Robin Stevens: Music for Cello and Piano

This modern album is not so instantly accessible but despite its modern and sometimes austere sound it’s a long way from being difficult. The PR says that Stevens writes “stimulating and expressive” work influenced by everything from the music of the Romantic era to mathematics and the eclectic nature of the composer means that something […]

Various Scenes from the Kalevala

The Kalevala is a compilation of folk poetry, arranged into 50 extensive runos (poems) by the Finnish physician and folklorist Elias Lönnrot. Beginning with the creation of the world, it develops into a series of separate episodes, introducing epic characters whose names have lots of vowels and umlauts, like Väinämöinen. The collection first appeared in […]

Alfonso Soldano: Metamorphoses

Soldano is professor of piano performance at the Giordano Conservatory in Foggia, Italy. He was awarded the International Gold Medal for best Italian artist in 2013 and has performed and given masterclasses all around Italy, and in Germany, Switzerland and Romania. So he’s good. This new album sees him transcribe 15 of Rachmaninov’s romantic songs […]

Hafliði Hallgrímsson: Offerto

Hafliði Hallgrímsson is regarded as Iceland’s pre-eminent composer, as well as a highly accomplished cellist. You prog rockers might have heard him, too: in 1970, he played the (uncredited) cello solo on Atom Heart Mother by Pink Floyd. This new album follows a request in 2005 from violinist Peter Sheppard Skærved, who asked Hallgrímsson to […]

Benedetto Boccuzzi: À Claude

The Claude in question is Mr Debussy but if you’re expecting an album of Clair de Lune delicacy you’d be mistaken, as Boccuzzi’s album takes off from where Debussy leads, moving from the dreamy to the avante garde, the idea being to show the link between Debussy and composers old and new, including Boccuzzi himself. […]

Zeynep Ucbasaran: 1847, Liszt in Istanbul

This lively and more-ish album of piano music consists of a selection of works from the 1847 Istanbul recitals of Franz Liszt.Lizst had arrived to entertain and was given a seven-octave piano by craftsman Sébastien Pierre Erard to play on while he was in what was then Constantinople. He played at the Royal Palace, the […]

Jill Crossland: JS Bach Keyboard Works

This is one of those CDs we struggle to review: “Bach keyboard played well” is a little short, so we resorted to the biography and sleeve notes. The playing sounds difficult but Crossland is up to the task; for most of the CD the music flows around the listener like a fast river of notes, […]

Claudio Monteverdi: Vespro Della Beata Vergine

There are reportedly many recordings of Monteverdi’s Vespers of the Blessed Virgin, but the unique thing about this new album is that it was produced following the performances of “a scenic interpretation” with the Spanish stage director Calixto Bieito.We’ve got no idea what “a scenic interpretation” is, mind, unless it involves dressing up the musicians […]

Mirian Conti: Tangorama, An Anthology of 20th Century Tango, Vol.1

Conti writes in the sleeve notes that when she studied at the conservatory in Buenos Aires in the 1970s, she did not analyse a tango let alone play one; she herself dismissed tango orchestras and singers as “those old tango guys”. It was only when she moved to the US that she discovered her home […]