Reviews

A glance at the batting order reveals a prodigious and diverse group of composers. The performances by all the artists are convincing, competent and thoroughly engaged. I was impressed by the CD sound, which is clear and well-balanced. This is altogether a charming ‘Garland’ for John McCabe. There is much here to delight, enchant and call to mind one of the most important and best of ‘modern’ composers.

” —John France, MusicWeb International

An interesting and enterprising set, celebrating English Art Songs by less well-known composers. The booklet is very detailed, containing information about the Society, together with biographies and full song texts.

” —Jim Westhead, MusicWeb International

This [new CD] features compositions by Joshua Fineberg and Hugues Dufourt and answers the question ‘Can one still write for the piano today?’ with a resounding yes.

” —'Pliable', Overgrown Path

Nonken’s performance is remarkable in that she seems so intimately attuned to Fineberg’s mode of discourse. The pianism [in the Dufourt work] is terrific: Nonken’s finger strength in the loud passages in particular is massively impressive. That said, she treats many of the quieter passages with an attention to texture and touch that one might more readily associate with a sensitive interpreter of the French Impressionists.

” —Colin Clarke, Fanfare

Music of constantly morphing repetitions, often on a vast scale. Phrases, gestural blocks, and entire contours recur with the naturalness of an emergent spring or an oncoming snowstorm. There is not a pianist playing today who can bring more subtlety and energy to the music of Fineberg and Dufourt than does Marilyn Nonken. Her voicings are exquisite, her pedaling throughout is a model to be studied, and, when necessary, her virtuosity is equaled only by the insight and passion with which every piece is imbued. The recording is excellent, capturing every burst of light and color as it decays through every shade of sound and silence. This is an absolutely essential piano disc, a worthy addition to the library of anyone interested in recent piano explorations, rendered with vitality and intellectual rigor in perfect balance.

” —Marc Medwin, Fanfare

Marilyn Nonken negotiates the immense technical and musical challenges of these works in remarkable fashion. This well recorded disc is self-recommending to readers who will know from this review whether they will be receptive to music of this sort. However self-recommending it may be, though, I recommend it too.

” —David DeBoor Canfield, Fanfare

Nonken’s two-CD set of the complete solo piano music of Murail, also on the Métier label, is a spectacular introduction to this tantalizing world. At first glance, this highly abstract, very dissonant music seems extraordinarily challenging. But it is so purely expressive, honest and, not least, presented with such passion, that it should be intensely engaging for any music lover with an open mind. For me, this is yet another triumph for one of our greatest champions of living composers.

” —Peter Burwasser, Fanfare

Marilyn Nonken is a persuasive advocate for spectral music … [she] has followed her outstanding 2CD set of Murail’s complete piano music with [this disc]. Dense, mercilessly virtuosic writing … Nonken handles the incremental tension superbly.

” —Graham Lock, International Piano

Well, here’s a pretty exciting CD to receive and listen to…a set of world premiere recordings from some of the finest of the UK’s contemporary composers, always seems like an early xmas pressy to me. Also, the enclosed booklet notes provided are a mine of information and a pure delight to read. Madeleine Mitchell’s playing is a total wonder to behold… from the very first hearing, every single note, phrase, melody, etc, was exquisite on both ear and heart, it just got better and better.

” —Peter Byrom Smith, Sounds

This unique DVD features music written by Ed Hughes for a series of silent films, both new and old. Ed Hughes is a master of large scale works and these movie scores are a little more traditionally styled than his usual chamber and operatic work. Whichever genre is chosen, his reputation as a highly inventive and skilled composer grows steadily.

” —John Pitt, New Classics

A fresh collection of commissions from the ever-enterprising Madeleine Mitchell.

” —Helen Wallace, BBC Music Magazine

There is a distinct magic about virtually every piece on this retrospective of Christopher Fox’s clarinet music. Everything tells me that it is out of my comfort zone, yet I enjoyed most of these pieces. The sound quality of this CD is perfect, allowing the brightness and precision of the instruments to be clearly heard. . I think that [even lovers of mainstream clarinet chamber music] will find something of great interest on this CD.

” —John France, MusicWeb International

Brahms’s Three Intermezzi have a mellow tone and calm the brain; Demopoulos’s own music follows…think of frantic, noisy farewells and then the reflective walking away after departure. Demopoulos wants to make an impression with his version [of Pictures] which he does with a bold but sparse rendition. It’s lively and perhaps got a bit more brio to it than the last piano version we reviewed.

” —Jeremy Condliffe, The Chronicle

If you have been waiting for this series to appear on disc, as I have, here is your chance. Those who have not yet caught the English art song bug may wish to explore elsewhere. But come back here for the rarities.

” —Ronald E. Grames, Fanfare

Much of Keeley’s writing strikes me as jocular and even tongue-in-cheek, although it is all composed with a solid technique, full of inspired ideas and the knowledge of how to assemble them to form a convincing whole… his music is really his own. Coupled with the excellence of the performances—I can do nothing but sing the praises of each performer heard here—this is a disc that aficionados of contemporary chamber music will not want to miss.

” —David deBoor Canfield, Fanfare

“Charming” is a word that applies to a great deal of the music here. It is not surprising that the composer was a success in Hollywood. His ear for colors and his ability to create pictures with his music is apparent throughout. Alfonso Soldano gives the music good, solid performances… this is a very attractive disc with some very nice discoveries.

” —Henry Fogel, Fanfare

Despite the shared themes of rejoicing, the accent is largely – an intriguingly – on the understated, Cooman’s advocacy never less than committed and eloquent.

” —Michael Quinn, Choir & Organ

The dominant accent is contemplative…both the two larger pieces move seamlessly between the sublime and the ecstatic, with Simmons revelling in the unfettered energy.

” —Michael Quinn, Choir & Organ

One of the charms of the CD is the intellectual curiosity it creates, not only in the music but in the subjects it tackles… it sparkles in its own intellectual way. Leonard and Herford are excellent.

” —Jeremy Condliffe, The Chronicle

World premiere recordings from some of the finest of the UK’s contemporary composers and performers. A really expressive and creative project – 7 composers’ works written for superb violinist Madeleine Mitchell; throughout her playing is a total wonder.

” —Peter Byrom-Smith, British Music Society