at the Hapsburg court of Innsbruck in 1660, is pretty much a mystery. Aided by Richard Egarr on harpsichord, Manze sheds light on these 12 fascinating, forgotten works that come off as detailed sonic portraits. Filled with the composer's odd endings and rich with embellishments, Manze's disc is a winner. Shelve it next to Biber, take two sonatas each morning, and enjoy.
Click here for sample tracks.

More about Pandolfi.

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Piazzolla, Astor
(Piazzolla) Soul of the Tango - The Music of Astor Piazzolla / Yo-Yo Ma
by Astor Piazzolla

Click here for sample tracks.

Reviews
Amazon.com essential recording
Yo-Yo Ma might seem like an unlikely protagonist for the tango, but this intrepid musical explorer has taken his task seriously, collaborating with experienced tango musicians. Ma even participates in a posthumous collaboration with one 1987 Piazzolla recording. Furthermore, while he's obviously the headliner here, he doesn't dominate the arrangements nearly as much as he does the billing and photography of the disc. While the result isn't your essential Piazzolla album (that would have to include more of the composer's own playing), it's an atmospheric and convincing collection, perhaps a good introduction for those who don't know the music.
--Leslie Gerber

Tango Ballet
Astor Piazzolla Gidon Kremer, violin; Kremerata Baltica

Reviews
Amazon.com
Fans of Kremer's recent recording of Piazzolla's opera "Maria de Buenos Aires" should certainly check out "Tango Ballet," where the violinist explores the tango master's instrumental and orchestral works. And, while "Tango Ballet" is a sublime work, the included "Concierto del Angel" is just as moving. It's a stirring and contemplative work featuring the fine bandoneon playing of Per Arne Glorvigen.

This CD has listening samples.

More about Piazzolla.

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Des Préz, Josquin

Des Préz: Missa Pange Lingua / Pérès, Visse, Lesne, Laplénie


Composer: Josquin Des Préz
Conductor: Marcel Pérès
Performer: Josep Benet, Josep Cabré, et al.
Orchestra: Clément Janequin Ensemble, Ensemble Organum


Review
Amazon.com essential recording
This recording presents the best performance of what is widely considered Josquin's greatest work. "Pange lingua" is a well-known hymn for the Feast of Corpus Christi; Josquin doesn't use the hymn-tune as a cantus firmus (i.e., in long note-values in the tenor), but makes each movement a fantasia on the melody. The Mass isn't performed in complete liturgical context, but plainchant propers for Corpus Christi are included. On important feast days during the 16th century, plainchant was sung very slowly, with embellishments added by the singers. Ensemble Organum re-creates that practice here--it may strike some listeners as odd, but it's fascinating. The performance of Josquin's music is simply enthralling; the effect of the final "Agnus Dei" followed by the unadorned plainchant hymn is magical.
--Matthew Westphal

This CD has listening samples.

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Prokofiev, Sergei
Prokofiev in the Children's Section

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Rabin
Michael Rabin: The Early Years
Michael Rabin, violin
Ossy Renardy, violin


Reviews
Amazon.com
Recommended Reissue

The meteoric rise (and downfall) of Michael Rabin won't be forgotten, thanks to this excellent reissue of his early work for Columbia Masterworks. Recorded between 1950 and '53 at the height of his powers, Rabin flawlessly performs 11 Paganini caprices and a selection of short works by Dvorak, Bizet, Kroll, and Kreisler. Included as a bonus are the late-'30s encore performances of violinist Ossy Renardy, another talent whose career was tragically cut short. As with all Masterworks Heritage reissues, the remastering is superb.

This CD has listening samples.

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Saint-Saëns, Camille
Saint-Saëns in the Children's Section

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Scriabin, Alexander
Scriabin: Prometheus; Stravinsky: The Firebird
Alexander Scriabin
Igor Stravinsky
Conductor: Valery Gergiev
Performer: Alexander Toradze
Orchestra: Kirov Theater Orchestra

Reviews
Amazon.com essential recording
For raw, pagan splendor and over-the-top excitement, it's impossible to beat Gergiev's account of the complete 1910 Firebird. His Kirov charges attack the piece as if the notes were still fresh on the page, yet play it with smashing virtuosity-- clearly, the score's exorbitant demands pose absolutely no challenge to these musicians. This is not an unrefined reading of the piece, but it is not overly refined either. It is, in short, a Russian Firebird rather than a French one. The Philips recording, made in 1995 in the Great Hall of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, is sumptuous and amazingly potent. The coupling with Scriabin's megalomaniacal tone poem is inspired, and makes this disc impossible to resist.
--Ted Libbey

Comments
One seldom hears Stravinsky's original, complete, 1910 score to Diaghilev's ballet, The Firebird. Here Valery Gergiev leads the Kirov Orchestra in a muscular, well-defined rendering of the work in full. His is a decidedly controlled interpretation. Stretched out in spots to bring out clarity and significance of line, it's pushed along in others to convey urgency and melodic direction. The microphones sound very close, which only heightens the vitality of the overall texture of this interpretation. Though the group is not always precisely together and a few spots are marred by faulty intonation, the spirit and strength of conviction behind this gripping performance more than carry it off.
--Gwendolyn Freed

This CD has listening samples.

More about Scriabin.

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Stravinsky, Igor
Igor Stravinsky's place as one of the masters of modern music has only grown more secure at century's end. Even today, the revolutionary punch of his early ballets Petrouchka and The Rite of Spring continues to startle and intrigue.

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(Stravinsky) Ballets
Igor Stravinsky
Conductor: Ernest Ansermet
Performer: Robert Aubert, Hughes Cuénod, et al.
Orchestra: Geneva Motet Choir, Suisse Romande Orchestra

This CD has listening samples.

(Stravinsky) Firebird, Rite Of Spring, Persephone
Igor Stravinsky
Conductor: Michael Tilson Thomas
Performer: Stephanie Cosserat, Stuart Neill
Orchestra: San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Ragazzi

Reviews
Amazon.com essential recording
Here's a Stravinsky set to raise eyebrows. Where is Petrouchka, the standard coupling for Firebird and Rite in collections of the great early Stravinsky ballet scores? Instead, we get the too rarely heard Perséphone, and it's the highlight of the set. Premiered in 1934 to a text by André Gide, Perséphone is a retelling of the Greek fertility myth of the earth's winter death and spring renewal. The tale drew from Stravinsky some of his most delicate and beautiful music in the neoclassical style of the period, a sibling to the ballets Apollo and Orpheus and the cantata Oedipus Rex (it also includes string figures that recall those works). Stephanie Cosserat, in the title role, is a youthfully persuasive narrator, very different from Vera Zorina's oracular reciter on Stravinsky's own recording. Stuart Neill's tenor is a big plus, and the orchestra and chorus play and sing with involvement. Tilson Thomas brings out the cool tenderness of the score, and the recording, made at a live performance, is truthful. His Firebird is lushly dramatic, and the Rite's barbaric thrust is leavened by some soulful wind playing. Recorded competition in the two ballets is fierce (along with Gergiev's recent Firebird on Philips, there are classic versions by Ansermet, Dorati, Haitink, and others, including the composer) but Perséphone makes this set an attractive proposition.
--Dan Davis

This CD has listening samples.

