Samstag, 26. November 2022

Leadbelly - Alabama Bound

ImageHuddie Ledbetter, known as Leadbelly, was a unique figure in the American popular music of the 20th century.

Ultimately, he was best remembered for a body of songs that he discovered, adapted, or wrote, including "Goodnight, Irene," "Rock Island Line," "The Midnight Special," and "Cotton Fields."

But he was also an early example of a folksinger whose background had brought him into direct contact with the oral tradition by which folk music was handed down, a tradition that, by the early years of the century, already included elements of commercial popular music.

Because he was an African-American, he is sometimes viewed as a blues singer, but blues (a musical form he actually predated) was only one of the styles that informed his music. He was a profound influence on folk performers of the 1940s such as Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, who in turn influenced the folk revival and the development of rock music from the 1960s onward, which makes his induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, early in the hall's existence, wholly appropriate.

Here´s a compilation of recordings from 1940, digitally re-mastered from the original monaural metal masters in 1988.

Leadbelly - Alabama Bound
(192 kbps, mp3)

Freitag, 25. November 2022

Pablo Milanés‎ – Versos José Marti Cantados Por Pablo Milanés

On this 1973 record, Pablo Milanés sings selections by 19th century Cuban poet and revolutionary José Martí, drawing primarily on Versos Sencillos (1891) and the posthumously published Versos Libres (1913).

Although this was Milanés' first album, by the time of its release he was already an accomplished artist. Following early-'60s stints with El Cuarteto del Rey and los Bucaneros, Milanés pursued a solo career; by the end of the decade he was collaborating with Silvio Rodríguez and others, first at El Centro de la Canción Protesta de la Casa de las Américas and then as a member of El Grupo de Experimentación Sonora. Milanés began developing these arrangements for Martí's work while he was in El Grupo de Experimentación Sonora and the resulting solo debut remains a foundational recording of the nueva trova Cubana.

Milanés' simple acoustic guitar accompaniment offers an evocative setting for Martí's words, but his voice is the crucial instrument; his smooth tenor captures the cadences, tone, and emotional power of Martí's writing, from its quiet, contemplative passages to its spirited, passionate flourishes. Milanés' adaptation of section one of Versos Sencillos and his stirring versions of "Amor de Ciudad Grande" and "Banquete de Tiranos" are breathtaking. Particularly noteworthy is the brief "Eramos," a rendering of a passage from Martí's famous essay "Nuestra América" which masterfully conveys the musicality of his prose.

It's impossible to divorce the nueva trova from its ideological context and to separate Milanés' art from his role in Castro's Cuba. But while that political backdrop is divisive, Cubans on opposite sides of the debate, at home and in exile, embrace José Martí as a hero; likewise, whatever your allegiances, it's hard not to concede that this album is a stunning musical achievement. Pop music lyrics seldom qualify as poetry, but Milanés shows how poetry can inspire phenomenally powerful popular music.                


Yo Soy Un Hombre Sincero
Mi Verso Es Como Un Puñal
Banquete De Tiranos
Al Buen Pedro
Si Ves Un Monte De Espumas
Vierte, Corazón, Tu Pena
Eramos... De Nuestra America
Amor De Ciudad Grande
El Principe Enano
El Enemigo Brutal
Es Rubia: El Cabello Suelto

Pablo Milanés ‎– Versos José Marti Cantados Por Pablo Milanés            
(320 kbps, cover art included)                       

Pablo Milanes - A Vivo No Brasil (1984)

Sad news: Pablo Milanes died on Tuesday in Madrid. He was 79. Thanks a lot for the wonderful music!

The important Caribbean musical tradition has in Pablo Milanés one of its noted composers/performers. The natural bonds of musical identification and fraternity with Brazil are celebrated in this intense album recorded live in this country with the participation of Chico Buarque.

"Yo Pisare las Calles Nuevamente" (in a voice/violão rendition), the nostalgic "Años" (with his band), the energetic "Creeme" and "Yo No Te Pido," the lyrical "Para Vivir" (backed only by the piano of Jorge Aragón), and "Acto de Fé" opened the show, which in the second part began with Chico Buarque's dramatic "Pedaço de Mim" (together with Buarque). Buarque also joins Milanes in the lachrymose "Yolanda" and in "Homenaje." The highly emotional impact of meeting, enhanced by Buarque and Milanes's natural sound affinity, can be verified by the audience's response and in the thrilled address by Elba Ramalho and Caetano Veloso. The musical aspect is subordinated to the lyrical content, with no improvisation or other signals of instrumental independence.       


01. Apresentação (0:50)
02. Yo pisaré las calles nuevamente (2:41)
03. Años (5:13)
04. Créeme (4:49)
05. Yo no te pido (5:25)
06. Para vivir (3:38)
07. Acto de fe (4:51)
08. Apresentação (0:44)
09. Pedaço de mim (2:34)
10. Yolanda (4:35)
11. Amo esta isla (6:57)
12. Canción por la unidad latinoamericana (7:05)
13. Homenaje (5:43)

Pablo Milanes - A Vivo No Brasil (1984)
(128 kbps, cover art included)


Mittwoch, 23. November 2022

Ramblin´ Jack Elliott - The Essential (1976)

"The Essential Ramblin' Jack Elliott" is a compilation album by American folk musician Ramblin' Jack Elliott, released in 1976. It was originally issued as a double LP including Elliot's only Vanguard release "Jack Elliott" and other live tracks. The album was reissued on CD in 1998.

Elliott was the complete folksinger of the 60s, singing and yodeling traditional material derived from folk, country, and blues sources and (especially) carrying on the tradition of Woody Guthrie. This two-pocket set, some of which is taken from a 1965 concert at New York Town Hall, provides a representative sampling of his repertoire and style.

"Roving Gambler" – 3:36
"Will the Circle Be Unbroken" – 2:38
"Diamond Joe" – 2:58
"Guabi Guabi" (Traditional, Jack Elliott) – 4:43
"Sowing on the Mountain" – 2:15
"Roll on Buddy" – 2:03
"1913 Massacre" (Woody Guthrie) – 3:51
"House of the Rising Sun" – 3:28
"Shade of the Old Apple Tree" – 2:41
"Black Snake Moan" – 3:26
"Portland Town" (Derroll Adams) – 1:59
"More Pretty Girls Than One" – 2:14
"San Francisco Bay Blues" (Jesse Fuller) – 2:15
"Buffalo Skinners" – 4:51
"Sadie Brown" – 3:30
"Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" (Bob Dylan) – 4:13
"Blind Lemon Jefferson" (Lead Belly) – 3:55
"Ramblin' Round Your City" (Guthrie) – 3:50
"Tennessee Stud" (Jimmy Driftwood) – 4:14
"Night Herding Song" – 3:20
"Lovesick Blues" (Cliff Friend, Irving Mills) – 3:17
"I Belong to Glasgow" (William Fyffe) – 5:31

(new link, 320 kbps, cover art included)

Dienstag, 22. November 2022

The Voices Of East Harlem - Right On Be Free (1970)

An often stirring 20-member ensemble whose music was better suited for devotional and inspirational material than commercial R&B or soul, the Voices of East Harlem included lead vocalists Gerri Griffin and Monica Burress. Producers Leroy Hutson and Curtis Mayfield worked with the group, whose ages ranged from 12 to 21, and cut some material on the Just Sunshine label that didn't generate any chart action. But their 1973 LP, The Voices of East Harlem, was a superbly performed release nonetheless, and the single "Cashing In" was a cult favorite. The single "Wanted Dead or Alive" was later reissued as a 12" remixed cut and got some international dance attention.

