CD Spotlight. Strauss from the Antipodes - Giuseppe Pennisi reviews rarely-heard François Couperin orchestral transcriptions by Richard Strauss. '... good rendering by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra under Jun Märkl ...'
CD Spotlight. The Sweetness of Life - Music by French baroque composer Michel-Richard de Lalande, heard by Giuseppe Pennisi. 'The instrumental ensemble, playing period instruments or a violin manufactured in 2011 but after period specifications, is excellent.'
CD Spotlight. Fine and Engaging Harpsichord Music - Gerald Fenech listens to works by Gottlieb Muffat and George Frideric Handel. 'Flóra Fábri's technique is solid as a rock, and her judgement of rubato and ornamentation is absolutely unblemished.'
CD Spotlight. An Atmosphere of Serene Beauty - Matthew Washington Kennedy's 'familiar favorites', recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'Hugely pleasant stuff, passionately executed and recorded.'
CD Spotlight. A Chronological Journey - A box set of Beethoven's keyboard compositions played by Cyprien Katsaris and enjoyed by Gerald Fenech. '... a clear biographical testament to one of the most influential composers of all time.'
CD Spotlight. Christmas Night - Seventeenth and eighteenth century Italian festive music, strongly recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'This is a compilation full of craft and ingenuity ...'
CD Spotlight. Strangely Less Familiar - Telemann Christmas Cantatas, warmly recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'There is no doubt that Willens and his team believe wholeheartedly in Telemann's work, and these pieces are perfectly executed by all involved.'
CD Spotlight. Merriment and Joy - Music by Nicola Matteis, John Banister, Gottfried Finger, Matthew Locke and Johann Schop, warmly recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'Elegant and full of warmth, these dances are imaginatively orchestrated and extremely well crafted, and the playing is wonderfully affective.'
CD Spotlight. Immense Joy - Gerald Fenech listens to Beethoven and Gossec symphonies. 'A first-rate project deserving of the most serious of investigations.'
Ensemble. Nicely Varied - Peter Siepmann plays Johann Sebastian Bach, Maurice Duruflé and César Franck on the Compton organ at Derby Cathedral, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Love, Jealousy and Madness - Music inspired by Ariosto's poem 'Orlando Furioso', heard by Gerald Fenech. 'Filippo Mineccia sings with an exceptional timbre that is sensual and luminous, mixing virtuosity with sensitivity, while Pablo Garcia and his ensemble give sympathetic support with their insightful playing.'
CD Spotlight. Beethoven's Favourite Instrument - Peter Hill and Benjamin Frith play piano four hand music by the genius from Bonn, recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... devotedly recorded, impressively executed, rewardingly researched.'
Ensemble. A Space to Reflect - Adam J Sacks was at the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra's season opener for music by Copland, Beethoven, Doming Lam and Richard Strauss
CD Spotlight. Ready for a Revival - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to 'Phèdre' - a rare opera by Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne. 'The distinct feature of Lemoyne's opera is the weight and importance given to the protagonist. The role is sung by the Dutch soprano Judith van Wanroij: it fits her perfectly as can be felt in her initial major arias, with chorus as well as with other members of the cast.'
CD Spotlight. Truly Riveting Stuff - Gerald Fenech explores a harmonia mundi disc depicting folly in various forms. 'This music is without doubt Stephanie d'Oustrac's territory, and she once again rises to the occasion with some superlative singing full of heartfelt passion, feverish emotion and dramatic intensity.'
CD Spotlight. The Sweetness of Life - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to harpsichord music by François Couperin. '... the key note is B flat major which at the time was an experimental, almost avant-garde tonality. Jory Vinikour shows it very well and demonstrates how Couperin was ahead of many other harpsichordists.'
CD Spotlight. Between Centuries and Cultures - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to Johann Simon Mayr's 1814 opera 'Le due duchesse'. 'The richness is clear from the Sinfonia.'