(Stravinsky) The Firebird; Scriabin: Prometheus
Igor Stravinsky
Alexander Scriabin
Conductor: Valery Gergiev
Performer: Alexander Toradze
Orchestra: Kirov Theater Orchestra

Reviews
Amazon.com essential recording
For raw, pagan splendor and over-the-top excitement, it's impossible to beat Gergiev's account of the complete 1910 Firebird. His Kirov charges attack the piece as if the notes were still fresh on the page, yet play it with smashing virtuosity-- clearly, the score's exorbitant demands pose absolutely no challenge to these musicians. This is not an unrefined reading of the piece, but it is not overly refined either. It is, in short, a Russian Firebird rather than a French one. The Philips recording, made in 1995 in the Great Hall of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, is sumptuous and amazingly potent. The coupling with Scriabin's megalomaniacal tone poem is inspired, and makes this disc impossible to resist.
--Ted Libbey

Comments
One seldom hears Stravinsky's original, complete, 1910 score to Diaghilev's ballet, The Firebird. Here Valery Gergiev leads the Kirov Orchestra in a muscular, well-defined rendering of the work in full. His is a decidedly controlled interpretation. Stretched out in spots to bring out clarity and significance of line, it's pushed along in others to convey urgency and melodic direction. The microphones sound very close, which only heightens the vitality of the overall texture of this interpretation. Though the group is not always precisely together and a few spots are marred by faulty intonation, the spirit and strength of conviction behind this gripping performance more than carry it off.
--Gwendolyn Freed

This CD has listening samples.

The Great Ballets
Igor Stravinsky
Alexander Scriabin
Conductor: Bernard Haitink, Igor Markevitch
Performer: Alexander Toradze
Orchestra: London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra

This CD has listening samples.

Stravinsky: Orpheus, Danses concertantes
by Stravinsky
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra

Reviews
Amazon.com
The conductorless Orpheus Chamber Orchestra offers great performances of Stravinsky's neoclassical ballets "Orpheus" and "Danses concertantes" on this delightful disc. The dreamy "Orpheus" from 1947 is marked by restraint, while the faster-paced (and punchier) "Danses" has full-throttle energy.
Click here for sample tracks.

More about Stravinsky.

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Tchaikovsky, Pietor
Tchaikovsky in the Children's Section

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de Victoria, Tomás Luis

Victoria: Requiem


Composer: Tomás Luis de Victoria
Conductor: Paul McCreesh
Orchestra: Gabrieli Consort


Review
Amazon.com essential recording
Victoria's famous Requiem, fully titled Officium defunctorum ("Office for the Dead"), published in 1605, was composed for the funeral of the Dowager Empress Maria (daughter of Charles V, sister of Philip II, wife of Emperor Maximilian) in 1603 in Madrid. Paul McCreesh's recording aims to re-create that service, with prayers and chants (including the well-known Dies irae, not set by Victoria) in their liturgical sequence. This alternation of chant and polyphony gives a good idea--better than would Victoria's polyphony alone--of just how solemn and sumptuous the Empress's funeral was. This wouldn't matter, of course, if the Gabrieli Consort's performance of this bewitchingly melancholy music were anything less than excellent. It's that and more--as the music progresses, the singing becomes more involved and intense; by the time the Sanctus arrives, it is transcendent.
--Matthew Westphal

This CD has listening samples.

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Vivaldi, Antonio

Vivaldi in the Children's Section

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Jazz

60 Great Jazz Classics (Four Compact Discs)
Various Artists

Big band, swing, bebop, California jazz, fusion, and more styles of jazz are represented here in four CDs, four hours of great jazz classics. Includes such hits as "Two O'Clock Jump" (James-Goodman-Basie) performed by Count Basie & His Orchestra; "It Might As Well Be Spring (Rodgers-Hammerstein) performed by Stan Getz Quintet; "Un Poco Loco" (Bud Powell) performed by Bud Powell; "Sing, Sing, Sing" (L. Prima) performed by Benny Goodman & His Orchestera; "Travelin' Light" performed by Billie Holiday; Watermelon Man (H. Hancock) performed by Herbie Hancock; and many more. Each disc runs approximately one hour. Boxed set.
--Barnes and Noble Bargain Book Editors

60 Great Jazz Classics is available from barnesandnoble.com and other music stores.

OCMSOCMS

60 Great Jazz Classics for Lovers (Four Compact Discs)
Various Artists

Just put these four CDs on the disk changer (if you've got one) and let four hours of classic jazz for lovers play on! Listen to the sound of Chet Baker's "Isn't It Romantic," Nina Simone's "Willow Weep For Me," Jimmy Giuffre's "Someone To Watch Over Me," Gerry Mulligan Quartet's "My Funny Valentine," Booker Little's "Moonlight Becomes You," Dinah Washington's "For All We Know," Johnny Smith's "Tenderly," Miles Davis's "Moon Dreams," Wynton Kelly's "Moonlight In Vermont," and so many more. Each disk runs approximately 60 minutes. Boxed set.
--Barnes and Noble Bargain Book Editors

60 Great Jazz Classics for Lovers is available from barnesandnoble.com and other music stores. Classic Wynton
by Jeremiah Clarke (Composer), et al
Sony Music, Audio CD

Click here for sample tracks.

Wynton Marsalis may not have an easily recognizable or even particularly handsome tone, but this erstwhile jazz trumpeter is an amazing virtuoso with a fine sense of classical style. If you've never owned/heard any of his classical CDs, and you love (mostly baroque) trumpet music, this compilation--a sort of "greatest hits"--is for you. From such cruddy, sensationalistic works as Carnival of Venice to the glories of Haydn's E-Flat Concerto, this is grand entertainment. Marsalis is joined by Kathleen Battle in an exciting version of Handel's "Let the bright seraphim," and the treat there is doubled. A fine piece by Hovhaness for trumpet and organ, never before released, is another surprise. Come listen to the endless, seemingly casual roulades that come out of this guy's trumpet--they'll wake you right up.
--Robert Levine

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The Irish Tenors
John McDermott, Kearns, Tynan

Reviews
Amazon.com
Forty years after the Clancy Brothers found popularity singing traditional Irish folksongs to an American audience, along comes the Irish Tenors, the trio of John McDermott , Anthony Kearns, and Ronan Tynan. Backed by plenty of coverage of on public television, the three tenors perform a soothing and nostalgic mix of Emerald Isle tunes--from "Danny Boy" to "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling," along with a few surprises. Recorded live at the Royal Dublin Society Main Hall with a light orchestra, the album gives each of the three vocalists his chance in the spotlight. Fans of John McDermott should be sure to seek out the artist's solo discs, which are far more intimate (and musically diverse) fare.
--Jason Verlinde

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SOGNO
by Andrea Bocelli
studio
Click here for sample tracks.

