Reviews

There’s not much point talking about the playing (world class) or the composing (ditto). What’s it like to listen to? With so many composers, it’s clearly a varied listen. An interesting album, a blend of jazz, film noir soundtrack, classical and ambient.

” —Jeremy Condliffe, The Chronicle

This is a repertoire from the top of the pianistic canon, requiring not only the mastery of the workshop, but also the exceptional knowledge and sensitivity – these qualities Barbara Karaśkiewicz owns. [A] very successful album.

” —Witold Paprocki, Twoja Muza

Polish pianist Barbara Karaskiewicz shows that she can master all of the heterogeneous aspects of Szymanowski’s styles… a perfect technical and stylistic maturity. The recording is characterized by a full and wide sound…. [and] has a natural glow without application of additional effects.

” —Edmondo Filippini, Music Voice (Italy)

The Italian pianist Alfonso Soldano plays a highly entertaining program. The interpretations seem very natural and balanced, leaving in the music the charm that characterizes it.

” —Remy Franck, Pizzicato (Luxembourg)

Barbara Karaskiewicz makes the development of the composer from the romanticist to the expressionist clear and plays the four works on a high level technically, musically always correct, and highly sensitive.

” —Remy Franck, Pizzicato (Luxembourg)

The context adds a certain poignancy and significance to a recording that stands on its own as a finely executed program of chamber works. Mind Music is polished, expressive, and programmed coherently. More than that, however, it is a provocation to think more deeply about neurodegenerative conditions, the relationships between music and health, and the role of music as a social force.

” —James V. Maiello, Fanfare

[Parker’s] music, on the present evidence, is engaging, always easy on the ear. A fun disc, without doubt – especially in such expert performances as these.

” —Colin Clarke, Fanfare

This intriguing omnibus of [Raftery’s] chamber music presents a musical personality that is, at turns, somber, puckish, and alert to the voices of musical history… this is the music of a rather quirky, but intelligent and compelling artist. The performances are uniformly excellent.

” —Peter Burwasser, Fanfare

Horrendously difficult technical passages, spectacular and jolly difficult. [In Thalberg’s Fantasie alone] there are horrendously complex pianistic configurations including fiendish octave passages, ‘sweeping arpeggios’ and extremely fast chromatic melodic patterns… it is utterly amazing. Interestingly, more than half of these ‘paraphrases’ are receiving their “first commercial recording”. Wright’s playing is superb. The sound quality of the recording is ideally balanced: every detail from the most intimate arabesque to the hammered octaves is clear and undistorted.

” —John France, MusicWeb International

Irish new music is a significant yet relatively unknown facet of the European scene which is only now coming into its own… among its most vital practitioners, Rhona Clarke. The programme works well as a sequence – the trios separated by the heady evocation of Gleann Dá Loch and the sombre choral underlay of Con coro, then rounded off by the tranquillity of In umbra. The Fidelio Trio[‘s] expertise is second to none among present-day ensembles. Immediate sound, and a disc that does Clarke’s profile no harm at all.

” —Richard Whitehouse, Gramophone

Some of the music on flautist Richard Craig’s second Métier disc might simply be called post-everything. When there’s no tonality, no atonality, no melody and few pitches, what exactly is left? Quite a lot, as it happens – and therein lies the interest. Such technically complex, ‘post-everything’ music paradoxically brings us back to a primal, at times ecstatic state of Fauvist force. Craig owns the works here. The warmth of his tone along with a reverberant room sound, while taking nothing away from the compositions’ severity, succeeds in making them approachable.

” —Liam Cagney, Gramophone

There’s something charmingly dated about this collection of songs from Roe. It’s a varied and interesting collection. The topics of the songs vary, though she seems to favour nature. Roe is also not afraid of mundane topics, whether it’s gardening or buses. Charming and very English, this is an entertaining set of songs.

” —Jeremy Condliffe, The Chronicle

[The composer] taught film music, and his pupils included Henry Mancini, John Williams and André Previn. And his musical style owes much to Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel… fascinating and imaginative. The playing by Alfonso Soldano is excellent and informed, and is presented with obvious enthusiasm and understanding of this relatively rare repertoire.

” —John France, MusicWeb International

The recording quality of all these works is excellent. The playing is outstanding from all the soloists and the ensembles. Rob Keeley certainly has splendid advocates for his music. Stylistically, it is refreshing to hear a composer who has not succumbed to minimalism or a post-modern ‘pop’. Keeley’s music is simultaneously modern, traditional, enjoyable and challenging.

” —John France, MusicWeb International

“Unfortunately [the composer’s] piano music has been largely neglected despite the fact that it is exceptional, impressionistic, and in the best post-Romantic tradition… never shallow, but highly suggestive of moods, emotions, places and colors. Played by the brilliant Italian pianist Alfonso Soldano. He is naturally attuned to the Romantic which makes him an ideal interpreter of Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s music” – John Pitt (New Classics)

” —John Pitt, New Classics

[Clarinetist Thomas Verity] phrases every passage with conviction, which is a delight to hear. Verity spins beautiful, lyrical phrases over [Simon] Passmore’s supportive accompaniment.” – Christopher Nichols (The Clarinet)“[Clarinetist Thomas Verity] phrases every passage with conviction, which is a delight to hear. Verity spins beautiful, lyrical phrases over [Simon] Passmore’s supportive accompaniment.

” —Christopher Nichols, The Clarinet

This new release on Metier is a welcome addition to the abundant and ever increasing discography of English song. Featuring a host of exceptional artists, , the disc is excellently recorded and balanced. . From the serious to the humorous, Roe shows herself a master of word-setting with thoughtful complementary accompaniment. . Tuneful and engaging, many of her songs deserve to be heard more frequently.

” —Andrew King, British Music Society

This is decidedly modern music that fans of more traditional classical music could get a grip on from the start. Overall, a modern, crisp collection of work but quite approachable and personable.

” —Jeremy Condliffe, The Chronicle

Cooman’s works are skillfully written with a contemporary harmonic sensibility that always yields to the melody. Simmons understands this and faith¬fully brings this great Baroque instrument into the service of a 21st-century composer.

” —Alex Baran, The Whole Note

Much of the music is in [a] quiet vein, but Cooman does allow the organist to let rip, as in the opening Exordium and the Gregorian Diptych. I … cannot deny the qualities which [John France] finds in the music: ‘beautiful, inspiring and seductive in equal measure … charged with wonder, mystery and a deep sense of engagement with the world of nature and society’. I would even add ‘ethereal’. The recording… sounds very good. I enjoyed hearing it.

” —Brian Wilson, MusicWeb International