Ensemble. It Pays to be Brave - George Frideric Handel's 'Rinaldo' in Florence, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
CD Spotlight. In Tune with the Changing Times - Giuseppe Pennisi discovers the eighteenth century Neapolitan composer Girolamo Rossi. '... an important discovery.'
Ensemble. Soft Romanticism - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to Schubert, Wagner and Mozart from Daniele Gatti and the Mozart Orchestra at the Ravello Festival
Ensemble. Innovative for the Time - Giuseppe Pennisi discovers Nicola Bonifacio Logroscino's Stabat Mater at the Ravello Festival
Ensemble. Music through Breath - Adrian Kelly talks to Christian Curnyn about Handel's 'Acis and Galatea' as part of the Buxton International Festival Digital 2020 Season, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Siena Wins a Heroic Bet - Giuseppe Pennisi attends the opening performance of the completely re-designed Chigiana International Festival and Summer Academy
CD Spotlight. Full of Joy - Patrick Maxwell celebrates Peter Donohoe's Mozart Piano Sonatas. '... played with a precise and enjoyable dexterity and with admirable clarity; the collection as a whole deserves to be celebrated.'
CD Spotlight. Haydn at his Light-hearted Best - Haydn Cello Concertos, heartily recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... the brilliant and sparkling playing of Natalie Clein brings out all the beauty of this music.'
Ensemble. A Miracle in Ravenna - Giuseppe Pennisi reports from a modified Ravenna Festival
CD Spotlight. Extraordinarily Gifted - Hans Rosbaud conducts Beethoven, and Gerald Fenech is impressed. 'These exceptional recordings, taped between 1953 and 1962, reveal a conductor of exceptional insight and unbounded energy, and these interpretations can be safely considered as among the very best of their time.'
Drastically Revised - Giuseppe Pennisi looks at the detail of the replanned 2020 Salzburg Festival
CD Spotlight. Lifting the Spirits - Reformation music, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'Five hundred years of memorable music condensed into just seventy-one minutes and performed spectacularly by Jared Stellmacher and Mark Sudeith, sympathetically supported by the Chicago Gargoyle Brass and Organ Ensemble.'
CD Spotlight. Imperial Music - Giuseppe Pennisi enjoys a recital by Karina Gauvin. 'Here the listener can appreciate Karina Gauvin's superb phrasing and elegant coloratura.'
CD Spotlight. Great Character - Lucas Ball listens to Riccardo Minasi's interpretations of late Mozart symphonies. 'Minasi's control is great here.'
CD Spotlight. Full of Colours and Flavour - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to music from Sharon Isbin and the Pacifica Quartet. '... an original program and excellent rendering make very pleasant listening.'
CD Spotlight. Inestimable Value - Gerald Fenech listens to 'Hypermnestre' by French baroque composer Charles-Hubert Gervais. 'Vashegyi marshalls his moderate forces with a caring deftness that betrays his sense of purpose and engagement with Gervais' score. Indeed, this is a deeply intelligent and attractive performance that should arouse the fresh sense of investigation which it so richly deserves.'
CD Spotlight. Worth Investigating - Music for cello by J S Bach and Mike Block, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... my feeling was one of spontaneous joy and serenity.'
Beethoven 250 - In this year of celebration, Giuseppe Pennisi muses on Ludwig van Beethoven's modernity
CD Spotlight. Something of a Marvel - Lucas Ball listens to J S Bach, Caroline Shaw and Robert Schumann, played by Amy Yang. '... Yang's delivery can be wild and exciting and even irritable but also depressing, lonely and longing.'
Ensemble. Familiar Pieces Heard Afresh - Mike Wheeler has some thoughtful comments on a performance by Tasmin Little, Duncan Riddell, Thierry Fischer and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
CD Spotlight. A Good Anthology - The story of Dido, Queen of Carthage, as seen by eight Baroque composers, heard by Giuseppe Pennisi. '... this is a book and two CDs to enjoy and to make an elegant gift.'
