CD Spotlight. Quietly Ambiguous - Stephen Francis Vasta feels vaguely let down by Mami Shikimori and the Wihan Quartet's performances of Fauré and Franck. '... wonderfully committed and incisive playing.'
CD Spotlight. An Unusual Debut - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to music by Ravel, James Francis Brown and Liana Alexandra, performed by Andrea Oliva and the Hemisphaeria Trio. '... an innovative program by a very promising ensemble.'
Ensemble. A Miracle in Ravenna - Giuseppe Pennisi reports from a modified Ravenna Festival
CD Spotlight. Supremely Pianistic - Gerald Fenech finds pure joy in Etsuko Hirose's recent Moszkowski piano works disc. 'Truly hair-raising stuff, wonderfully annotated and recorded.'
CD Spotlight. Fierce Urgency - Bach Collegium Japan's St Matthew Passion, reviewed by Patrick Maxwell. 'Suzuki's forces create this inner energy in a way that surges, through the music, into the crucifixion, creating the mix of oratorio and opera that Bach must have been envisaging when the work was first performed across the church of St Thomas' in Leipzig in 1827.'
Classical music news - March 2020 Obituaries - Our summary of those the classical music world lost last month
CD Spotlight. Fresh and Engaging - Villa-Lobos, Bax and Bolcom from Kerry Duwors and Futaba Niekawa, recommended by Geoff Pearce. '... the sheer musicianship, combined with flawless technique and imaginative programming, never fails to impress me.'
CD Spotlight. A Stupendous Disc - Roderic Dunnett listens to countertenor duets by Purcell and Blow. 'The music is sensationally beautiful and touching - and so are the performances.'
Ensemble. Packed With Good Things - Roderic Dunnett reports from the 2019 Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester
Classical music news. STEIM 50 Years - Amsterdam's STudio for Electro-Instrumental Music celebrates its fiftieth birthday
Ensemble. Mastery and Versatility - Giuseppe Pennisi attends three Tokyo Ballet performances in Rome
Ensemble. Italian Operas in Miskolc - Anett Fodor sends her final report from the 2019 Bartók Plus Opera Festival
CD Spotlight. A Compelling Disc - Schoenberg piano music, recommended by Geoff Pearce. 'Yoko Hirota's performances here are truly exceptional ...'
CD Spotlight. Past and Present - Gerald Fenech finds music for trombone and piano worthy of serious investigation. 'Performances are wonderfully attractive, with a certain exquisite timbre and beautifully shaped nuances permeating each piece.'
Russian Political Satire - George Colerick writes about Nikolai Rimsky Korsakov's extraordinary opera 'The Golden Cockerel'
CD Spotlight. Sober and Engrossing - Orchestral music by Toshio Hosokawa, heard by Giuseppe Pennisi. 'The interpreters ... are high level and accustomed to working with Hosokawa and his music.'
Ensemble. An Odd Couple? - Music from Japan and Portugal at Rome's 'Opus' Festival, heard by Giuseppe Pennisi
Punk Transformed? - Keith Bramich has lunch with Torsten Rasch, Roderic Dunnett and others, at the Three Choirs Festival
CD Spotlight. Beautifully Presented - Vocal music by Vincent Persichetti, enjoyed by Geoff Pearce. 'Both singers are fine and expressive, accurately expressing the emotional content of each song.'
Common Ground - Andrew Schartmann's book 'Koji Kondo's Super Mario Bros Soundtrack' impresses Keith Bramich
CD Spotlight. Austere and Brooding - Weinberg orchestral music, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... deserving of serious consideration.'
CD Spotlight. Consummate Skill - Boccherini chamber music, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... exquisite stuff from beginning to end ...'
Ensemble. Far from Traditional - Puccini operas in Rome, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
CD Spotlight. Seeds of Excellence - Haydn and Debussy from Masahiro Yamaguchi, heard by Howard Smith. 'I was agreeably surprised at Masahiro's sparkling clarity ...'
CD Spotlight. Scintillating Performances - Asian music for string quartet impresses Howard Smith. '... an exemplary, highly recommendable release.'
CD Spotlight. Beautiful and Exciting - Music by Marty Regan, highly recommended by Ron Bierman. 'A few hearings should be enough to convince even skeptics ...'
CD Spotlight. Higher-level Synthesis - Music for string quartet by Toshio Hosokawa, heard by Andrew Schartmann. '... the Arditti ensemble produces the effect masterfully.'
