"Baby Cello" - Music of Saint-Saëns, Schubert,
Rachmaninoff, Bonfa, Yradier, Porter, Villa-Lobos, Cervantes, Weill,
Ellington, Jobim, Dvorak, and traditional
"A Cello Christmas" - A collection of music for Christmas
LANG: Das Theater der Wiederholungen
Both of these Cala SACDs are superb in every way. A Cello Christmas is a pleasant collection of varied Holiday music featuring the London Cello Orchestra of 24 players, along with the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, all conducted by Geoffrey Simon, assisted in some works by various percussion instruments, double bass, harp, celesta and descant recorder. Baby Cello consists of excerpts from other Cala releases in their London Orchestra series, a well-filled disk of varied works. The rich sounds of massed instruments has been vividly captured by Cala's engineers and hearing these recordings in multi-channel sound is a rewarding experience indeed. These are the first Cala SACD reissues of recordings in this series, and I look forward to future releases.
Totally different from the above is the Kairos SACD of a theater work by Bernhard Lang, who was born in Austria, studied at the Bruckner Konservatorium and then moved to Graz where he studied jazz piano, arranging and classical piano. Lang studied with Andrej Dobrowolsky and H. M. Pressi, and now is professor of composition at the Graz University of Music and Dramatic Arts. His major composition is heard on this new SACD,
Born in Linz, Austria, Bernhard Lang studied at the Bruckner Conservatorium. He later moved to Graz to study jazz, arranging and classical piano. Between 1977 and 1981 he worked in various jazz groups, and furthered his classical studies with Polish composer Andrej Dobrowolsky. Lang's major work is a music-theatre piece in three parts, The Theatre of Repetitions, based on texts by deSade, Burroughs, Huysmans, and extracts from minutes of the Nuremberg trials. The three parts (Europe—Le chateau/The Place of Dead Roads/Europa—Das Schlofs) deal with historic events, which Lang transcends by means of his compositional principle of "Difference and Repetition." Lines and phrases are repeated constantly, and listening to this probably will be a trial for most listeners. We can only assume this performance, recorded live in Graz October 10-ll, 2003, is what the composer intended. It is to the credit of the fine actors and musicians that they are able to perform this, although any mistakes would hardly be noticed. Audio quality is superb, and this SACD is just that—there is no regular CD band. No texts are provided, but there is a synopsis of what basically is going on. The two disks sell for the price of one.
R.E.B. (January 2007)