"Right On Be Free" is the lone album by "The Voices Of East Harlem" released in late 1970 on Elektra Records. It's a sort of gospel/funk/righteous soul miss-mash. If you appreciate raw, unreserved, funky, heartlifting passionate soul and gospel, this will certainly appeal to you. Fantastic examples of the call and response-style in gospel, powerful anthems for justice, peace and equality.


Right On Be Free 3:40
Simple Song Of Freedom 3:58
Proud Mary 2:47
Music In The Air 3:14
Oh Yeah 1:30
For What It's Worth 3:27
Let It Be Me 3:21
No No No 3:55
Gotta Be A Change 2:35
Shaker Life 6:45

(320 kbps, cover art included)

Freitag, 18. November 2022

Conflict - The Battle Continues (1985, Single)

Conflict is an anarcho-punk band formed in 1980, originally based around Eltham in South London. In 1983 Conflict set up their own Mortarhate Records and Fight Back Records labels. Steve Ignorant, at the time a member of the band Crass, guested on the band's pro-animal rights single "To A Nation of Animal Lovers". After the dissolution of Crass, Ignorant later became second vocalist for Conflict on a semi-permanent basis. This followed a 1986 gig in Brixton, London wherein he had joined the band on stage for a few numbers.

"The Battle Continues" is one of of the stand out records by Conflict, the introductory bassline to Mighty and Superior preceded the rather similar "Seven Nation Army" by White Stripes by nearly 20 years. The crisp, haunting guitar really builds this song, in much the same way "Whichever Way You Want It" did a few years before. The vocal attack is full on as expected. B Side "To Whom It May Concern" is another blast of high octane punk rock anger littered with swearing and attack on the powers that be, with its rallying cry “If it’s a Fight They Want they’ve got it”. It is a clue to the direction the band were heading in for "The Ungovernable Force".

Mighty And Superior
To Whom It May Concern

(192 kbps, cover art included)

Mittwoch, 9. November 2022

Jalda Rebling - An Alter Nign - Jewish Songs From Eastern Europe

AN ALTER NIGN: Jewish Folk Songs Jalda Rebling, Hans-Werner Apel, Stefan Maas, Helmut Elsel, Michael Metzler-Songs
Today is the  84th anniversary of the anti-Jewish pogrom in Nazi Germany and Austria on 9 to 10 November 1938, also known as "Novemberpogrome",
"Reichskristallnacht", "Reichspogromnacht" or "Pogromnacht" in German.

In the 1920s, most German Jews were fully integrated into German society as German citizens. They served in the German army and navy and contributed to every field of German science, business and culture. Conditions began to change after the election of the Nazi party on January 30, 1933 and the assumption of power by Adolf Hitler after the Reichstag fire. From its inception, Hitler's regime moved quickly to introduce anti-Jewish policies. The 500,000 Jews in Germany, who accounted for only 0.76% of the overall population, were singled out by the Nazi propaganda machine as an enemy within who were responsible for Germany's defeat in the First World War, and for her subsequent economic difficulties, such as the 1920s hyperinflation and Great Depression. Beginning in 1933, the German government enacted a series of anti-Jewish laws restricting the rights of German Jews to earn a living, to enjoy full citizenship and to educate themselves, including the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service, which forbade Jews from working in the civil service. The subsequent 1935 Nuremberg Laws stripped German Jews of their citizenship and forbade Jews from marrying non-Jewish Germans.

The result of these laws was the exclusion of Jews from German social and political life. Many sought asylum abroad; thousands did manage to leave, but as Chaim Weizmann wrote in 1936, "The world seemed to be divided into two parts — those places where the Jews could not live and those where they could not enter." In an attempt to provide help an international conference was held on July 6, 1938 to address the issue of Jewish and Gypsy immigration to other countries. By the time the conference was held, more than 250,000 Jews had fled Germany and Austria, which had been annexed by Germany in March 1938. However, more than 300,000 German and Austrian Jews were still seeking shelter from oppression. As the number of Jews and Gypsies wanting to leave grew, the restrictions against them also grew with many countries tightening their rules for admission.

By 1938, Germany had entered a new radical phase in anti-Semitic activity. Some historians believe that the Nazi government had been contemplating a planned outbreak of violence against the Jews and were waiting for an appropriate provocation; there is evidence of this planning dating to 1937. The Zionist leadership in Palestine wrote in February 1938 that according to "a very reliable private source – one which can be traced back to the highest echelons of the SS leadership" there was "an intention to carry out a genuine and dramatic pogrom in Germany on a large scale in the near future."

During the "Progromnacht" on 9 to 10 November 1938, in a coordinated attack on Jewish people and their property, 99 Jews were murdered and 25,000 to 30,000 were arrested and placed in concentration camps. 267 synagogues were destroyed and thousands of homes and businesses were ransacked. This was done by the Hitler Youth, Gestapo, SS and SA.

About the album:

Jalda Rebling is the daughter of Lin Jaldati and Eberhard Rebling. Lin Jaldati survived the concentration camp inAuschwitz; being a communist, she came to East Germany to help establish a socialist German state. She married Eberhard Rebling, a German communist who later became a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, and started to perform Yiddish songs for a German audience with Rebling accompanying her on piano.

Later they were joined by their daughters Katinka and Jalda. Lin Jaldati dedicated her art and her life to communist East Germany. This didn't prevent her from being banned from performing in the late sixties; the hysteria had gone so far that even performing Yiddish songs was interpreted as a pro-Israel statement. For a long time Lin Jaldati, who was highly accepted by what later became the East German Yiddish and klezmer scene, was the only Yiddish performer in East Germany.

"An Alter Nign" is an album by Jalda Rebling, the daughter of Lin Jaldati, with music from the jews in Eastern Europe. The songs are excellent performed by the famous jewish vocalist Jalda Rebling and the well known musicians Hans-Werner Apel, Helmut Elsel and Stefan Maass. It is really a very special kind of music, excellent and very impressive.

Schpilt a frejlechs
Amol is gewesen a majsse
An alter nign
Sol schojn kumen di ge'uleh
Hej zigelech Ejnsam
Libinke zarte un ejdele - Farkojfn di saposhkelech
A Dudele
Simchu na
Jakobslied aus Rumanien
Mit farmachte ojgn
Dos lid fun scholem

Jalda Rebling - An Alter Nign
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Dienstag, 8. November 2022

Leipziger Synagogalchor - Jewish Chants And Songs - Jüdische Gesänge

Tomorrow will be the  84th anniversary of the anti-Jewish pogrom in Nazi Germany and Austria on 9 to 10 November 1938, also known as "Novemberpogrome",
"Reichskristallnacht", "Reichspogromnacht" or "Pogromnacht" in German.

Within living memory music always played a key role as mediator between the nations.
The Synagogue Choir of Leipzig sees its goal in the preservation of synagogue music as well as of Yiddish and Hebrew folk songs by performing the compositions in free arrangements.
The ensemble, which consists of singers of non-Jewish origin, is unique in Europe. It celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2002.
Today as well as in the future the dedication of the Synagogue Choir will be the support of peace, tolerance, and cultural communication between the nations by giving converts all over the world.

