Arsenio Orteza

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New or recent releases

Music
by Arsenio Orteza
Posted 8/16/18, 01:18 pm

Gene Clark Sings for You

Gene Clark

The first eight songs come from 1967 demos that the talented but self-sabotaging ex-Byrd circulated in hopes of landing a solo record deal. The last six come from demos that he gave to the one-hit-wonder folk-rock group the Rose Garden. “Down on the Pier” is to Dylan’s “4th Time Around” what “4th Time Around” is to the Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood.” McGuinn, Crosby, and Hillman could do a lot worse than to record valedictory versions of all 14. They should start with “Doctor Doctor.”

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Heinz Hirndorf/Picture-Alliance/DPA/AP

There-and-back-again journeys

Music | Three albums offer harpsichord and organ renditions of the Goldberg Variations
by Arsenio Orteza
Posted 8/16/18, 11:13 am

“It does seem,” wrote the late musicologist Peter Williams of J.S. Bach’s compositional strategies, “to be the nature of the Goldberg [Variations] to inspire a range of hypotheses.”

It also seems to be the nature of the Goldberg Variations to inspire a range of interpretations. Last year, the Italian pianist Beatrice Rana won acclaim for her piano rendition, and, indeed, despite (or maybe because of) Glenn Gould’s landmark recordings of 1955 and 1981, the piano remains the instrument on which the composition is most frequently performed.

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Noteworthy new releases

Music
by Arsenio Orteza
Posted 8/02/18, 12:16 pm

Good Thing 

Leon Bridges

Bridges’ sophomore effort begins with “Bet Ain’t Worth the Hand,” which sounds enough like his retro Southern-soul debut to placate continuity lovers. With the second song, though (“Bad Bad News”), the album shifts into something else—the Sound of Philadelphia, say, slowed down and reimagined as old jack swing except when it’s sped up to approximate Quincy Jones–era Michael Jackson. And if the lyrics aren’t always deeper than those of Bruno Mars, they have more integrity. The only song with bedroom eyes is called “Mrs.” for a reason.

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