Ensemble. Compositional Fury - More Beethoven string quartets in Rome, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Relaxed and Exuberant - Mike Wheeler listens to Cavendish Winds playing Mozart, Danzi, Debussy, Arnold, Vaughan Williams, Holst, Bozza, Ligeti and Gershwin
Ensemble. Beethoven String Quartets - Giuseppe Pennisi attends two concerts marking this year's Beethoven anniversary
CD Spotlight. Exquisite Precision - Early Beethoven from Boris Giltburg, Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, heard by Patrick Maxwell. '... the orchestra and the piano are often interwoven in their lines, and the conversational phrases built up a tension that is perfectly managed by Giltburg.'
Ensemble. From Chaos to Ecstasy - Haydn's 'The Creation' in Rome, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. A Wide Expressive Range - Mike Wheeler listens to piano duets from Dina Duisen and Martin James Bartlett
Ensemble. 'Messiah' Overload? - Handel from Derby Bach Choir, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. A Portrait in Courage - Giuseppe Pennisi celebrates Christmas with Ezio Bosso and the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Ensemble. Mischievous Silences - Lithuanian pianist Ugnius Pauliukonis plays Haydn, Chopin and Debussy, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. A Tradition Still Alive - Gerald Fenech listens to Advent carols from King's College London. 'A hugely beautiful issue, full of inspiring singing and emotional joy, performed with fine control, impressive depth of tone and a dynamic range that commands one's admiration from start to finish.'
Profile. Creative High Points - George Colerick tells the story of Beethoven's influence on Romantic and nineteenth century music
Ensemble. Trade Secrets - Mike Wheeler listens to guitarist Craig Ogden and friends
Ensemble. Pearls on the Thread of Recitative - David Mitchell reviews Pinchgut Opera's production of Vivaldi's 'Farnace'
CD Spotlight. Judged to Perfection - Baroque oboe sonatas played by Xenia Löffler, strongly recommended by Geoff Pearce. '... played very pleasingly with great style and panache by all instruments concerned.'
Ensemble. Utterly Stylish - Mike Wheeler listens to Opera North's 'Giulio Cesare'
Ensemble. Finely Balanced - Mozart, Shostakovich and Beethoven, played by the Artesian String Quartet, and heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Great Character - Lucas Ball listens to the latest volume in James Brawn's Beethoven series. '... the sort of technical control and agility that you get from many world class artists.'
Alert Playing - Anna Tsybuleva plays C P E Bach, Beethoven and Schubert, impressing Mike Wheeler
Classical music news. The Great Composers - Five films to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth, in cinemas from December 2019
Ensemble. Well-chosen Contrasts - Sinfonia Viva is joined by Nottingham Harmonic Choir and vocal soloists for an evening of Sibelius, Mozart, Vasks and Salonen, impressing Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Affectionate Complicity and Tensions - Giuseppe Pennisi reviews Mozart's 'Idomeneo' in Rome
CD Spotlight. Fresh and Natural - Leila Schayegh plays Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons', heard by Gerald Fenech. '... she succeeds brilliantly with some magical playing full of "joie de vivre" and silhouetted tone painting.'
CD Spotlight. Handel and the Roman Baroque School - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to Lorenzo Tozzi's Romabarocca Ensemble. '... a precious CD from which to learn little known aspects of baroque music ...'
Ensemble. He'll Be Back - Fabien Gabel conducts the Hallé Orchestra, impressing Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Impressive and Delightful - Geoff Pearce listens to Martin Setchell playing the Christchurch Town Hall Rieger organ in New Zealand. '... a wide range of organ music that I am sure will delight lovers of fine organ playing.'
