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 […]

Cellar Doors: Cellar Doors

If you’ve ever wondered what a Kasabian — Doors mash up made by a someone who loves his kick drum might sound like, look no further. Throw in some My Bloody Valentine, Stone Roses and Joy Division and you’re close to the sound of Cellar Doors. They sound English but they’re actually from California. They’re […]

Javier Girotto Trio: Tango Nuevo Revisited

  First of all what this isn’t: it’s not the kind of tango that’s evocative of svelte couples dancing in sensual fashion across a dance floor to music suggestive of a dodgy nightclub in Buenos Aries. This is more dance music as an art form. It’s a remake of an album, Summit, by Argentinean bandoneonist […]

Dag Wirén: String Quartets Nos. 2-5

The CD notes talk about the “tapestry of drama” of Dag Wirén’s work and it’s a good phrase; this is expressive music that is tightly woven and has something of a flourish to it, though it’s a touch restrained. Wirén, born in 1905, studied at the Stockholm Conservatory from 1926 to 1931, coming into contact […]

Mark Stroppa: Space

The release notes on this make it clear this is modern music: Stroppa “views composition as musical research” and is “constantly aware of the dual nature of artistic thought, the discourse about the thought and the thought itself”. On this release, the Ensemble KNM Berlin “explores the topological qualities of the sound worlds” it says. […]

Graciela Jiménez: Solo Piano Works

Last week we reviewed the excellent album by Mariko Terashi (Piano); this week it’s another good piano programme, though different. Argentinian pianist and composer Graciela Jiménez is inspired by the landscape and folk melodies of her native country, say the sleeve notes, and this is a welcome introduction to her work. Without resorting to nationalistic […]

Tea Street Band: Frequency

  The Press release for this claims the band follows in the wake of “tunefully idiosyncratic” Liverpool bands like The Coral (partly true) and are closer to artists such as Tunng (not really). The partial truth is that they are tuneful but it’s not really idiosyncratic and Tunng would not readily spring to mind — […]

Estrons: You Say I’m Too Much, I Say You’re Not Enough

This is billed as punk but it’s somewhere between indie — proper early indie, when it was an approach and not a genre — and rock. If they could be accused of lacking the genuine feel it’s because they can play their instruments far too well (“The Damned can play three chords, The Adverts can […]

Daniil Shafran Bach: Six Suites For Cello

This is a re-issue but still sounds great: Bach played by a perfectionist who believed in bringing out the emotion in music rather than worrying about the technical. Obviously, he had to be really good to do that. Shafran was born in 1923, the son of the principal cellist of the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra; his […]