My Flame Burns Blue CD (2006)

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Product Overview

Elvis Costello's My Flame Burns Blue is a live album with the legendary Metropole Orkest, a 52-piece jazz orchestra from the Netherlands, recorded in concert at The Hague. A bonus disc offers a 45-minute suite from Il Sogno, Costello's first full-length orchestral work. The album alternates between imaginatively reinvented Costello favorites like "Almost Blue," "Clubland," and "Watching the Detectives" (arranged "in the style of a 1950s television theme"), Costello compositions seeing release for the first time on a Costello album, and unexpected collaborations. "This recording captures a very joyful evening at the North Sea Jazz Festival and collects together songs and arrangements that have been developed over the last decade," writes Costello in his detailed liner notes.

For the opening track, "Hora Decubitus," Costello was invited by Charles Mingus's widow, Sue, to contribute lyrics to the jazzman's compositions. This song was completed in the immediate aftermath of September 11. "I could offer nothing more than a simple affirmation of life and rejection of vengeance," writes Costello. For the title track, Costello also wrote lyrics for Billy Strayhorn's final composition, "Blood Count."

Other highlights seeing release on a Costello album for the first time include "Speak Darkly, My Angel" and "Upon a Veil of Midnight Blue," which was written for and recorded by West Coast bluesman Charles Brown as "I Wonder How She Knows."

Il Sogno was originally commissioned by the Italian Dance Company, Aterbaletto, for their adaptation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Following its premiere in Bologna with the Orchestra del Teatro Communale, the ballet was staged throughout Italy, Germany, France and Russia. Il Sogno was subsequently recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas. The recording was released in September 2004 by Deutsche Grammophon and stayed at the top of Billboard's Contemporary Classical Charts for fourteen weeks.

Il Sogno received rave reviews upon its release. Mark Swed at The Los Angeles Times declared "Costello's sound is surprisingly fresh. His melodies are memorable. The sudden swings into jazz prove pure delight... [The performance is] bursting with life." The Boston Globe's Richard Dyer proclaimed "You'd have to go back to George Gershwin to find a composer-performer undertaking a project as ambitious as Il Sogno... It is full of character and storytelling, and the orchestration is skillful, unusual, and colorful."


Label Universal Music Group
SKU 202172326
UPC 028947759614
UPC 14 00028947759614
Format CD
Release Date 2/28/2006
Author Elvis Costello
Compilation Appearance Brazil Beats The Carnival House & Lat
Associated Artist/Work Beau Hunks (The)
Associated Artist/Work Bozzio, Terry
Associated Artist/Work Brecker, Randy
Associated Artist/Work Buckley, Jules
Technical Info
CatalogID 0005994
Lable Name DG Deutsche Grammophon (USA)
Released 02/28/2006
Original Release 2006
Number of Discs 2
SPARE Code n/a
Length 70m : 3s
Mono/Stereo Stereo
Studio/Live Live
UPC 00028947759614
Album Notes and Credits
Includes as a bonus, a limited edition CD featuring an edited suite of recordings for IL SOGNO.
Personnel: John Harle, Peter Erskine, London Symphony Orchestra, Chris Laurence .
If NORTH is Elvis Costello's "version" of FRANK SINATRA SINGS FOR ONLY THE LONELY, then MY FLAME BURNS BLUE is Costello's SONGS FOR SWINGIN' LOVERS! Accompanied by longstanding keyboardist Steve Nieve and a full orchestra, Costello recasts many songs from his sizable catalog as big-band/swing-jazz tunes. "Clubland" becomes a swirling, dreamlike cha-cha, while "Watching The Detectives" goes from ominous roots reggae to a sophisticated musical panorama that's almost cinematic in its breadth (think WEST SIDE STORY). The heartrending "Almost Blue" finally gets the grandiose old-school treatment it deserves, replete with billowing strings and tender, haunting trumpet and harmonica solos. This set closes with Costello's memorable Burt Bacharach collaboration, "God Give Me Strength."
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (p.63) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "[W]hen the Orkest hit the swilling climaxes of 'God Give Me Strength,' Costello is right up there with them, singing with a force and clarity as big and regal as the music around him."
Entertainment Weekly (p.100) - "[R]earranged for jazz orchestra, where the '50s meets the aughts and hot bebop horn charts compete with ice-cool film-score strings." -- Grade: A
JazzTimes (p.69) - "[The album confirms] his status as the most cunning musical magician of the past quarter-century..."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.106) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Elvis Costello fronts with aplomb this swinging and spirited Dutch 52-piece....[The Orkest] swagger over the cracks with the exotic splashiness of Duke Ellington's 'Anatomy Of A Murder' soundtrack."
Disc 1
1 Hora Decubitus
2 Favorite Hour
3 That's How You Got Killed Before
4 Upon A Veil Of Midnight Blue
5 Clubland
6 Almost Blue
7 Speak Darkly, My Angel
8 Almost Ideal Eyes
9 Can You Be True?
10 Put Away Forbidden Playthings
11 Episode Of Blonde
12 My Flame Burns Blue (Blood Count)
13 Watching The Detectives
14 God Give Me Strength
Product Attributes
Artist Costello,Elvis
Label Universal Music Group

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