Classical reviews


> Delius and Ireland: "Evening Songs". Julian Lloyd Webber (cello), John Lenehan (piano). Naxos CD 

The singing voice of the cello is well-suited to performance of arrangements of the best of our vocal music for instruments.

Julian Lloyd Webber plays his own arrangements of 21 songs by Frederick Delius and his admirer John Ireland. The latter's works include his popular setting of John Masefield's poem Sea Fever.

Of interest to Kiwis will be the inclusion of two Ireland songs in which talented cellist Jiaxin Cheng, the wife of Lloyd Webber who had been formerly based in Auckland, joins her husband in duet. John Lenehan, an Ireland expert, accompanies the music throughout. He has partnered Lloyd Webber since the mid-1970s in recitals around the world.

Highlight: beautiful melodies soulfully played.


> Arvo Part: Piano Music. Ralph van Raat (piano), Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra. Naxos CD

Ralph Van Raat is a Dutch pianist who has performed internationally as recitalist and soloist. He has an affinity with contemporary classical music and devotes the whole programme to works by Estonian composer Part (born 1935). Part's piano works range from his first public statement, the Zwei Sonatinen (1958) to the life-affirming miniature Fur Anna Maria (2006), in which he moved away from his 1960s atonal language. Part is often regarded as a champion of minimalism and the disc shows its colours. The 2002 piece Lamentate is in 10 brief sections, written for Anish Kapoor around his Tate sculpture commission Marsyas - the composer has described it as a lament not for the dead, but for the living.

Highlight: Partita Op.2 for pianist dexterity.


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