No mystery to popularity of musical whodunit Curtains

Curtains is written by the same team that brought the world Chicago and Cabaret — which explains the classy feel of this musical whodunit. A real breath of fresh air if you are looking for a musical with a difference, Curtains brings together the unlikely combination of musical theatre, comedy and murder mystery. Filled with […]

Neil Young and Crazy Horse: Colorado

Colorado is not one of Young’s great albums but it’s a grower and could go down as one of his later-career highlights. There’s a film with it; Young’s films are best avoided but someone who did watch said he comments in it to his band: “It doesn’t have to be good, just feel good.” That’s […]

Raised Fist: Anthems

This is heavy rock/metal/punk but not as you might reasonably predict it to be. It’s quirky; heavy rock in a party hat. It’s generally not intrinsically comic, they just have a different view of rock to the rest of us, and it’s impossible not to warm to their enthusiasm. The music is beefy and solid […]

Declan Welsh and The Decadent West: Cheaply Bought, Expensively Sold

Declan Welsh and The Decadent West should have a simpler name, preferably beginning with The. They’re a The band: their name suggests a kind of whimsy, but this they lack. They’re a straightforward indie band with a penchant for songs that sound like hit singles; not the same as actual hit singles, but they sound […]

The Prince And The Pauper (New Vic Theatre, Newcastle)

Prince (left), Pauper (right). Or is it the other way round … ? The New Vic doesn’t do a panto at Christmas but instead presents a classic story, always with impressive live music and often with gymnastics, from the swashbuckling Treasure Island to the frostier The Snow Queen (aka Frozen). They’re always entertaining and mark […]

Echoes Of Swing: Winter Days at Schloss Elmau

Echoes of Swing are in top form for this festive album, the quartet of Bernd Lhotzky (piano), Colin T Dawson (trumpet), Chris Hopkins (alto saxophone) and Oliver Mewes (drums) joined for this by US jazz singer Rebecca Kilgore (“one of the best interpreters of the Great American Songbook” says Wikipedia). The premise of the album […]

Cipriano de Rore: Missa Vivat Felix Hercules / Motets

If your idea of heaven is male vocalists singing religious Renaissance music as you ponder the meaning of life, this beautiful CD is for you. Cipriano of Rore (1516-1565) composed the Mass in honour of his patron, Ercole II d’Este, the sound meant to convey the latter’s Godliness. The sleeve notes are interesting; the tenor […]

Francisco de Peñalosa: Lamentations

This is a beautiful collection of religious music from the Renaissance. If you like religious vocal music that errs towards the sombre — the album title gives it away— this is a must. The singing is fantastic and the acoustics of wherever it was recorded only add to the experience. Peñalosa’s music is redolent of […]