Tuesday 30 August 2011

Sheena Coote - Mixed Blessings

Sheena Coote's disc Mixed Blessings was issued by Red Admiral Records on11th June. Coote describes Mixed Blessings as a collection of short piano pieces inspired by her own family life and by the great composers.

Red Admiral describe Coote as a semi-professional composer, she wrote this disc over 3 years juggling writing and being a fulltime Mum. She started learning the piano at the age of 2 and studied it until she went to university. A natural musician she is currently writing her second musical; the first was performed in Edinburgh and had a London try-out. She also writes pop-songs.

This disc lasts around 25 minutes and the piano pieces are all short. Coote undoubtedly has a gift for melocy, these are very much songs without words. The problem lies in their very brevity, Coote barely has time to establish a mood than the piece finishes. She is also a little too fond of Alberti-style bass. Perhaps rather than songs without words we should think of these as folk-songs in need of a strong arrangement, the pieces are crying out for further developement.

I think that your opinion of the disc is likely to go in one of two directions. Either you think these are "strong beautiful melodies that touch the heart" or you'll think, 'so what'. These pieces are charming, but need more spice, more development and more depth.

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