Alasdair Roberts has been paying due diligence to the folkie lifestyle for many years now, having just released his ninth full-length under his own name with little to no fanfare. The Scot is a commanding figure of the nebulous genre s realest traditions, spanning back to a style that echoes how folk standards are played, or what you might expect from the actual folk circuit. While recent Roberts works have been ominous and twilit, his new self-titled finds himself in a contented and soothed state of mind. The record is, for all intents and purposes, a solo record with a little help from his friends – whistles, clarinets and extra-special vocalists appear to wish him well, but let him do the talking, whether its with words or a knotty guitar melody.
Juliette Hurel's 2013 album on Naïve explores pieces for flute and piano by Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert, evoking the period between Classicism and early Romanticism. Perhaps the subtlest work of the program is Beethoven's Flute Sonata in B flat major, WoO A4, written in 1790 and fashioned under the influence of Haydn. Its sunny disposition and light textures are periodically interrupted by unexpected key changes and sudden digressions into the minor, characteristics that anticipate Beethoven's later development and mark it as a transitional work. His Serenade for flute and piano, Op. 41, is an arrangement of the Serenade for flute, violin, and viola, Op. 25, and it has a similar, if sometimes deceptive, air of Classical simplicity, which is all the more apparent because of the brevity of the movements. Only Schubert's Variations on a Theme from Die schöne Müllerin is unequivocally Romantic, and its sudden changes of mood and key make it the most fascinating piece on the disc.
…Schmitt’s sound, though slightly acidulous, should never offend even the most ardent champion of modern instruments. She plays with a verve and dash that makes the ayrs ingratiating, even on first hearing. (…) Strongly recommended.