While nothing is predictable or certain about improvisation, when the piano magician Carolyn Hume meets the vocal wonder Katja Cruz there is one thing we can be sure about. They will create a haunting, hypnotising, mesmerising atmosphere full of suspense and ghostly images that will linger in your memory forever. This is both the magic and mystery of making music. Carolyn Hume's previous four Leo-albums with the drummer Paul May created a user friendly variant of free jazz that was both tuneful and fashionable. Similarly, these ten, mostly improvised solo piano pieces prove impeccably ambient and easy on the ear, even when the notes are discordant,they make very attractive patterns as they fall.
Carolyn's first-ever live album is a tasteful 12-song set from shows at Antone's in Austin, Kessler Theater in Dallas and Last Concert Café in Houston. Her trio plus guests Guy Forsyth and Shelley King play new original songs, a new co-write with Ruthie Foster and covers of Doug Sahm, Lean Russel and Los Labos.
Verlaine’s poetry lends itself well to music and many of his poems have been set successfully by numerous composers. Thus it was a brilliant idea to build a programme around Verlaine and include several settings of some of the poems. Since Carolyn Sampson has cast her net widely and included several rarely heard composers, we are offered a very comprehensive odyssey through the Verlainean waters.
Carolyn Sampson and Iestyn Davies have collaborated on many occasions in the field of Baroque opera and oratorio, but on this occasion they venture into a somewhat different territory. In the company of Joseph Middleton, they have been exploring the Lieder for one and two voices of Mendelssohn and Schumann, combining them with songs and duets by Roger Quilter. And even though the disc actually opens with a set of Purcell songs – repertoire which both singers have previously made their mark in – they are here performed with the piano accompaniments realized by Benjamin Britten, turning them into something quite new and different.