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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Sonia Rubinsky: JS Bach, Magna Sequentia II, A Grand Suite of Dances

Rubinsky has compiled this CD so it’s not in any order Bach would have recognised. There are 17 segments in a sequence, selected by Rubinsky to make an “expanded Baroque dance suite” as the sleeve notes explain. This rather explains the album: 17 pieces of music linked in some way, mostly dances. They are selected […]

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 […]