Cuatra Puntos: Jaipur to Cairo

There’s world music and there’s world music: from Paul Simon’s world-tinged pop to Plant/Page roping in ethnic musicians to make polished albums or Tinariwen using western instruments for traditional songs. Then there are musicians from wherever playing traditional instruments. We’re fond of gnawa from Morocco, two-string guitars (that means real string) and qaraqueb — metal […]

Wolfgang Rihm: Music for Violin and Orchestra — Volume 2

Wolfgang Rihm is big in German music (and still alive, only 67) but is not well known over here, despite having written 400 works. This is modern music, but not terribly difficult to listen to. You do have to listen; it’s not really music to have on in the background. Based on these three works, […]

Majd and Tafreshipour: In Absentia

This CD features music from Fozié Majid (b 1938) and Amir Mahyar Tafreshipour (b 1974) who, as their names suggest, are Iranian — although one lived in England as a child. Tafreshipour specialises in contemporary music that “reaches across time and continents” and has worked with numerous major ensembles, soloists and orchestras. Majd was born […]

Aidan O’Rourke: 365 Volume One

Top marks for O’Rourke for inventiveness; he wrote a tune a day for a year, hence the title. The inspiration was James Robertson’s book 365, itself remarkable: a collection of 365 short stories, each with 365 words. O’Rourke is recording all 365 — 22 down, 343 to go after this — but only releasing the […]

Michael Alec: Rose Il Ritorno

This rather wonderful CD is an impressionist description of landscape using only violin and viola; perhaps not the most promising of descriptions but it is engrossing and draws in the listener. The sleeve notes are fun to read and help with the listening. Michael Alec Rose is (apparently) a leading light in the contemporary music […]

Madeleine Mitchell: Violin Muse

This CD demonstrates the violin at its most bleak/stark/purest; take your pick. Even Atlantic Drift, which opens with the sound of a lively folk song, is sparse and with an edge. This is not a criticism, just to say the album is mostly not warm or romantic, just dry and slightly melancholy; more a funeral […]