Robin Stevens: Prevailing Winds

This is a mostly enjoyable mixed bag of short works; you probably won’t like them all but it’s a diverting collection of music. In his sleeve notes, Stevens says that composing miniatures such as presented here can be liberating: if it doesn’t work, it’s less time wasted. They also add to a composer’s technical skills, […]

Camargo Guarnieri: Chôros, Vol 1

We’ve got bogged down a little with this: it’s so engrossing we’ve played it on repeat instead of getting on with other reviews. Guarnieri was born Mozart Camargo Guarnieri in 1907, and his dad was an Italian immigrant and music lover. He not only named his sons after great composers (Mozart, Verdi, Rossine and Belline, […]

Thomas Bartlett: Shelter

Pianist/producer Thomas Bartlett has toured the world and worked with people from The National to David Byrne and produced the likes of St Vincent and Sufjan Stevens, with whom he earned Academy award and Grammy award nominations. But like all the rest of us, come lockdown he was stuck at home with only his piano […]

Kerry Turner: Horn Works

The sleeve notes say that Turner developed his reputation as a composer with the American Horn Quartet, but has written horn and piano at the same time as his horn quartets. He performed these works for horn and piano along with Kristina Mascher-Turner, appearing as the Virtuoso Horn Duo. Since the majority of these pieces […]

Philip Hartmann: Invocazione brillante, Organ music by Carson Cooman

The lockdown could have stopped one-man organ machine Carson Cooman from composing, but it’s unlikely. He’s prolific and never stops. Normally we expect Erik Simmons to be playing Cooman’s work but for this it’s German organist Philip Hartmann, and he does a fine job. We used to find organ music hard going but repeated forced […]

Fitzwilliam String Quartet: Schubert String Quartets

Rock bands attempt authenticity by doing unplugged or acoustic sessions; classical players do it by going back to basics. For this recording of Schubert’s famous quartets, the Fitzwilliam String Quartet used gut strings, and quizzed experts about playing techniques of the time the works were composed (1824). Lucy Russell’s Ferdinando Gagliano violin from 1789 is […]

Justin Badgerow: Reminiscences of Brazil

This is an entertaining and varied programme of piano music. The Brazilian side gives the music life and a vivacity that’s a little unexpected but don’t expect it to sound very Latin American. It’s as much in the feel and passion as the rhythm. It’s robust, and powerfully played; there’s nothing of the polite salon […]

Terence Charlston: Froberger, Complete Fantasias and Canzonas

This is a programme for people who like early music, authentic sounds – and clavichords, of course. The clavichord was a cross between a harp and piano; Wikipedia says Elizabeth of York, queen of Henry VII, bought one in 1502. The instrument was popular from the 16th century to the 18th century, particularly in German-speaking […]

Chris Gekker: Moon Marked

Chris Gekker is one of America’s most acclaimed trumpet players, and currently professor of trumpet at the University of Maryland. This is his second album for Metier, recordings of works by six composers. Given his academic role, this programme of music could come over as dryly technical it does not, thanks to the warmth of […]