Igor Gryshyn Touches the Divine with his Scriabin Sonata

I discovered German-Ukranian pianist Igor Gryshyn, listening to soprano Olena Tokar sing on her album Charmes. Gryshyn accompanied her and the focus was clearly on the very talented Tokar. Gryshyn’s solo album Transitions has followed and reveals his own brilliance, and love for composers, Viktor Kosenko (1896-1938); his 11 Études to be precise, and the better-known Alexander Scriabin,…

The Jukebox Album

The Jukebox Album – Tom Poster (piano) and Elean Urioste (violin) Few of us believed the 2020 lockdown would go on for more than a couple of weeks. In the midst of the initial announcement by government, many musicians – and others – watched in horror as their work dried up overnight. When it became…

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 Adès, 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…

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…

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…