Copenhagen Piano Quartet: Kuhlau: Piano Quartets 1&2

Unlike Henze (see above) Kuhlau seems to have been more workmanlike in his output, writing cosmopolitan pieces to entertain, and these two piano quartets are major works from the composer’s most productive decade. They’re both easy to listen to and evidence of Kuhlau’s skills as a pianist. Part of the attraction of this CD is […]

Henze: Violin Concerto No. 2

This seems to us to be a very personal album: violinist Peter Sheppard Skaeved knew the composer and talked to him about what he was thinking when he wrote the music. The opening piece Il Vitalino raddoppiato, looks back to the work of Tomaso Vitali (1663-1745), an Italian composer and violinist from Bologna. The sleeve […]

Joel Rafael: Baladista

Rafael is the real deal if you want folk: born in 1949, he’s known in the States as an interpreter of Woody Guthrie’s lyrics and music, though despite a long life he’s released only eight albums (two of which were Guthrie: both called Woodyboye: Songs Of Woody Guthrie). Musically: it’s mostly Rafael and his acoustic […]

Young Kato: Don’t Wait ‘Til Tomorrow

Young Kato are the Haircut 100 of the 2010s. For those who don’t remember 80s pop, the Haircuts popped up early in that decade and scored a handful of hits. They released an immaculate pop album that was, as radio stations like to say, the sound of summer. They’re an under-rated band, mainly because while […]

Frogbelly and Symphony: Blue Bright Ow Sleep

Frogbelly and Symphony are one of those bonkers bands that come along from time to time with no idea of genres or niche marketing, and play whatever they want. On this album, there’s the sound of Libertines, a hymn, Swedish indie pop band The Concretes, a Slash-style guitar solo, funk, soul and folk, and more. […]

They Might Be Giants: Glean

They Might Be Giants remind us in spirit of Chumbawumba, who could write mindlessly catchy pop tunes if they so wanted: we heard that the Chumbas, a political group, wrote their biggest hit Tubthumping just to prove they could. Chumbawumba were political but They Might Be Giants are simply intellectual, and churn out clever tunes […]

Ant Law: Zero Sum World

We’ve had this a few weeks, but it’s proved difficult to review: on one level it’s fairly mainstream, relaxed jazz, on the other we feel Ant Law’s prodigious talent needs more to be said. It’s partly his fault: despite the obviously talents of all the players (three of whom featured on Law’s debut Entanglement), it’s […]

Lucia Micallef: Bach, Keyboard Concertos

Just as the opera Pomona (elsewhere) is a good way to ease into that genre, this album is a good introduction to classical music itself, though for a different reason: it’s top quality. If you feel you want to buy a classical CD, this is an excellent first investment (after which, Peter Sheppard Skaerved’s Beethoven […]

Reinhard Keiser: Pomona

If you’re looking to get into opera, this fairly simple piece is a good place to start. We suspect opera buffs would dismiss it as lightweight froth; the Review Corner doesn’t particularly warm to opera yet we’ve enjoyed it. It’s a gateway CD: get into this and heavier opera will seem more palatable. The plot […]

Balthazar: Thin Walls

This Belgian band produced one of our albums of the year not long back. We’d guess they’re quite big in their native land, but didn’t do so well over here, which is a shame because they play distinctive indie pop with a sound that’s very much their own. It’s a bit hard to describe but […]