Montgeroult & Viotti

We either owe a lot to, or can blame a lot on, Giovanni Battista Viotti, depending on your perspective. Viotti was the first major virtuoso to adopt what we now think of as the modern bow and to adapt his style to accommodate it, moving away from baroque practice…

Divina

As an example of the triumph of content over packaging this album is prime. Forget the kitsch cover, the inaccurate name and the truly garish graphic design. Once you turn it on, there is superb period instrument playing by this thoroughly serious and accomplished ensemble…

Burning Through The Cold

It is appropriate, in a way, that a disc which has music full of hidden or clouded meanings should have a title and be by artists with a name that is mildly baffling. I assume, because it is not explained in Wolfgang Stähr’s excellent accompanying essay, that Burning through the cold refers to the years of Stalin’s Soviet Union, during which the Shostakovich and Babadjanian works were written…

Variations: Piano

I am always lost in admiration for Clare Hammond’s playing. She seems to have invincible fingers and can tackle anything a composer throws at her…

Sir Adrian Boult: A Musical Legacy

These are not for the most part the extraordinary recordings Boult made in the late 1960s and into the 70s for EMI, produced by Christopher Bishop, that introduced him as an interpreter of the classics to a new generation – mine. In those years Boult emerged as the grand master, freed from the smothering of his reputation by factional music politics and his own tendency to accept whatever was thrown at him…

Feinberg and Winterberg

These are all world premiere modern recordings made in Paris of music by two composers who have largely slipped through the reputational net undeservedly…