The Leipziger Synagogalchor was founded in 1962. Its aim is to cultivate the Jewish music tradition, in particular that of synagogal music of the 19th and 20th centuries as well as Yiddish and Hebrew folklore. Its extensive repertoire of historical literature preserves a cultural heritage which is performed by no other European ensemble in this form. Thus the choir is often called upon to present this part of the cultural and musical history of the Jewish folk to audiences not only in Germany but also world-wide. Increasingly, concert programs also include contemporary compositions of composers such as Joseph Dorfman, Bonia Shur and Siegfried Thiele.
Four records produced by ETERNA, two by MDR and a CD recorded by Berlin Classics offer a representative cross-section of repertoire and demonstrate the professional format of the ensemble.
The combination of artistic and political expression, both weighted equally, in the works interpreted by the Leipziger Synagogalchor under the direction of Kammersänger Helmut Klotz has established the ensemble as a concert-choir which is celebrated world-wide and which serves as a politico-cultural embassador of considerable importance for the city of Leipzig and the state of Saxony.
The Leipziger Synagogalchor has received the golden award “Stern der Völkerfreundschaft“ and the “Kunstpreis“ of the city of Leipzig.
The choir became a registered association in 1991 and receives subsidies from the city of Leipzig and the state of Saxony.
The ensemble has approximately 30 members who are not professional singers but who for the most part have received some professional training. They have diverse occupations and dedicate a large part of their free time to choral music. The personal commitment and idealism of every single member contribute in large part to the success of the ensemble.
In the 30 years Helmut Klotz has been artistic director, he has succeeded in forming the choir into a semi-professional ensemble with a professional artistic scope. This is evident when one sees where the ensemble performs internationally and which acclaimed soloists and orchestras it works with. This choir has the special privilege to perform with solists of the Leipzig, Berlin and Zurich Operas and with members of the Gewandhaus Orchestra and the Radio Orchestra of Middlegermany (MDR) in concert halls such as that of the Berlin Philharmonic, the Berlin “Schauspielhaus“, the “Gasteig“ in Munich, the Leipzig “Gewandhaus“ and the “Alte Oper“ in Frankfurt. Furthermore, the choir has been on concert tours to Israel, South Africa, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Brazil, Slovakia and several times in Poland and the U.S.A. The choir has performed at international festivals for Jewish culkture and music in Odessa, Leverkusen and Munich. A special occasion for the choir was the performance of the international opera production “Der Weg der Verheißung“ of Kurt Weill in Chemnitz, New York and Tel Aviv.
In its hometown Leipzig the ensemble performs twice a year in the series “Leipziger Ware“. Here it is presented through the Ephraim Carlebach Foundation in the “Alte Handelsbörse“. For 25 years it has also taken part in the annual ecumenical service in the Leipzig Church of St. Thomas in memory of the victims of the “Reichsprogromnacht“ November 9, 1938.

This album features recordings from 1983.

01. Tauraß adaunoj 3:54
02. Ham'chabe eß hamer 6:27
03. Lochen ßomach libi 2:54
04. Ez chajim 2:52
05. Schir hamaalauß 2:26
06. Towau l'fonecho 2:39
07. Naariz'cho 7:36
08. Lomir sich iberbetn 1:52
09. Scha, still 4:10
10. Nigun g-moll 0:56
11. Du sollst nischt gehn 3:20
12. Her nor, du schejn Mejdele 3:43
13. Hages 1:14
14. Itzik hat schojn Chaßene gehot 3:32
15. Wie trinkt der Keßer Tee 5:17

Leipziger Synagogalchor - Jewish Chants And Songs - Jüdische Gesänge
(256 kbps, front cover included)

Samstag, 5. November 2022

The Ragga Twins - Rinsin Lyrics (1995)

Crucial cogs in the development of U.K. dance music, the Destouche brothers - Trevor, aka Flinty Badman, and David, aka Deman Rocker - became known as MCs as part of North London's Unity sound system and began operating as the Ragga Twins in 1989. 

Through 1992, they issued a pile of 12" singles through the self-named label run by Shut Up & Dance (who also did the production work), along with the album "Reggae Owes Me Money" (1991); these releases, containing tracks like "Illegal Gunshot," "Spliffhead," and an early featured role on Shut Up & Dance's "Lamborghini," were bold steps forward, fiercely energetic mutations of dancehall, hip-hop, and jungle. 

Resurfacing in 1995 on EMI with relatively conservative Us3-produced releases like "Freedom Train" and "Money," they also put together a second album, "Rinsin Lyrics" (1995). Scattered singles appeared during the early 2000s, and in 2008 the Soul Jazz label compiled "Ragga Twins Step Out", which focused on the Shut Up & Dance era.

The "Rinsin Lyrics" album is - according to it´s subtitle - "a reggae, jazz & hip hop soundclash". 


A1 Money 3:35
A2 Zodiac 5:12
A3 The Return 4:08
A4 Street Life 4:56
A5 One Thing 5:33
B1 Love And Marriage 3:51
B2 Lock Up 4:54
B3 Freedom Train 5:42
B4 L.i.f.e. 4:08
B5 Gun 3:56
B6 Mash It Up 3:18

(320 kbps, cover art included)

Ton Steine Scherben - Wenn die Nacht am tiefsten... (1975)

"Wenn die Nacht am tiefsten…" ("When the night is at its darkest…") is the third album released by Ton Steine Scherben, and is the last one released before their six-year break from recording. It shows the first signs of a change in genre: moving away from "Macht kaputt was euch kaputt macht" ("Destroy what destroys you") towards "Halt dich an deiner Liebe fest" ("Hang on to your love").

From 1973-1974, the band's interest steadily declined in being the "political musicbox" of the leftist scene. This was compounded by the problem that one could at most request an entrance fee as "contribution of solidarity" from the audience, which was difficult to live on. As such, the band slowly distanced itself from the slogans of the leftist squatting scene, even if they remained faithful to the ideology. Financial problems led to a breakup of the band in 1973. The band soon reunited, but without the bassist Kai Sichtermann. He was replaced by Gino Götz, who had already collaborated with the band on the children's radio play Teufel hast du Wind. Aside from that, the band still lacked a steady percussionist. (On the album Keine Macht für Niemand, the percussion was primarily played by Olaf Lietzau. He would have been suitable, but was still underaged and could not go on tour with the band.) The drummer that the band decided on - Funky K. Götzner - remained with the group from that point onwards. With this lineup, the decision was made to produce a new LP.


First LP:

Heut Nacht (Ralph Möbius, R.P.S. Lanrue) - 6:15
Samstag Nachmittag (Möbius, Lanrue) - 5:01
Guten Morgen (Nikel Pallat, Möbius) - 4:16
Durch die Wüste (Möbius, Lanrue) - 4:59
Nimm den Hammer (Möbius, Lanrue) - 5:22
Ich geh weg (Möbius, Lanrue) - 3:23
Halt dich an deiner Liebe fest (Möbius, Lanrue) - 6:58
Wir sind im Licht (Pallat, Lanrue) - 5:31

Second LP:

Wenn die Nacht am tiefsten… (Möbius, Lanrue) - 3:31
Land in Sicht (Möbius, Lanrue) - 7:11
Komm an Bord (Möbius, Lanrue) - 9:14
Steig ein (Möbius, Lanrue) - 20:50

Ton Steine Scherben - Wenn die Nacht am tiefsten... (1975)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Herbie Mann - Live At Newport (1963)

Most of Herbie Mann's Atlantic sessions of the 1960s are among the flutist's best and most popular work. Mann and his regular group of 1963 (which includes vibraphonist Dave Pike, pianist Don Friedman, guitarist Attila Zoller, bassist Ben Tucker and drummer Bob Thomas with added percussionists Willie Bobo and Potato Valdez) are heard in spirited form on this set from the 1963 Newport Jazz Festival. There are two surprises, both having to do with Antonio Carlos Jobim tunes.

The bossa nova hit "Desafinado" is taken in straight 4/4 time without the percussionists, which makes it sound like a new song. And three months after Stan Getz, Jobim and the Gilbertos recorded "The Girl From Ipanema" (but before it was even released), Mann can be heard playing an instrumental version of the song, here listed as "Garota De Ipanema." A catchy rendition of "Soft Winds," the bossa nova "Samba De Orfeu," and Ben Tucker's "Don't You Know" round out the well-played program.       

