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Classical Music page of Rainlore's World of Music

(2010 Archived Classical Music Page)

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Reviewed this week, the incredible Eclectica!'s Flight Of Fancy, slated for a March release. It's this wonderful jazz-string-quartet-with-a-difference's second outing on CD. Essentially a string quartet with second violin and viola replaced by two guitars, Eclectica! comprises the amazingly versatile Lizzie Ball, who is also leader and guest soloist of former enfant terrible of the classical world Nigel Kennedy's Orchestra of Light, on violin and vocals, founder member and cellist of forty years of the Lindsay String Quartet and now also with the Dante String Quartet, the legendary Bernard Gregor-Smith, and jazz guitarists and composers Pete Oxley and Nicolas Meier. How much more eclectic could you want your music? If music comes any more eclectic than Flight Of Fancy, even I have yet to hear it. This should appeal as much to the jazz fan as to the classical aficionado, and even to the world music fan and beyond.

If you have any interest at all in the wonderful accordion, last Tuesday BBC Radio 4 presented a fascinating programme titled The Big Squeeze with classical accordionist James Crabb. The programme deals with a bit of the modern history of the accordion, the amazing capabilities of the modern instrument, its importance to post-WWII Italian industry, and more. Absolutely riveting. Thanks go to fellow classical accordionist and composer Romano Viazzani for pointing the programme an link out. You have, sadly, by now just about one day left to catch up with it on BBC iPlayer.


Happy Holidays!

Rainlore's World of Music

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There's a long way to go in the campaign to save DJ Ritu's most excellent A World in London Saturday evening show on BBC London 94.9 from the axeman, David Robey, head of the station who remains adamant that the show will end from the New Year. Please join the campaign to save this fantastic world music show on Facebook, or on its new blog. Ideally, both! Please help fight this appalling travesty, and don't be put off by the form letter sent out in reply by Robey's PA - keep arguing the case! The situation may not look good, but don't give up the fight. Dropping AWIL would be a double blow to world music on the BBC as Mark Cole's World Service World of Music show will also be dropped from next March.

For more details, also see News for 2010/11/23.

Stand up for your rights as a licence payer and don't give up!

As we're getting very near the end of the year, this is as good a time as any to pick Rainlore's World of Music's albums of the year, book of the year, and a few really outstanding albums from the past decade. So here goes.


Outstanding Albums of the Past Decade:

Classical/Jazz Album of the Noughties: Eclectica! - And This Is One Of Them

Classical Album of the Noughties: Modern Guitar Orchestra (Nicolas Meier) - Vivaldi - Four Seasons

Accordion Albums of the Noughties (Triptych): Romano Viazzani - Encore; Piazzolla - Ángel Suite, Bobiç - Liturgical Suite & Viazzani takes Stok

That's it!

You can now also follow Rainlore's World of Music on Facebook!


Rainlore's World of Music

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Special: BBC plans to axe DJ Ritu's A World in London Saturday evening world music show on BBC London 94.9FM

For a great many years now the schedule of the BBC's local London radio station, BBC London 94.9 FM, has included a Saturday early evening programme that, broadly speaking, covers the realm of world music. For many years, this was the late great Charlie Gillett's The Sound of the City show, and when Charlie became too ill he passed on the reins to DJ Ritu and her A World in London show. In the nearly two years (if memory serves) that A World in London has now been running, it and indeed its superb presenter DJ Ritu have become something of a unique national institution and even national treasure, being heard far beyond the London area via the internet.

No other programme so well reflects London's - and indeed Britain's - hugely diverse multicultural population musically as AWIL. It brings the music of diverse culture to its audience, something that cannot be found elsewhere on British airwaves, and moreover all this is presented most excellently and entertainingly. Beyond that, AWIL is also highly educational and most decidedly helps broaden its audience's musical and cultural horizons. As such, DJ Ritu and her AWIL show make an invaluable contribution to not only the general culture of this country but to its multicultural society and to greater tolerance and understanding.

