The reissue game continues. All of this material has been available more or less continuously in recent years, with the exception of Frühbeck's Three-Cornered Hat, which only resurfaced quite recently on an EMI twofer accompanied by Atlántida. The reason it reappears here, evidently, stems from the fact that this two-disc set contains all of Victoria de Los Angeles' stereo Falla recordings; and despite the fact that she sings for about 60 seconds in total in "Hat", it's always a pleasure to hear Frühbeck's big-hearted, expansively Romantic but always exciting way with the music.
On the follow-up to her landmark debut, Happy Come Home (1987), Victoria Williams' skills as a multi-faceted songwriter become increasingly stronger and more distinct. The lack of aural opulence – such as Van Dyke Parks' string arrangements – reveal a less-forced approach, resulting in a giant leap forward in terms of the development of Williams' own voice. Likewise, her rich Louisiana bayou roots increasingly influence her music and act as a strong motif throughout not only Swing the Statue, but her future releases as well – most notably her contributions to the Original Harmony Ridge Creekdippers. Perhaps drawing upon her own experiences, Swing the Statue has an air of melancholia wafting throughout much of the album. Both "Boogieman" and "I Can't Cry Hard Enough" – while divergent in terms of musical style – speak directly to the feelings of loss and abandonment. These aptly juxtapose against the innocence and youthful awe of "Look at That Moon" and "Wobbling" as well as the spiritual guidance found in "Lift Him Up" and "Weeds." Unlike Happy Come Home, Swing the Statue is exceedingly more reserved and somewhat stark – with an emphasis on acoustic instrumentation. These aptly inhabit Williams' remarkably jazzy arrangements.
Although the large box and the Sacred Works title might lead you to expect a complete collection of Tomás Luis de Victoria's sacred music, that's not what it is, and in fact some famous pieces, such as the Requiem in six parts, are not included. Instead, conductor Michael Noone lists the criteria for inclusion as follows: the collection focuses on works Victoria composed in Madrid, works that are preserved in manuscripts, works or versions of works that have never been recorded, and works involving an organ or winds, or written in sections that alternate with chant.
A wicked curse, a fairy’s blessing and the triumph of love: The Sleeping Beauty is one of the best-loved of all stories. In this sparkling new album from The Australian Ballet and ABC Classics, favourite moments from Tchaikovsky’s sumptuous score are woven together by narration from peerless Australian actor David Wenham (The Lord of the Rings, Van Helsing). The perfect Christmas gift for lovers – both young and old – of ballet, beautiful music and classic tales.
The shear breadth and diversity of artists gathered for this benefit project, Sweet Relief: A Benefit for Victoria Williams, is a tribute to the affection Victoria Williams' peers had for her. It conveniently also makes for heady listening for any fan of contemporary music. The hard, brittle edges of Soul Asylum ("Summer of Drugs") and Buffalo Tom ("Merry Go Round") stand shoulder to shoulder with the country-folk of Lucinda Williams ("Main Road") and Maria McKee (an inspired and riveting "Opelousas (Sweet Relief)"). Sweet Relief offers a unique opportunity to introduce yourself to an enduring songwriter while savoring some of the day's most intriguing musicians. How sweet it is!