Music reviews

Il Diavolo by Accademia Arcadia

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

Many people know the story of the Devil’s Trill Sonata by Tartini. How he dreamed one night he made a pact with the devil, who took up Tartini’s violin and played ‘a sonata so wonderful and so beauti…

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Lotta Sea Lice by Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile

Reviewed by Pia Spreadborough

‘I cherish my intercontinental friendships…’ Australian indie-rock sensation Courtney Barnett croons on ‘Continental Breakfast’ – moments later American spacey-rock sensation Kurt Vile adds, ‘Somewhe…

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A Deeper Understanding by The War On Drugs

Reviewed by Jemima Bucknell

A Deeper Understanding is the fourth LP from Philadelphia sextet The War on Drugs, who prove again that they are artists of art-rock atmosphere. This album has been previewed largely via live studio …

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Splendid Harmony by L'arpa festante

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

The concept behind this album is very interesting. It’s not an homage to a person as such, it’s a homage to his legacy through his teaching. It features five different composers, all of whom learned …

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Richard Strauss by Louise Alder and Joseph Middleton

Reviewed by Alexandra Mathew

Recently, while perusing the shelves at Readings, I was thrilled to discover young British soprano Louise Alder’s debut Strauss recording. My excitement was twofold: I recognised her as an acquaintan…

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Life is Fine by Paul Kelly

Reviewed by Tom Hoskins

‘When are you going to do a normal record?’ After five years of self-proclaimed, yet highly regarded ‘varied music’ (including last year’s dual releases of Shakespeare’s sonnets and funeral songs), P…

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Sous l'empire d'Amour by Marie-Claude Chappuis and Luca Pianca

Reviewed by Alexandra Mathew

French musicologist Marin Mersenne (1588–1648) declared the French air de cour to be lacking the passion of Italian vocal music. ‘Our French musicians,’ he wrote, ‘are content to flatter the ear and …

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Falla: El Amor Brujo by Euskal Barrokensemble, María José Pérez and Enrike Solinís

Reviewed by Alexandra Mathew

Manuel de Falla’s legacy is a study in contradictions. Although Spanish-born, Falla spent seven years in Paris, where he greedily consumed the music of Ravel and Debussy, and marvelled at colourful s…

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Suite Cubed: Bach and Beyond by Umberto Clerici

Reviewed by Alexandra Mathew

Cellist Umberto Clerici wondered how eighteenth-century audiences listened to J.S. Bach’s cello suites, and what they heard and recognised in the music. Although Bach’s solo cello suites are variatio…

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