After becoming music director of the Minnesota Orchestra in 2003 Osmo Vänskä began recording an excellent multi-channel SACD set of Beethoven symphonies with his new group. The Finnish conductor has since returned to the work of his countryman Jean Sibelius (1865-1957), recording this multi-channel SACD of the composer's most popular symphonies, Nos. 2 & 5.
Even people who know nothing about Brazilian music recognize the urbane Latin syncopation of the bossa nova beat. The language, of course, is Portuguese, not Spanish. The key names in Brazilian pop music are Jobim and Gilberto; in orchestral and chamber music, Villa-Lobos. Arguably, the most alluring voice in Brazilian music today belongs to Rosa Passos, who partners with jazz bassist Ron Carter on this audiophile release.
In a sign of the times for the changing music industry (and an interesting twist in the lengthy tale of the most popular band - 40 million albums sold worldwide and 11 Stateside top tens - to only make it into Rolling Stone magazine once), Canadian prog superheroes Rushhave signed with U.S. metal indie Roadrunner (they'll be staying with Anthem/Universal in Canada only).
“Be cool or be cast out.” So goes one of the pivotal lines in “Subdivisions,” the indelible lead track from Rush’s transitional 1982 album Signals, and it’s also a statement that aptly describes the band’s own fortunes as it navigated a hard-won ascendance from perennial cult favorite to mass acceptance over the course
of its five-decades-and-counting career. The band recently completed a triumphant 40th anniversary tour dubbed R40, celebrating its genuine Rock & Roll Hall of Fame legacy by performing a 23-song set in reverse chronology. (Actually, “Reverse Chronology” sounds like a lost track from the band’s mid-’80s synth-centric period.) I saw Rush’s late-June stop at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, and marveled at the ever-present breadth of the band’s sound and how bassist/keyboardist/vocalist Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson, and drummer Neil Peart were able to modernize decades-old material like “Jacob’s Ladder” and “Lakeside Park” without compromising each track’s initial, individual compositional integrity and charm.
In anticipation of the 30th anniversary reissue of Rush’s truly seminal Moving Pictures as both CD+DVD (April 5) and CD+BD (May 3) deluxe editions, with PCM 5.1 and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround-sound mixes by Richard Chycki, I’m dipping into my personal Rush interview archive to present a truly exclusive, incremental look at how the band’s attitude toward bringing its vaunted studio material into the surround-sound arena has literally changed from “no” to “go” over the last decade.
“It’s a timeless record with so much detail,” says surround-sound remix guru Richard Chycki about Rush’s 1981 masterpiece, Moving Pictures. “I’m glad you’ve clued into all of the nuances.” Chycki is referring to what I said to him last week about the PCM 5.1 and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mixes he did for MP’s 30th anniversary reissue. Today marks the release of the CD+DVD version, something certainly worth getting if you’re not equipped for Blu-ray — but the much preferred Holy Grail CD+BD version won’t be out until May 3.
“Exciting new sounds in the folk tradition.” So went the saying on the sleeve of the 1964 debut album by Simon & Garfunkel, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. And how telling that seemingly innocent but steadfast declaration was, as over the course of five studio albums and one soundtrack released during those heady days of 1964-70, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel forged a singular sound that mixed the core tenets of folk with the then-burgeoning pulse of rock. The duo were masters of blending their pitch-perfect harmonies on a cornucopia of intimate tales that concerned matters of both the heart and the state. Not bad for a pair of schoolboys from Queens originally known as Tom & Jerry.
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Legacy. Some artists embrace it, some resist it. Early-period Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett decided to go the extra mile to dance on the volcano of his past, charging firth, er, forth to majestically recast the arrangements of a top-drawer selection of his ’70s output with the British prog giants.