Elaine Kreston & Ray Regan TranslucenT (www.elainekreston.com)
The music is gentle and meditative, with expansive soundscapes that softly explore the more reclusive aspects of human consciousness. Featuring the cello of Elaine Kreston, the disc also draws on the multi-dimensional talents of co-composer Ray Regan, whose artworks, soundworks and video bridge the natural and digital dimensions.
Regan's guitars, mandolin, banjo, keyboards, samples, percussion, agavatar and didjeridu bathe Kreston's cello in radiant, soft-hued light. While the compositions, which exploit the cello's natural sound, lean toward the ruminative, they also celebrate the power of mind and music to incorporate the blessed peace of higher planes into the less than certain realities of our 21st century realm. It's a mellow trip, free from strife save for a mild case of digital stridency that denies Kreston's instrument the natural richness it deserves. Lovely stuff.
Chamber Orchestra of Europe Beethoven Triple Concerto: Rondo in B flat, Choral Fantasy (Warner Classics)
It boggles the mind that Beethoven's glorious Triple Concerto for violin (Thomas Zehetmair), cello (Clemens Hagen), piano (Pierre-Laurent Aimard) and orchestra (Chamber Orchestra of Europe conducted by the great authentic instrument pioneer Nikolaus Harnoncourt) received only one performance in his lifetime. The work's failure, blamed on indifferent soloists, would never have occurred had Beethoven been honored by musicians of this level.
Soloists and conductors clearly love Beethoven's tuneful treat. Phrases are voiced with increasing subtlety as gentle shadings and tender caresses nimbly pass from one instrument to the other. The rapt spirituality of the meditative middle movement leads immediately into an energetic, joyful finale that makes one want to hit repeat.
The Choral Fantasia in C minor sometimes sounds like a warmup for the glorious "Ode to Joy" of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, giving naive hints of the masterpiece to come.