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Category:    Home > Reviews > Classical Music > Ballet > Biography > Rock > Music Industry > Counterculture > Opera > Drama > Slavery > Co > Kinks: Arthur Or The Decline and Fall of The British Empire (1969/Pye/BMG/ABKCO CD Set)/Korngold: Symphony In F Sharp/Wilson (Chandros Records*/***)/Tomba sonora/Kristin Bolstad/Stemmeklang (2L/(***bo

Art Of Ohad Naharin, V. 2 (BelAir*/**)/David Crosby: Remember My Name (2019/Sony Blu-ray)/Gomez's Lo Schiavo (Dynamic**/*Blu-rays)/Humble Pie: Life & Times Of Steve Marriott + 1973 Complete Winterland Show (2019/MVD/Cleopatra Blu-ray w/DVD+ CD)/Kinks: Arthur Or The Decline and Fall of The British Empire (1969/Pye/BMG/ABKCO CD Set)/Korngold: Symphony In F Sharp/Wilson (Chandros Records*/***)/Tomba sonora/Kristin Bolstad/Stemmeklang (2L/(***both)Super Audio CD/SA-CD/SACD + Blu-ray/**all 2019 Naxos)

Picture: B-/B/B-/B- & C+/X/X/X Sound: B/B-/B/C+ C+ B-/B/B/B+ B B-/B+ (11.1) & B (DTS/PCM) Extras: C/B-/C/B/B/C-/C Main Programs: B-/B/B/B/B/B/x

Up next is a really diversified group of very interesting music releases for you to know about....

We start with The Art Of Ohad Naharin, V. 2 (2019, we missed the first part) of new ballet works that are postmodern, deconstructionist and trying to be challenging in new ways but the choreographer, with the Paris-based Batsheva Dance Company, The Young Ensemble. Dubbed Sadeh21, this runs 72 minutes and you either like this kind of ballet or you do not. If you do, it is worth a look.

Cameron Crowe's documentary/biography David Crosby: Remember My Name (2019) captures the singer.musician/songwriter at a rough time in his life where he is touring and recording as a solo artist, but has lost all of his major friends, alienating them with all kinds of bad behavior, but he has always had such character flaws as we find out when we see him go from a child, to a teen, to a musician and land up in four of the great groups ever: Buffalo Springfield, The Byrds, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, then Crosby, Still & Nash. And that's just the music.

With rare stills, great film and video footage (including his own home movies) we learn of his private live, loves, drug use, famous friends, ahead of his time political positions & protests, a look inside the music industry as well as the creative community that was so extremely prolific. A ton of great music is licensed for this and scholar/fan Crowe known exactly where to go, what to do and what questions to ask.

This runs an impressive 93 minutes and could have been longer (as the supplements show), but it is a fine work about a flawed-but-extremely-talented man who has also been very, very lucky. Definitely a must-see!

Antonio Carlos Gomez's Lo Schiavo (2019) is a somewhat dark opera about life, slavery and death that takes place in Brazil circa 1567, so an unexpected love affair eventually enters the picture, but this is far from a romantic piece and runs a long 138 minutes, so be sure to have the energy to sit through it. However, it is true to its source and story and works well enough, though it may not be for everyone.

John Neschling conducts the music, Davide Garattini Raimondi directs and was taped at the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, with singers including Svetla Vassileva, Massimiliano Pisapia and Andrea Borghini. It is good enough that I look forward to seeing what all involved will do next.

Humble Pie: Life & Times Of Steve Marriott + 1973 Complete Winterland Show (2019) compiles the life and work of one of the most underrated singers, guitarists and writers in all of music, who started with the great British band The Small Faces, then found himself in Humble Pie, where he was able to get even more wild and political, succeeding in making the transition from a successful child movie actor to Rock star. The interviews in the main documentary (now a few years old) are excellent, as is the rare still, film footage, video footage (they add faux sprocket holes to most of the 1.33 X 1 footage, even on the video where it does not belong) and in an interesting move, allow music performances to play in their entirety.

Thus, they include an isolated music track for the purpose of enjoying that, but we learn of more twists and turns in his life, including a horrible death at a young age. His best work is the work not played enough, the played out songs at least show how popular he was at his peaks. It is a look inside the industry that is as welcome as any (including the David Crosby documentary above) and interviewees extend from his close friends (many of whom were musicians) to members of bands like Cheap Trick, The Black Crows and Ratt, plus Peter Frampton (particularly well spoken here) and John Waite.

It is still a bit short at 67 minutes (I could have thought of a few more questions or a few more people for them to talk to), but this is well done and highly recommended, including with all of its extras. Nice set and worth your time.

It is the 50th Anniversary of The Kinks: Arthur Or The Decline and Fall of The British Empire (1969), a concept album that actually came out of a TV project that fell through. Originally, the band was going to team up with the Granada Network in the U.K. and produce a special about the title character written by Julian Mitchell (he had just co-wrote Stanley Donen's spy thriller Arabesque (1966, reviewed elsewhere on this site) and episodes later of Inspector Morse among other works) and why it fell through seems to be unknown, but I hope we hear more about this at some point.

