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February 11, 2006


Henry Holland

Check out, if possible, the Dead's Fillmore 1969 CD's. There's the 3 CD version or the complete run on 10 CD's; it's, of course, the stuff that a lot of the great Live/Dead album was taken from. I sort of lose interest just where you take up: the country folk stuff taking over from the acid-fueled Dark Star > St. Stephen > The Eleven kind of thing.

Thanks to Phil Lesh for funding, via the Dead's Rex Foundation, the initial recording of Birtwistle's amazing Earth Dances, the one with Peter Eotovos conducting. Lesh says that ED was his work out music for a while. And the Simpson series on Hyperion is amazing. Why aren't those symphonies heard more?

Steve Smith

HH, I actually prefer the acid-washed stuff to the country stuff, too. The more I ponder it -- as Lesh's first set from LAST NIGHT seemingly impossibly pours out of my speakers courtesy of Live365 -- the more I think that my Dead breakthrough was probably John Oswald's "Greyfolded," set up by any number of Henry Kaiser covers.

As for the Birtwistle recording by Eotvos, I don't own that one, though I do remember it -- so thanks again, Phil. (Didn't Collins Classics seem like a minor miracle for a minute there?) I've got the Dohnanyi, but I've been lusting after the recent Boulez recording (and pestering the DG publicity folks) for a good long time, having caught the NYC premiere of "Theseus Game" and wanting to hear it again. I've noticed that this disc has been on iTunes for months now, but no CD release to speak of.

And my only possible response to your plaint in re: the Simpson symphonies is the one to which I've grown accustomed due to my Tippett fetish... it's because he's British, no doubt. When hearing something so basic as the Vaughan Williams Sixth last year seemed vaguely miraculous, I have practically no expectation at this point of hearing anything much that went on between that composer's day and, say, Turnage.

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