The dark ascending: Dead Space Chamber Music, ‘The Black Hours’

This is music at once vivid, immediate – and at the same time, otherworldly, almost surreal. In its heady combination of genres, approaches and sounds, the album feels both timeless and original. In the best sense, it’s a sonic trap, daring you to identify familiar elements and motifs, only to snatch them away and re-purpose…

With ‘Heritage’ Violinist Rudin Uncovers Denisov

Fedor Rudin’s album Heritage celebrates Russian repertoire and more specifically the music of composer Edison Denisov (1929-1996). Denisov is associated with modernist music in Soviet Russia of the 1960s. With mentors like Sergei Prokofiev and Dmitri Shostakovich and Debussy an early inspiration, I was keen to hear how these musical influences panned out. Rudin’s decision to premiere…

Life Between Islands Lights up Tate Britain

Life Between Islands at Tate Britain is a large show, so give yourself time to peruse the wealth of Caribbean-British art from the 1950s to the present. The exhibition opens with the old guard artists, who came to settle in Britain between the late 1940s and 1970s.  Aubrey Williams’s expressionist art grabbed my attention in the first…

Two of US: Lucas Meachem & Irina Meachem, ‘Shall We Gather’

This is a big, bold, beautiful beast of an album: a concept recital that uses song to grapple with belonging, community and how those noble aims align with what it means to be American. Let me say at the outset that this is a bravura performance by both singer and pianist. This may be a…

Barbican Show of Sculptor and Lighting Designer Isamu Noguchi 1904-1988

In 1988, in the last year of his life, Japanese American artist, Isamu Noguchi, remarked “Art for me is something which teaches human beings how to become more human”. Having just visited the Barbican Centre’s Noguchi show, I can see to what extent art was therapeutic for him. In his sculptures he seems to have…

Vital organ: Anna Lapwood, ‘Images’

No matter how long I’ve listened seriously to classical music – and with a mere decade of doing so behind me, I’m still one of the beginners – it’s always a good thing to be reminded that I’ll remain a learner for the duration, until my senses fail. There are always new sounds and new…

Manc union: Prom 20, Manchester Collective with Mahan Esfahani

Back to the ‘dome from home’ for another evening, and for what turned out to be one of the most thrilling Proms I’ve ever attended, for a whole host of reasons. Mainly, I think it was the sheer energy sustained throughout – the performers set out to electrify the audience, and succeeded. Rewind to what…

Memoir Dorothy Watson founder of The Bridge Pottery 1921-1961

Starting up a business has never been easy and historically much harder if you are a woman. Doubly tough if you were a single woman in the 1920s like potter, Dorothy Watson, who, having lost her fiancé, Arthur Prichard at Vimy Ridge during WW1, found herself single and in great need of work. An inheritance of…