Music reviews

Blue Maqams by Anouar Brahem

Reviewed by Paul Barr

Blue Maqams is the thirteenth release on ECM for Tunisian oud-master/composer Anouar Brahem. Brahem has achieved great success for the label with his ability as a crossover artist, taking his audienc…

Read more ›

Schubert: Piano Sonatas D959 & D960 by Krystian Zimerman

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

I think I need to be honest and say I’ve been on a bit of a Schubert bandwagon lately – though mostly his symphonic and chamber repertoire – so it was a delight to review this piano album. I started …

Read more ›

Paul Stanhope: Lux Aeterna by Sydney Chamber Choir & Paul Stanhope

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

Lux Aeterna is Latin for ‘eternal light’. Paul Stanhope’s works often have dense harmonic ideas, but here, there’s a constant sense of lightness – both in the musicianship of the Sydney Chamber Choir…

Read more ›

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…

Read more ›

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…

Read more ›

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 …

Read more ›

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…

Read more ›

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 …

Read more ›

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…

Read more ›

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 …

Read more ›