Heart songs: Elizabeth Llewellyn & Simon Lepper; Isata Kanneh-Mason

As soon as I read about ‘Heart and Hereafter’, Elizabeth Llewellyn’s debut recital album on Orchid Classics, I was excited and intrigued to hear it – for three main reasons. First, I had seen and heard her give a magnificent performance in the title role of Verdi’s ‘Luisa Miller’ for English National Opera back in…

Fullana’s Obsession with Bach

Most of us will have heard Johann Sebastian Bach’s exquisite Partita No. 3 in E major for Solo Violin. My knowledge of solo violin repertoire however stops there. I was therefore very keen to listen to violinist, Francisco Fullana’s new album, in which he explores Bach’s solo violin work and its musical legacy. Many legendary…

Yu Kosuge in her element with ‘Wind’ album

Yu Kosuge’s new album ‘Wind’, is the pianist’s third album devoted to the four elements of nature. Water (Volume 1) and Fire (Volume 2) preceded on the Orchid Classics label. This feels like a very personal project for 37-year-old Kosuge, who has a long, successful piano performing career behind her. It all started when she was…

A Clarinet in America and the American sound

What is it that makes American classical music of the 1940s and 1950s so distinctive and so different from ours from that period? For one thing, it is so very upbeat. I asked myself this question this week, as I listened to Clarinet in America, which showcases music by Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland and Miklós Rózsa. I…

Tenor Dmytro Popov hitting high notes of his career

The Ukranian opera tenor Dmytro Popov might not be someone you will have heard of. Now entering his forth decade and therefore relatively young in opera years, he has spent much of his time outside the UK, singing lead roles in the world’s most prestigious opera houses. His stupendous vocal abilities were noticed very early…

Transatlantic Sounds from the Past and Present

Transatlantic is violinist Callum Smart’s tribute to British and American composers. Recorded during the first lockdown, his intention was to focus on the music he was “deeply in love with”, and this passion certainly translates to Edward Elgar’s lyrical Violin Sonata in E minor which Elgar wrote in 1918.  Smart plays the opening movement with great…

West Side Story Revisited and Revived

West Side Story Revisited and Revived I admit I never intended to review what I believed to be a straight orchestral revival of Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story, released by Orchid Classics on November 6th. I loved the musical and the film starring Natalie Wood, and having sung all the songs throughout my teenage years, I thought I…

Guitarist Jakob Bangsø and the soul of the troubadour

This month I was very keen to hear Danish guitarist, Jakob Bangsø, play three contemporary guitar concertos on a recording he made with Orchid Classics. First out on the album is Troubadours by composer John Corigliano, written in 1993. Corigliano has a long career behind him but was nervous about writing a guitar concerto. Concerns…