Soft Winds 7:35
Desafinado 7:32
Samba De Orfeu 6:01
Don't You Know 10:44
Garota De Ipanema 8:04

Herbie Mann - Live At Newport (1963)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Alice Coltrane - Huntington Ashram Monastery (1969)

Music obviously ran in Alice Coltrane´s family; her older brother was bassist Ernie Farrow, who in the '50s and '60s played in the bands of Barry Harris, Stan Getz, Terry Gibbs, and especially Yusef Lateef.

Alice McLeod began studying classical music at the age of seven. She attended Detroit's Cass Technical High School with pianist Hugh Lawson and drummer Earl Williams. As a young woman she played in church and was a fine bebop pianist in the bands of such local musicians as Lateef and Kenny Burrell. McLeod traveled to Paris in 1959 to study with Bud Powell. She met John Coltrane while touring and recording with Gibbs around 1962-1963; she married the saxophonist in 1965, and joined his band - replacing McCoy Tyner - one year later.
Alice stayed with John's band until his death in 1967; on his albums "Live at the Village Vanguard Again!" and "Concert in Japan", her playing is characterized by rhythmically ambiguous arpeggios and a pulsing thickness of texture.

Subsequently, she formed her own bands with players such as Pharoah Sanders, Joe Henderson, Frank Lowe, Carlos Ward, Rashied Ali, Archie Shepp, and Jimmy Garrison. In addition to the piano, Alice also played harp and Wurlitzer organ. She led a series of groups and recorded fairly often for Impulse, including the celebrated albums Monastic Trio, Journey in Satchidananda, Universal Consciousness, and World Galaxy. She then moved to Warner Brothers, where she released albums such as Transcendence, Eternity, and her double live opus Transfiguration in 1978.

Long concerned with spiritual matters, Coltrane founded a center for Eastern spiritual study called the Vedanta Center in 1975. Also, she began a long hiatus from public or recorded performance, though her 1981 appearance on Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz radio series was released by Jazz Alliance. In 1987, she led a quartet that included her sons Ravi and Oran in a John Coltrane tribute concert at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. Coltrane returned to public performance in 1998 at a Town Hall Concert with Ravi and again at Joe's Pub in Manhattan in 2002.

She began recording again in 2000 and eventually issued the stellar Translinear Light on the Verve label in 2004. Produced by Ravi, it featured Coltrane on piano, organ, and synthesizer, in a host of playing situations with luminary collaborators that included not only her sons, but also Charlie Haden, Jack DeJohnette, Jeff "Tain" Watts, and James Genus. After the release of Translinear Light, she began playing live more frequently, including a date in Paris shortly after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and a brief tour in fall 2006 with Ravi. Coltrane died on January 12, 2007, of respiratory failure at Los Angeles' West Hills Hospital and Medical Center.

"Huntington Ashram Monastery" is the second solo album by Alice Coltrane. Here, the High Priestess is joined by Ron Carter and Rashied Ali for this kind of cosmic jazz.

A1Huntington Ashram Monastery5:30
A3Paramahansa Lake4:29
B1Via Sivanandagar6:03
B3Jaya Jaya Rama6:25

Alice Coltrane - Huntington Ashram Monastery (1969)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

VA - Harlem Swings - Black Big Band Swing

Jazz reached the height of its popularity with the American public during the Swing era, beginning in the dark days of the Depression and continuing through the victorious end of World War II. Also known as the Big Band sound, Swing jazz was characterized by its strong rhythmic drive and by an orchestral ‘call and response’ between different sections of the ensemble. The rhythm section – piano, bass, drums and guitar – maintained the swinging dance beat, while trumpets, trombones and woodwinds, and later, vocals, were often scored to play together and provide the emotional focus of the piece. This arrangement resulted in a ‘conversational’ style among sections that arrangers exploited to maximum affect. By performing their music with increasingly complex arrangements for ever larger orchestras, Swing musicians helped erode the wall between our definitions of popular music and the art music generally labeled “classical.” 

The first great artists of Swing were African American. By the early 1930s, Fletcher Henderson, Duke Ellington, and Jimmy Lunceford had begun to blend the “hot” rhythms of New Orleans into the dance music of urban America in the black jazz clubs of Kansas City and Harlem. Although white jazz musicians had been taking inspiration from African American artists for at least three decades, by the 1940s a new generation of white musicians and dancers were deeply invested in the music that Duke Ellington christened “Swing” with his 1932 hit record, “It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing.” In 1935 white bandleader and clarinetist Benny Goodman led swing into the popular mainstream, but only after he began playing the arrangements he purchased from Fletcher Henderson. Goodman would go on to gather an extraordinary group of performers into his high-profile band, including Henderson, Gene Krupa, Lionel Hampton, Peggy Lee and Stan Getz. His decision to integrate his group with black musicians helped begin the slow process of integrating the music industry.

At its height in the years before World War II, Swing jazz was America’s most pervasive and popular musical genre. If Ken Burns’ documentary series Jazz, is correct in its interpretation of the story of Swing as a music that helped America remake the world during and after World War II, then the history of Swing must also be seen as preparing the way for the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s. Knowing that a wider and increasingly diverse population of Americans was taking African American musicians seriously fueled a growing conviction that equality was a real possibility. As black soldiers shipping off to Europe and the Pacific during World War II were demanding greater respect and tolerance in the armed forces, black Americans at home called for a “Double V” – Victory abroad for America over Germany and Japan and Victory over racism for black Americans at home.

CD 01:
01. Count Basie - One O Clock Jump (1942)
02. Duke Ellington - Harlem Air-Shaft (1940)
03. Lionel Hampton - Slide, Hamp, Slide (1945)
04. Earl Hines - Xyz (1939)
05. Erskine Hawkins - Tippin In (1945)
06. Red Norvo - A-Tisket A-Tasket (1938)
07. Cab Calloway - Minnie The Moocher (1942)
08. Louis Armstrong - You Rascal, You (1941)
09. Chick Webb - Go Harlem (1936)
10. Fletcher Henderson - Stampede (1937)
11. Andy Kirk - Moten Swing (1936)
12. Chick Webb - Facts And Figures (1935)
13. Fletcher Henderson - Moten Stomp (1938)
14. Lionel Hampton - Playboy (1946)
15. Count Basie - It's Sand Man (1942)
16. Earl Hines - Father Steps In (1939)
17. Duke Ellington - Jump For Joy (1941)
18. Benny Carter - Just You, Just Me (1945)

CD 02:
01. Erskine Hawkins - Good Dip (1945)
02. Earl Hines - Number 19 (1940)
03. Count Basie - Seventh Avenue Express (1947)
04. Duke Ellington - Main Stem (1942)
05. Lionel Hampton - Flying Home (1942)
06. Chick Webb - Liza (1938)
07. Fletcher Henderson - Hotter Than Ell (1934)
08. Andy Kirk - Lotta Sax Appeal (1936)
09. Red Norvo - Daydreaming (1938)
10. Count Basie - Love Jumped Out (1940)
11. Duke Ellington - Squaty Roo (1941)
12. Chick Webb - Spinnin The Web (1938)
13. Cab Calloway - Pluckin' The Bass (1939)
14. Louis Armstrong - Leap Frog (1941)
15. Earl Hines - Comin' Home (1940)
16. Benny Carter - Forever Blue (1945)
17. Lionel Hampton - Air Mail Special (1946)
18. Erskine Hawkins - Holiday For Swing (1945)

VA - Harlem Swings - Black Big Band Swing CD 1
VA - Harlem Swings - Black Big Band Swing CD 2
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Sparifankal - Bayern-Rock (1976, vinyl rip)

"Sparifankal" was a very unique rock group from Bavaria. In 1972 the Bavarian anarchist rock band "Sparifankal" developed and practised the so-called "ruebel-music", together with musical laymen, children and "patients", as a kind of harmonic/disharmonic therapy. "Sparifankal" utilized genuine Bavarian lyrics which differ drastically from higher German. With this approach, the band developed a new concept: political rock music sung in Bavarian language.

