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To buy any of these titles e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 202-364-1919
RECENT POP & FOLK
Eleanor Friedberger’s first solo album, Last Summer, came out two years ago and has remained one of my favorites since. There’s something about her voice which is perfect for her narrative songs; off-handed but passionate as she recounts wonderful details. Personal Record has a fuller, pop/rock-ish feel and the exuberant arrangements bring out even more personality in her songs.
Note: Friedberger will perform on Thursday, June 27 at the U Street Music Hall.
Once I Was an Eagle
(Ribbon Records, $13.98)
Once I Was an Eagle is Laura Marling’s fourth album, though she is only 23 years old. It is her best yet—and I would recommend them all. Marling comes out of the British folk tradition and her singing, guitar playing, and songwriting are first rate. Guitar and voice are in the foreground while subtle cello, percussion and keyboards chime in.
John Mellencamp, Stephen King, and T Bone Burnett
Ghost Brothers of Darkland County
(Hear Music, $15.98; deluxe hardback version, $49.99)
For this “Southern Gothic supernatural musical,” John Mellencamp wrote the music and lyrics; Stephen King wrote the libretto; and T Bone Burnett served as the musical director. Now comes an all-star recording with Rosanne Cash, Sheryl Crow, Kris Kristofferson, Neko Case, Taj Mahal, and Dave and Phil Alvin, plus Elvis Costello as the Devil. There are also snippets of dialogue from the musical performed by Matthew McConaughey, Meg Ryan and others.
The Idan Raichel Project
Quarter to Six
Every Israeli customer I’ve spoken to knows the music of Idan Raichel and, as he’s toured the States in the last few years, the keyboardist and singer now has an ever growing following here as well. I loved his previous CD, The Tel Aviv Session, which was in collaboration with Vieux Farka Touré. On the new album, Touré is featured on one song; other songs feature Portuguese fado star Ana Moura, Palestinian-Israeli singer Mira Awad, and German counter-tenor Andreas Scholl.
BENJAMIN BRITTEN CENTENNIAL
This is Benjamin Britten’s centennial year (he was born November 22), so many new recordings and important reissues, as well as books, concerts and festivals, will be on offer. Here are two worthy new releases:
(EMI Classics, $16.98)
Tenor Ian Bostridge has recorded wonderful Britten before: Les Illuminations, for one, and roles in The War Requiem, Billy Budd, and The Rape of Lucretia. Here Bostridge sings Winter Words, Michelangelo Sonnets, Six Höldering Fragments, and the lesser-known Who Are These Children. He is accompanied by Antonio Pappano on piano and, on Songs from the Chinese, guitarist Xuefei Yang.
Howard Shelley and Tasmin Little
Britten: Piano Concerto & Violin Concerto
This is an inspired coupling of pieces: Howard Shelley plays the Piano Concerto (1938, revised in 1945—there’s a bonus track with Britten’s original third movement, “Recitative and Aria”) and Tasmin Little plays the Violin Concerto (1939, revised 1958). The BBC Philharmonic accompanies with Edward Gardner conducting.