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 […]

Marina: Love + Fear

The Diamonds are gone — perhaps she had them recut — and now it’s just Marina. She and her now-resized Diamonds passed us by a little; a bit too poppy. People apparently liked her lyrics although, like the Diamonds, these appear to have been somewhat cut. This album is also poppy, but appealing. She has […]

Lizzo: Cuz I Love You

We came across Lizzo some time ago with Batches and Cookies, a stripped down semi-joking but addictive rap song (sample lyrics: “I got my batches and cookies / I got my batches and cookies / I got my batches and cookies / I got my batches and cookies”). The album Lizzobangers was less interesting and […]

Chas Rigby: Pearls

This is doubtless unfair on Chas, who’s probably 6’ 4” with pecks like a gladiator, but we imagine him as one of those underweight singers with less hair than they once had, who turn out to have led interesting but ultimately tragic lives, maybe some drugs and an arrest or two, but all giving them […]

Mak Grgic: Balkanisms

Solo classical guitar albums are not our favourite bag but this one looked like it might be better than average and so it is. The Balkans are famed for their folk music, noted for complex rhythms; you normally hear it in electric “gypsy” folk or punk bands. While the album consists of Mr Grgic noodling […]

Luke Sital-Singh: A Golden State

Sital-Singh is clearly a man who is serious about making music, and is good at it. He has a sound he wants to make. As with all music now — and Amazon is appalling for this — it’s apparently become illegal to give people bad reviews unless it’s someone you want to snigger at, like […]

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 […]

Jon Deak: Symphonic Tales

This entertaining album stands repeated listens; Deak is a man who clearly enjoys his music. He is the young composers advocate of the New York Philharmonic, where he founded the award-winning Very Young Composers Program in 1995. His interest in making music accessible to younger listeners is clear. Two of the works are for full […]

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 […]