Ensemble. Rather Impressive - Mark Berry experiences English National Opera's 'Madama Butterfly'
Ensemble. A Better Fit - Wagner and Britten in the Umbrian Hills, reported by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Deeply Moving - Britten's 'Curlew River' in Rome, experienced by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Exhilaratingly Refreshing - Yutaka Sado and the BBC Philharmonic, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Truth in Music - The Zodiac Trio, heard by Keith Bramich. '... young wine, already highly palatable ...'
Ensemble. A Sad Story - 'Madama Butterfly' at Los Angeles Opera, enjoyed by Maria Nockin
DVD Spotlight. Diverse Moods - Carl Orff's 'Gisei', explored by Gerald Fenech. 'An exciting discovery ...'
Ensemble. A Fabulous Evening - Hokusai Chamber Orchestra's memorial concert for the 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami impresses Bill Newman
Ensemble. A Japanese Tragedy - A new 'Butterfly' production in Rome, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
CD Spotlight. Exemplary Fashion - Francis Gouton's solo cello, heard by Howard Smith. '... a richly nuanced Gallic flair and beautiful tonal capabilities ...'
Ensemble. An Interesting Ambience - Puccini's 'Madama Butterfly' at Arizona Opera, reviewed by Maria Nockin
CD Spotlight. Glorious - Henri Barda plays Brahms, Beethoven and Chopin, recommended by Bill Newman. 'The performances are in a class of their own.'
Courage and Finesse - A recital by pianist Arisu Nakao, heard by Bill Newman
CD Spotlight. Appealing Performances - Guitar music by Ponce and Tansman, heard by Patric Standford. '... a real pleasure ...'
Ensemble. Patriot and Terrorist? - New aspects of Rossini brought to light at the 2011 Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, discussed by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Asian Aid - Giuseppe Pennisi was at the 2011 Puccini Festival
Ensemble. Immense Promise - Malcolm Miller reports on the recent Israeli and Bloch music competitions
CD Spotlight. Distinct Insights - Dejan Lazic plays Beethoven, heard by Howard Smith. '... a crisp, vernal, excellently deliniated performance ...'
Absolutely Outstanding - Kotaro Fukuma's performances of Schumann, Chopin and Liszt amaze Bill Newman
CD Spotlight. Quite Breathtaking - David Korevaar plays Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, admired by Howard Smith. '... lots to admire ...'
CD Spotlight. Poignant Sounds - String quartets by Peter Garland, heard by Patric Standford. '... remote and apparently disengaged ...'
CD Spotlight. Wonderfully Deft - Choral and orchestral music by Camille Saint-Saëns, heard by Robert Anderson. 'The London Philharmonic under Geoffrey Simon gives of its best ...'
Ensemble. Most Memorable - A recital by Soojin Han and Tadashi Imai impresses Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Firmly in Period - Grange Park Opera's 'Madama Butterfly', reviewed by Robert Hugill
DVD Spotlight. Forthright Tempos - The Wihan Quartet plays Beethoven, heard by Howard Smith. '... little to truly set their work apart ...'
Ensemble. Rough and Shining Jewels - Giuseppe Pennisi visits the 2010 Rossini Opera Festival
Ensemble. Pure Joy - Giuseppe Pennisi finds 'Madama Butterfly' at the Puccini Festival a pleasure for the ears and the eyes
Ensemble. An Excellent Staging - 'Madama Butterfly' at Rome's Teatro dell'Opera, appreciated by Giuseppe Pennisi
Thoroughly Impressed - Maria Nockin talks to baritone Alan Opie, who is about to sing Germont for San Diego Opera
Ensemble. Beautifully Expressive - The Isolani Quartet, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Sterling Playing - Wendy Warner's interpretations of Popper and Piatigorsky, heard by Howard Smith. '... sovereign music-making deserving of the highest accolades.'
Low cost, but effective - 'Tosca' and 'Butterfly' with live electronics, by Giuseppe Pennisi
CD Spotlight. Invigoratingly Natural - Van Beinum conducts Mahler, recommended by Howard Smith. '... a tad less frenetic ...'
CD Spotlight. Robust and Spirited - James Tibbles plays J S Bach, heard by Howard Smith. '... worthy of widespread international recognition.'
CD Spotlight. Highly Challenging - Music for unaccompanied violin, heard by Howard Smith. '... searching performance ...'
