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Joe Cutler, head of composition at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, has an exciting voice of kaleidoscopic vocabulary, as the variety of modes of expression on this disc amply reveals.

A celebration of the newly built Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and performed by its orchestra, Elsewhereness is full of brilliantly achieved flamboyance, while McNulty for piano trio (titled after a character from The Wire) invokes a kind of fractured minimalism, containing much beauty in its textures. Beauty also surfaces in For Frederic Lagnau (performed by the Workers Union Ensemble).

The Akhmatova Fragments mix Stravinskian influences with grinding, grungy moments and features the superb soprano Sarah Leonard on top form, perhaps most memorable is the haunting, saxophone-drenched Sikorski B (performed by the group Nosferatu). Finally, Karembeu’s Guide to the Complete Defensive Midfielder,a witty combo of contemporary, jazz and post-minimalism performed by the Emulsion Sinfonietta.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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