During 1976 the band recorded their first vinyl "Bayern Rock" (Bavarian Rock). It was released under Trikont/Schneeball/April, the first German independent label founded by several German underground bands such as Embryo, Missus Beastly, Ton Steine Scherben and Checkpoint Charlie to be independent from the record industry.

"Sparifankal" toured mainly in southern Germany, but also found time to perform at several large festivals all over the country. The band released two more albums, the acoustic "Huraxdax Drudnhax", which set new standards in traditional German music, and the 2LP-album "Negamusi", which helped to bring the band international exposure. But during 1981 SPARIFANKAL played their final concert... In 1999 the members of SPARIFANKAL came together again to do a punk-benefit-concert for a former member of the group. The band found that this reunion concert was too much fun not to reunite.

After very successful concerts at some larger festivals in southern Germany the band found it necessary to record an album with the new songs. During the hot summer of 2003 "Dahoam Is Wo Andas" (Home is Somewhere Else) was recorded on an analog machine without any "frickelfrackel" by William Faendrich in Huglfing. It is still real "Bayern Rock", and totally different and opposed to all that polished global-touristic Alpinyodelrock.

Carl-Ludwig Reichert, Bavarian lyricist extra-ordinaire, who rocked the cradle of Bavarian poetry (under the alias "Benno Hoellteufel") and was a memeber of Sparifankal, remembers: "Das war im Kafe Kult und da haben wir dann halt gespielt, es waren schon ein paar Leute da und die haben sich köstlich amüsiert und gleich den Pogo getanzt und ich hab gedacht, die verarschen uns jetzt, die haben da die größte Gaudi. Und dann spiel ich das zweite Stück, der 'braune baaz', und das war schon irgendwie ein Erlebnis, wenn da so zehn Irokesen vor dir stehen und das mitsingen. Die kannten das auswendig, ich hab‘ gedacht, ich werd nicht mehr! Witzigerweise hat uns ja schon Anfang der 70er Jahre der Roman Bunka von Embryo als Punks bezeichnet. Das ist im Englischen einfach ein Schimpfwort, so eben wie Sparifankal "ungezogenes Kind" oder "Teufel" auf Bayerisch heißt. Punk heißt "ungezogener Typ", "Penner", und so weiter."

Sparifankal disbanded in summer 2005. but somehow it comes back now resurrected as
"Sparifankal 2", a spontaneous freak group starting in september 2009 - louder and heavier than ever!

For more info on them see "The crack in the cosmic egg".


Bis zum nexdn Weidgriag... 4:24
Dees Land is koid... 6:23
Da braune Baaz 3:25
I mechd di gean amoi nackad seng 3:04
De Groskopfadn 4:10
Bluus fo da peamanentn Razzia 7:00
Wans ums farecka nimma ged 7:28
Aus is & goar is 6:10

Sparifankal - Bayern-Rock (1976, vinyl rip)
(224 kbps, cover art included)

Billie Holiday - Same (1954)

"Billie Holiday" is an album by jazz singer Billie Holiday, released on Clef Records in 1954, despite the fact that her last album also had the same name prior to it being changed to "Last Recordings" instead. The recordings took place in 1952 and 1954. Holiday never entered the recording studio in 1953.

In a 1954 review, Down Beat magazine praises the album, saying:
"The set is an experience in mounting pleasure that can do anything but increase still further no matter how often the LP is replayed. As for comparing it with earlier Teddy Wilson-Billie sessions, what's the point? Count your blessings in having both. Speaking of time, Billie's beat and variations thereon never cease to be among the seven wonders of jazz."
Two recordings, "What a Little Moonlight Can Do" and "I Cried for You" were also recorded by Holiday in the 1930s with Teddy Wilson's Orchestra, at the beginning of her career.

This unconspicuously titled album from 1954 is mainly notable for containing tracks from two recording sessions that were quite distant chronologically. The first five songs were recorded in April 1952 (the same one that yielded much of the material for "An Evening With Billie Holiday"); the last three — ex­actly two years later. The backing band is very much the same: Oscar Peterson mans the piano in both cases, Ray Brown is on bass and Charlie Shavers on trumpet. (Herb Ellis replaces Barney Kessel on guitar, but neither is particularly noticeable).
What is, however, unmistakably different is Billie herself. The 1952 sessions have already been talked about before; here, of particular note is the exquisite lonesome-melancholic rendition of 'Autumn In New York' (comparing this to the syrupy lounge version of Sarah Vaughan, among others, reveals the utter triumph of simple intelligence and humane vulnerability over gloss and operatic technique), al­though, as usual, all the other performances are first-rate as well.
The last three songs, however, feature Billie's voice in the initial phases of decline – losing some of her frequencies (never all that abundant to begin with) and beginning to acquire that unmista­kable «old lady rasp» that she managed to be saddled with without actually turning into an old la­dy, due to substance abuse. It is only the beginning, though; here, the main effect is simply that the singing gets lower and «deeper». It is unclear if they put Shavers' trumpet on top of every­thing in order to «mask» that weakness — probably just a coincidence. But that's how it is.
In any case, the fast, playful versions of 'What A Little Moonlight Can Do' and 'I Cried For You' are still excellent, and the album as a whole has no lowlights, despite the incoherence of its two parts. Recommendable, if only for the beautiful 'Autumn In New York'.
(Thanks to for the review.)

1) Love For Sale
2) Moonglow
3) Everything I Have Is Yours
4) If The Moon Turns Green
5) Autumn In New York
6) How Deep Is The Ocean
7) What A Little Moonlight Can Do
8) I Cried For You

(256 kbps, front cover included)

Shut Up & Dance – Save It 'Til The Mourning After (1995)

Ragga-techno hit-makers and sampling pirates without equal on Britain's early hardcore breakbeat scene, Shut Up & Dance were an early influence on the development of jump-up breakbeats and b-bwoy attitude into the streamlined version of drum'n'bass which emerged later in the '90s. The duo of PJ & Smiley, both residents of East End stronghold Stoke Newington, formed both the label and group Shut Up & Dance out of their bedroom in 1988. 

The imprint first released records by the Ragga Twins and Nicolette during 1989 before Shut Up & Dance the group debuted later that year. Early singles like "£10 to Get In" and "Derek Went Mad" displayed the pair's approach to hardcore techno -- sampling well-known pop groups with little fear of retribution, piling chunky breakbeats over the top, evincing plenty of ragga attitude and displaying an unflinching criticism of the emerging rave scene's dark side.

Their 1995 single "Save It 'Till The Mourning After reached no.25 in the UK and samples Duran Duran's song "Save A Prayer", whilst retaining its original chorus.

The band's success brought copyright lawyers from at least six major labels, responding to obvious transgressions against their artists, which resulted with Shut Up & Dance spending two years involved in legal wrangling. In similar fashion to their American hip hop contemporaries like Biz Markie and De La Soul, these problems eventually bankrupted their record label.

A1 Save It 'Til The Mourning After (Club Mix) 5:14
A2 Save It 'Til The Mourning After (Instrumental) 4:52
B1 Save It 'Til The Mourning After (Extended Original Mix) 4:52
B2 Rush Coming On 3:27

Shut Up & Dance – Save It 'Til The Mourning After (1995)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Cisco Houston - Sings The Songs Of Woody Guthrie (1963)

Cisco Houston is sometimes more remembered for his association with Woody Guthrie than for his gift as a folksinger. His smooth, deep baritone was interpreted by many folk purists as "commercial," thus inauthentic, and unlike Guthrie, he preferred interpreting other writer's songs as opposed to writing his own.

