Titi Winterstein was an amazing improviser with a beautiful singing tone on the fiddle
Titi Winterstein Djinee Tu Kowa Ziro
I first heard this song being played by the incredible blind gypsy violinist Tcha Limberger but I especially love the Titi Winterstein original, with its fantastic old-world quality. Winterstein was one of the gypsy violin greats – an amazing improviser with a beautiful singing tone on the fiddle.
Giya Kancheli Styx (Yuri Bashmet)
I was privileged enough to be played a very early recording of this on cassette, and it blew my mind. The piece is for solo viola, orchestra and Georgian choir, and is stunning in terms of dynamic and emotional range. For me, it conjures the spirit of the Russian poet Mikhail Lermontov and the nymphs and demons of the Caucasus. The piece is Kancheli’s farewell to his colleagues and friends Avet Terterian and Alfred Schnittke.
Steve Reich Different Trains
I love the combination of live string quartet and looped vocal snatches telling the stories of different train journeys, from the industrialising vigour of America in the 1920s to concentration camps during the Second World War. The voices are so evocative and I find the idea of music and memory working together to be particularly powerful. This is music that calls to mind the life stories of an entire generation.
Camille Cats and Dogs
Camille is one of the most incredible singer–songwriters I’ve come across. She is a force of nature and a true creative genius with a remarkable, versatile voice. In this song she uses layers of vocal percussion, funky string arrangements and rhythmic miaow-miaows and woof-woofs to build an amazing groove, coupled with witty lyrics about man’s eternal dependence on cats and dogs for friendship.
Django à la Créole Nuages
This is a really stunning album that brings together Django Reinhardt-style Hot Club with New Orleans jazz. Clarinettist Evan Christopher conceived this project when he was displaced from his home by Hurricane Katrina. He is amazing on the clarinet – a true virtuoso with a stunningly warm and woody tone. It is hard to pick just one track from this CD but I love this version of Nuages with its Cuban flavour.
Photo: Charlie Campbell