The last album FM released before going into hiatus, City of Fear showed the band moving more toward a pop sound while still retaining a firm grip on their progressive rock tendencies; though you could certainly point toward either Rush or Yes as comparison points for the sound of this album, it would probably be more accurate to look at the forward-thinking Peter Gabriel albums from around the same period. The production is very crisp, songs are fairly tightly written, and there's a fairly dark and menacing edge to the sound here - keyboards and other electric/electronic instruments add a fairly dissonant edge to the otherwise traditional songwriting, which adds a very fitting claustrophobic feel for an album so titled.
Naxos intend to record Vivaldi’s entire orchestral corpus, and Raphael Wallfisch’s integral four-disc survey of the 27 cello concertos inaugurates this visionary, though plainly Herculean undertaking. Soloist and orchestra employ modern instruments; director Nicholas Kraemer contends that authentic protocols can be ably met by contemporary ensembles and, in articulation, style and ornamentation, these pristine, engaging readings have little to fear from period practitioners. Wallfisch’s pointed, erudite and spirited playing is supported with enlightened restraint by the CLS, directed from either harpsichord or chamber organ by Kraemer, whose sensitive continuo team merits high praise throughout. Without exception, these Concertos adopt an orthodox fast-slow-fast three-movement format. Wallfisch, dutifully observant in matters of textual fidelity, plays outer movements with verve, energy and lucidity, such that high-register passagework, an omnipresent feature of these works, is enunciated with the pin-sharp focus of Canaletto’s images of 18th-century Venice, which adorn the covers of these issues.