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Month: May 2019

Nils Landgren – Christmas with My Friends III (Live) (2012) [Official Digital Download 24bit/88,2kHz]

Nils Landgren – Christmas with My Friends III (Live) (2012)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88,2 kHz  | Time – 54:08 minutes | 959 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © ACT Music

In collaboration with singers like Sharon Dyall, Jessica Pilnäs, Jeanette Köhn and Ida Sand, as well as 1500 guests, Nils Landgren celebrated a dearly as joyful musical Christmas devotion in December 2011. “For all of us it was a magic evening. Our hope is that we can give the listeners the same feeling as we had during our performance that became this album.” Tradition is one of the things through which a person finds out where he comes from and what makes him who he is. Perhaps the most important spiritual tradition in the Western world is Christmas – and music is a big part of that. Christmas songs are their own genre around the world, which is linked to ceremonial and happy togetherness like no other.

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Nils Frahm – Juno Reworked (2013/2019) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44,1kHz]

Nils Frahm – Juno Reworked (2013/2019)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz  | Time – 29:18 minutes | 294 MB | Genre: Ambient
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Erased Tapes

Berlin-based pianist Nils Frahm’s move into electronic music has been so seamless that one almost can’t tell when he’s switched genres. Although his work is now as likely to contain synthesisers, Rhodes, and tape delays as it is a piano, that same haunting, highly evocative, and beautiful aesthetic that colors his classical compositions is still present throughout his electronic material, including his most recent offering, Juno Reworked.

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Niels Engel – Creation/Evolution (2017) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Niels Engel – Creation/Evolution (2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz  | Time – 59:35 minutes | 1,16 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Double Moon Records

Luxembourg has no longer been a tax haven for the nouveau rich or a dwarf state for quite some time. The President of the European Commission is currently from the Grand Duchy with its only 115, 000 citizens and also has one of the most vital jazz scenes in Europe. The multi-instrumentalist Pol Belardi plays a major role in this and also attracts international attention to the amazingly creative biotope that has developed there in the triangle between Germany, France and Belgium over the past 15 years. Belardi is representative of his fellow countrymen without any musical blinkers and his curious interest in all styles and influences, with which he was more or less predestined to see beyond his own horizon. The fact that the 27 year-old e-bass player, who can also play piano, vibraphone and drums, also applies this attitude to jazz helps this genre to develop a fresh, modern, international and future-oriented perspective, especially in times of increasing self-confinement and withdrawing into a shell.

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Nguyen Le – Songs of Freedom (2011) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44,1kHz]

Nguyên Lê – Songs of Freedom (2011)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz  | Time – 01:10:18 minutes | 800 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © ACT Music

A collection of his favourite songs of freedom: Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” sits alongside hits from Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin, Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton and the Beatles, whose “Eleanor Rigby” and “Come Together” frame the album. The French-Vietnamese guitarist Nguyên Lê proves, like no other musician, that globalisation doesn’t always have to mean cultural homogenisation but that it can also create something new with its own quality. Since he became the first exclusive ACT artist in 1993, after “Jazzpana”, he has developed, fully in the sense of the equally cosmopolitan thinking label founder Siggi Loch, to become a great ‘music ethnologist’ in jazz. There is hardly any music region with its styles, characteristics and exceptional representatives which has not awakened his interest and which he hasn’t transformed into one of his ever self-enclosed cultural puzzles. Particularly on the four ACT albums released so far with the enchanting singer Huong Thanh, he has dedicated himself to Vietnamese stories as well as Far Eastern sounds (“Saiyuki”, ACT 9483-2) and the Maghreb (“Maghreb & Friends”, ACT 9261-2) and, in the pioneering Trio E_L_B with Peter Erskine and Michel Benita, he reinterpreted the classic trio format in jazz.

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Neil Young – Dead Man (Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture) (1996/2019) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44,1kHz]

Neil Young – Dead Man (Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture) (1996/2019)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz  | Time – 01:02:16 minutes | 646 MB | Genre: Soundtrack
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Vapor Records

Dead Man is one of those unusual (and often legendary) soundtracks that a director or fan simply “hands over” to a jazz or folk star who improvises to the film that has already been edited. Released in 1996, Jim Jarmusch’s feature film tells the story of the wanderings of William Blake (Johnny Depp) and the Indian Nobody (Gary Farmer) through the Wild West in the late 19th century. Neil Young’s music is light years away from the epic scores found in the golden era of Hollywood westerns and is instead based on just the electric guitar, which is only replaced by an organ for the duration of one track (Organ Solo). The haunting sound of the electric guitar together with the magnificent black and white film plays a key part in creating Dead Man’s strange and psychedelic atmosphere, which is why there are six Guitar Solos on the soundtrack. Sensual, tortured and endearing, Neil Young’s guitar seems bewitched by the film’s visuals and he makes full use of effects like reverberation, distortion and delay. It is rare to find music so physically connected to a film and the marginality of the characters. Among the album’s bravura pieces are the lyrical Solo No.5 (which is almost 15 minutes long), as well as Solo No.6, whose effects sound like the cries of an injured animal. The track ends with the very poignant repetition of two simple notes, and with that the film ends too. It should also be pointed out that there are passages interspersed throughout the album during which Johnny Depp recites poems by William Blake. – Nicolas Magenham

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Neal Sawyer – Ballads of the Mortal (2019) [Official Digital Download 24bit/48kHz]

Neal Sawyer – Ballads of the Mortal (2019)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz  | Time – 40:45 minutes | 474 MB | Genre: Folk Rock, Indie Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Salvation Recording Company

Singer and songwriter Neal Sawyer with influences from Nick Cave, Johnny Cash, The Doors and Spacemen 3, Neal Sawyer describes his music as gothic country. His first album, ‘Ballads of the Mortal‘ released from lable Salvation Recording Company.

