The compact collection

M J COLE | Sincere UP, BUSTLE & OUT | Rebel Radio Master Sessions 1 MIRANDA SEX GARDEN | Carnival of Souls
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The Independent Culture

IL COMPLESSO BAROCCO | Ferrari - Il Sansone (Virgin Veritas)

IL COMPLESSO BAROCCO | Ferrari - Il Sansone (Virgin Veritas)

If you think you don't know Ferrari you'll be in for a surprise with this disc; Amanti, io vi dire and the silky duet Pur ti miro are apparently not by Monteverdi but by Ferrari. Much of the disc is in fact a kind of Monteverdi-lite - though Ferrari's shorter pieces employ many Monteverdian affects they rarely achieve that exquisite tension. But Il Sansone is a fine example of 17th-century religious musical drama, with a clear dramatic drive and some delicious moments. Il Complesso Barocco lack the cohesion they achieved in their earlier disc of Lotti madrigals - the individual voices of the ensemble differ widely in quality - but soprano Roberta Invernizzi (Dalila) and bass Carlo Lepore (Sansone) make a handsome couple. By Anna Picard

URI CAINE ENSEMBLE | The Goldberg Variations (Winter & Winter)

Those aware of the American pianist's previous re-compositions of Mahler, Wagner and Schumann will have an idea of what to expect from this eccentric distressing of J S Bach's keyboard masterpiece. Over 2 CDs, Caine puts Bach through the po-mo grinder. There are lounge-jazz, bossa nova and klezmer variations; funk, poetry, and drum'n'bass variations; even more-or-less authentic Bach variations. The cast of musicians includes hot New York jazz players Don Byron, Greg Osby and Ralph Alessi, along with 'straight' acts like the Kettwiger Bach Ensemble and Quartetto Italiano di Viole da Gamba. Nobody will find absolutely everything to their taste, but in terms of ambition, reach, and sheer musical savvy, this is a strong candidate for album of the year already, in any genre you like. By PJ

FISCHER-DIESKAU | Great Moments of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (EMI)

Many singers get their 15 years of fame but, with the exception of the phenomenally photogenic Callas, none has made quite such a lasting impression on the 20th century as Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. Fischer-Dieskau's career blazed the trail for an era of vocal versatility that has been continued by Bonney, Graham and Von Otter. Obviously there are quite a few great moments that haven't found their way onto this compilation but these three discs do show his unique flexibility - not just in adapting to the different demands of opera, oratorio and lieder (one disc per musical form), but in his responses to the slightest changes of mood and colour. This is poetic singing - utterly word-driven and totally absorbing. AP