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Multi-talented pianist Simon Callaghan

Rafael’s Music Notes, Rafael de Acha

The SOMM compact disc The deeper the blue… takes both its title and its aesthetic from a Kandinsky essay in which the painter speaks of the mystical properties of color in nature and in music.

In the playing of the superb violinist Janet Sung and her collaborators: the accomplished pianist Simon Callaghan, and the rank and file of the note-perfect Britten Sinfonia with the wonderful Dutch conductor Jac van Steen at the helm, we hear a strong commitment to honor the spirit of the multifaceted selections in this intriguing CD.

There’s the 1925 neoclassical and elegant Concerto for Violin and String Orchestra of Ralph Vaughn Williams, a work for solo piano by Henri Dutilleux: the enchanting set of six pieces given the omnibus title Au gré des ondes, here brilliantly orchestrated by Kenneth Hesketh and originally conceived with no further pretentions than to provide connecting music for a group of episodes for 1946 French radio broadcasts.

A compelling 2015 composition by British composer Kenneth Hesketh provides a welcome dose of atonal brawn in this largely tonal assemblage of 20th and 21st century works.

The album also includes two tour de force works: Ravel’s Tzigane, a ten-minute musical obstacle course for only the bravest of violinists, which Janet Sung dispatches without breaking a sweat.

At the end of the CD, Ms Sung returns in the company of the multi-talented pianist Simon Callaghan to give a fun-filled, jazzy, classy, bluesy an ultimately technically dazzling performance of a notoriously challenging Ravel work: the Sonata for Violin and Piano.

The SOMMCD275 is flawlessly engineered by Ben Conellan, properly produced by Siva Oke, given insightful line notes by Michael Quinn and available as a new release from SOMM.

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Both performers are at their best in the striking slow movement
Beautifully performed
Deep-rooted conviction
A classy album of deep musicality and sensitivity
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The performances on this disc are spirited, well-shaped and refined
Simon Callaghan played with breathtaking nuance in the extremely complex, intricate "Le jardin parfumé" by Kaikhosru Sorabji
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Consummate ease and brilliance
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Rapturous … highly recommended
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Callaghan makes the case for both with flair and conviction
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Sent into the shadows by Simon Callaghan ✶✶✶✶
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The performances here are excellent, with Simon Callaghan making light work of the works' technical demands
Simon Callaghan’s interpretation was superb
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Callaghan once again shows himself to be one of the leading young British pianists
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Impressive pianism – BBC Radio 3 Record Review
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Callaghan's achievement of myriad tonal hues adds greatly to the allure
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Passion, total commitment …heartfelt affection
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Unquestionably deserves to be explored and celebrated
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Performances from all concerned are admirable
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A commendable revival of works dug out of the archives by the pianist himself
Warp And Weft, EMR CD043
Velvet-gloved pianism of ravishing sensitivity from Simon Callaghan
A display of exemplary musicianship
One of the festival highlights
English pianist Simon Callaghan presented an evening of captivating sound and fantasy which was rightly celebrated with enthusiastic ‘bravi’
Five Stars for Callaghan's Roger Sacheverell Coke CD on the Somm label
Simon Callaghan, a pianist who likes to experiment with rarely visited repertoire, has devoted much effort to the recovery of Coke
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Played so faithfully here by Simon Callaghan
This release has been an exciting discovery
Commanding and virtuosic musicianship
Finely played, full of brilliance and virtuosity
Callaghan's spirited and skilful playing is impressive
An eloquent advocate
A new figure and force
Simon Callaghan proves the ideal partner, subtly weighting and detailing the music’s shifting harmonic and textural profiles
You will not be disappointed
Manner from on high
An adventurous selection of not-so-well-known sonatas delivered with aplomb
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04/08/2020