Andrea Bocelli's Sogno ("Dream") is a pop album of entirely original compositions that evoke traditional and modern influences. Bocelli himself describes the CD as secular Italian traditional melodic music with a contemporary twist. The album's 14 tracks include "The Prayer," a Bocelli and Celine Dion duet produced by David Foster; "Come un Fiume Tu," an intriguing collaboration with soundtrack maestro Ennio Morricone; "O Mare e Tu," a duet with Dulce Pontes; and "Sogno" (the first single excerpted from the album), a light-as-a-feather, emotional composition sung by Bocelli with his typical vocal emphasis, which has made him famous around the world since the release of his self-titled debut.
--Ernesto De Pascale

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Sound Tracks


Cinema Serenade - The Golden Age
Composer: David Raksin, Max Steiner, et al.
Conductor: John T. Williams
Performer: Itzhak Perlman
Orchestra: Boston Pops

Customer Comments
Amazon.com
The ULTIMATE in listening pleasure!! Great gift. A treasured find! Itzhak Perlman, John Williams, and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's rendetions of our cinema favorites provides hours and days of the very best in listening pleasure. Romantic, heart-warming, tender--the list goes on--to bring out our most appreciated responses.

Lovely music by a superb performer The violin as played by Perlman is a music to be remembered. The titles chosen are lovely.

One of the greatest buys I´ve ever made This truly is one of the greatest cds I have in my entire collection of soundtracks. I have been collecting soundtracks since age 9 when I bought the Star Wars score from John Williams too. This masterpiece from two masters of music as violinist Izhak Perlman and director John Williams is the most played cd in my house because it has a compilation of the greatest movie themes in the history of filmmaking, such as the beautiful Love Theme from Cinema Paradiso -my favorite- by Ennio Morricone and the touching song from the unforgettable "Il Postino" by Luis Bacalov. Also a memorable performance of "Por una cabeza" the tango played in "Scent of a woman" and "True Lies"... a hard to find song! And the excellent leit motiv song from "Out of Africa" by John Barry... Be sure to buy it if you love music at all!

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Cinema Serenade 2 - The Golden Age
Composer: David Raksin, Max Steiner, et al.
Conductor: John T. Williams
Performer: Itzhak Perlman
Orchestra: Boston Pops

Reviews
Amazon.com
Cinema Serenade 2: The Golden Age is the sequel to Itzhak Perlman's popular album of movie themes performed with soundtrack composer John Williams. Unlike its predecessor, this disc focuses on classic cinema themes and features the Boston Pops Orchestra, not the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. The Laura theme, as well as Max Steiner's Now Voyager and Miklós Rózsa's Lost Weekend themes, sound lush and romantic in Perlman's lyrical hands. The traditional Irish jig "The Quiet Man" is the disc's most upbeat moment, while the unforgettable Gone with the Wind theme is its most memorable. These are timeless, dreamy compositions, though not necessarily the most uplifting. If you're looking for something cinematic to get your heart racing, check out Ricardo Chailly's recording of Shostakovich's film scores or even Leopold Stokowski's classic work on Fantasia.
--Jason Verlinde

The most romantic, glamorous themes from the greatest years of Hollywood film music are brought thrillingly to life in this new collection from Itzhak Perlman and John Williams, the follow-up to their best seller Cinema Serenade (SK 63005).

Composers such as Victor Young, Max Steiner, Alfred Newman, Miklós Rózsa, Erich Korngold and William Walton wrote unforgettable music for classic films like Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, Wuthering Heights, Laura and Now, Voyager. Itzhak Perlman gives them passionate new interpretations in these new arrangements for violin and the legendary Boston Pops Orchestra by John Williams, Angela Morley and Richard Rodney Bennet.

The first Cinema Serenade collection (still on Billboard's Classical Crossover chart after 92 weeks) had a decidedly contemporary spin. But this time, the team that created the music for Schindler's List focuses on the greatest movie music of all time, from the period in Hollywood known as "The Golden Age". This music has stood the test of time, but has never been heard like this before.

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Dracula
Composer: Philip Glass
Orchestra: Kronos Quartet


Reviews
Amazon.com
It's no surprise that some of Philip Glass's most inspiring projects have been multimedia. The composer's minimalist tendencies lend themselves to the accompaniment of vast landscapes, silent films, and--now--Tod Browning's 1931 horror classic, Dracula. With longstanding collaborators the Kronos Quartet performing the score, Glass has created a soundtrack that moves with rapid-fire momentum and a timeless chamber-music feel. Dracula never sounds sinister or ironic, just ominous--the perfect companion to a film with plenty of dialogue but no pre-existing score. So what if we've already heard Glass's stylistic trademarks--striking arpeggios, repeated motifs, and the like--on any number of albums (for example, the Kronos/Glass soundtrack to Mishima or Uakti's 1999 release, Aguas de Amazonia)? Unlike the epic three and a half hours of Music in Twelve Parts, this enjoyable disc takes just over an hour and it's well worth hearing. In the new video release of Dracula, accompanied by Glass's score, you'll never see Bela Lugosi's mug the same way again.
--Jason Verlinde

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new Fantasia 2000: An Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack

studio
Amazon.com review
Without the gorgeous visuals, the soundtrack to Fantasia 2000 is nothing more than a collection of some of classical music's greatest moments. But what moments they are! Conductor James Levine and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra provide new (though hardly groundbreaking) arrangements for these classical music warhorses. Piano virtuoso Yefim Bronfman joins in to record the Allegro section of Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No. 2 (if you like this track, check out Bronfman playing the entire piece on his 1999 disc with the Los Angeles Philharmonic), and soprano Kathleen Battle lends a high note to the climax of Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance (MKO Note: This was arranged by Peter Schickele. We also get the classic Sorcerer's Apprentice from the original (and now out-of-print) Fantasia soundtrack. Performed by Philharmonia Orchestra, the Paul Dukas composition still steals the show. The original movie may have been a flop, but with any luck Fantasia 2000 will turn some young minds on to classical music, especially with such inspired choices as Respighi's Pines of Rome. Like what you hear? Remember, these are just excerpts and you really owe it to yourself to hear the works in their entirety--slow movements and all. That said, whether you're a Disney fan, an IMAX aficionado, or just a classical-lover-to-be, you can't go wrong with this disc.
--Jason Verlinde

MKO Note: The version of Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" is wonderful!

