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A lot of fine music there, some of it new to me, such as Debussy's sonata for flute, viola and harp - which I particularly liked, along with Ravel's piano trio and Debussy's Chansons de Bilitis.

I wasn't expecting much because I'd been nonplussed (this is the first time I've used this word, let me know if you think it does not mean what I think it means) by Land of the Midnight Sun.

Now I enjoy some fusion jazz, especially Bitches Brew (we'll see whether that gets past the censors--thanks a lot Mr. Davis), The Inner Mounting Flame (one of my top #1 personal all-time favorite desert-island albums in the whole world), Romantic Warrior, and I'll throw on Head Hunters because to me it is in this genre.

All of those, I'm assured by the culturati, are undeniable classics, and it is not hard for me to understand why. I'd refer you to all of them before Splendido Hotel. But if you should have, should just happen to find yourself having a hankering to try a little Al Di Meola - actually I would say Di Meola Plays Piazzolla. But then Splendido Hotel, which is probably closer to the kind of thing Di Meola is known for.

And I liked it very, very much.

This was my first Cream album, and I was often distracted while I tried to listen to it, but it was impressive when I could pay attention. I have some critical thoughts, but I'll save them until I've been able listen more attentively.

That, my friends, is Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy, which does not sound like Led Zeppelin to me. A really remarkable album - nothing at all like Led Zeppelin IV, which I love love love. I'll have to hear Houses of the Holy some more. I like it already, but I think it'll grow on me.

Ok, I did not get this. I think I will eventually, but like a lot of avant-garde stuff, I'm going to have to get used to it. I got George Crumb's Black Angels, I can get anything.

Actually, I barely heard this - it was background music while I did what little work I did today. But it sounded just fine. I read some super-flattering review of it somewhere, so I decided to buy it, although in general I'm holding out for the inevitable 150-disk box set of this series....

I didn't struggle with this the way I did with Intolleranza, but it didn't really strike me either. I remain a huge fan of Mr. Shaw, though - and I expect to like this work more when I've heard it more.

My first Steely Dan album. It was ok. I expected more attitude, less cheerful optimism. I'm not into optimism, tell ya the truth. But I know better than to dismiss such a highly regarded album after one listening. I heard a lot of it from inside a taxi, which obviously is not a very fair situation for the music.

More admissions here. I do not often really love modern British music--Elgar's cello concerto is The Great Exception. What an awesome work of music! And there's other things that I like well enough, but not any that I really, really like. Vaughan Williams for instance. I only have one disk of his music, but it's, well, like I said above, I'm not into optimism. Fact is, the world is full of crap - or its more scatological equivalent - and I want music that reflects that fact honestly.

So I had low expectations, and this music exceeded them. Of course like everything else here (except a few works by Debussy and Ravel), it is totally new to me, and we'll see how I feel about it in a few years....

Selecting a winner, I'll go with the Nash Ensemble's recordings of Debussy's and Ravel's chamber music. Very lovely wonderful stuff, played and recorded perfectly.

Updated May-01-2011 at 16:30 by science