The cello is key to the music of William Sweeney, something that becomes luminously apparent in these works showcasing the skills of Robert Irvine, either solo or partnered by pianist Fali Pavri or second cellist Erkki Lahesmaa. Inspired by Gaelic psalm-singing, the title track features the two cellists' lines intertwining like a double helix: the effect resembles a lower-register "Lark Ascending", until a pungent dischord appears, prompting more disparate progressions. "Sonata for Cello and Piano" offers an intriguing combination of exploration and introspection. But "The Poet Tells of His Fame" is the standout performance, Irvine playing over pre-recorded cello samples treated to give a series of tonal washes, whines and textures.
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Friday 14 May 2010
The concertina rarely features in classical music outside the work of Astor Piazzolla or Pauline Oliveiros, and its use alongside strings in these four pieces is indicative of the Korean composer Isang Yun's fondness for unusual instrumental combinations. The Taoist principles behind his work are perhaps most evident in the rising figures representing the shift from darkness to light in Duo, or the contrast between the high, bird-like violins and the vibrant chord-clusters of Stefan Hussong's accordion in Concertino. Originally scored for cello and piano, Intermezzo is less diverse, with the cello's bowed lowing occupying similar space to the accompanying accordion drone.
Friday 07 May 2010
Yukio Ninagawa’s productions are often hauntingly numinous, but what he's done with Hisashi Inoue’s play ‘Musashi’ transports us to a realm where life and death are literally one and the same.
Sunday 25 April 2010
The man can even make Gogol Bordello sound great.
Sunday 25 April 2010
No disrespect to Emanuel Ax, Itzhak Perlman and Yo-Yo Ma but the Benvenue Fortepiano Trio's Mendelssohn has more vitality than the Sony supergroup's burnished account.
Friday 19 March 2010
Written in the early Eighties, Trio was one of Feldman's first long-form pieces employing a conventional chamber palette of violin, cello and piano. It involves neither epic musical narrative nor the tedium of process music, its 105 minutes instead built from his usual small-scale blocks of sound.
Sunday 28 February 2010
Christine Farris has written her Vauxhall Agila off in the recent cold snap. Not her fault – she hit some black ice and could not stop, until she made contact with some dustbins and then a gate. Safety is now a priority, as is more room, because she needs space for two growing daughters and a cello. Her budget is £4,000 to £5,000, and Car Choice has agreed to be on call for 24 hours to help get Christine sorted out.
Friday 19 February 2010
Eric Siblin is in many ways just the kind of listener whom musicians love to find in their audiences: an open-minded voyager who's trying something new. JS Bach's cello music entered his life "by chance" shortly after he had ended a stint as pop music critic for the Montreal Gazette, "a job that had filled my head with vast amounts of music, much of which I didn't want to be there".
Wednesday 10 February 2010
Sunday 17 January 2010
A slight astringency of tone is all that keeps the Pavel Haas Quartet a notch below the Jerusalem and Belcea Quartets.
Friday 15 January 2010
Pity poor Mark "E" Everett: beleaguered by a family background pock-marked with mad genius, suicide and cancer, he's no sooner finally come to terms with turbulent desire in last year's Hombre Loco than he's left shattered by break-up, contemplating End Times.
Sunday 10 January 2010
The Borodin Quartet brings a lot of history to the table – 60 years, to be precise. Personnel may come and go, the balance of personalities may shift, but the identity remains resolutely intact.
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