Marvelously Gifted - Bill Newman listens to pianist Alexander Romanovsky
Ensemble. A Sparkling Account - The Kanazawa-Admony Piano Duo pays tribute to Carola Grindea, reviewed by Malcolm Miller
Ensemble. True Artistry - Howard Smith attends New Zealand's Music Fair of Japan 2009
Ensemble. Excellent Throughout - A lunchtime piano recital by Maiko Mori, heard by Bill Newman
Ensemble. Ringing Intensity - 'Madama Butterfly' from San Diego Opera, reviewed by Maria Nockin
Ask Alice - On employment in music, insanity, rottweilers and the European Union, with classical music agony aunt Alice McVeigh
CD Spotlight. Fire and Magic - Richard Stoltzman's 'Phoenix in Flight', recommended by Malcolm Tattersall. '... meltingly beautiful ...'
Record Box. Entirely Idiomatic - Vaughan Williams from Japan, reviewed by Robert Anderson
Record Box. Technically Exemplary - Music for birds, planes and cello, heard by Malcolm Tattersall
Ensemble. A Wonderful Weekend - 'Tosca' and 'Mikado' in Arizona, enjoyed by Maria Nockin
Ensemble. A Fascinating Work - The first performance of Gabriel Jackson's Requiem, reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Force of Nature - The Matsumoto/Jacobson Duo and The Art of Falconry, by Malcolm Troup
CD Spotlight. A Special Pleasure - Masaaki Suzuki directs J S Bach cantatas, reviewed by Robert Anderson. 'If the Japanese tempo is faster than mine, so be it ...'
Ensemble. A Testing Programme - Bill Newman listens to Mayuko Katsumura and Gordon Back
Record Box. Attractive Ideas - Music by Isotaro Sugata, reviewed by Patric Standford
Record Box. Fascinating and Rewarding - Works by Kosçak Yamada, heard by Patric Standford
Record Box. Breathtaking Energy - Orchestral music by Komei Abe, reviewed by Patric Standford
Editor's Inbox - Another selection of readers' letters
Ensemble. Beautifully Realised - Music for flute, viola and harp from The Wakeford Ensemble, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Finesse and Subtlety - Orchestral music by Toru Takemitsu, recommended by Mike Wheeler. '... meticulous care for detail ...'
DVD Spotlight. Happy Signposts - 'Die Frau ohne Schatten' from the Bavarian State Opera, reviewed by Robert Anderson. 'It is evident that Sawallisch loves the work.'
CD Spotlight. Grim and Visceral - Masao Ohki's 'Hiroshima Symphony', reviewed by Howard Smith. 'A blistering 2005 performance ...'
DVD Spotlight. Enchanting Mockery - Gilbert and Sullivan's 'The Mikado', reviewed by Robert Anderson. 'Chorus and orchestra under Andrew Greene rollick their way through ...'
Ensemble. A Magical Blend - Malcolm Miller enjoys the Sariel-Ghilione Duo and Yehezkel Braun's new Sonata for Mandolin and Guitar
Ensemble. Extremely Traditional - 'Madama Butterfly' in Arizona, reviewed by Maria Nockin
Ensemble. Expansive Romanticism - 'Madama Butterfly' from Long Island, reviewed by Maria Nockin
Ensemble. Intelligent and Cogent - Julian Jacobson attended the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe's Summer Celebrity Festival
Ensemble. Tonkori in the Park - World music at the City of London Festival, reviewed by Malcolm Miller
CD Spotlight. Melodic Felicity - Salon music by Katharine Parker, reviewed by Robert Hugill. 'Edwards has a lovely soprano voice ...'
DVD Spotlight. Rigidly Puritanical - 'Madama Butterfly', reviewed by Robert Anderson. '... a strong yet tender account of Puccini's cunning score.'
Ensemble. Imaginative Artistry - 'Madama Butterfly' in Los Angeles, reviewed by Maria Nockin
CD Spotlight. Cuts and Dissolves - Music by Turnage, Rihm and Benjamin, reviewed by Carson Cooman. '... a well-planned listening experience ...'
Ensemble. Pervasive influence - A return visit to London by the Verdehr Trio, reviewed by Peter Dickinson
Record box. Accomplished playing - Kumiko Ida's British piano album, appreciated by Patric Standford
CD Spotlight. Original sounds - Music by Kellogg and Crumb, recommended by Ron Bierman. '... an intriguing release with outstanding performances.'
CD Spotlight. Yearning for the Bell - Riley Lee plays the shakuhachi, reviewed by Malcolm Tattersall. 'Highly recommended.'
