ICSM Records – Catalogue Overview

I have just started working with ICSM Records and am sure that you may well have missed some of their previous releases, so I provide an overview below.

I do not have physical review copies available, but am happy to provide access to the .wav files and artwork by providing you with a DropBox link. Just respond accordingly listing the ones you would like.

About ICSM Records

Founded in 2014 and based in London, Independent Creative Sound and Music (ICSM) Records – is run by musicians for musicians – and is committed to uncompromising quality in every aspect of the recording, creating artistic statements beyond time and fashion. ICSM believe that artists should have full control over all aspects of the production, and at the same time fully respects artistic integrity and intellectual property rights. The label aims to give artists creative freedom and flexibility in the choice of repertoire they record.

ICSM001 Brahms on the Piano Volume 1

Fiametta Tarli & Ivo Varbanov – piano four hands

Waltzer Op. 39; Liebeslieder Waltzer Op. 52a; Neue Liebeslieder Waltzer Op. 65a


The first release from ICSM features the complete recordings of Brahms four handed waltzes. Dance music was in his blood and two  particular dance styles fascinated him throughout his lifetime – the waltz and the Hungarian Czárdás.


Brahms’s two sets of ‘Love Song Waltzes’ used to be among his best-known works. These pieces remind us of a time before radio or television, when domestic music-making was a normal occurrence, a time when families would gather round the piano to play and sing for their evening entertainment.

ICSM002 “Legacy”

Ivo Varbanov

Beethoven: Bagatelles Op. 126; Schumann: Gesänge der Frühe, Op. 133; Brahms: 6 Choral Preludes Op. 122 (Transcription F. Busoni)


This disc features the last piano works by Beethoven Schumann and Brahms.


Beethoven’s Bagatelles, written three years before his death, were considered by the composer to be the best things of their kind that he had done, a true cycle of miniatures. Schumann’s ‘Morning Songs’ were written just a few months before his attempt to drown himself in the Rhine, which led to him being confined in an asylum until his death a little over two years later. As for Brahms’s Chorale Preludes, written after the death of Clara Schumann, the versions here are rarely performed transcriptions by Busoni, who re-imagined them in the style of Brahms’s late piano pieces.

ICSM003 “Freedom”

Fiametta Tarli, piano

Schubert: Moments Musicaux Op. 94 (D780); Schumann: Phantasiestücke Op. 12; Schoenberg: Sechs Kleine Klavierstücke Op. 19

The recording’s title “Freedom” explains an exploration of what composers produced when they did not start with a codified musical form but rather with a poetic idea. In this thought-provoking programme, both Schubert and Schumann demonstrate powers of evocation and characterisation at their height, whist in Schoenberg’s piece we experience a haunting reminiscence of Gustav Mahler’s funeral bells.

ICSM004 Brahms on the Piano Volume 2

Ivo Varbanov (piano)

Sonata Op. 1; Scherzo Op. 4; Ballades Op. 10


Presented here are early piano works by Johannes Brahms. All three were performed at crucial moments in Brahms’s life. The Piano Sonata was first performed in front of Robert Schumann at their first meeting. The Scherzo was one of the first pieces he showed to Franz Liszt and to Schumann in 1853. Lastly the Ballades emerged at a time shortly after Schumann’s attempted suicide and subsequent confinement to a sanatorium – Brahms having become protector and comforter of Schumann’s wife, Clara, and her children, while at the same time dealing with the fact that he had fallen in love with her. The Ballades, his first Group of short lyric pieces, are a taste of what was to come in his later years.

ICSM 005 “Kosmos”
Theodore Spassov Trio, Live in London
Theodore Spassov (kaval, duduk, melodica, vocals); Rumen Toskov (piano, keyboard); Hristo Yotsiv (drums, percussion)
This concert was a special night at the South Bank. The recordings are all live takes – and are dedicated to the memory of Rumen Toskov who died in 2010 from a Lymphoma. All three musicians (individually and collectively) are renowned internationally as leading exponents of the Bulgarian jazz scene from the 90’s onwards.


ICSM006 “Dialogue” – Légendes Anciennes
Fiametta Tarli & Ivo Varbanov (piano four hands)
Stravinsky: Pétrouchka; Le Sacre Printemps (original piano four hands versions by the composer)


The piano was fundamental to Stravinsky as a composer – not least when he was writing orchestra scores. Both of the featured pieces on this recording are outstanding orchestral works in their own right, and these four hand versions by Stravinsky translate back into piano music with conspicuous success.
ICSM007 Debussy Piano Works Volume 1
Dennis Lee (piano)
Claude Debussy: Images (Première Série); Images oubliées; Estampes; La plus que lente; Deux Arabesques; L’isle joyeuse
Despite the enduring popularity of certain orchestral a, vocal and chamber works by Claude Debussy, it is his piano music for which he is most widely renowned. Along with Chopin and Liszt, he took the piano music genre in a new direction with his ground-breaking approach to texture, chords, shifting harmonies and the use of the pedal, among other features.
ICSM008 Brahms on the Piano Volume 3
Ivo Varbanov (piano); Jozef Lupták (cello)
Brahms: Sonata No. 1 Op. 38 for piano & cello; Sonata No. 2 Op. 99 for piano & cello


Brahms often consolidated his mastery of freshly explored domains by writing two examples in a specific genre in quick succession – for example Piano Quartets No. 1 & No. 2 (Op. 25 & 26); String Quartets (OP. 561 No 1 & No. 2); Clarinet Trio Op. 114 and Clarinet Quintet Op. 115; Six Piano Pieces Op. 118 and Four Piano Pieces Op. 119; and in orchestral music, the Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80 and Tragic Overture Op. 81.


A notable exception to this trend is provided by the two sonatas for cello and piano – separated by some 21 years and reflect the composer’s changing circumstances – the first the product of a young man in the early stages of his career and the second is the work of an older man writing at the peak of his powers with remarkable vigor and intensity.
ICSM009 Time In Time Out
Acoustic Version
Anthony Donchev (piano); Hristo Yotsov (drums, vibes); George Donchev (bass)


Over the last thirty years jazz, ethno-jazz and fusion have flourished in Bulgaria with some unique musical exponents. This recording the natural flow of the music and the extraordinary empathy between Hristo Yotsov and the Donchov brothers, Anthony and George.

Acoustic Version has always been about the musical synergy and chemistry between the players. Their classical training and cultural background stand them in excellent stead. There are elements of Bulgarian folklore and European classical chamber music making combined with experimental contemporary jazz giving an unforgettable musical experience.

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