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 […]

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 […]