American Record Guide

This is a fine collection of music assembled and performed by violinist Madeleine Mitchell. The only orchestral work on the album, Puw’s Violin Concerto (Soft Stillness), stands out also as one of its more exciting works. Inspired by lines from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, the violin and orchestra spar with each other in lively displays of color.

Poole’s Rhapsody is another high point, with simple, yet interesting melodies flowing between moments of movement and static, consonance and dissonance. Harrison’s ‘Aurea Luce’ relies on plainchant for its tranquil nature—before moving into forceful, scattering violin lines. Works by Matthews and Berkeley are fine music, but a bit familiar. The drama is balanced by lighter works—Weir’s folk-influenced ‘Atlantic Drift’ for two violins and Nyman’s simple, tuneful ‘Taking it as Read’ for violin and piano.

—Nathan Faro