Now, the BBC plans to axe this most excellent programme at the end of December! This would be singular, shameful act of cultural vandalism and is simply beyond comprehension and belief.

Please support DJ Ritu and help save the wonderful programme that is A World in London. You can do so in a number of ways:

You can keep up with what is happening with Save DJ Ritu's A World in London show on BBC London on Facebook.

Please send emails of support to DJ Ritu to:

You can show your support by writing a personal email to cc'd to the Director General, also please cc to save just in case some messages get classed as spam and don't get through to the powers that be. Many thanks!

You can also lodge your complaints on the BBC Complaints - Homepage.

Emailing may also be useful.

Please help save A World in London! Unity is Power! Let's try to keep A World In London on the air and get this disgraceful decision overturned.


Rainlore's World of Music

© 2010 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.




Rainlore's World of Music is in the process of establishing a presence on Facebook, so you'll be able to keep up with all the latest from there as well soon. A presence on mySpace Music has also been planned for some time and should be implemented fairly soon.

Finally, as we are nearing the end of the year, another first for Rainlore's World of Music. For the first time, "Albums of the Year" will be selected in various categories and announced with the next update. (Only albums released during 2010 will qualify.) Also, some very special albums of the past decade (i.e., albums released during the "noughties").


Rainlore's World of Music

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Eclectica! are a group of musicians that could hardly have chosen a better name for themselves. Of very diverse musical backgrounds, their repertoir is truly eclectic. A string quartet with the second violin and viola replaced by two guitars, the members are violinist and vocalist Lizzie Ball, whose background ranges from classical though latin to pop, cellist Bernard Gregor-Smith, a legend from the classical world with a forty-year tenure with the acclaimed Lindsay String Quartet, and guitarists Nicolas Meier and Pete Oxley, both coming principally from the jazz world, with Meier strongly influenced by Turkish music and flamenco, among others. Together, they play jazz that's informed by their various backgrounds. Eclectica!'s sensational 2009 debut album, And This Is One Of Them... is reviewed. A very appetising sample track accompanies the review. Their second album is now in preparation and certainly should be something to look forward to.


Rainlore's World of Music

© 2010 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.




A special feature in the form of a television review may serve to further draw attention to the plight of the British brass band. BBC2's A Band For Britain, broadcast on consecutive Mondays this month, focused on one of the many of the remaining brass bands that are failing, the Dinnington Colliery Band, and, with the more than capable help of the unstoppable and irrepressible Sue Perkins at its helm, attempted to revive this band with a proud 100-plus year history. The programme also served as a last-minute wake up call to the peril the glorious brass band movement faces, and maybe it can serve as a rallying cry to save our glorious British brass band heritage before it's too late!


Rainlore's World of Music

© 2010 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.




One album review and an article this week hope to draw attention to two - almost - "cause celebres". The album in question is the magnificent The Music Lives On: Now The Mines Have Gone, featuring The Best Of Colliery Bands, while the article, Double Zed Music - Everything Accordion! explores one of the finest accordion resources on the web.

The Music Lives On: Now The Mines Have Gone is a compilation album featuring some of the greatest British colliery brass bands surviving today, as well as some of the finest brass band music selections. The album was released to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the end of the last great miners' strike on 3rd March 1985, as well as to celebrate the survival of the colliery bands and the brass band movement.

