The Long Ryders were formed by several American musicians influenced by Gram Parsons and the Byrds, with country and punk rock influences. The band featured Sid Griffin on guitar, autoharp, and bugle, Stephen McCarthy, guitar, steel guitar, mandolin, and banjo, Des Brewer, as bassist, (later replaced by Tom Stevens) and Greg Sowders, playing drums and percussion. With a sound reminiscent of Gram Parsons, Buffalo Springfield and The Flying Burrito Brothers, but with a harder edge, they anticipated the alternative country music of the 1990s by a decade. This 4-CD career overview has been compiled with both Sid Griffin and Tom Stevens from original tapes (where they exist) - Sid has contributed a track by track breakdown for the set. The set features all the original albums as well as demos, singles and rare live recordings. Re-mastered by Andy Pearce the recordings and in Sid's opinion have never sounded so good. A new booklet designed by Phil Smee contains many rare photos and memorabilia.
It's a recording that just a few years ago would have been mainstream: a "name" pianist (albeit one much less well known in the U.S. than elsehwere), who has been playing Mozart's piano concertos since childhood, joins forces with a name conductor with whom she has frequently collaborated, leading a modern-instrument orchestra of some 70 players, with the results released on a major international-conglomerate label. Now it's distinctly unusual. But lo, there's value in the old ways. Portuguese-Brazilian pianist Maria-João Pires is a lifelong Mozart specialist, but she still has new things to say in two of Mozart's most popular piano concertos. You can chalk it up to her Buddhist outlook if you like: her readings of the Piano Concerto No. 27 in B flat major, K. 595, and Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466, might be described as detached without being lifeless. Her approach is most startling in the Piano Concerto No. 20, where her no-drama shaping of the material runs sharply counter to type. Sample the piano's entrance in the first movement, where it offers a twisting, tense elaboration of the main theme that is far removed from its source material. Generally pianists use this to raise the tension level, but Pires lets the unusually shaped, chromatic line speak for itself with fine effect.
Music from West Side Story is a 1986 compilation album by Dave Brubeck and his quartet of music from Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim musical West Side Story, with other tracks taken from Brubeck's albums Bernstein Plays Brubeck Plays Bernstein (1960) and Anything Goes: The Music of Cole Porter (1966) and My Favorite Things (1965).
"Maria" done as a swinging, uptempo ballad, while "Tonight" becomes a jumping-off point for all concerned into a jazz excursion across several decades' worth of tunes. By contrast, "What Is This Thing Called Love?" is done in a slow, pensively lyrical, lilting fashion. Paul Desmond's playing shines every bit as much as Brubeck's, and the whole record - including the Cole Porter and Rodgers & Hart material - swings in some unexpected directions that still delight five-plus decades later.
Passion rather than insouciance is Pires’s keynote. Here is no soft, moonlit option but an intensity and drama that scorn all complacent salon or drawing-room expectations. How she relishes Chopin’s central storms, creating a vivid and spectacular yet unhistrionic contrast with all surrounding serenity or ‘embalmed darkness’. The con fuoco of Op. 15 No. 1 erupts in a fine fury and in the first Nocturne, Op. 9 No. 1, Pires’s sharp observance of Chopin’s appassionato marking comes like a prophecy of the coda’s sudden blaze. Such resolution and psychological awareness make you realize that Chopin, like D. H. Lawrence, may well have thought that “there must be a bit of fear, and a bit of horror in your life”. Chopin, Pires informs us in no uncertain terms, was no sentimentalist.