Dag Wirén: String Quartets Nos. 2-5

The CD notes talk about the “tapestry of drama” of Dag Wirén’s work and it’s a good phrase; this is expressive music that is tightly woven and has something of a flourish to it, though it’s a touch restrained. Wirén, born in 1905, studied at the Stockholm Conservatory from 1926 to 1931, coming into contact […]

Mark Stroppa: Space

The release notes on this make it clear this is modern music: Stroppa “views composition as musical research” and is “constantly aware of the dual nature of artistic thought, the discourse about the thought and the thought itself”. On this release, the Ensemble KNM Berlin “explores the topological qualities of the sound worlds” it says. […]

Graciela Jiménez: Solo Piano Works

Last week we reviewed the excellent album by Mariko Terashi (Piano); this week it’s another good piano programme, though different. Argentinian pianist and composer Graciela Jiménez is inspired by the landscape and folk melodies of her native country, say the sleeve notes, and this is a welcome introduction to her work. Without resorting to nationalistic […]

Daniil Shafran Bach: Six Suites For Cello

This is a re-issue but still sounds great: Bach played by a perfectionist who believed in bringing out the emotion in music rather than worrying about the technical. Obviously, he had to be really good to do that. Shafran was born in 1923, the son of the principal cellist of the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra; his […]

Niccolò Paganini: Works for Violin and Orchestra

This CD features a world première recording of the original versions of three works by Paganini: Le Streghe — described as a turning point in his career by the sleeve notes — Non più mesta and I Palpiti. A performance of Le Streghe in 1813 in Milan launched Paganini’s career. The “premier recording” line is […]

The Overtones: The Overtones

All we can do with this is say it’s out: it is what it is. We’re guessing the target audience is older women, the inclusion of Rockin’ Robin, a hit in either 1958 (original version) or ‘72 (Michael Jackson) indicating a more mature audience. The sleeve notes write that the music is aimed at people […]

Bavarian Radio Chorus: Joy to the World (Famous Christmas Songs)

The title gives it all away — the Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks (Bavarian Radio Choir to you post-Brexit Britishers) sings popular Christmas songs. It’s not Christmas carols, it’s Christmas songs and there’s a nice selection. The sound is lush and big budget, and it’s warming and comforting, like a National Trust shop. It put us […]

Carson Cooman: Owl Night

We’d like to be the first to compare organ music with Phil Collins. This latest in the never-ending series of CDs by Cooman and/or Erik Simmons (who plays) is the one we like best thus far. Organ music can be a little formal or even ponderous, and there’s that whole echoey in a church thing […]

Georg Telemann: Christmas Oratorios

This is proper Christmas music, all trumpets, the sound of angels — or at least a heavenly chorus and — and proper singers. Telemann was a German Baroque composer and multi-instrumentalist. Despite being self-taught, he ended up in Hamburg as musical director of the five main churches. He was a friend to JS Bach, who […]

Yaniv d’Or: Exaltation

We went to a wedding in Turkey the other weekend — as you do — and then spent a week listening to Tatar music, with artists from Mongolia down to Poland. And all the time we were hunting out exotic sounds we had this on the desk. It’s a programme of music from Medieval and […]