Although it is an unfinished and in many ways defective novel, Franz Kafka's The Trial has fascinated readers for more than 80 years. Several attempts have been made to film it – notably, by director Orson Welles – and also to turn it into an opera. Danish composer Poul Ruders is the latest but probably not the last person to do so. His librettist is Paul Bentley, who also provided Ruders with an excellent libretto for his compelling operatic version of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale.
Loose and spontaneous, this (mainly) live album is a meeting of three of the greatest guitarists in the world for an acoustic summit the likes of which the guitar-playing community rarely sees. Broken up into three duo and two trio performances, Friday Night in San Francisco catches all three players at the peaks of their quite formidable powers.
After composition student Ellis Ludwig-Leone graduated from Yale in 2011, instead of giving in to post-college feelings of aimlessness and "what next?" confusion, he set about to work on the epic master statement that he dubbed San Fermin. The self-titled debut is a massive collection of densely layered orchestral pop stuck between the technical tendencies of classically trained musicians and the summery electro-pop curiosity of chamber-leaning indie acts like Dirty Projectors, Grizzly Bear, and Sufjan Stevens. Ludwig-Leone acts in a "man behind the curtain" fashion for San Fermin, conducting more than a dozen musicians and vocalists through his songs and only contributing piano and keyboards himself.