A reduction in personnel rarely results in a broader musical expanse, but that's just what happened to Food, since trumpeter Arve Henriksen and bassist Mats Eilertsen departed in 2004. Molecular Gastronomy (Rune Grammofon, 2008)—Food's first duo recording, though the use of guests fleshed the group out to a trio—was Food's most accessible album to date, without sacrificing any of its inherent risk and sound of surprise. Quiet Inlet—Food's first for ECM, and featuring Austrian guitarist Christian Fennesz on three tracks and Norwegian trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer on four—follows Molecular Gastronomy's path, but remains equally traceable to earlier albums, including Food's quartet swan song, The Last Supper (Rune Grammofon, 2005). Even as a duo, Food generates a lot of sound. Strønen, in particular, combines bastardized drum kit, hand percussion and technology into a distinctive soundscaping approach, from pulse-driven to textural; spatially ethereal to jagged and dense. Ballamy's more economical playing is equally key in establishing a group sound, and based on its performance at Punkt 2006, Food could easily have continued on as a duo, but increases the unpredictability quotient by introducing a third player to the set.
After five straight solo recordings with producer Mark Hallman at the helm – going back to 1988 – Iain Matthews decided to handle the production duties, along with guitarist Bradley Kopp, for 1999's Excerpts from Swine Lake. Whereas his last couple of recordings lived and died with his writing or vocals, here Matthews and Kopp inject the material with a vibrance that has been somewhat scarce in his work since 1990's Pure & Crooked. It also doesn't hurt that this is as consistent a collection of original music that he's put to record.
Young soprano Rosa Feola captured international attention as a treble prize-winner at the Plácido Domingo World Opera Competition (2010). Attributed ‘blazing star potential’ for her sensitive phrasing and imaginative colouring of words (Telegraph), she brings her feel for text to this celebration of music and Italian poetry, in which master orchestrator Respighi paints Tuscan folk scenes and woodland deities and the virtuoso Liszt is inspired by Petrarch. Presenting the major singers of today and the stars of tomorrow, the Rosenblatt Recitals are London's only world-class season of opera recitals.