Released two years after Houston's death, "Cisco Houston Sings the Songs of Woody Guthrie" finds the singer once again stepping out of the limelight to pay deference to his famous friend. The surprising thing to anyone unfamiliar with traditional folk music, however, is how enjoyable and accessible this collection is. Indeed, Houston's vocals on classics like "Deportees" and "Buffalo Skinners" are much more pleasing musically than Guthrie's dry, Oklahoma rasp. If one compares Houston's take on "Pastures of Plenty" with Guthrie's version on "The Asch Recordings", for instance, Houston's version comes across as more inspired and more respectful of the lyrics. While this comparison would not hold true on Houston's versions of "Pretty Boy Floyd" and "Do Re Me," his interpretations are more than proficient. Perhaps the best way to understand his contributions to folk music is to understand him as a prophet of sorts, a John the Baptist spreading the word about another great folksinger who - because of Huntington's chorea - could no longer sing his own songs.

"Cisco Houston Sings the Songs of Woody Guthrie" is a lovely tribute to a friend by someone who understood the significance of his music.

Review by Bill Adams:
"What can I say? If you love Cisco, you must own this. If you like Woody, you must own this. If you enjoy folk music, you must own this. One can quibble as to whether some of these performances were "over-produced" or not, but the bottom line is that Cisco is in fine voice, his guitar rings out true, the songs are some of Woody's best, Cisco was in on the creation (uncredited) of several of them. Some people just can't warm up to Woody's own voice and pickin', and for them, these versions by Cisco were essential to forming an appreciation of Woody's genius."


Pastures Of Plenty
(My daddy flies a) Ship in the Sky
Deportees (Plural, not singular)
Grand Coulee Dam
Sinking of the Reuben James

Curly Headed Baby
Ladies Auxiliary
Taking It Easy
Hard, Ain't It Hard

Jesus Christ
Buffalo Skinners
Pretty Boy Floyd
Philadelphia Lawyer

Old Lone Wolf
Talking Fishing Blues
Ranger's Command
Do Re Mi
Blowing Down That Old Dusty Road

Cisco Houston - Sings The Songs Of Woody Guthrie (1963)
(224 kbps, cover included)

"Spider" John Koerner - Spider Blues (1965)

Spider Blues is the debut solo album by blues artist "Spider" John Koerner, released in 1965. He was member of the loose-knit blues trio Koerner, Ray & Glover at the time of its release.

As a member of the blues trio Koerner, Ray & Glover, Koerner was recording on the Elektra label. While recording the trio's albums Lots More Blues, Rags and Hollers and The Return of Koerner, Ray & Glover he recorded a number of solo tracks. These tracks were assembled into Koerner's debut solo album. He also appeared at the Newport Folk Festival that same year, accompanied by trio member Tony Glover.
His style would change with his subsequent releases from the blues to more traditional folk music. In a 2000 interview, Koerner said, "I finally decided I was not a blues guy. How could I be? I was too young and too white, all that shit. So I took a year off and when I started playing again, I treated the subject in general as folk music. It's a new culture; it's not music being made on a back porch anymore."

In his 1965 Jazz Monthly review, music critic Albert McCarthy excoriated the album and wrote, "This is, without any doubt, one of the worst records I have had to review for many a long day. In a sleeve note notable for the inane quotes from Koerner himself, Paul Nelson of The Little Sandy Review, which I understand is one of the better folk publications, makes the remarkable claim that 'Koerner's art is like Chaplin's, as great and lasting as it is entertaining'. I nominate this as the most absurd remark of the year in the sleeve note field. In fact, Koerner is a passably competent guitarist, a poor harmonica player and a quite dreadful singer. "
On the other hand, in the mid-late 1960s radio station WBCN in Boston used to regularly play "Rent Party Rag" on the first of every month.

"We were talking about the liner notes on Spider Blues, his first solo album for Elektra...his first solo album for anybody...this record. I had thought to write something about his early work on 'Blues, Rags and Hollers' and 'Lots More Blues, Rags and Hollers'; of how his music had somehow deepened and yet retained its same dazzling snap; of how some of his songs had grown a bit more introspective..." "Naw, I don't want to say much about that." he said...." - Paul Nelson from the sleeve notes.           

Side 1:
  1. "Good Luck Child" – 2:07
  2. "I Want to be Your Partner" – 3:07
  3. "Nice Legs" – 2:27
  4. "Spider Blues" – 2:17
  5. "Corrina" – 3:15
  6. "Shortnin' Bread" – 2:08
  7. "Ramblin' and Tumblin'" – 3:12
  8. "Delia Holmes" – 2:54
Side 2:
  1. "Need a Woman" – 2:05
  2. "I Want to do Something" – 3:35
  3. "Baby, Don't Come Back" – 2:39
  4. "Hal C. Blake" – 1:42
  5. "Things Ain't Right" – 3:30
  6. "Rent Party Rag" – 9:29

"Spider" John Koerner - Spider Blues (1965)
(ca. 280 kbps, cover art included)

The John Coltrane Quartett - Africa / Brass (1961)

John Coltrane's debut for the Impulse label was a bit unusual, for the great tenor and his quartet were joined by a medium-sized backup group on Eric Dolphy arrangements of "Africa," "Greensleeves," and "Blues Minor." "Africa" in particular is quite memorable although Coltrane would not pursue any further recordings in this direction in the future, making this a change of pace in his discography.

"Africa/Brass" is the eighth studio album by jazz musician John Coltrane, released in 1961 on Impulse! Records, catalogue A-6. The sixth release for the fledgling label and Coltrane's first for Impulse!, it features Coltrane's working quartet augmented by a larger ensemble to bring the total number of participating musicians to 21. Its big band sound, with the unusual instrumentation of French horns and euphonium, presented music very different from anything that had been associated with Coltrane to date.
In 1961, Coltrane came into his own as a front-rank force in jazz, his influence growing from years of live performances with Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis and leading his own groups, and from the impact of the albums Giant Steps and My Favorite Things. Impulse Records executive Creed Taylor bought out Coltrane's contract with Atlantic Records, making Coltrane the first artist to be signed to the new company's roster. It was the best contract a jazz musician had ever received after Davis with Columbia, one year followed by two-year options for two albums per year with a $10,000 advance against royalties the first year rising to a $20,000 advance for the second and third years. Backed by the resources of ABC Records and set up to be an instant major player in the jazz market, Impulse! offered him greater scope. Coltrane would remain with Impulse! the rest of his life, and to inaugurate his move to the new label he planned a large-group recording.
Coltrane had not been in a recording studio as a leader since the October 1960 sessions for My Favorite Things, although on March 20 and 21, 1961, he had made a last recorded contribution for Davis, guesting on two tracks for Someday My Prince Will Come. Earlier in 1961, Coltrane had invited multi-instrumentalist Eric Dolphy to join his band, making it a quintet. Around the same time, bassist Steve Davis departed, replaced by Reggie Workman, at times Coltrane pairing him with a second bassist, Art Davis. With this group in tow, on May 23 Coltrane entered the new Van Gelder Studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, for the first time; Rudy Van Gelder had been the sound engineer for most of his earlier sessions with Prestige Records. Coltrane would make the bulk of his recordings at the Van Gelder studio for the remainder of his career.
Apparently, Coltrane had initially contacted Gil Evans to assist with the arrangements; however nothing came of this and Coltrane called on Dolphy and Tyner to orchestrate. Originally credited to Dolphy alone on the initial release, that has been corrected with the appearance of the 1995 reissue.  Coltrane chose the traditional English folk ballad "Greensleeves," done in a similar major/minor contrast as his popular "My Favorite Things." For the two original pieces, "Africa" and "Blues Minor," Dolphy and Coltrane adapted Tyner's piano voicings for the orchestra. A second set of recording sessions for the album took place on June 7.
In 1974, Impulse released a second album culled from the same sessions, The Africa/Brass Sessions, Volume 2. Two additional outtakes appeared on another posthumous Coltrane compilation, Trane's Modes. On October 10, 1995, Impulse released the complete sessions on a two-disc set entitled The Complete Africa/Brass Sessions. Rather than placing the original album on one disc and the outtakes on the other, it divides the disc content by session, with the May 23 results on the first disc and those from June 7 on the second disc.
In a contemporaneous review that appeared in the January 18, 1962, issue of Down Beat magazine critic Martin Williams had this to say: "In these pieces, Coltrane has done on record what he has done so often in person lately, make everything into a handful of chords, frequently only two or three, turning them in every conceivable way..."

