Such Sweet Thunder

Caroline Dale shot to fame as the cellist dauntingly requested to "provide" the fingers of Jacqueline du Pré for the film Hilary and Jackie, and then reached an even wider audience when her performance of Handel's Sarabande from the D-minor harpsichord suite was used in an advert for Levi's Jeans.

On this disc she demonstrates that not only is she an accomplished performer, but a pretty mean composer and arranger too. Her style is an unlikely cross between Arvo Pärt and Clannad, the spare, minimalistic harp riffs of "To Unpathed Waters, Undreamed Shores" reminding one of the former's Spiegel im Spiegel, while the slow, folk-like harmonies of "Empires of Light" call to mind sound-world of the latter. But pleasing though these classical/ambient chillout tracks are, it is her work as a soloist that shows her at her best; her performance of the Largo from Vivaldi's E minor Cello Sonata with pianist Sally Heath is beautifully crystalline, and Falla's Asturiana simply shimmers with slow Andalusian heat.

Warwick Thompson

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