Saturday, May 10, 2014

Koh to return with another 'Bach & Beyond' set

A news release from Cedille Records reports that violinist Jennifer Koh's Bach & Beyond Part Two album will be released this year.

I don't know anything about the album yet, but I sure did like 2012's Bach & Beyond Part One. 

That album begins with J.S. Bach's "Partita No. 3 in E Major, BWV 1006" and ends with Bach's "Partita No. 2 in d minor, BWV 1004." Sandwiched in between is Ysa├┐e's second violin sonata, Kaija Saariaho's "Nocturne" and Missy Mazzoli's "Dissolve, O My Heart," the latter a world premiere.

All are solo violin pieces, which puts a lot of pressure on Koh, but I like her Bach partitas better than the other recordings I've heard so far. Check out her slashing attack on the "Prelude," the first track on the album, and the drone on the next track, the "Loure." She gets a great sound out of her instrument, so I want to record the name of the producer and engineer: Judith Sherman.

My music collection falls into two broad groups: Legacy classical music (which I can play basically anytime I want) and modern classical music (which I can play when the more conservative ears in the household are not present.) With the Koh, I can get my Saariaho fix in and listen to the Mazzoli but still answer any objections by pointing out that Bach will return soon. So it's an album I also can play anytime, a modern music "sneak it in" album.

(Disclosure Cedille sent me a copy of the album. See my blog post on freebies.)

Friday, May 9, 2014

A note about freebies

As I am determined to resume blogging, I need to say a word about some of the recordings I will be talking about.

From time to time, record companies and individual artists who apparently are completely desperate for publicity will send a complimentary commercial recording to your humble blogger.

I do my best to listen to these recordings, but a free recording does not guarantee a good review or even any attention at all here.

I do not claim to be a music expert, but I am a sincere enthusiast, and I will not express enthusiasm, or even mild pleasure, for a recording that I don't like.

For example, I'm a fan of eighth blackbird, but I didn't like the the Lonely Motel album. Obviously, other folks did not agree -- it did win a Grammy -- but I don't care. I was pleased to give a good notice for the Meanwhile album (which also won a Grammy.)

I'll try to note in my blog posts whether I paid for a recording or parted with cash for it or whatever.