A Africa 16:26
B1 Greensleeves 9:55
B2 Blues Minor 7:20
The John Coltrane Quartett - Africa / Brass (1961)
(320 kbps, cover art included)               

Freitag, 4. November 2022

Shostakovich - Symphony No. 11 (Mravinsky, Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra)

The Symphony No. 11 in G minor (Opus 103; subtitled The Year 1905) by Dmitri Shostakovich was written in 1957 and premiered, by the USSR Symphony Orchestra under Natan Rakhlin, on 30 October 1957. The subtitle of the symphony refers to the events of the Russian Revolution of 1905.
The symphony was conceived as a popular piece and proved an instant success in Russia - his greatest, in fact, since the "Leningrad Symphony" just over a decade earlier. The work's popular success, as well as its earning him a Lenin Prize in April 1958, marked the composer's formal rehabilitation from the Zhdanov Doctrine of 1948.
A month after the composer had received the Lenin Prize, a Central Committee resolution "correcting the errors" of the 1948 decree restored all those affected by it to official favor, blaming their treatment on "J.V. Stalin's subjective attitude to certain works of art and the very adverse influence exercised on Stalin by Molotov, Malenkov and Beria."

The symphony has four movements played without break, and lasts approximately one hour.

The Eleventh is sometimes dubbed "a film score without the film". Indeed the musical images have an immediacy and simplicity unusual even for Shostakovich the epic symphonist, and an additional thread is provided by the nine revolutionary songs which appear during the work. Some of these songs date back to the 19th century, others to the year 1905. Shostakovich does not merely quote these songs; he integrates them into the symphonic fabric within the bounds of his compositional style. This use of pseudo-folk material was a marked departure from his usual technique. However, it lent the symphony a strong emphasis on tonality and a generally accessible musical idiom. They were also songs the composer knew well. His family knew and sang them regularly while he was growing up.

Shostakovich originally intended the Eleventh Symphony to mark the 50th anniversary of the Russian Revolution of 1905 and would have written it in 1955. Several personal factors kept him from composing the work until 1957. These factors included his mother's death, his tumultuous second marriage and the arrival of many newly freed friends from the Gulag. Events in Hungary in 1956 may have stirred Shostakovich out of his compositional inertia and acted as a catalyst for his writing the symphony.

According to the composer's son-in-law Yevgeny Chukovsky, the original title sheet for this symphony read not "1905" but "1906," the year of the composer's birth. This, some critics have suggested, can allow us to hear the Eleventh Symphony as a requiem not only for himself but for his generation. The trials that the composer's generation suffered were unprecedented in Russian history - two world wars, a civil war, two revolutions plus the horrors of forced collectivism and the Great Purge of the Stalin years. The only thing that spared this generation a second purge was the death of Stalin himself in 1953.

Nevertheless, the same critics suggest, this idea of the symphony about the fate of a generation does not contradict its official theme of revolution. Unlike the October 1917 Revolution, the 1905 Revolution was not politicised by the Party; therefore, it had not lost its romantic aura in the eyes of later generations. Because of this romantic aura, a spirit of struggle for a just cause imbues such diverse works about that period as Sergei Eisenstein's film The Battleship Potemkin and Boris Pasternak's narrative poems "1905" and "Lieutenant Schmidt" as well as Shostakovich's symphony.

The title, The Year 1905, recalls the start of the first Russian Revolution of 1905, which was partially fired by the events on 9 January (9 January by the Julian calendar still in use in Russia at the time, modern date of 22 January 1905) date of that year. Some Western critics characterized the symphony as overblown "film music" - in other words, as an agitprop broadsheet lacking both substance and depth. Many now consider the work to carry a much more reflective attitude, one which looks at Russian history as a whole from the standpoint of 1957, four years after the death of Stalin. Another common interpretation is that the symphony is a response to the crushing of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956; it was composed immediately after the uprising, and his widow Irina has said that he had it "in mind" during composition.

Regardless, Shostakovich considered this work his most "Mussorgskian" symphony. Mussorgsky for him symbolised two things - the people and recurrence. Since it was about the people who suffered as a result of the Bloody Sunday, he wrote it in a simple, direct manner. The people would basically be destined to suffer at the hands of indifferent autocrats; they would periodically protest in the name of humanity, only to be betrayed or punished. The composer reportedly told Solomon Volkov, "I wanted to show this recurrence in the Eleventh Symphony.... It's about the people, who have stopped believing because the cup of evil has run over." While this passage may have seemed far-fetched to some critics when Testimony first appeared, especially in the context of linking the symphony to the Hungarian Revolution, the concept of recurrence is reportedly one which has been central to Russian artists in the wake of that event and held tremendous significance among the intelligentsia in Russia.

The revolutionary song quotations in the work itself can support many interpretations: the first movement quotes a song, "Slushay!" ("Listen!") with the text "The autumn night as the tyrant's conscience", while the final movement refers to one including the words "shame on you tyrants." Volkov compares this movement's juxtaposition of revolutionary songs (notably the Varshavianska song) to a cinematic montage, while quoting Anna Akhmatova's description of it as "white birds against a black sky."
Some have argued that Shostakovich's inclusion of these songs makes more explicit in the symphony the actual chain of consequences as well as events being portrayed - namely, that had Tsar Nicholas II listened to the people's demands and liberalized the government in 1905 to the point where widespread social change was enacted, there would not have been a recurrence of protest 12 years later to topple him from power.  Failing to listen, the tsar's head is bowed as he inherits the consequences portrayed in the symphony's finale. Thus, in Shostakovich's formal scheme for the symphony, denial of the people merely incites violence and a further cycle of recurrence. Cementing this message is the subtitle for the symphony's final movement, "Nabat" (translated in English as "tocsin" or "alarm" or "the alarm drum"). Nabat was also the name of a 19th-century review, edited by Narodnik Petr Tkachev, who was notorious for maintaining that nothing, however immoral, was forbidden from the true revolutionary. Tkachev advocated that revolution should be carried out by a small, motivated Party willing to use whatever means necessary, rather than by the people themselves.


This reissue takes us right back to one of Shostakovich’s most authoritative interpreters. Yevgeny Mravinsky (1903-1988) gave the first performances of no fewer than six Shostakovich symphonies - numbers 5, 6, 8, 9, 10 and 12 - and though he didn’t lead the première of the Eleventh symphony, he performed it in Leningrad on 3 November 1957, just four days after it had been unveiled in Moscow. Regis give no information about the date of the recording beyond stating that it was “first published in 1961”. However, in his very informative notes Gavin Dixon says that this recording was set down in 1959, presumably for the Melodiya label.

