Solem Quartet plays Thomas Ades

For their debut album the Solem Quartet embrace the theme of night and day. Heading up the line-up of contemporary composers on this concept album, we have Thomas Adés, with Solem Quartet’s new commission of Four Quarters. Commencing with Nightfall, febrile violins denote ancient stars in distant galaxies with groaning cello and viola signifying earth. In Morning Dew, plucked violin strings…

Memorials in music on the twentieth anniversary of September 11th

9/11 : 20 Memorials on the twentieth anniversary of September 11th Adam Swayne, piano British pianist Adam Swayne’s latest disc marks the twentieth anniversary of 9/11 – a date which is deeply, painfully etched on our collective modern memory – and seeks to demonstrate ways in which composers memorialise or commemorate disaster through works by…

Rock opera: ENO’s ‘Tosca’ at South Facing Festival

Once there was a time when I would have been fully on top of such exciting news: a rock festival just down the road at Crystal Palace Bowl. Only a few stops on the train, or a mere jaunt on the bus, without any need to negotiate the seething metropolis. In fact, the news reached…

Olena Tokar – the soprano with soul

With her album Charmes, Ukranian soprano Olena Tokar shows her love of female song repertoire from the 19thand 20th century. Women composers have historically been thin on the ground, but the ones who received public attention, either in their time or more recently, were, and remain, utterly fascinating.  On the album, we have the feisty Alma Mahler, who threatened…

‘Historical Fiction’ Forshaw brings sax to the baroque.

Karine Hetherington from ArtMuseLondon caught up with composer and saxophonist, Christian Forshaw, and soprano Grace Davidson, shortly before the release of their latest album, Historical Fiction. Christian’s arrangement of Handel’s ‘Eternal Source of Light Divine’ has already attracted 36,000 views on YouTube and was featured on Classic FM.  Christian and Grace, what are your earliest musical memories? C: Beatles and choral…

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…

‘De Profundis Clamavi’ – Duncan Honeybourne, piano

This recent release by Duncan Honeybourne on the EMR label makes a persuasive and enjoyable case for lesser-known English composers of the 20th and 21st centuries. Recorded in August 2020 at Potton Hall, between lockdowns, as it were, Duncan Honeybourne, by his own admission, feels this is his best work to date. While many of…

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…

In Opera Holland Park’s Amico Fritz, the love duets rule

In an age where maximum noise and drama seems to be a prerequisite to an opera’s success, Amico Fritz might be regarded as the cuckoo in the nest. Its pastoral, gentle story-line is likely to pass most opera goers by. Opera Holland Park on the other hand is championing Mascagni’s work in a new production – presenting…