Sadly, however, it seems to me that celebrating the survival of the brass band movement may be a little premature when so many former colliery and other brass bands have perished since the 1980s, and many more are struggling to survive today - both financially and in attracting new membership. When even a quite well-known band from a basically fairly prosperous corner of southern England so very nearly faced extinction a few years ago, it certainly became very obvious that the whole brass band movement was facing problems. And it's not only the demise of the mining industry and its support for the colliery bands that's been at the root of these problems. Far more, and more seriously, it is changing public tastes and attitudes. Sadly, the glory days of the height of the most widespread popularity of British brass bands of the 1970s and early 80s have long gone. The days when brass band was televised regularly by the BBC, when brass band even penetrated the pop charts, when in 1977 the Brighouse & Rastrick Band scored a massive and unprecedented singles hit with The Floral Dance and were only prevented from reaching the No. 1 spot by the release of Paul McCartney's Mull of Kintyre, or when new-wave pop star Jona Lewie had a monster hit with brass band accompaniment in Stop The Cavalry that was only stopped from reaching the No. 1 spot by the sad death of John Lennon and the speedy re-release of some of his records. And who could possibly forget the 1970s Hovis Bread TV commercial with Shaftesbury's Gold Hill standing in for a road somewhere in what we were supposed to believe to be Yorkshire, with a young lad carrying a loaf up the steep hill to the unforgettable strains of the second movement of Dvorak's Symphony From The New World played by a brass band (if memory serves, the Black Dyke Mills Band?)!

Despite the occasional flashes of brilliance since those days (such as 1995's Brassed Off movie), somehow the braas band movement never quite captured the wider public imagination to anything like the same extent again. In the 1970s, there were some 20-30,000 brass bands in Britain, yet today we are left with a mere 500-1,000 perhaps, and many of those are struggling. And this is a very sad state of affairs indeed. Brass band music is not only absolutely glorious music, it's as quintessentially British as Yorkshire pudding, cheddar cheese, pork pie, the great British banger, a sense of fair play and tolerance, the glorious British landscape, excentricity, the Last Night of the Proms, the British sense of humour, jellied eel, pie and mash, fish and chips, 'warm' beer, panto, the boat race, Ascot, the Grand National, Mrs. Beeton, curry and chips, the institution of the monarchy, wippets and greyhounds, cream teas, and whatever else you might care to think of. The brass band is a British tradition and heritage to be immensely proud of and that ought to be cherished and nurtured. Isn't it time we all in Britain took more of an interest and pride in some of the best and finest traditions of the land and kept our heritage alive and well? Before it's too late?

One really has to hope that The Music Lives On: Now The Mines Have Gone, as well as the currently running BBC 2 television series A Band For Britain (about the struggles and revival of the Dinnington Brass Band, aided by irrepressable TV presenter Sue Perkins) will go some way in helping to widen popular interest in brass band music and the heritage as a whole.

Double Zed Music - Everything Accordion! explores what is probably the greatest single accordion music resource on the web, ZZ Music. Everything from accordion albums by a huge variety of artists, accordion sheet music, books and more to accordions of the highest pedigree from Claudio Beltrami.

Again, accordion music, especially in the UK, tends to be rather neglected and/or ignored. All too often, the accordion is still regarded as either something somewhat old-fashioned or "humble". Yet, neither could be further from the truth. The accordion is one of the most versatile instruments around and finds a place in just about any type of music you could think of, from folk right up to jazz and classical music - concertos have even been written for it, including a contemporary one in the last ten years by accordion maestro extraordinaire Romano Viazzani (three of his solo accordion albums were recently reviewed on this site). If you labour under the very much misguided impression that the accordion is simple or "humble", then you really ought to have a look at - and more importantly, a listen to some of the finest accordions around as played by some of its finest exponents. Even the accordion's still more "humble" cousing, the concertina, is anything but. Not only could a good quality instrument cost you enough to have to extend your mortgage, but again it has found its way into all manner of musical styles including classical - indeed, many a folk concertina player is classically trained on the instrument.

The accordion is at least very much alive, but it certainly is deserving of much wider popular interest in this country especially. Maybe you'd like to explore a little further?


Rainlore's World of Music

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The 2008/09 version of this page has now been archived.

Finally, it has come to our attention that there appear to be a few minor problems with our web forms, specifically with radio buttons and check boxes, with some browsers. This is continuing to be checked out, but as everything seems to work just fine in Internet Explorer, it seems likely that the problem lies with the other browsers in that they may not have fully implemented this aspect of forms. In which case there appears little that can be done about it other than to suggest you temporarily switch to Internet Explorer in order to use our forms, if you are affected. Flash based forms might be another option longer term.