As you might expect, given that the source is a Soviet recording made over fifty years ago, the sound is on the raw side at times. However, I found nothing in the sound that detracted from the performance; on the contrary, the sound plays its part in imparting a sense of the history of the piece itself. Because the symphony was first performed in 1957 and because it was inspired by the unsuccessful revolution of 1905 in Russia it’s often been thought that it may be the composer’s response to the suppression of the 1956 Hungarian uprising. It’s possible that that is indeed the case - at least up to a point. However Gavin Dixon tells us that the symphony was originally intended to mark the 50 th anniversary of the 1905 uprising but that personal preoccupations prevented Shostakovich from finishing it on schedule though he had made a good deal of progress on the work before the tumultuous events in Hungary.

If there was a subversive political agenda behind the work Shostakovich managed to cover his tracks well: the work was a conspicuous success both with the public and with officialdom and it was awarded the Lenin Prize in 1958.

Mravinsky leads an imposing performance. The first movement, ‘The Palace Square’, opens in what I can only call glacial expectancy though the rather close recording doesn’t allow the orchestra to sound as hushed as is the case on, say, Vasily Petrenko’s 2008 Naxos recording or, indeed, James DePriest’s very eloquent 1988 reading with the Helsinki Philharmonic on Delos; both of those are modern digital recordings. However, any sonic limitations are more than offset by the brooding intensity and tension that Mravinsky generates. Furthermore, even when playing quietly, the Leningrad orchestra plays with significant weight of tone. I think this must be a very difficult movement for a conductor to bring off since it’s all about atmosphere rather than development; but Mravinsky never lets the music sag.


Let’s face it, Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11 is not a great work, but it’s enjoyable nonetheless for the lurid aural spectacle it presents. Not just the whirling strings, the screaming brass, and thunderous percussion, but also the quiet yet tension-filled moments. To bring all this off requires a virtuoso orchestral performance of the type provided by the Concertgebouw under Haitink (Philips), and the Bournemouth Symphony under Berglund (EMI, recently reissued). For recordings there is the added requirement of vivid and realistic sonics - something that’s sadly lacking in this blistering performance by Evgeny Mravinsky and the Leningrad Philharmonic.

Mravinsky has this huge and seemingly unwieldy work firmly within his grasp, and he paces it impeccably. The tension never flags for even an instant, and climaxes are so well timed that they possess an inevitability that is both natural and thoroughly convincing. Mravinsky emphasizes the music’s broad melodic lines and makes the most of their individual rhythmic character, as in the well-sculpted opening of the finale. But for all this, the flat mono-broadcast sound is a hindrance. Without three-dimensional spatial effects and fully fleshed out instrumental colors, the “Year 1905″ symphony can sound like the film soundtrack some critics have accused it of being. Nevertheless, this disc will be useful to Mravinsky devotees, or as a supplement to the better-recorded alternatives.

Shostakovich - Symphony No. 11 (Mravinsky, Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra)
(320 kbps, front cover included)

Maria Tănase ‎– Ciuleandra

Maria Tănase ( 25 September 1913 – 22 June 1963) was a celebrated Romanian singer and actress. Her music ranged from traditional Romanian music to romance, tango, chanson and operetta.
Maria Tănase has a similar importance in Romania to that of Édith Piaf in France or Amália Rodrigues in Portugal.
In her nearly three-decade-long career, she became widely regarded as Romania's national diva, being admired for her originality, voice, physical beauty and charisma. In Romania, she is still regarded as a major cultural icon of the 20th century.

Born in Bucharest suburb of Cărămidarii de Jos, or Cărămidari, Maria Tănase attended Primary School number 11 from Tăbăcari. Her father, Ion Coanda Tănase, was a master gardener and a florist, also owner of a big nursery on the outskirts of Bucharest, which employed female workers from different various regions of Romania. These women, in turn, would share traditional folk songs and tales which deeply enthralled little Maria, which was to leave a permanent mark on her.
She made her stage debut in Cărămidarii de Jos, at the "Ion Heliade Rădulescu" High School. In 1934, she joined the "Cărăbuş" Theatre of Constantin Tănase with the help and advice of newspaper writer Sandu Eliad, who, at that time was her partner. Her real debut took place on June 2, 1937 with the stage name Mary Atanasiu in the musical hall theatres, Alhambra and Gioconda. Shortly after, she started to develop a local and international following. She represented Romania at the International Exhibition in Paris in 1937, as well as at the 1939 New York World's Fair. On February 20, 1938 her voice was heard for the first time on the radio. In that year, she made her first recordings for the Romanian Radio Society, which contributed to her fame. Unfortunately, these early recordings are said to have been destroyed by the "authorities" during the first months of the National Legionary State, the time when Maria Tănase was also banned from performing in public.
During World War II, together with George Enescu, George Vraca and Constantin Tănase, she was making stage tours singing in front of soldiers injured on the battlefield. In December 1943, she sang at the Christmas festivities at the Royal Cavalry Regiment, where King Michael I of Romania, Ion Antonescu, Mihai Antonescu and all the members of the government were present as guests. In 1944 Maria Tănase took time to sing in Edmond Audran's operetta "Mascota" (The Mascot).
After World War II, she performed in Review Ensemble Theatre and "Constantin Tănase" Satirical and Musical Theatre. She had parts in the plays "The Living Corpse" by Leo Tolstoy in 1945, and "Horia" by Mihai Davidoglu in 1956. In 1946 she held the main part in the musical comedy "The Hollywood Sphinx", by Ralph Benatzky. She sang in the movie "Romania" in 1947, and in 1958 she performed in both "Ciulinii Bărăganului" (The Thistles of the Bărăgan), and the short-reel film "Amintiri din Bucureşti" (Memories from Bucharest). During these years Maria was also touring a lot, she had over forty trips only to New York City.
In 1952, Maria Tănase was offered a position at the Music School No. 1 in Bucharest, in the newly created traditional folk song department; 1962 found her guiding "Taraful Gorjului" (The Gorj Folk Music Band) in Târgu Jiu and the artists from "taraf", at her own request.
On May 1, 1963, after a concert in Hunedoara, she was forced to cancel her tour and any other performances due to sickness. On June 22, 1963, she died of cancer. She was buried at the Bellu cemetery in Bucharest, Romania.

1Pe Vale, Tato, Pe Vale (In The Valley, My Love, In The Valley)2:12
2Marie, Si Marioara (Mary, Sweet Mary)2:27
3Frica Mi-e Ca Mor Ca Maine (I Am Frightened Of Death)4:09
5Trenule, Masina Mica (Train, Little Train)3:38
6Maine Toti Recrutii Pleaca (Tomorrow The Recruits Are Leaving)4:11
7Asta Iarna Era Iarna (This Was A Winter And A Half)3:12
8Doina Din Maramures (Doina From Maramuresh)4:01
9Uhai, Bade (Hey Lover!)2:12
10Butelcuta Mea (My Little Wine Bottle)1:31
11Mai Gheorghita, Und-te Duci? (Hey Gheorgita, Where Are You Going?)3:07
12Tulnicul (Alpenhorn)2:36
13Agurida (Sour Grapes)4:27
14Asta Noapte Te-am Visat (Last Night I Dreamt Of You)3:06
15Eu Pe Badea-am Intrebat (I Asked My Lover)2:27
16Aseara Ti-am Luat Basma (Yesterday I Bought You A Headscarf)3:09
17Bade, Din Dragostea Noastra (Oh Lover, Our Love)4:02
18Paraus, Apa Vioara (Little Stream, Violin Creek)3:43
20As Ofta Sa-mi Iasa Focul (Pain Of Love, Burning Fire)3:02
21Valeleu (Oh My!)1:50

Maria Tănase ‎– Ciuleandra                                   
(256 kbps, cover art included)