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January 26 , 2012

Reviews of the Week

The Observer about Miklós Perényi's solo album "Britten Bach Ligeti"
This disc of solo cello music, with a spirited account of Bach's D major Suite VI, BWV1012 at the centre, offers a chance to hear the Hungarian cellist Miklós Perényi (b.1948) at his virtuosic best. A one-time pupil of Pablo Casals, Perényi has a warm, big-boned, springy tone and brings expressive variety to Britten's Suite No 3 Op 87 (1971), written in a matter of days for his friend Rostropovich. Its nine short movements unfold as if from one musical seed, flowering in the final Passacaglia, which is almost as long as the total of the preceding sections. Ligeti's two-movement, folk-inspired Sonata (1948-53), dating from the dark days of Hungary and not approved for broadcast by the Soviet authorities, makes an atmospheric conclusion.
Fiona Maddocks, The Observer

Tim Berne's "Snakeoil" receives further press in Jazzwise
Tim Berne, noted explorer of the tensions between composition and improvisation, knew exactly what he was doing in assembling his latest band. Here, the iconoclastic New York saxophonist has constructed a vehicle that allows his purposeful musical personality to shine through both in terms of the group arrangements and his own expressive voice. Overall, (as befits Berne's first release on ECM as a leader), the tunes have a cerebral feel. [...] Berne's sax rises upwards into an earthy extra dimension, as breezy and urban as a yellow taxi cab. There's a chamber music delicacy to it all, sure, but it's one that's suffused with genuine humanity and more than a little wisdom.
Daniel Spicer, Jazzwise

The Independent reviewed "Canticle of the Sun" by Sofia Gubaidulina
Featuring unorthodox showcases for violin and cello, this album is testament to the sensitive individualism of Sofia Gubaidulina. Performed by Gidon Kremer's Kremerata Baltica, "The Lyre of Orpheus" proceeds via a series of discrete violin flourishes and glissandi, until coaxed into the open under cover of the ensemble. Its inclusion of sleighbells is one example of Gubaidulina's characteristic use of unusual percussion, which reaches further exremes in her setting of St Francis's "Canticle of the Sun" when cellist Nicolas Altstaedt, having detuned his instrument to its lowest possible note, eventually abandons it to bow first a drum, then a flexatone device. Strange, but beautiful.
Andy Gill, The Independent

Andy Sheppard, Michel Benita and Sebastian Rochford with "Trio Libero" in Jazzwise
This is an album of stately elegance and beauty. Featuring 13 tunes over its 51-minute length, it flows gracefully from one track to the next. Balance and poise in this context are everything for this is music that unfolds before you rather than grabs at your attention. [...] It's the subtlety of the interplay and sense of freedom that this record exudes that makes it so special. It's rich in colours of autumn and winter, at times austere but never gloomy, while on occasions the warmth of spring hints at renewal. A truly gorgeous piece of music-making.
Duncan Heining, Jazzwise