Lydia Kakabadse was born in 1955 of Georgian/Russian and Greek/Austrian parentage and grew up in a quiet market town in Cheshire. She worked as a solicitor but has been composing music since the age of thirteen, writing both chamber and choral works that include songs, string quartets, musical dramas, a cantata, song cycles for unaccompanied male vocal choir and a concert Requiem Mass. Drawing inspiration from a diverse range of influences such as Middle Eastern Music, mythology, nineteenth century poets, Latin Literature and talent for dancing, she has written five intriguing pieces for this album. The Mermaid, for narrator (Kit Hesketh-Harvey), mezzo-soprano (Clare McCaldin), string quartet and piano, tells an enchanting musical story in the style of Peter and the Wolf. Kit Hesketh-Harvey is again the narrator for the longest work here, The Phantom Listeners, which also features soprano, mezzo, baritone, organ and ensemble. Based on Walter de la Mare’s famous poem, The Listeners, this haunting musical drama is beautifully orchestrated and suitably dramatic. The sad Song of the Shirt, for mezzo-soprano and piano and written when Kakabadse was only fifteen, is set to a text by the 19th century poet Thomas Hood describing the pitiful, eploited existence of a poor seamstress. Her gorgeous Arabian Rhapsody Suite was written when she was undergoing treatment for breast cancer in 2008 and helped her get through that difficult time. The bitter-sweet Russian Tableaux, also scored for string quartet, was inspired by the landscape, history and culture of Russia. Lydia Kakabadse’s beguiling and richly textured music is sung and played here by an excellent ensemble of musicians.