Carson Cooman: Owl Night

We’d like to be the first to compare organ music with Phil Collins. This latest in the never-ending series of CDs by Cooman and/or Erik Simmons (who plays) is the one we like best thus far. Organ music can be a little formal or even ponderous, and there’s that whole echoey in a church thing […]

Vyacheslav Artyomov: The Way to Olympus

Artyomov is a modern composer from Russia writing with the ambition and scope of a man who knows his work is important. From what we read, his life in Russia has been hard, so perhaps a belief in your own standing in the history of music is crucial. He writes big, ambitious tunes; listening to […]

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 […]

Barbara Karaskiewicz Karol Szymanowski: Piano Music

This is a nice autumn CD of piano music; the fact that it’s outstanding music played well, we’ll take as a given. Szymanowski is described in the sleeve notes as one of the most important Polish composers of the 20th century. The sleeve notes are extensive and well written, but the relevant information for those […]

Alfonso Soldano: Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Piano Music

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895-1968) was Italian, and one of the foremost guitar composers in the 20th century. In 1939 he went to the US and became a composer for MGM Studios, working on some 200 Hollywood films. He was an influence on other film composers, including Henry Mancini, Nelson Riddle and André Previn, and Jerry Goldsmith […]

Chris Gekker: Ghost Dialogues, Music for Trumpet

Gekker is professor of trumpet at the University of Maryland School of Music. He has appeared as a soloist throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe, and can be heard as such on more than 30 recordings. He’s also played with Sting. He’s good. This CD features modern trumpet music, with work from composers Carson […]

Carson Cooman: Andreas Willscher: Organ Symphony No.5

German composer Andreas Willscher has (say the Press notes, we won’t claim expertise) won many awards for his compositions, which range from symphonic forms and oratorio to cabaret jazz and rock. Organ Symphony No.5 is on a grand scale but mostly peaceful and meditative; in the sleeve notes the composer said it was subtitled “of […]

Jim Parker: Travelling Light

The title says it all: Parker writes light music, and the collection takes the listener to different parts of the world. (He also wears his talent lightly, the sleeve notes being witty and self-deprecating). You might not know the name of Jim Parker but you’ll know his music; he has written for television and his […]

Natalie Schwaabe: Piccolo Works

A bit like the Opera Jazz Blues album, an album featuring the piccolo — known as the screaming twig or Ak47 for its ability to cut through the loudest orchestra — might be something that you never think you’d need, but this is a decent, if idiosyncratic, album. You wouldn’t want a collection of piccolo […]