Media Partners Week: Gramophone


As we dedicate this week to celebrating our media partners, Jazzwise, Gramophone and Songlines, we’re thrilled to share the second of our playlists. The new edition of Gramophone is on sale today, and what better way to mark that than with this stunning playlist curated by Editor Martin Cullingford.

We are delighted that our media partners are offering you an exclusive 20% discount on new subscriptions. To claim your discount, please visit this website and enter promotion code TSIMS20 at the checkout. This offer applies to all subscription packages, whether print or digital. See the full selection of packages for Gramophone here; for Songlines here; and for Jazzwise here. The offer is valid until Sunday 24 May.

Settle back with a cuppa for a good read and a lovely listen!


Martin Cullingford writes: 

‘The concert hall, and the spirit of a shared musical experience, may be on hold for now. But through recordings artists have always been able to transcend time and place, eras even, to communicate directly to us wherever we are, creating an intimacy – and enjoyment – that is just as profound. My lockdown list draws together superb music-making from some of the artists who either performed at Turner Sims shortly before lockdown, or would have done so shortly afterwards and are looking forward to the moment when they can return.

We start with a performance of great power from the Chiaroscuro Quartet, of Schubert’s Death and the Maiden Quartet. Led by Alina Ibragimova, a violinist whose playing is always personal, visceral and compellingly musical, this is quartet playing of extraordinary drama and intimacy – listen hard, and you almost feel like a partaker in the rapport between players. Chiaroscuro, the striking contrasts of light and dark used by painters, is a perfect name for this ensemble and the vivid canvas they create.

Young guitarist Sean Shibe pushes at the boundaries that others place around repertoire with an awe-inspiring commitment, taking audiences from the fragility of folk tunes to epic electric works of extraordinary psychological depth – not least on his Gramophone Award-winning album SoftLOUD. His beautiful new release of Bach lute suites is released on Friday, but today let me turn you towards a work from that previous album performed on electric guitar, the mesmeric cyclical embrace of Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint.

And now an artist not of sound but of paint. The wonderful children’s illustrator and author James Mayhew may have recently taken the Turner Sims audience on an astronomical (or perhaps astrological) journey with Holst’s Planets, but it’s an exotic voyage overseas I’m going to let him take you on now. When Mayhew shared his classical passions with Gramophone last year, he recalled how it was the dazzling orchestral palette of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade – and in particular this fabulous recording conducted by Kirill Kondrashin – that first sparked his life-long love of music.

More nautical note-weaving. Beatrice Rana is a pianist whose playing contains infinite depths of poetry, as her radiant rendition of Ravel’s Miroirs reveals. In one of its movements, Une barque sur l’océan, she beautifully conjures the sense of the rocking of a boat on flowing currents and sweeping waves – what more appropriate music for a city so steeped in maritime history?

Does all that make you miss travelling? It does me (while also evoking many happy memories). So let me take you not only to German and Italy, but back in time as well. La Serenissima’s celebration of the joyous musical sounds of the 18th century, starting from Telemann and exploring outwards from there, was set to have transported Turner Sims back to the 18th century in March. The concert’s been postponed until November, but in the meantime here is this ever-engaging group in the fireworks of Fasch’s Concerto in D.

Finally, where does Beethoven, whose 250th anniversary we’re celebrating this year, transport us to? Invariably somewhere far beyond the confines of time and place – and few works do so as magnificently, and magisterially, as his mighty Hammerklavier sonata. Pianist Paul Lewis is an acclaimed Beethoven interpreter – indeed a volume of his sonata cycle was once named Gramophone Recording of the Year – and another artist whose April concert has been postponed until the autumn. Back in 2006 he offered us a deeply reflective, not to mention virtuosic, interpretation of this masterpiece. A profound reminder of music’s ability to transform and transcend whatever we may be experiencing here and now – and of what awaits when Turner Sims reopens.’


Listen to the Gramophone Playlist on Apple music here

Listen to the Gramophone Playlist on Spotify here


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