Bought at Goodwill:
John McLaughlin, Al DiMeola, Paco de Lucia - Friday Night in San Francisco
R Strauss - Vier letzte Lieder; 6 Orchestral Songs (Jessye Norman, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig/Kurt Masur
The Rolling Stones - Steel Wheels: Not bad at all; at first listen it was all so damn *formulaic* but as repeat hearings revealed that's not that bad a thing. It is frontloaded, though; the first three tracks are the best on the disc and if you don't like "Continental Drift" (which rips off the first part of A Love Supreme) you'd be well off just to switch it off after "Almost Hear You Sigh" as it limps to the finish. Frankly I was surprised to see the reviews praise "Rock and a Hard Place". It's one of my least-favorites on the album: goes on forever, overproduced and *bright*, with neither melody nor groove to speak of, with cringey lyrics, and with the kind of breakdown that you know was written to be the end-of-set audience-participation number. What does "Slipping Away" have that "Sleep Tonight" doesn't? It's more melodic but more boring, and "Sleep Tonight" was a great album closer.
The Rolling Stones - Flashpoint: Well I can say I've heard this now, and never put it on again.
Miles Davis - Pangaea: The first disc ("Zimbabwe") is great; unfortunately the second ("Gondwana") is marred by numerous long stretches of nothing happening, including the entire second half. I wouldn't put it very high in my Miles rankings but the first track is altogether good. BTW, like my copy of A Passion Play and my CD copy of Ein Alpeinsinfonie each disc consists of one long track. C'mon, you could at least split it into the two sides. The divisions are audible.
Dexter Gordon - Go: Great disc; every track is wonderful. I don't think I had ever heard of pianist Sonny Clark before this recording and he meshes very well with Gordon's soulful style: the two play great together. (I may be overrating him because he's a nice surprise and I had never heard of him, so his playing is in the nature of a discovery.) If I had to choose a "worst" track it would be "Love for Sale", if simply because I compare every version I hear to the Somethin' Else recording. (Hey Pugs -- why didn't you like this album again?)
J.J. Johnson/Kai Winding/Bennie Green - Trombone by Three: Three sessions, each led by one of the trombonists, of four tracks each. The Johnson session just isn't very good; it's more democratic in that the trombone contends with the piano, tenor sax, trumpet, and Max Roach with solo time. Winding is a lot more noticeable in his set, and Green (never heard of him before) commands his. If Johnson's tone can be described as marble-mouthed and Winding's, clear and open, Green is ####ing clarion. The first track of his I wasn't paying attention and thought it was a trumpet! A bit of a slipshod release but all in all entertaining -- not much more than that, though.
Handel - Keyboard Suites 1-8 (Sviatoslav Richter, Andrei Gavrilov)
Handel - Keyboard Suites 9-16; Beethoven - Piano Sonata 17 (Sviatoslav Richter, Andrei Gavrilov): I'm writing this well after the fact so the individual suites are pretty indistinct in my head. First of all, the performances are excellent. They're *keyboard*, not piano or even harpsichord suites, and they're played like it. The actual music all in all is really good. There are a few duffers but with sixteen separate works, a good five or six exceptional, that's to be expected. They're more tuneful than Bach's similar works and don't conform as rigidly to the sonata di camera framework. Really everything about these discs is recommended. It's head-scratching that the Beethoven is here but it's a very good performance.
Handel - Keyboard Suites 5, 3, 2, Chaconne; D Scarlatti - seven keyboard sonatas (Murray Perahia): Well-reviewed, and very well-played; the Handel suites, though, don't quite do it for me. Perahia is *very* pianistic throughout, which actually suits the Scarlatti great, but in Handel the lines are blurred and the suites often sound like a series of movements without the connective tissue of links between movements that Richter and Gavrilov give so well. No unity. I have no complaints about the Handel chaconne or the Scarlatti sonatas.
Schoenberg, Berg, Webern - Music for String Quartet (LaSalle Quartet): Have only listened to the four numbered Schoenberg quartets so far (of which my opinions are found below) and I've heard the third disc -- a very early Schoenberg quartet, a very early Webern quartet; Webern's five movements for string quartet, six bagatelles, and string quartet with opus number -- once. It'll take an adjustment (to Webern) that hasn't come yet. The fourth disc has Berg, which should be more amiable.
Tchaikovsky - Swan Lake (complete) (Bolshoi Orchestra/Yuri Feier)
Tchaikovsky - Sleeping Beauty (complete) (Orchestre de la Suisse Romande/Ernest Ansermet)
Tchaikovsky - Romeo & Juliet; 1812 Overture; Capriccio italien (Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam/Paul van Kempen)
Berlioz - Roméo et Juliette (extraits d'orchestre de la 2ème partie); Tchaikovsky - Romeo & Juliet (NBC Symphony Orchestra/Arturo Toscanini)
Tchaikovsky - 1812 Overture; Berlioz - Hungarian March; Liszt - Hungarian Rhapsody 2; Sibelius - Valse Triste; Weber - Invitation to the Dance (Philharmonai Orchestra/Herbert von Karajan)
Tchaikovsky - Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty suites (Philharmonia/Herbert von Karajan)
Tchaikovsky - Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty suites (Vienna Philharmonic/Herbert von Karajan)
Tchaikovsky - The Nutcracker (excerpts) (Chicago SO/Fritz Reiner)
Tchaikovsky - Swan Lake (excerpts) (Phildelphia Orchestra/Eugene Ormandy)
Tchaikovsky - Piano Trio (Artur Rubinstein, Jascha Heifetz, Gregor Piatigorsky)
Hans Ørberg - Roma Æterna
Donald J. Mastronarde - Introduction to Attic Greek: finally got back to work. Doing well. Still basic stuff in Greek (chapter sixteen of forty-two) but I finished a chapter of Cornleius Nepos' -- one of the easiest of Latin authors -- biography/sketch of Hannibal. Didn't know about his post-Carthage life and death.
Will Carruthers - Playing the Bass with Three Left Hands: finally finished this, as well. Excellent book and recommended totally to any Spacemen 3 or Spiritualized fan (thanks, Oliver, for the rec!) but he leaves a misleading impression that he retired from music totally after leaving Spiritualized, finishing the book doing gruntwork in the mid '90s as if he had gone back to the land for good. He actually worked with Sonic Boom and the Brian Jonestown Massacre between then and when he wrote the book -- but I guess recouting his whole career would take too much space. I know who did the bassline on "Take Your Time" now.