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 […]

Anton Batagov: Big My Secret (Live)

Batagov is a Russian pianist and post-minimalist composer. Some piece on the internet said of him: “The post-Cagean philosophy of Batagov’s projects eliminates any boundaries between ‘performance’ and ‘composition’ by viewing all existing musical practices, from ancient rituals to rock and pop culture and advanced computer technologies, as potential elements of performance and composition.” Whatever […]

John McCabe: Mountains

This new album from the late John McCabe dates back to 1985. He visited the EMI studios in Sydney to make an album of works by American and Australian composers. The project never materialised, the studios closed, and the masters were presumed lost. Then a cassette copy found among the composer’s papers, and remastered. This […]

Daniel Garcia Trio: Travesuras

Pianist Daniel García’s playing dominates this album of meaty jazz, though double-bassist Reinier Elizarde and drummer Michael Olivera do not go unnoticed. The release notes talk about flamenco and jazz being brothers; you’d not automatically think of flamenco listening to this (though there are some exotic sounds down there in the rhythm section); he’s more […]

Maria Lettberg: Zara Levina, Piano Concertos

Zara Aleksandrovna Levina died in 1976 and, as you might guess, was a Soviet pianist and composer, now sadly languishing in relative obscurity. This new CD from (mainly) pianist Maria Lettberg aims to put that right, and it’s a pleasingly varied programme of music; you wouldn’t necessarily guess it was all the same composer. The […]

Mariko Terashi: Piano

We perhaps were not expecting too much from a Japanese pianist playing a Portuguese (Carlos de Seixas) composer, never having heard of either, but that just shows you should never judge. José António Carlos de Seixas (1704–1742) is described as a composer during the “golden age” of Portugal, an accomplished virtuoso of both the organ […]

Anna Szalucka: A Century Of Polish Piano Miniatures

This is a pianists’ piano album, as Szalucka is an exceptional pianist and can play both softly and very intensely; a couple of moments on this CD are incredibly fast. She’s won more prizes than you can shake a metronome at: 1st prize together with the Eller, orchestra, recital and Estonian Museum Awards at the […]