31. March 2015 · Comments Off on Offers I Receive · Categories: (p)Reviews™, Books, Recommendations

I get emails from a variety of places. Some offer me free tickets to concerts so far away I write back and accept and ask if they provide the plane tickets. Yeah, I’m goofy sometimes! Others are for rap or heavy metal artists. I don’t usually reply to those, but sometimes I write back asking what caused them to ask me if I’m interested. I never receive responses. I’ve been invited to movie previews and a variety of other events. Most are in New York and they’ve never sent me plane tickets so I’ve never gone. Others are asking me to listen to a CD or read a book. I very rarely agree to do this any longer: I simply don’t have the time and I sure don’t need more stuff around the house! I tried for a time and I realized what WORK reviewing can be. Not my cup ‘o tea, really.

Recently, though, I was asked to take a look and listen to the book Sleep Softly; Classical Lullabies by Brahms, Schuber, Satie, Debussy … and I was intrigued enough to accept the book and CD. I’m currently listening to the music for the second time. This book will be available on May 1, 2015.


The group playing the music is L’Ensemble Agora. The music is sweetly arranged, and I enjoyed listening. The writing in the book seems geared more toward older readers rather than the little ones. The illustrations by Élodie Nouhen would appeal to children and adults alike. Most importantly … drum roll … you can hear oboe and English horn! 🙂


Reading the info about the company that put this out I read “In 2014, The Secret Mountain, publisher of beautifully produced children’s books and music from around the world, released the Parents’ Choice Gold Award winning storybook-music CD Simply Fantastic: An Introduction to Classical Music. The first title from that collection, Listen to the Birds, also won national awards and acclaim the previous year.”

They have a variety of series: Lullabies and Nursery Rhymes from Around the World (five books), Dream Songs Night Songs from Around the World (three books), Sing Along Songs (six books), Lullabies (three books), and Stories and Songs (seven books), along with the Classical Music (three books) that includes the one in my possession.

If I had young children I am fairly sure I’d be buying more of these books. This one is charming.

To see more go to The Secret Mountain.

I think this would be a fantastic gift for many! Christmas is not that far away. 🙂

Countertenor Andreas Scholl Returns to Decca with All-New Recording of Purcell

O Solitude is Andreas Scholl’s First-Ever Recording of the Music of Purcell, Available November 23, 2010

“There are more excellent countertenors before the public today than ever before, but one of them stands out above all others… Andreas Scholl” – Fanfare

You can catch bits of the CD here.

I received an advance copy of the CD*. I have to tell you this is one mighty wonderful disk. Scholl is just incredible. What a beautiful, pure sound he has. So incredibly musical. I was pretty darn mesmerized. And the orchestra sounds wonderful as well. Really.

I’d love to pick a favorite number, but I think that would be ridiculous. Like picking a favorite child, you know? So I guess I won’t go there.

My birthday is in November. I’m going to call this CD my birthday present. It is music to feed me for a very long time. 🙂

What Power art thou
(the cold song)

What power art thou, who from below
Hast made me rise unwillingly and slow
From beds of everlasting snow
See’st thou not (how stiff) and wondrous old
Far unfit to bear the bitter cold,
I (can scarcely move or draw my breath)
Let me, let me freeze again to death.

I suspect this is the album version:

I think I favor this one:

27. October 2010 · Comments Off on Cecilia Bartoli: Sospiri · Categories: (p)Reviews™, Videos

Disclaimer: Yes, I received this download for free and yes, it’s a perk of owning this blog.*

I’m not a reviewer. Not even close. I don’t hear the way a good reviewer hears — or at least I don’t believe I do — and I don’t use all those adjectives they like to use either. (I don’t have an “adjective card file” like I think some of them must have!) But if I hear something I like I like to let you know. In case you want to like it too. So I’m starting “(p)Reviews™” here … some will be of things that are already out, but some will be soon to be coming out recordings, thus the (p) … or maybe I just like the way that looks. You choose.

I’m currently listening to Cecilia Bartoli’s CD Sospiri which came out early this month. It’s incredibly lovely. The orchestra sounds fabulous. She sounds fabulous.

And it makes me wish I had a better voice. But oh well!

I’m in love with Handel’s “Lascia la spina cogli la rosa”. You should be too.

It’s an incredible work. (The above isn’t from the recording, but just what I was able to find on YouTube.) But, really, everything on the album appeals to me. Especially in my mood at the moment. If I read correctly, “Sospiri” means “sighs”. And I’m sort of in that kind of mood right now. Go figure.

Now below this is “Lascia ch’io pianga” … and since I know so little about vocal music I puzzle over this; it is the same tune as “Lascia la spina cogli la rosa” … so who out there can explain this to me? And she sings the words “Lascia la spina cogli la rosa” in both. Hmm. I’m puzzled. (Yeah, I should just google the darn thing, but I have work to do here!) Maybe it’s just that one is just a portion of the other? But they are both about the same length. Hmmm and double hmmm.

Here’s the official video about the release. It’s a bit much for me. I’m really not into all this sort of theatrical stuff they’ve got going on. (Go figure #2, eh?) Do we really need all this extra “stuff” to make this beautiful music appeal to us? I don’t think so.

There are a few moments when I do think, “Hmmm. Self-indulgent?” But what do I know? I’m only an oboe player! 🙂

*Yes. For free. We are supposed to make this clear here in BlogLand™ according to the FCC. Why reviewers who get free tickets to performances they attend don’t have to state that in their reviews in papers seems weird to weird old me. We, who aren’t doing this as a job have to state “Hey, I got this for free!” Why don’t they have to state that, I wonder?