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Koyaanisqatsi (1998 Re-recording) [SOUNDTRACK]
Composer: Philip Glass


Reviews
Amazon.com essential recording
Fifteen years after its initial release, Philip Glass's score to Godfrey Reggio's film Koyaanisqatsi is still as timeless as it was meant to be. Glass's epic score, virtually the only sound in this non-narrative movie, accompanied an exhilarating, wordless meditation of images ranging from expansive, slow-motion landscapes to whirling-dervish city scenes shot using time-lapse techniques. Glass's music was a perfect match. The opening chant is still unlike anything Glass has composed, a Tibetan monk operatic growl that set up the foreboding sense of loss the film engenders. Most of the score, however, casts Glass's minimalist themes in orchestral expanses. Bass strings troll the bottom while flutes draw circles in the air. On "The Grid," manic keyboards drive into the night, pounding out the cyclical refrains that are a Glass trademark. When Koyaanisqatsi came out, it seemed opulent with its orchestral forces, but always at the center were the keyboards, reeds, and voice that are Glass's characteristic sound. Koyaanisqatsi means "life out of balance," but Glass's remarkably austere score remains perfectly poised. This newly re-recorded edition adds nearly 30 minutes to the previous CD release with two previously unissued tracks and extended versions of "The Grid" and "Prophecies," the two signpost works of the film.
--John Diliberto

New York Times
The range of instrumental colors is astonishing. If one particular timbre has come to characterize "Koyaanisqatsi," it is the dark, subterranean growl that opens and closes the score.

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Kundun (Soundtrack)
Composer: Philip Glass
Orchestra: Kronos Quartet


Reviews
Amazon.com
For the second of 1997's dueling Buddhist epics (the other being Seven Days in Tibet, scored by John Williams), director Martin Scorsese made a wise--if commercially challenging--choice in tapping noted minimalist composer Philip Glass to score Kundun. Glass (who's previously scored the avant garde documentary Koyaanisqatsi trilogy, Mishima, and the strange Candyman horror series), is the perfect choice here; his own Buddhist beliefs play a key role in meshing image and music. Glass's familiar compositional techniques are wedded on Kundun to a sensitive use of ethnic instruments and the voices of the Gyuto Monks, adding an aura of spiritual power missing from most Hollywood fare.
--Jerry McCulley

What the Critics Say
Eighteen tracks traverse a wide stylistic field, accumulating a symphonic sweep.... Glass is no stranger to Tibetan culture: portentous, processional, but never pompous, he proves himself an ideal choice for this work.

This CD has listening samples. Life Is Beautiful (La Vita E Bella) [SOUNDTRACK]
by Nicola Piovani

Click here for sample tracks.

One of 1998's better soundtracks also follows the most simple of formulas. Nicola Piovani's score for Life Is Beautiful is an impressionistic soundtrack at its finest--a delicious mix that sounds inspired by both simple folk melodies and Morricone's Cinema Paradiso score. Throughout, Piovani's themes are like a kid in candy store: bright-eyed and innocent. Tension is gradually introduced on tracks like "Il Treno Nel Buio," but ultimately this score is light and pleasant. The lone vocal cut, Monserrat Caballe singing on "Barcarolle," just makes this disc seem all the more Italian. Piovani hasn't created an epic score, but he has accentuated the difficult themes of Life Is Beautiful exceptionally well.
--James Hendrickson

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Les MiserablesLes Miserables: Original Broadway Cast Recording
by Todd Lowry, Alain Boubil, Claude-Michel Schonberg

Editorial Reviews
Amazon.com
The dramatic breadth and scope in Victor Hugo's classic tale of revenge and passion, Les Miserables, has been translated into numerous stage or screen adaptations (including, of course, the current musical hit still playing on Broadway, in London and elsewhere around the world). In addition to the various plays built around the descriptive story of Jean Valjean, his flight from justice, and his eventual redemption in the 1848 street riots in Paris, the drama inspired more than half a dozen screen versions, with some of the most polished actors of their generation essaying the role of Valjean, the former escaped convict forever one step ahead of the relentless police officer Javert. One of the most successful films is a French version made by Raymond Bernard in 1934, with Harry Baur, unforgettable as Valjean, a powerful drama heightened by Arthur Honegger's remarkably evocative score. Painstakingly reconstructed by Swiss musicologist and conductor Adriano and solidly performed by the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra of Bratislava, Honegger's music underlines all the passion and drama in Hugo's tale, and reveals itself a striking composition with great appeal when taken on its own terms. A revelation, as well as a reminder that film music can often reach the loftiest heights in the hands of creative composers. See also Napoleon in Motion Pictures and Honegger in Compilations.
-- © 1998 Visible Ink Press. All rights reserved.

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Mannheim Steamroller Meets The Mouse:
Unique Musical Creations Based On Disney Songs

by Mannheim Steamroller

studio


Reviews
Amazon.com
From the heartland of Nebraska, under the creative guidance of Chip Davis, the enormously popular Mannheim Steamroller has made some of the country's bestselling faux-classical synth-pop New Age music, as witnessed by the Fresh Aire and Christmas serials. Beginning in 1974, Mannheim Steamroller cleverly and skillfully created a niche--and more lucratively, a market--for their outfit and for a genre that has grown to encompass the likes of Yanni and Zamfir. On Mannheim Steamroller Meets the Mouse, Davis and his cast of accomplices tackle Disney stalwarts such as "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" (from Song of the South) and "Chim Chim Cheree" (from Mary Poppins), as well as relative newcomers to the Mouse catalog, including "Go the Distance" (from Hercules) and "You've Got a Friend in Me" (from Toy Story). Sadly, despite sweet moments in their rendition of Mulan's "Reflection" or the beloved Pinocchio tune "When You Wish Upon a Star," on which there is a lovely hand-bell choir sound, at best the Mannheim Steamroller registers a tepid nice.
--Paige La Grone

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Phantom Of The Opera (1986 Original London Cast) [BOX SET] [SOUNDTRACK]
Andrew Lloyd Webber, Michael Crawford, Sarah Brightman, Steve Barton, Charles Hart
studio

Reviews Customer Comments
Amazon.com

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Ragtime: The Musical

Reviews
Entertainment Weekly
The most compelling American musical-theater song-writing team ... composer Stephen Flaherty and lyricist Lynn Ahrens often attain epic grandeur by using foreshadowing and recurring motifs to interweave the lives of the 10 principals.

