Category: CD Review

CD of the Month: Guto Puw Reservoirs

‘There are places in Wales I don’t go:Reservoirs that are the subconsciousOf a people, troubled far downWith gravestones, chapels, villages even…’ Guto Puw is in many respects the quintessential Welsh composer: he grew up in a musical family steeped in national folk forms and traditions, he is a native speaker who now teaches at Bangor – the only university where…

Penderecki Works and April CD Roundup

Penderecki Works: Polymorphia, Analasis, Fluorescenes, Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima, Intermezzo, Kosmogonia (Antoni Wit) Naxos NAC-LP002-03 Written in 1959/60, Anaklasis, for 42 string instruments and percussion was the work that established Penderecki’s radical credentials with its extensive use of sounds that emphasise sonorous effect as opposed to pitch-based harmonic and melodic argument. It was swiftly followed by 8’37’’, for 52 string instruments,…

A Voice Gone Silent Too Soon: the music of Gerhard Schedl

The Boston-based Walden Chamber Players have just released a tribute to Austrian composer Gerhard Schedl. It’s title, A Voice Gone Too Soon, is a reference to his tragic death aged 43: he shot himself in woods near his house in Eppstein after suffering a long period of depression.  The knowledge of Schedl’s end makes experiencing his haunting music all the more poignant. It often…

September CD Roundup – Métier

I often write about Naxos and, more obviously (it’s dedicated to contemporary music, after all), NMC in these roundups. Métier, now absorbed by Divine Art Recordings Group, is another label that is a treasure trove for new music lovers. Their most recent contemporary music releases are: Michael Finnissy’s Unknown Ground, James Weeks’ TIDE and Carson Cooman’s Rising at Dawn. I have listened to the first…

Karl Jenkins: Adiemus Colores

It’s fashionable to knock Karl Jenkins. Some might say that it is even inappropriate for me to blog here about him. The truth is, however, that his music provokes valid questions about the place of contemporary music in our society. He is one of the few living composers who make a living out of writing concert music away from the…

Recording of the Month: Wunderkammer(konzert)

Even given that I am no expert on the music of Kenneth Hesketh, my reaction on listening to Wunderkammer(konzert), the first album dedicated to his music was: ‘long overdue’. It seems curious that music of such obvious quality is not more widely recorded. The disc, just released on NMC, contains three orchestral works –  A Rhyme for the Season, Graven Image and At God…

Record of the Month: A European Odyssey

If you buy one CD set this month or, for that matter, over the next twelve, you should consider A European Odyssey, A remarkable musical adventure with the London Schubert Players. Released on Nimbus, the three-disk set is the fruit of the Invitation to Composers project that, since 2009, has challenged composers to write new works in response to established European chamber pieces.  Invitation…

Retorica: English Violin Duos

If a programme of music for two violins does not sound like a very appealing prospect, Retorica’s debut disk, just released on NMC, might change your mind. Violinists Harriet Mackenzie and Philippa Mo have made it something of a mission to bring this little-known repertoire to a wider audience. Even the name of their duo – the Italian feminine form of…

April CD Roundup

KAGEL, M.: Das Konzert/ Phantasiestuck / Pan (M. Faust, Alvares, Ensemble Contrasts, R. HP Platz, Sinfonia Finlandia Jyvaskyla, P. Gallois). Naxos 8.572635 The more I read contemporary music reviews and CD notes, the more I realise that many of them say next to nothing of interest on the topic they are supposed to be illuminating. The classic method of writing…