Rainlore's World of Music

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Just one review to add this time, but of one hell of an album! You've simply got to hear guitar virtuoso Nicolas Meier as the multi-tracked Modern Guitar Orchestra and his 2004 album Vivaldi - Four Seasons to believe it! Consisting of the complete four concertos making up Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, plus a few carefully selected Meier originals in the form of a brief intro and a closing epilogue that also features veteran jazz guitar legend John Etheridge, this is a completely true to the original arrangement by Meier and is Vivaldi like you've never heard before - on steroids! The fabulous sample track with the review will give you a taste of the flavour of the whole. This most original of arrangements is not to be missed! Meier has been making a huge impact on the UK and international jazz guitar and world music scenes in recent years but can't really be pinned down to any one genre, and this excursion into the classical/Baroque world proves it and his incredible versatility.


Rainlore's World of Music

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Should have been here long ago, but better late than never, are reviews of one of the very finest of today's maestros of the accordion, Romano Viazzani's albums from 2007. A trio of outstanding solo accordion releases, they could and indeed ought to be treated as a boxed set but work equally well on their own. Piazzolla - Ángel Suite / Bobiç - Liturgical Suite, Encore, and Viazzani takes Stok cover a huge gamut of styles and genres, form Baroque, contemporary classical, via Argentine Tango and Italian dance classics to contemporary music and rock/pop. A veritable gourmet feast for any music lover, and especially for the accordion connoisseur. Delectable sample tracks (if you don't have Flash Player 8 or later set up yet, now's the time!) accompany each of the three reviews and should wet any appetite sufficiently to want more! To buy, just go to the ZZ Music label's web site. (This small Indie label seems to specialise entirely in accordion - something long needed.) Of course, Romano Viazzani will already be familiar on this site, at any rate to jazz lovers, through his long association with the great Gilad Atzmon's extended Orient House Ensemble. The present recordings are accordion at its most glorious. More, please!


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There is a full index of all reviews available on Rainlore's World of Music. Also, there is an index listing all CD reviews , which includes reviews of music from all genres, and another one listing all live music reviews.

Reviews added 2010/12/20:

Eclectica! :  Flight Of Fancy (2010/12/18)


Reviews added 2010/09/05:

Eclectica! :  And This Is One Of Them... (2010/09/01)


Reviews added 2010/03/28:

Television Review: A Band For Britain (March 2010, BBC2) (2010/03/23)


Reviews added 2010/03/14:

The Best Of Colliery Bands :  The Music Lives On: Now The Mines Have Gone (2010/03/09)


Reviews added 2010/02/28:

Nicolas Meier - Modern Guitar Orchestra :  Vivaldi - Four Seasons (2010/02/16)


Reviews added 2010/01/31:

Romano Viazzani :  Encore (2010/01/28)

Romano Viazzani :  Piazzolla - Ángel Suite, Bobiç - Liturgical Suite (2010/01/28)

Romano Viazzani :  Viazzani takes Stok (2010/01/28)


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Artists' Profiles

Artists' profiles consist of brief profiles, complete with discographies, contact/booking and other useful information, for some of the artists whose work has been featured on Rainlore's World of Music.

Profiles added:


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Articles & Features

Both formal and informal articles, both on as well as off site, on all manner of topics relating to classical music. Titles are accompanied by brief descriptions of the content. A full index of articles and features is also available.


Features/Articles added 2010/03/28:

Television Review: A Band For Britain (March 2010, BBC2) (2010/03/23) Three-part series that focused on the plight of the failing Dinnington Colliery Band and, 'under the baton' of Sue Perkins, aided the band's revival.


Features/Articles added 2010/03/14:

Double Zed Music - Everything Accordion! Article exploring what is probably the greatest single accordion music resource on the web, ZZ Music. Everything from accordion albums by a huge variety of artists, accordion sheet music, books and more to accordions of the highest pedigree from Claudio Beltrami.


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