One of the 69 Customer Comments
A music fan from Cloverdale, California , July 28, 1999
This really IS the last great musical of the century After seeing Ragtime at the Ford Center on Broadway, I was stunned by how powerful the musical was. The 2 CD set captures the emotion of the music wonderfully. This is one of those blockbuster musicals that is destined to have a long run on the Great White Way.

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The Red Violin - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Composer: John Corigliano
Conductor: Esa-Pekka Salonen
Performer: Joshua Bell, Nicholas Bucknall, et al.
Orchestra: Philharmonia Orchestra, Shanghai Film Studio Children's Chorus
Reviews
Amazon.com

And the Winner Is...     Corigliano's score for The Red Violin won an Oscar, Seventy-Second Annual Awards

Normally we think of a musical instrument as a passive object in the service of a performing artist. But what if that instrument is itself a work of art, containing the secrets of the various owners through whose hands it has passed over the centuries? That's the premise behind this intriguing film by François Girard (director of 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould). It traces the story of a legendary violin (thought to be possessed by an immortal soul) from its birth in 17th-century Italy through Mozart's Vienna, Victorian England, and revolutionary China to its present-day fate on the auction block. The score, in suggesting the violin's unique aura, therefore carries much of the burden of the story, and it brings together some of the most outstanding talents in contemporary classical music. Composer John Corigliano's richly eclectic and poetic score--encompassing classical elegance, gypsy passion, and angst-ridden harmonies--etches vivid portraits of the film's various epochs but also gives an overarching sense of unity to the episodic character of the script. It's essentially a set of remarkably imaginative variations for violin and orchestra on a theme of haunting pathos and is a substantial work of music in its own right. As the soloist, Joshua Bell saturates the eponymous instrument with personality. His combination of virtuoso bravura and soulful phrasing almost seems to lead the violin to the brink of human speech. Conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen shapes the exchange between orchestra and violin into tautly dramatic dialogue. The disc also includes a powerful related work on the theme used in the score, the Chaconne for Violin and Orchestra, which confirms Corigliano's status as one of today's leading and most personally communicative American composers.
--Thomas May

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Word for Word: An Amazon Interview with JOHN CORIGLIANO

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Shakespeare In Love: Music By Stephen Warbeck From The Miramax Motion Picture [SOUNDTRACK]
by Stephen Warbeck

Click here for sample tracks.

Reviews
Amazon.com
Perhaps best known for his soundtrack to Mrs. Brown, Stephen Warbeck's score for Shakespeare in Love follows a similar pattern: Elizabethan themes and light string melodies work together to span a spectrum of moods. And the romantic comedy, starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes, benefits from this sonic treatment. Drama is added (the opening "The Beginning of the Partnership" simply soars), but the score never gets too serious.
--Jason Verlinde

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Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
by John Williams
Sony Music

And the Winner Is...The Star Wars cycle, George Lucas's stellar pop parable cum merchandising blitzkrieg, has long since made history as an unparalleled cinematic-cultural-marketing phenomena; somewhere Billy Jack should be in one envious, ass-kickin' mood. Phantom Menace, easily the most eagerly anticipated film of the '90s, returns to the saga's roots and allows Lucas to flesh out the history of some of the fable's core characters and conjure up a dazzling new cast of cohorts, antagonists, and alien realms for them to interact with and in. Thus, all composer John Williams had to do was essentially reinvent the world's most popular wheel. The film-scoring legend has admirably risen to that daunting challenge, delivering an inventive score whose dynamics should surprise and delight even the most ardent SW fanatic. The Main Title and a few oh-so-sparing bars of a familiar Jedi theme are all that remains from the original trilogy's lexicon, Williams having evolved the saga's musical language, stylistic reach, and orchestral palette with masterful subtlety. The composer's most ambitious surprise is the welcome addition of strong choral elements, which he uses in ways both majestic ("Duel of the Fates") and menacing ("Passage Through the Planet's Core"). And though the film revolves around a young boy (Anakin Skywalker, who will grow to be both corrupted and redeemed as Darth Vader), the only flirtation with cloying sentimentality comes with the innocently loping "Jar Jar's Introduction." In the tradition of the Cantina and Max Rebo's Band of the previous trilogy, Williams and Lucas close out this musical installment with "Augie's Municipal Band," a Carnivale-esque romp that segues grandly into the composer's swelling title music. Williams may be the master of a grand scoring tradition, but Phantom Menace is gratifying evidence that he seldom plays it safe--even when the Force is with him.
--Jerry McCulley


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Topsy-TurvyTopsy-Turvy - The Music of Gilbert & Sullivan; Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

by Gilbert and Sullivan, Carl Davis

Editorial Reviews
Amazon.com
The producers of Mike Leigh's vibrant Topsy-Turvy took many big studio meetings seeking financing for their film. Word has it all went swimmingly until time for the pitch came--there are apparently no two words as unsettling to Hollywood film execs as "Gilbert & Sullivan." But the studio system's loss turned out to be the indie film's--and our--gain. Leigh's film brought the composers' late-19th-century mounting of their breakthrough The Mikado to an all-too-familiar life, filled with as many neuroses, foibles, and fragile egos as any modern Broadway musical. The film's score, an inviting pastiche adapted from Mikado (and other G&S staples) by veteran Carl Davis, may upset purists with its time-conscious liberties. But then, it might just win over a receptive yet unexposed new audience for whom this music may seem strangely familiar, as well it should: this is where modern musical theater began.
--Jerry McCulley

Information about Topsy-Turvey Screenplay

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You've Got Mail: Music From The Motion Picture [SOUNDTRACK]
by George Fenton, Harry Nilsson, Various Artists -

Click here for sample tracks.

The latest Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan movie directed by Nora Ephron (Sleepless in Seattle) about two coworkers who hate each other at work and unknowingly fall in love on the Internet features an extremely eclectic soundtrack that's less technologically advanced than its movie's premise.

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Diamond Rio PMP300 MP3 Player

Reviews
Amazon.com

Features:
  • Plays MP3 music off the Web
  • Palm-size design, weighs under 3 ounces
  • No moving parts; won't skip
  • Near-CD sound quality
  • Includes $50 manufacturer's rebate coupon


Welcome to the future of personal audio. The tiny Diamond Rio player plays MP3-encoded digital music, the open Internet standard that's shaking up the industry. It stores your music files in 32MB of RAM instead of on CD or tape, so it has no moving parts and it can't skip. About the size of a deck of cards, the Diamond Rio player weighs under three ounces and can store up to an hour's worth of music files encoded at 64Kbps or half an hour's worth of files at 128Kbps. The supplied Windows software and PC connector cable let you upload new selections, delete old ones, change the playback order, and even create new MP3 files from your own CDs.

