Friday, May 23, 2008

Box Set of the Day - "Friedrich Gulda: Midlife Harvest"

Box Set of the Day
Friedrich Gulda: "Midlife Harvest - Musician of Our Time" (MPS Germany) 2005
Box produced by Matthias Künnecke and remastered by Willem Makkee
available in the USA through

Originally released in 1973 as a 9-LP set, it presents a comprehensive survey of Friedrich Gulda's accomplishments as a superb composer and performer of works crossing the lines between classical music and jazz. This 5-CD box set features extensive new and original liner notes, song lyrics and rare photos in a 48-page beautiful booklet! It's really a rich "midlife harvest" of work by the Austrian genius of the universal music - a key figure in the intersection between jazz and modern music on the European scene of the postwar years, represented here by a wealth of recordings done for Preiser, Decca and MPS during the 60s and 70s.

Gulda's work here takes a wide variety of formats -- from solo piano, to trio material, to larger group recordings with jazz soloists, as well as some more experimental sessions that step strongly into the territory of 20th century classical music. Drummer Klaus Weiss is on a good number of the recordings, and other featured artists include Phil Woods, Fritz Pauer, Kenny Wheeler, Rolf Kuhn, Albert "Tootie" Heath, Palle Mikkelborg, Freddie Hubbard, Tubby Hayes, Ron Carter, Sahib Shihab, and JJ Johnson. One session features Gulda (under the nickname of Albert Golowin) singing the "Sieben Golowin-Lieder" (including the sublime "Du und i") and another is solo Gulda, in a "piano play in 10 acts".

The package reproduces the booklet that came with the original 1973 9-LP box set -- and titles include "Variations On Light My Fire", "Music For Four Soloists & Band", "Blues Fantasy", "Fantasy For Four Soloists & Band", "Siben Golowin Lieter", "Play Piano Play", "Little Suite", "Piano Concerto No 1", "Poem Fur Friedrich Gulda", "Anima In Heidelberg", "Suite For Piano, E-Piano & Drums" (the second movement is titled "Bossa Nova") and "Variations for Two Pianos and Band" (with Fritz Pauer).

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