Cilia Petridou: Visions of the Greek Soul

This double CD of vocal music has an other-worldly feel, the second half of the programme being more traditional in sound. Aside from some piano, it’s all vocals (mainly soprano, plus tenor and bass). It’s a double album, in two parts: the first half is 15 songs inspired by the Muses and looking at our […]

John McCabe: Scarlatti / Clementi Sonatas

An album it’s hard to say much about: John McCabe plays some great piano pieces very well. The music was recorded in 1981. McCabe was approached by Ted Perry, of Hyperion, who suggested some Scarlatti sonatas. McCabe wanted to record sonatas by Clementi, in his view an unjustifiably neglected composer, whereas many fine pianists were […]

Erik Simmons: Portals, Carson Cooman Organ Music Vol 11

This came out a while back but we overlooked it — Simmons/Cooman are prolific to say the least — so we saved it for Easter, as it’s got a contemplative feel to it, while not being too heavyweight. (Though as Simmons is sat at the pedals of the Sun Organ of St Peter and Paul, […]

Folk Music of China, Vol 3: Folk Songs of Yunnan

We Are Family is the opening piece but there’s no Sister Sledge in sight on this collection of traditional songs. The CD is the latest in a series exploring China’s diverse musical heritage. The songs featured in this recording are folk songs of three of the minority ethnic groups of Yunnan province — Wa, Blang, […]

Philip Glass: Violin Concerto No 2, American Four Seasons

Pretty much all you need to know is in the title: it’s Philip Glass offering his take on the baroque classic. The idea for this came from violinist Robert McDuffie, who asked Glass for a concerto reflecting Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. The aim was for a work that could be programmed with the Vivaldi and offer […]

Philip Glass: Glassworlds 6

The sleeve notes say Glass was chatting to someone who lamented America’s lack of history, so Glass set about creating one, lacing together his native culture and its legends. Thus were born the works on this excellent CD. The opening piece is “his most challenging piece to date,” Concerto for Piano No.2, After Lewis and […]

Philip Grange: Homage

If Philip Glass’s take on Vivaldi is aimed at mass appeal, this work from Philip Grange is at some other end of a spectrum. It’s far from difficult but it’s also not a lightweight piece you can instantly relax into. Grange is an academy and professor of music at Manchester University and there is a […]

Basil Athanasiadis: Book Of Dreams

This is a delightful album of Japanese-inspired music from the Shonorities, an ensemble created by Greek composer Basil Athanasiadis. It’s an album of music that’s barely music — often more of a background ambient sound. It reminds us of Steve Hillage’s Rainbow Dome Musick, an ambient album released in 1979. Brian Eno, who pioneered ambient […]

Eleanor Hodgkinson: Nino Rota, Complete Solo Piano Works, Vol. 1

You all know the music of Nino Rota — he wrote scores for films such as The Godfather; the famous main theme from that, Speak Softly, Love is his. He also wrote the music for 150 other films. His day job was director of the Conservatorio di Musica Niccolò Piccinni in Bari and he also […]

Antje Weithaas: Schumann Violin Concerto

This was one of Schumann’s last major compositions, and should perhaps be called “the doomed”. It remained more or less unknown for more than 80 years after it was written, because violinist Joseph Joachim, for whom it was composed, suspected it revealed the composer’s madness (bipolar, probably). Then, as the sleeve notes explain, it was […]