Music reviews: 33 of the best new albums of 2023 so far

The British composer Rebecca Saunders is a leading figure in European music, said Andrew Clements in The Guardian. But perhaps because she mainly lives and works in Germany, she gets relatively little attention in the UK. This “superb disc ought to gain Saunders many more admirers, for it includes one of her finest achievements: Skin for soprano and ensemble, which was composed in 2016 for Juliet Fraser, who is the outstanding singer here with Klangforum Wien”. This is “important music, superbly delivered”. 

Saunders is a “wizard” at “conjuring amazing sounds from any instrument or vocal force”, said Geoff Brown in The Times. She has an unconventional approach to structure and melody, but “once your head’s in the right zone, it’s hard not to be transfixed by the buzzing, colliding, exploding, swooping, whispered, squashed and liberated sounds”. The works on this excellent album are vividly performed, with all those involved clearly “fully alert to the excitement, strength and beauty” of this bold, adventurous music.