URI CAINE ENSEMBLE | Love Fugue: Schumann (Winter & Winter)
Following on from their previous sets devoted to Wagner and Mahler, Munich label owner Stefan Winter and New York pianist Uri Caine bring another great Romantic composer tumbling down to earth. Caine's post-modern interpretations of Robert Schumann, featuring gospel vocals and poetry raps, are interspersed between movements of the Klavier Quartett, op 47, played (straight) by the string quartet of La Gaia Scienza. Whether the twain ever meet is debatable, but it's bold and imaginative all the same. And, as usual, the packaging is a work of art on its own. Bach's 'Goldberg' Variations are next for the chop, released later this year.
OMARA PORTUONDO | Buena Vista Social Club (World Circuit)
Though you may be tiring of the current craze for cryogenic Cubans, this release by vocalist Portuondo - who was featured in Wim Wenders' 1998 movie, Buena Vista Social Club - is a genuinely superior product, with a greater stylistic range than usual. A bolero version of George and Ira Gershwin's "The Man I Love" is a particular joy - like Billie Holiday in Spanish - and the stark arrangement for string quartet on track four's habanera is stunning. The lush, nightclubby, string arrangements - like EMI's Norrie Paramor gone tropical - are a delight throughout.Reuse content