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Berliner Philharmoniker – Daniel Harding conducts Schumann’s “Scenes from Goethe’s Faust” 2013 1080p WEB-DL AAC2.0 H.264-CHDWEB

Over time how many composers have had a try at Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Faust – and have failed more or less honourably! Robert Schumann is generally named as one of them. After all, with Scenes from Goethe’s Faust he wrote a work between 1844 and 1853 that until the present has led a shadowy existence in concert halls. But wait! Did Schumann truly shipwreck in compositional terms in grappling with the German tragedy for that reason alone? Or was his music quite simply not (yet) understood – then or now – by his contemporaries and by ensuing ages?

For Nikolaus Harnoncourt, who originally was to conduct this concert in the Berlin Philharmonie, Schumann’s Faust Scenes“are among the greatest music that there is.” Unfortunately, the conductor had to cancel his guest appearance with the Philharmoniker. Fortunately, Daniel Harding agreed to stand in for him.

Christian Gerhaher, Dorothea Röschmann and Luca Pisaroni take on the roles of Faust, Gretchen and Mephistopheles. In addition to other top class soloists, the singers include the Rundfunkchor Berlin in the performance of a work which moves between incidental music, cantata and secular oratorio. These are optimal prerequisites to (re-)discover – in Nikolaus Harnoncourt’s words – “the enigmatic, transcendental, ambiguous” in Schumann’s Faust music.

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Berliner Philharmoniker – Daniel Harding conducts Mahler’s Symphony No. 10 2013 1080p WEB-DL AAC2.0 H.264-CHDWEB

Not one but two great conductors took the young Daniel Harding under their wing at the beginning of his career: Sir Simon Rattle and Claudio Abbado. Rattle, then heading up the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, was so enthusiastic about a CD recording made by the young man, just 17 at the time, that he made him his assistant. A position as assistant to Claudio Abbado and the Berliner Philharmoniker followed; Harding first conducted the orchestra in 1996. Meanwhile the British conductor, now music director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and principal guest conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, has made an international career and is considered one of the most promising conductors of the younger generation.Gustav Mahler’s Tenth Symphony has accompanied him at key milestones in his career, such as his debuts with the Vienna Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Mahler began the composition of this work, whose first movement links musically to the last movement of the Ninth Symphony, in the summer of 1910, profoundly shaken by his marital crisis with Alma Mahler. He was not to finish his Tenth Symphony: when he died in May 1911 he left it behind as a fragment. Only the first movement, Adagio, existed as a draft score and was incorporated into the Critical Complete Edition. Notwithstanding, the existing sketches have tempted musicologists to create a version appropriate for concert performance. The “performing version” of the British musicologist Deryck Cooke – not uncontroversial in professional circles – is the reconstruction of this symphony that is played most often.

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Berliner Philharmoniker – Daniel Harding conducts Mahler’s Sixth Symphony 2014 1080p WEB-DL AAC2.0 H.264-CHDWEB

Gustav Mahler composed his Sixth Symphony from 1903 to 1905. After conducting the work’s premiere in Essen in 1906, Mahler undertook to revise the musical text, leaving the question open as to the order in which the two middle movements are to be played. With its four-movement structure and a first movement whose exposition is to be repeated as prescribed by the composer, the Sixth Symphony superficially follows the classical form, unlike any of Mahler’s other symphonies. The composer was nevertheless convinced that the piece would “pose riddles only to be solved by a generation which has assimilated and digested my first five symphonies.”

Indeed, because of its complex movement structure and innovative expressive depth, it was the Sixth Symphony that has given future generations the most difficulty. The Finale places particular demands on both musicians and audience: its abrupt ending, which throws into question the course of the movement until that point, has led to the epithet Tragic being conferred upon the symphony. Mahler’s Sixth Symphony is conducted at these concerts by Daniel Harding, conductor laureate of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra.

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Berliner Philharmoniker – Daniel Harding and Frank Peter Zimmermann 2016 1080p WEB-DL AAC2.0 H.264-CHDWEB

Daniel Harding, who began his career as Sir Simon Rattle’s assistant with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra before assisting Claudio Abbado with the Berliner Philharmoniker, has placed Antonín Dvořák’s passionate Concert Overture Othello at the beginning of these Philharmoniker concerts – an ideal “opener”, followed by an exciting premiere of Magnus Lindberg’s new violin concerto. That’s because Lindberg is considered among the most virtuoso orchestral composers of the present day: “It is not about making a manifesto. Music is something which is about emotion! It is an experience.” The soloist is violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann, who has many contemporary works in his repertoire: “As violinist I would like to bring to life the new ideas that a composer from our time has brought forth.”

After the interval, Daniel Harding conducts the Boulez classic Mémoriale (… explosante-fixe … Originel) for flute and eight instruments, in which the soundscape broken like a prism into the most varied instrumental colours leads to silence at the end. The programme ends with Robert Schumann’s Second Symphony, a piece which consistently heads for its triumphant Finale. The successful premiere took place on 5 November 1847: “In this work,” the journalist Alfred Dörffel wrote in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, “the composer reached a new high point in his oeuvre.”

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