• New CBSO season gets off to a cracking start

    20 Sep 2010, 19:58 by mattknight

    I still remember some five years ago reading in The Times that the City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra was reuniting with Sir Simon Rattle for the epic Symphony No 8 by Gustav Mahler. As a sucker for the huge romantic symphonies, I was pretty gutted to have missed it.

    But when I saw that, as part of their Mahler cycle celebrating his 150th birthday, the CBSO was opening their season with the Symphony of a Thousand, what else could I do but get right on the internet and book my tickets?!

    And so, on Saturday night, I want along to Symphony Hall and heard Andris Nelsons conduct what must have been about 500 performers in Mahler's epic work.

    I had thought that the beginning of Part One, "Veni, Creatur spiritus" was a tad on the tame side - I was expecting as bigger noise, given that the orchestra and choirs were taking up about a third of the auditotium. But the E flat opening was, with retrospect, perfectly levelled, allowing the performance to go up a couple of notches at the end of the first part. …
  • 9 january 2006 - mahler and sonny rollins reviews

    9 Jan 2006, 21:36 by pgiampi1

    sonny rollins - without a song: the 9/11 concert

    here's a quick version of the back story on this album - rollins lives in NYC and observed the second tower going down in the world trade center attacks. a week or so later he played this concert in boston. backed by a mediocre at best band, rollins pours out emotion via harmonic twists and turns as well as alterations of timbre and rhythm. his improvisations are intelligent even though at times the emotion i alluded to can almost be a hint subtle. on the other hand, other band members take solos that are tasteful but way, way too long. rollins says much more in less time, although i should say that pianist stephen scott stands out from the other sidemen. the drummer picks up on the way rollins backs up other soloists, hitting on his rhythmic patterns and bringnig the group interaction to a slightly higher level.

    overall i will enjoy this disc as a modern live document by a fantastic jazz legend. …