What about sound quality? MP3 is a compression technique that discards a lot of the information captured by normal CD encoding. True audiophiles will hear the difference. But the overall effect is surprisingly clean, and the Diamond Rio's extreme portability more than makes up for the subtle degradation.

The Diamond Rio connects to your PC by a parallel-port adapter. In our tests, hardware setup consisted of nothing more than plugging the supplied parallel adapter into our PC's parallel port, attaching the connector cable, and dropping a single AA battery (supplied) into the Diamond Rio unit. The parallel adapter has a pass-through connector so that you can use the port for your printer or other parallel device.

Software installation under Windows 98 also went without a hitch. The default installation puts two applications on your system: the Rio Manager and the MusicMatch Jukebox. You use the Rio Manager to download new selections to the Rio player, delete selections from your lineup, or clear all memory so you can start with a fresh slate. It also lets you view the size of each selection, control the play order, and see how much RAM you have left for storing music. We downloaded a bunch of MP3 music files off the Web to the Windows desktop, dragged them into the Rio Manager, and clicked on Download. Approximately three minutes later, we had stored 30 minutes of digital music.

The supplied software lets you make MP3 files from your own CDs using your computer's CD-ROM drive. You can select 128Kbps, 80Kbps, or 64Kbps encoding. The highest-quality 128Kbps encoding is definitely worth using for music you really care about, but it creates files that are twice as big as those encoded at 64Kbps. This means you'll be able to store only about 32 minutes of music at a time.

The Diamond Rio is a computer peripheral, and, as such, it's not quite as easy to install or use as a conventional portable audio gadget. But it delivers great sound, extreme portability, and access to the wealth of MP3 music on the Web. It's a trailblazing technology that's a pleasure to experience.

Pros:
  • Compact, lightweight
  • Won't skip
  • Uses open MP3 Internet music format
  • Allows you to create MP3 files from your own CDs
  • Near-CD quality audio


Cons:
  • Only 30 minutes of play at near-CD quality
  • Requires a Windows PC to use


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Aspects Of LoveAspects Of Love
br Andrew Lloyd Webber
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Ludwig Van Beethoven Complete Piano Sonatas Volume 1 (Nos. 1-15)
by Ludwig Van Beethoven, Ernst Oster (Designer)
Dover Publications

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Best Broadway Songs EverThe Best Broadway Songs Ever
Piano, Vocal, Guitar (The Best Ever Series)
by Hal Leonard
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The Gershwin Collection
by George Gershwin

This collection of songs from one of America's most well-known composers is presented in arrangements for piano, vocal, and guitar.

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Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor DreamcoatJoseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice


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Les MiserablesLes Miserables
by Todd Lowry, Alain Boubil, Claude-Michel Schonberg
Editorial Reviews
Amazon.com
The international musical sensation Les Misérables is captured in this piano/vocal book that includes 14 of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg's songs--about everything you could want, save the full-company number "One Day More." The book has an introduction by Boublil and a full synopsis with color photos.
--David Horiuchi

Information about the Les Miserables CD
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Miss SaigonMiss Saigon
by Claude-Michel Schonberg (Contributor)
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The Six Brandenburg Concertos and the Four Orchestral Suites in Full Score
by Johann Sebastian Bach; Wilhelm Rust and Alfred Dorffel, eds.

A reprint of the Bach-Gesellschaft edition, this book shows exactly how these magnificent pieces were crafted.

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Thanksgiving Video for the Whole Family!

Amadeus (DVD and VHS)
Tom Hulce, et al. Rated: Region 1 encoding (for use in US and Canada only)


Reviews
Amazon.com
The satirical sensibilities of writer Peter Shaffer and director Milos Forman (One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest) were ideally matched in this Oscar-winning movie adaptation of Shaffer's hit play about the rivalry between two composers in the court of Austrian Emperor Joseph II--official royal composer Antonio Salieri (F. Murray Abraham), and the younger but superior prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Tom Hulce). The conceit is absolutely delicious: Salieri secretly loathes Mozart's crude and bratty personality, but is astounded by the beauty of his music. That's the heart of Salieri's torment--although he's in a unique position to recognize and cultivate both Mozart's talent and career, he's also consumed with envy and insecurity in the face of such genius. That such magnificent music should come from such a vulgar little creature strikes Salieri as one of God's cruelest jokes, and it drives him insane. Amadeus creates peculiar and delightful contrasts between the impeccably re-created details of its lavish period setting and the jarring (but humorously refreshing and unstuffy) modern tone of its dialogue and performances--all of which serve to remind us that these were people before they became enshrined in historical and artistic legend. Jeffrey Jones, best-known as Ferris Bueller's principal, is particularly wonderful as the bumbling emperor (with the voice of a modern midlevel businessman). The film's eight Oscars include statuettes for Best Director Forman, Best Actor Abraham (Hulce was also nominated), Best Screenplay, and Best Picture.
--Jim Emerson

From Leonard Maltin's Movie & Video Guide
Abraham won well-deserved Oscar as composer Salieri, whose music never surpasses mediocrity, while a hedonistic young boor named Mozart expresses musical genius almost without trying! Literate, intelligent, exquisitely filmed (in Prague, by Miroslav Ondricek)... but fatally overlong and missing dramatic fire that distinguished Peter Shaffer's play (Shaffer rethought and rewrote it for the screen). Worth noting: Jones' wonderful performance as musical dilettante Emperor Joseph II. Winner of seven other Oscars, including Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Art Direction. Panavision.
Copyright© Leonard Maltin, 1998, used by arrangement with Signet, a division of Penguin Putnam, Inc.

Synopsis
A film biography of the Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The story is seen through the eyes of rival court composer Antonio Salieri on the eve of Salieri's suicide. He is at once fiercely jealous of and totally awestruck by the young Mozart, whose genius as a composer undeniably exceeds that of any other writer Salieri has heard -- including himself. Salieri's unbridled jealousy of Mozart's soaring reputation, even as his own wanes, leads him to try to drive Mozart to his death by anonymously commissioning Mozart's final "Requiem Mass." Paradoxically, however, it is the obsessed and resentful Salieri who can most truly appreciate the brilliance of Mozart's revolutionary music.

Video Description
This hugely entertaining film tells of the rivalry between the brilliant 18th-century composer Mozart and his mediocre and forgotten contemporary, Salieri. Adapted by Peter Shaffer from his stage play. Academy Award Nominations: 11, including Best Actor--Tom Hulce. Academy Awards: 8, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor--F. Murray Abraham, Best Adapted Screenplay.