Ensemble. New sounds and ideas - Malcolm Miller attends the first concert in the Park Lane Group's New Year Series 2005
CD Spotlight. Competent but ... - 'Bernstein: Music for Film and Theatre', reviewed by Rex Harley. 'The rationale behind this disc escapes me.'
Profile. Cello and sushi - Meeting Danjulo Ishizaka for a bite, by Tess Crebbin
CD Spotlight. A great starting point - Land's End Chamber Ensemble's first CD, reviewed by Malcolm Tattersall. '... first-rate performances and excellent production.'
CD Spotlight. Thistledown delicacy - Music for clarinet by Brahms, reviewed by Robert Anderson. 'These CD performances are wholly admirable ...'
Ensemble. Standing ovation? - Lyric Opera Cleveland's 'Mikado', reviewed by Kelly Ferjutz
CD Spotlight. Scintillating performance - Tamami Honma plays music by John McCabe, appreciated by Patric Standford
Ask Alice - On diction and eye jobs, with classical music's agony aunt, Alice McVeigh, live this week from Brighton pier
CD Spotlight. Tintinnabulation - Music by Arvo Pärt, reviewed by Rex Harley. '... all the air and spaciousness one needs ...'
Ensemble. Snowfall in winter - Keith Bramich at a performance by Tamami Honma and friends
Ask Alice - Choristers and Christmas gifts, with classical music's agony aunt, Alice McVeigh
Ask Alice - Conductors' handshakes and solo bows, with classical music's agony aunt, Alice McVeigh
A passionate campaign - Tamami Honma's Wigmore Hall solo recital début impresses Keith Bramich
Ensemble. New directions - Keith Bramich at the Vale of Glamorgan Festival of Music 2003
Ensemble. An after-sun experience - Keith Bramich enjoys two concerts at the 2003 Dubrovnik Summer Festival
Lithuanian Diary - In Spring 2003, British composer and pianist John McCabe made his first-ever trip to Lithuania, for concerts and a recording with the St Christopher Chamber Orchestra of Vilnius. Here is a diary of his visit to this delightful country.
CD Spotlight. Open doors - Orchestral favourites of Japan, reviewed by Keith Bramich. '... the traditional songs of fishermen, miners and pack-horse drivers ...'
Record box. Energy and power - The Bach Collegium Japan performance of the St John Passion, experienced by Keith Bramich
Japanese Fantasy - Malcolm Miller admires the virtuosity of Hiromi Okada and the Sonata by Akio Yashiro
CD Spotlight. This is music - Listening to Japanese composer Akio Yashiro, by Keith Bramich. '... good performances and a clear recording.'
Editor's inbox - a selection of our readers' letters
Ensemble. Liszt at lunchtime - Eri Niiyama gives a recital in Tokyo's Suntory Hall, and Keith Bramich listens
Site seeing - In another visit to the world of classical music websites, Keith Bramich muses on competition and diversity, and visits the websites of Salvador Clofent, Jan Hart, Duane Peck, A Gioele Simonetto, Bristol Music Services and Japanese composer Tsutomu Tagashira
Ensemble - A Japanese 'Riverdance'? Keith Bramich (with simultaneous translation by Yuri Izawa) experiences the four thousand strong spectacle of 'Sleeping King - the promise of love with a true heart'
CD Spotlight - Eclatant, Lumineux. 'Mr Bekhterev emerges as one of the greatest Scriabin interpreters of all.' Boris Bekhterev plays Scriabin, reviewed by John Bell Young
Teenage talent - Malcolm Miller hears Asuka Nakamura at Leighton House, London
Record box - Ample gifts. From the world of Brahms, with Basil Ramsey
Ensemble - In memory. Keith Bramich reports on a McCabe première, given as part of Japan 2001
On watch at the Van Cliburn Competition - with John Bell Young
Remarkable young ensembles - Patric Standford attended the UK's National Young Musicians' Festival
Japanese tone painting - Takemitsu, Schumann and Musorgsky. Malcolm Miller at a recent recital by Noriko Ogawa
Site seeing - Snow White and the 7th Virus - websites recommended by our readers, with Keith Bramich
Record box - Visiting ducks. Encounters with a recorder quartet, by Basil Ramsey
Site seeing - Iannis Xenakis (1922-2001), and more top websites
Berlin Festival Diary - Five weeks condensed into three, with Bill Newman (concluded from last week)