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 […]

Suzanne Shulman: Serenades and Sonatas for Flute and Harp

This programme has been gathered from a selection of pieces inspired by English gardens, including Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Greensleeves, as well as French and Italian music. It’s a nice touch of spring as winter approaches. The opening piece is Fantasia on Greensleeves, which sets the tone. We’d say pastoral rather than fluffy, though it’s […]

Cilia Petridou: The Mystery of Christmas Greek Kalanda (carols)

This is a collection of songs for the festive season although, as it doesn’t sound “festive”, you get year-round value. The lyrics are Christmas-related but sung in Greek (translations provided). The sleeve/Press notes say that there is a tradition among the Greek people of the singing of carols (kalanda) on Christmas Eve. The notes reference […]

Naji Hakim: Embrace Of Fire

This CD features works by Naji Hakim, revolving around organ and harpsichord. The main soloist is Simon Leach, joined for two works by a violinist and for one each by recorder and tenor. Opener Salve Regina (there are two versions) starts with lone vocal that’s melodic plainchant. A few toots on the organ and mournful […]

Ensemble MidtVest: Niels Gade Chamber Works, Vol 4

In his lifetime he was more popular than Brahms or Dvorák, but is today more neglected. This CD, performed by the Ensemble MidtVest (“completely committed to Gade’s cause” say the Press notes), is a something of a joy. He’s not top rank but he writes with a lightness of touch and joi de vivre. The […]

Alexandra Stréliski: Inscape + Chilly Gonzales: Solo Piano III

Classical piano albums aimed at the masses are like buses: you wait ages (after Chilly Gonzales’ last one and James Rhodes’s Bullets and Lullabies) and then two come in the same week. Without being gender-biased, we’d say Stréliski goes for the emotion, Gonzales for the brain: Stréliski’s is for those who wish all piano was […]

Johann Rosenmüller: Laudate Dominum / Sacred Concertos

This came out in February but once we missed its release we’ve sat on it (not literally) until the season of goodwill approaches: some of you will be wanting church music that sounds devotional and provides atmosphere, without mentioning a jingling bell or even a passing gloria. Rosenmüller (1619-1684) was German and studied theology at […]

The Juniper Project: Fragments

Some flute-based releases we’ve reviewed have included the words “challenging” or “for lovers of technical flute playing”, euphemistically used for “verging on unlistenable”. Now comes this delightful album. It’s the music from a heavily costumed romance drama, the scene where the lovers float down the river on a sunny day (in a boat, obviously), the […]

Mike Batt / Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Holst, The Planets

Amazingly, it’s The Wombles’ 50th anniversary this year — the furry rodents first appeared in 1968 — and to celebrate, Mike Batt has released this special edition of Holst’s The Planets. OK, so that’s only partly true: this new recording actually marks the centenary of the first performance of The Planets (29th September 1918, since […]

Vyacheslav Artyomov: The Way to Olympus

Artyomov is a modern composer from Russia writing with the ambition and scope of a man who knows his work is important. From what we read, his life in Russia has been hard, so perhaps a belief in your own standing in the history of music is crucial. He writes big, ambitious tunes; listening to […]