Video Annotation
The opera sets were designed by Josef Svoboda. Shot on location in Prague, Czechoslovakia. "Amadeus'" staging of "Don Giovanni" was filmed at the Tyl Theater, the actual site where Mozart conducted the opera's premiere some 200 years earlier.

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Dracula (1931)


Reviews
Amazon.com
When Universal Pictures picked up the movie rights to a Broadway adaptation of Dracula, they felt secure in handing the property over to the sinister team of actor Lon Chaney and director Tod Browning. But Chaney died of cancer, and Universal hired the Hungarian who had scored a success in the stage play: Béla Lugosi. The resulting film launched both Lugosi's baroque career and the horror-movie cycle of the 1930s. It gets off to an atmospheric start, as we meet Count Dracula in his shadowy castle in Transylvania, superbly captured by the great cinematographer Karl Freund. Eventually Dracula and his blood-sucking devotee (Dwight Frye, in one of the cinema's truly mad performances) meet their match in a vampire-hunter called Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan). If the later sections of the film are undeniably stage bound and a tad creaky, Dracula nevertheless casts a spell, thanks to Lugosi's creepily lugubrious manner and the eerie silences of Browning's directing style. (After a mood-enhancing snippet of Swan Lake under the opening titles, there is no music in the film.) Frankenstein, which was released a few months later, confirmed the horror craze, and Universal has been making money (and countless spin-off projects) from its twin titans of terror ever since. Certainly the role left a lasting impression on the increasingly addled and drug-addicted Lugosi, who was never quite able to distance himself from the part that made him a star. He was buried, at his request, in his black vampire cape.
--Robert Horton --

Additional Features
In 1999, Universal commissioned Dracula, a common enough practice for silent films but unheard of for sound pictures. In some respects, Dracula lends itself to the treatment: only two pieces of music are heard in the otherwise scoreless original, and long passages are effectively silent but for sound effects and the hiss of early sound recording. During these moments, Glass's lovely score, performed by the Kronos Quartet, lays a foundation of dread and doom on the picture with arpeggios and chantlike melodies. The music carpets the film like a silent movie score, loosening Browning's often stiff style, smoothing over transitions, and filling in static shots with a fullness of sound. During the dialogue, however, the music fights the words, the crisp, precise sounds of modern digital recording colliding with the warm, often muddy 1931 analog soundtrack. At its best, it enriches and enlivens the sometimes stodgy classic, while at its worst it merely distracts.
--Sean Axmaker

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Gone With the Wind (DVD and VHS)
Starring: Clark Gable, Margaret Mitchell, et al. Rated: NR
Region 1 encoding (for use in US and Canada only)


Reviews
Amazon.com
David O. Selznick wanted Gone with the Wind to be somehow more than a movie, a film that would broaden the very idea of what a film could be and do and look like. In many respects he got what he worked so hard to achieve in this 1939 epic (and all-time box-office champ in terms of tickets sold), and in some respects he fell far short of the goal. While the first half of this Civil War drama is taut and suspenseful and nostalgic, the second is ramshackle and arbitrary. But there's no question that the film is an enormous achievement in terms of its every resource--art direction, color, sound, cinematography--being pushed to new limits for the greater glory of telling an American story as fully as possible. Vivien Leigh is still magnificently narcissistic, Olivia De Havilland angelic and lovely, Leslie Howard reckless and aristocratic. As for Clark Gable: we're talking one of the most vital, masculine performances ever committed to film. The DVD release has optional French subtitles and theatrical trailer.
--Tom Keogh

From Leonard Maltin's Movie & Video Guide
If not the greatest movie ever made, certainly one of the greatest examples of storytelling on film, maintaining interest for nearly four hours. Margaret Mitchell's story is, in effect, a Civil War soap opera, focusing on vixenish Southern belle Scarlett O'Hara, brilliantly played by Leigh; she won Oscar, as did the picture, McDaniel, director Fleming, screenwriter Sidney Howard (posthumously), many others. Memorable music by Max Steiner in this one-of-a-kind film meticulously produced by David O. Selznick. Followed over five decades later by a TV mini-series, Scarlett.
Copyright© Leonard Maltin, 1998, used by arrangement with Signet, a division of Penguin Putnam, Inc.

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Hilary and Jackie (DVD and VHS)
Starring: Emily Watson, Rachel Griffiths, et al. Rated:
Region 1 encoding (for use in US and Canada only)


Reviews
Amazon.com
It earned Oscar nods, yet this cinematic look at a genius--that of English cellist Jacqueline du Pré, who enraptured audiences with her bold, emblazoned, and wholly unconventional playing style, and who died at age 42--was criticized for its "lapses" in truth by people who purportedly knew du Pré. Some of the controversy revolved around the other main character in Anand Tucker's gorgeous, involving movie--du Pré's sister, Hilary, whose book, A Genius in the Family (cowritten with brother Piers), dished some dirt on Jackie's sleeping with Hilary's husband. But don't let that deter you from this ebullient movie experience. The film is a bisected story (each sister's tale is told in the same amount of screen time) teeming with heartfelt drama that belies the cheap shots it received from its detractors. It's stirring, reckless, loving, involving, and rife with unconventional passion; passion for music, life, art, and the delicate relationship between these two synchronous, extraordinary sisters as played by brilliant actors Emily Watson and Rachel Griffiths (both of whom earned Oscar nods). Though Watson got the juicy, showy role as Jackie, it's Griffiths who provides the heart, soul, and spine of the film. And director Tucker has that gift of being able to explain through the visual medium what is happening inside of his character's heads. He's helped by a fine screenplay by Frank Boyce Cottrell. No matter what the truth of Hilary and Jackie might really be, this is an exceptional, rare film that is defined and graced by fine acting and writing.
--Paula Nechak

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Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor DreamcoatJoseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (1999)

by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Starring: Tim Rice, Donny Osmond, et al
Video
DVD
Rated: NR

Editorial Reviews
Amazon.com
Following the successful 1998 video release of Cats comes another Andrew Lloyd Webber blockbuster musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and it's a savvy choice. It hasn't been represented on film before, it's short enough (78 minutes) to present without cuts, and it has the star power of former teen icon Donny Osmond, who played over 1,800 performances across North America. Rather than record a live performance, Cats director David Mallet conceived Joseph as a film, though one that is based strongly on codirector Steven Pimlott's 1991 London revival and relies more on camerawork than venturing beyond its stagelike sets.

