Music reviews

Mahler: Symphony No. 7 by Bayerisches Staatsorchester & Kirill Petrenko

The opening of Mahler’s Symphony No. 7 always sends shivers down my spine. That opening tenor horn solo, when done right, seems to be a herald of grand adventures to come. The adventure in this case …

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Homage to Bach: The Solo Violin Sonatas by Brodsky Quartet & Paul Cassidy

Some people just like making life difficult for themselves. Paul Cassidy, the violist of the Brodsky Quartet must be one of those people. He’s taken three solo violin sonatas by Bach and, using just …

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Nina Simone’s Gum by Warren Ellis

When I was a boy, my mother declared chewing gum to be a filthy habit. I dutifully took up smoking. Dr Nina Simone chose to do both, right up to the end. And why not. She was a god. Tempestuous and m…

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Hope by Daniel Hope and Zürcher Kammerorchester

There is something truly breathtaking in hearing a choir sing in our current moment; hearing all those voices coming together after so long apart almost brings tears to my eyes. In this latest album,…

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The British Project by City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra & Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla

I always like being honest in my reviews and to be frank, this is an odd duck of a recording: the glories of Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, paired with the almost unknown arr…

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First Light: Muhly & Glass by Pekka Kuusisto & Norwegian Chamber Orchestra

This recording felt like a musical representation of the last 18 months. From a world premiere recording to a piece that was recorded on separate continents, it’s a miracle that this album ever came …

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Echoes of Life by Alice Sara Ott

The past will always echo through the years, affecting the future in ways that are surprising and often far reaching. Would Chopin have guessed that in the year 2021 we would still be playing and rev…

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Baroque by Nicola Benedetti & Benedetti Baroque Orchestra

What is it about Baroque music that endears itself to the modern 21st-century audience? Is it the unabashed complexity or soulful slow movements? Or does the passion of the musicians themselves infus…

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Ravel & Saint-Saëns: Piano Trios by Sitkovetsky Trio

Ravel was a sophisticated composer who was exacting and worked towards compositional perfection, which is beautifully evident in this Piano Trio in A minor. However, he was also described as childlik…

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One Movement Symphonies: Barber, Sibelius & Scriabin by Kansas City Symphony & Michael Stern

A symphony is classified by most musical dictionaries as an extended work written in the Western Art Music tradition, most often in four movements. So what happens when a composer throws out a part o…

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