Being one of the greatest of all the British Invasion Rock Bands, The Kinks too were getting into more complex music as were their contemporaries that same year like The Beatles (Abbey Road), The Rolling Stones (Let It Bleed) and The Who (Tommy), so this was a chance to show their sense of complex narrative, wit and still create more great Rock music. I had always wanted to hear this album in its entirety, but it was somehow missing several years ago now from the big first cycle of excellent Super Audio CDs of the band we covered at this link:


There was a time when music was made for smart people all the time, to challenge the listener and expect they had a brain, so it is always a pleasure to hear any concept album, the most underrated of all music undertakings, still ahead of tis time and still frustrating the listener who has zero desire to listen to anything else but shallow fluff. This album requires some serious attention, concentration and rewards it like the best concept album releases. Though the band may not have had the commercial and critical success of their counterparts that lasted into the 1970s, the quality of the music was just as good and Arthur is as smart as Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon or The Wall in its look at the more problematic side of British life and living.

Though this 2-CD set is fine, a 4-disc box set (including one with another extra on the band's website) has also been issued, so you have several choices if interested to enjoy and take on a remarkable work.

For even more on the band, try this link:


Erich Wolfgang Korngold: Symphony In F Sharp is John Wilson's impressive new multi-channel recording of the legendary film music composers work off-screen in a new Super Audio CD edition from Chandros Records (2019) with the title work, Symphony, Op. 40, Theme and Variations, Op. 42 and Straussiana. This runs about an hour and is as rich and strong as all the music he is so famous for making for classic hit movies.

That it does not sound dated and is as strong as ever is a testament to his composing and as I just did with a recent Franz Waxman release (also on SA-CD elsewhere on this site), it is always great to hear music film composers made on their own. I hope this is a continuing cycle, because we need it and getting all this lesser-heard music reintroduced is always a pleasure. This was made with the Sinfonia of London and is highly recommended.

Finally we have a nice surprise, Tomba sonora with Kristin Bolstad and Stemmeklang (2019) that is recorded entirely in a mausoleum (Emanuel Vigeland) placing the wall of vocals against the largess and limits and shape of the interior and getting remarkable results, which will remind some of the music in the climax of Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) for those familiar with the film.

Outside of that, it does not sound like religious music or something merely spiritual, but the five compositions are amazing in their blending of voices, harmonies and the like are very smart, creative, interesting, sometimes creepy and always engaging. Out of the several such Super Audio CD/Blu-ray sets the 2L Records label has issued with multiple audio options and trying something new and different with instrumentals and classical music, this is my favorite release so far.

It makes for a great demo and is also very enjoyable on its won. It may be too much for some, but others will appreciate it and its a great selection for all serious audiophiles or home theater fans.

Now for playback performance. As for picture quality, the 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on Art has some motion blur at times, but is still very watchable, while the 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on Crosby can show the age of the older materials used, but has the best playback performance here.

The 1080i/60 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Schiavo also has some motion blur, as does the 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on Humble, but it also has older footage here looking as good as it can. Much of it is old standard definition PAL analog video. The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on the Humble DVD is softer still, but fine for the old format.

With the other three releases having no video, we go to sound and start with the Blu-ray of Tomba, which has demo moments with its impressive 48 kHz Dolby Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 for older systems) sound mix, then also has 96kHz Auro 11.1 (this will play in DTS on non-Auro receivers, which includes the vast majority in the U.S. market as of this posting). It is as sonically impressive as anything here and IO like what they did with the program and sonics, also focusing on the limits and opportunities of the acoustics of where they recorded this album.

It also boasts another new audio format we'll explore later called MQA-CD, apparently on the regular CD tracks on the Super Audio CD disc also included, will unleash master audio quality form them ala HDCD. We'll look into that later, but the regular PCM 2.0 Stereo CD tracks are not bad on their own, but the DSD (Direct Stream Digital) 5.1 is best here and the DSD 2.0 Stereo is somewhere in between. Cheers to 2L for pushing the sonic limits and limits of every format they can get their hands on.

Korngold is also a Super Audio CD with a fine DSD (Direct Stream Digital) 5.1 mixc that rivals Tomba, then has decent DSD 2.0 Stereo and PCM 2.0 Stereo that is almost as good, in descending order. Korngold fans will be very happy.

The 2.0 Stereo on the Humble and Kinks CDs are as good as they can be, though I wish Kinks was an SA-CD, but they are fine otherwise and show their age in limited ways. Strangely, the Blu-ray and DVD on Humble have lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 sound, which is fine, but I again wish Cleopatra would use lossless sound on their Blu-rays.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on Crosby, Art and Schiavo all sound as good as they can, but Crosby has some older monophonic audio, slight location audio issues in a few spots and expected flaws in older material. It is what we do expect from documentaries, however, so no surprise and is it fine otherwise. Art and Schiavo also have PCM 2.0 Stereo tracks that are fine, but not as good as their DTS-MA 5.1 counterparts.

Extras include booklets in every release except Crosby and Humble, but that adds Extended Interviews, an Original Theatrical Trailer, Asbury Park Film Festival Q&A with Crosby & Crowe and Deleted and Extended Scenes, we count the extra albums on Humble (that also has Extended Interviews and hidden features) and Kinks (with bonus tracks on the original album) as extras and the booklets that we have all offer tech info, informative text (sometimes in several languages) and essays.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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