Lloyd Webber's first project with lyricist Tim Rice was originally written in 1968 as a school cantata; accordingly, this film uses a framing sequence of a school recital, with an audience of clapping, singing kids and members of the faculty playing the roles. The Old Testament tale of Joseph and his coat of many colors gets a splashy, vigorous treatment with an energetic cast, Las Vegas-style glitz, and catchy, eclectic songs, including "Any Dream Will Do," "Close Every Door," the peppy "Go, Go, Go Joseph," and various bits of country, calypso, and Elvis. Osmond is perfect in the title role, with a strong voice and winning persona, while London stage veteran Maria Friedman performs well in the central role of the narrator. Richard Attenborough appears (and sings a little) as Jacob, and Joan Collins makes a brief, nonsinging cameo.

Joseph certainly isn't revolutionary musical theater, but if you view it as a kids' show, it's a silly good time (though there are poignant moments too). Parents should note, however, that this production might warrant a little discretion due to one suggestive scene and some risqué costumes.
--David Horiuchi --This text refers to the DVD edition of this video

The DVD includes a modest widescreen presentation (1.55:1 aspect ratio), DTS and Dolby Digital soundtracks, and Go Go Go Joseph, a 30-minute behind-the-scenes look at Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice, star Donny Osmond, stage director Steven Pimlott, and others provide insight on the show, its history, and the creation of the film. One point frequently stressed is that Joseph began as a school production, and as such can still coexist with large-budget professional versions. To prove the point, the film observes two British schools rehearsing and performing the show. Perhaps the most amusing segment shows numerous people--from Rice and Lloyd Webber on down--trying to recite the line "It was red and yellow and green and brown and scarlet and black and ocher and peach and...." Fortunately for the onscreen actors, they get cue cards!

Available on video
Information about Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat sheet music

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Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould (DVD and VHS)
Starring: Glenn Gould, et al.
Director: François Girard
Rated: NR
Region 1 encoding (for use in US and Canada only)

Reviews
Amazon.com
François Girard originally conceived 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould as a biography to try to explain the bizarre genius of the master pianist who stopped touring in 1963 at the height of his success. The 32 parts play out key moments of Gould's life without stringing them together. They go from realistic (a scene in a Hamburg hotel in which Gould turns a maid on to the wonder of music) to nihilistic (a segment solely made up of the drugs Gould presumably took). Stratford actor Colm Feore is quite good as the slyly introverted, soft-spoken figure, although this film is more of an examination of loneliness than of music. The key question is, Does this docudrama enlighten us better than a straightforward documentary on Gould would? Probably not.
--Doug Thomas

From Leonard Maltin's Movie & Video Guide
As the title says... and the result is an occasionally illuminating but much too fragmented bio of the famed reclusive concert pianist. People who know Gould talk about him, key scenes from his life are enacted and his works are performed, but it doesn't quite add up, either as documentary or biography. Girard scripted, with Don McKellar.
Copyright© Leonard Maltin, 1998, used by arrangement with Signet, a division of Penguin Putnam, Inc.

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The Royal Albert Hall CelebrationThe Royal Albert Hall Celebration

by Andrew Lloyd Webber
vhs
Rated: NR

Editorial Reviews
Amazon.com
British superstar composer Andrew Lloyd Webber is feted in this 50th birthday benefit gala produced by Lloyd Webber's own theatrical company at London's historic Royal Albert Hall. The tribute includes highlights from Lloyd Webber's blockbuster stage hits, including The Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Evita, and Sunset Boulevard. An eclectic performing cast features Tina Arena, Michael Ball, Antonio Banderas, Boyzone, Sarah Brightman, Glenn Close, Julian Lloyd Webber, Marcus Lovett, Lottie Mayor, Dennis O'Neill, Donny Osmond, Elaine Paige, Ray Shell, Kiri Te Kanawa, and Bonnie Tyler. Filmed live during the gala, the video was directed by music video veteran David Mallet, who helmed the video version of Lloyd Webber's Cats. .
-- © 1998 Visible Ink Press. All rights reserved.

Information about Les Miserables sheet music

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Titanic (DVD and VHS)
Rated:
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, et al. Release Date: August 31, 1999. You may still order this title.
Region 1 encoding (for use in US and Canada only)

Reviews
When the theatrical release of James Cameron's Titanic was delayed from July to December of 1997, media pundits speculated that Cameron's $200 million disaster epic would cause the director's downfall, signal the end of the blockbuster era, and sink Paramount Studios as quickly as the ill-fated luxury liner had sunk on that fateful night of April 14, 1912. Some studio executives were confident, others horrified, but the clarity of hindsight turned Cameron into an Oscar-winning genius, a shrewd businessman, and one of the most successful directors in the history of motion pictures. Titanic would surpass the $1 billion mark in global box-office receipts (largely due to multiple viewings, the majority by teenage girls), win 11 Academy Awards including best picture and director, produce the best-selling movie soundtrack of all time, and make a global superstar of Leonardo Di Caprio. A bona fide pop-cultural phenomenon, the film has all the ingredients of a blockbuster (romance, passion, luxury, grand scale, a snidely villain, and an epic, life-threatening crisis), but Cameron's alchemy of these ingredients proved more popular than anyone could have predicted. His stroke of genius was to combine absolute authenticity with a pair of fictional lovers whose tragic fate would draw viewers into the heart-wrenching reality of the Titanic disaster. As starving artist Jack Dawson and soon-to-be-married socialite Rose DeWitt Bukater, Di Caprio and Kate Winslet won the hearts of viewers around the world, and their brief but never-forgotten love affair provides the humanity that Cameron needed to turn Titanic into an emotional experience. Present-day framing scenes (featuring Gloria Stuart as the 101-year-old Rose) add additional resonance to the story, and although some viewers proved vehemently immune to Cameron's manipulations, few can deny the production's impressive achievements. Although some of the computer-generated visual effects look artificial, others--such as the sunset silhouette of Titanic during its first evening at sea, or the climactic splitting of the ship's sinking hull--are state-of-the-art marvels. In terms of sets and costumes alone, the film is never less than astounding. More than anything else, however, the film's overwhelming popularity speaks for itself. Titanic is an event film and a monument to Cameron's risk-taking audacity, blending the tragic irony of the Titanic disaster with just enough narrative invention to give the historical event its fullest and most timeless dramatic impact. Titanic is an epic love story on par with Gone with the Wind, and like that earlier box-office phenomenon, it's a film for the ages.
--Jeff Shannon

Additional Features
This Collector's Edition contains the film in the widescreen format on two VHS cassettes, a mounted filmstrip featuring one of 17 scenes from the film (duplicated from the original theatrical print), and an exclusive, full-color, 24-page photo book. The entire set is packaged in a deluxe box that holds the two cassettes side by side.
--This text refers to the VHS, widescreen edition of this video

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