Idil Biret: Mozart, Piano Concertos Nos. 15, 24, 25 and 27

We review a lot of classical albums and favour the more interesting — but often flawed — because they’re easier to write about (and lesser names deserve the publicity). Mozart, on the other hand, is not flawed, so you’re down to which performance of any piece is best. Sniffy reviewers might find fault with this […]

Gilbert Rowland: Froberger, Harpsichord Suites

This came out a while back but there’s not much to say: nice music played well. With two CDs (48 tracks) of pretty similar music it doesn’t vary a whole lot; it does what the title says. Johann Jakob Froberger is perhaps one of those sadly overlooked composers, in this case his own fault: Wikipedia […]

Wolf Harden: Busoni: Piano Music, Vol. 11

We previously compared a CD from Mr Harden with Shane Patrick Lysaght MacGowan’s* lyric about Jimmy’s harmonica, which “soothed the souls of psychos and the men who had the horn”, and this new collection of piano pieces sees that hold true. It’s very late-night and calming. The BBC reports that Sir Edward Elgar considered Ferruccio […]

Sun-A Park: Muzio Clementi, Keyboard Sonatas

This is piano music for listening to, and it’s highly pleasurable. The sleeve notes say that while Mozart was “typically grudging” about Clementi, Beethoven had a high regard for his compositions, and Clementi was pivotal to the piano’s development as a virtuoso instrument. Mozart possibly didn’t like him because Clementi was a show-off and brilliant, […]

Fini Henriques: Piano Pieces

Listening to this rather delightful CD we thought it resembled a sampler of piano pieces for amateurs to play along to, and learn; not novices, but neither the highly advanced. When we read the sleeve notes, they report that, of Henriques’ works for piano, the majority can be divided into music for children and music […]

Diana Boyle … plays JS Bach

This album of gentle piano music has a definite meditative quality to it. This is probably because of how Boyle prepares for one of her (reportedly infrequent) recordings, which involves going away to the top of a hill and thinking for years. The sleeve notes say she has been doing this for 25 years; she […]

Dmitrii Khrychev, Olga Solovieva: 19th century cello and piano music

It’s a pretty self-explanatory title for this new release that features various composers, including Tchaikovsky, Arensky and Nikolay Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov. The sleeve notes say that cello music flourished in Russia in the 19th century, with Tchaikovsky central to things and his Variations on a Rococo Theme opens, heard here in the composer’s version for cello […]

Tatiana Primak-Khoury: Lebanese Piano Music 2

We weren’t sure what this would sound like: Arabic? Jewish (unlikely, admittedly)? Persian? None of these, it’s very European and could be a couple of centuries old, and not — in the case of one piece — three years. Piano Sonata No 4 (1963) opens and is from Anis Fuleihan. He was director of the […]

Galina Ustvolskaya: Complete works for Violin and Piano

Dutch critic Elmer Schönberger called Galina Ustvolskaya “the lady with the hammer”, not because she whacked the piano with ham-like fists but because she composed using unusual combinations of instruments, and often used piano or percussion to beat out regular rhythms. She was a pupil of Shostakovich, who commented (according to Wikipedia): “I am convinced […]

Boieldieu: Piano Concertos, Six Overtures

Adrien Boieldieu numbers among the most important exponents of the opéra comique of the French imperial era and the subsequent restoration. From 1803 to 1811 he was the court music director in St Petersburg, and in 1817 he became a professor of composition at the Paris Conservatory. This programme of works is — as the […]