One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here


International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger

Some items
to consider

in the first division

extraordinary by any standards

An excellent disc

a new benchmark

summation of a lifetime’s experience.

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now

A Garland for John McCabe


DIETHELM Symphonies

The best Rite of Spring in Years

BACH Magnificat

Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26

Just enjoy it!

La Mer Ticciati








Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


CD: Rarescale

Scott MILLER (with Carla REES )
Devices and Desires
Anterior/Interior (2011) [8:10]
Beauty is Eternity Gazing in a Mirror (2011) [9:26]
Omaggio a 1961 (2009) [11:13]
Bending Reed (2011) [6:37]
Seriously, This is a Commitment (2011) [13:00]
Haiku, Interrupted (2009) [7:30]
Carla Rees (quarter tone C flute)
Scott Miller (electronics)
rec. Royal College of Music, London, 24 November 2011. DDD

Experience Classicsonline

1960s-born American composer Scott Miller wears the critical epithet "not for the faint-hearted listener" as a badge of honour - it is quoted both on his website and in the miniature biography included with this new CD. The merest of toes dipped into the ethane/methane waters of Anterior/Interior instantly confirms the validity of that quotation - this is music, but not as most people know it.
In fairness, a good deal of what is heard here is the result of improvisation, both controlled and free. That said, the combination of Carla Rees's eerie quartertone-sounding flute and Miller's unearthly digital sound-farragoes makes for a decidedly alien experience. It will be appreciated only by those who enjoy the starkest of aural challenges.
Miller's titles, inasmuch as they give anything away, seem to flirt with randomness, reflected in turn in his music: Beauty is Eternity Gazing in a Mirror, for example, sounds more like an assemblage of extracts from the soundtrack from a 1950s 'War of the Worlds' kind of film. The title Seriously, This is a Commitment verges on the pretentious, but perhaps it is a warning: that the listener needs to be seriously committed to the cause of new music to get through its thirteen minutes of strident flute noises and electronic shenanigans laid over frankly wearisome electro-pop rhythms. Yet this music is 'new' only in the sense that it was composed last year, not in the sense that it has anything original to say. It is hard to guess what Miller had in mind with this mélange of a piece. Similarly, it would be nice to know if Omaggio a 1961 really is a homage, and if so, to what - there are no clues in the music. Or are there? Yuri Gagarin's space flight? How difficult not to imagine other worlds listening to Miller's music! In fact the tribute is to Luciano Berio's electroacoustic experimentalism, according to Miller's website. Berio fans may lap this up, but most will find the constant digital buzzing hard work.
The remaining items have more going for them. In Bending Reed, creepy wind-like sounds swirl slowly and atmospherically across a barren landscape. Haiku, Interrupted is another work with an inscrutable title, bolstered here by a barrage of mysterious sounds that occasionally have a Far-Eastern flavour. Over the last two minutes, a repeated motif fades away to the faintest of sounds and finally to silence. What does it all mean? Miller's website has a crack of sorts at an explanation: the work is "an exploration of five restrained - yet powerful - gestures carried away by the environment they have themselves created, in the absence of other stimuli."

Flautist extraordinaire Carla Rees seems immune to whatever sounds or rhythms Miller programmes his gadgetry to yield up. Perhaps she recorded her flute parts separately. However she did it, she constantly amazes not only with her sheer concentration and stamina, but with the arsenal of techniques she draws on to produce the panoply of sounds - by no means always musical ones - that Miller requires.
Rees was in the news last year when her flat was burnt down - pet cats, music library and valuable collection of flutes included - by hooligans in the London riots. A local musical instrument business set up a collection fund for her here, enabling her to replace at least one of her flutes. This CD is a sign that things are looking up again for her and for Rarescale, the multi-faceted organisation she founded a decade ago. All three previous releases on its record label (in 2008) were recorded by the Rarescale Ensemble, which primarily promotes new repertoire for the alto and bass flutes. Whether or not Rees will achieve success in that regard with this recording of Scott Miller's works is debatable, but her own contribution to this programme is nigh on irreproachable.
The present recording consists of course of heavily mixed music, and as such benefits from outstanding sound quality. The CD comes in a bare-bones digipak. So much so, in fact, that nowhere does it even make it totally clear that Miller is the composer of these works! There is no booklet - merely a scant dozen lines of biographical information printed straight onto the inside cover. No information whatsoever is provided about the music, which is a pity - these are complex items about which the listener is unlikely to find much even on the internet.
Collected reviews and contact at






















































































































Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.