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 […]

Chelys Consort of Viols: Amavi, Music for Viols and Voices

We keep writing this is as Cheryl’s Consort, so apologies if we slip; the album was actually recorded jointly with Fieri Consort and is work by Michael East, who sounds modern but died in 1648, before the (20th century) name Cheryl was even invented. East (or Easte, Est, Este) was an English organist and composer, […]

Ilya Gringolts: Pietro Locatelli, Il Labirinto Armonico: Three Violin Concertos

Pietro Antonio Locatelli (1695-1764) was an Italian Baroque composer and violinist. Locatelli possibly studied under Arcangelo Corelli, the famous Baroque composer. He was apparently known as the “Paganini of the 18th century”. It’s a wonderful album, the playing fine and the sound warm and approachable. Gringolts, a Russian is marvellous, and the Finnish Baroque Orchestra […]

Roderick Chadwick: La Mer Bleue

This technical and slightly self-involved album revolves around Catalogue d’Oiseaux (“Catalogue of birds”), a work for piano solo by Olivier Messiaen. The full work is 13 pieces, devoted to birds and dedicated to his second wife Yvonne Lorio. The CD takes in the first three, the Alpine chough (chocard des Alpes), The Eurasian golden oriole […]

Geoffrey Allen: Music For Woodwinds

It’s entirely possible we’ve played this more than even the composer; it’s pleasant background music, and we kept just pressing play, and although nothing really sticks in the head, it’s always interesting. llen was born in 1927 and studied chemistry and geography at Oxford, going on to work in Australian libraries, latterly at the University […]