Ensemble. Take A Sabbatical - Giuseppe Pennisi has some advice for Graham Vick, based on the latter's latest production of 'Don Giovanni'
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. Blaringly Unusual - Maria Nockin listens to Pittance Chamber Music's opening concert
Ensemble. In the Vatican Basilicas - Giuseppe Pennisi reviews a special concert
Ensemble. Packed With Good Things - Roderic Dunnett reports from the 2019 Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester
Ensemble. German Majesty - Patrick Maxwell listens to Bach and Bruckner from Michael Schönheit, Andris Nelsons and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
Ensemble. Myths and Modernity - Giuseppe Pennisi sends his first report from the 2019 Salzburg Festival
Ensemble. Magnificent Symphonies - Beethoven, Shostakovich and Musorgsky from Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra impress Patrick Maxwell
Ensemble. Magisterial Creativity - Patrick Maxwell visits London to hear Haydn's 'The Creation' at the BBC Proms
Ensemble. Breathless Excitement - In the last of his reports from the 2019 Buxton Festival, Mike Wheeler listens to music by Jean-Féry Rebel, Telemann, Marco Ucellini, J S Bach, and an improvisation on 'La Folìa', played by Improviso
Ensemble. An Irresistible Challenge - Mike Wheeler listens to an operatic rarity - 'Lucio Papirio Dittatore' by Antonio Caldara
Ensemble. Airborne Twice - Giuseppe Pennisi attends a cello and piano recital unexpectedly
Ensemble. Baroque Oratorios in Rome - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to selections of music by Alessandro Scarlatti, Bernado Pasquini and George Frideric Handel
Ensemble. 'Orlando' Fights World War II In San Francisco - James Sohre describes an evening of considerable Handelian beauty
Ensemble. Passion and Enthusiasm - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to an all-Beethoven programme from Gustavo Dudamel and the Orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Fun and Frolics - Mozart, Beethoven, Grieg and Mahler from Benjamin Grosvenor, the Hallé Orchestra and Gergely Madaras, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. On the High and Open Sea - Giuseppe Pennisi samples Italy's 2019 Ravenna Summer Festival
CD Spotlight. Lauded all over Europe - Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... performances are passionately committed, resonating continuously the collective emotion that is mystical and festive, painful and joyous, surprising and disturbing.'
Ensemble. Sheer Exuberant Fun - J S Bach's four orchestral suites played by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment thoroughly impress Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Heavenly Sex - Giuseppe Pennisi is impressed by Handel's 'Semele' from John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi ensembles
Ensemble. Exemplary Clarity - Haydn, Glass and Beethoven from the Marmen Quartet, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Venus Unwrapped - Keith Bramich is impressed by Noriko Ogawa, Kenneth Woods and the strings of the English Symphony Orchestra
Ensemble. Slavic Melancholy - Chris Swann, the strings of Sinfonia Viva and Frank Zielhorst perform Mozart, Arensky, Finzi and Tchaikovsky in a new performance space, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Fully Engaged - Richard Dacey steps down from his post as musical director of Derby Choral Union with a concert of Mozart, Vivaldi and Beethoven, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Easter Mozart - Ton Koopman conducts the Mass in C and the Jupiter Symphony, heard by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. A Timeless Composition - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to interweaved movements from Beethoven and Ligeti, played by Herbert Schuch
Ensemble. An Ambitious Conceit - Mike Wheeler is impressed by James Brining's production of Mozart's 'The Magic Flute'
Ensemble. A Noble Simplicity - Giuseppe Pennisi was at the Roman debut of Gluck's 'Orfeo'
Ensemble. Rhythms and Algorithms - Mike Wheeler was at Sinfonia Viva's latest schools project
Elective Affinities - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to German pianist Alexander Lonquich
CD Spotlight. Improvisatory Freedom - Gerald Fenech listens to pianist Myron Romanul. 'Romanul's playing brims with an expressive power that generates its own excitement and self-belief ...'
Ensemble. Imaginative Freshness - Mike Wheeler listens to Beethoven, Mozart and Rachmaninov from Sasha Grynyuk
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.'
CD Spotlight. Fascination and Influence - Gerald Fenech is impressed by Lucille Boulanger and friends. 'The talented foursome heard here rise brilliantly to the hurdles presented and performances are consistently full of charm and warmth, wrapped up in an aura of unmitigated sensitivity.'
Ensemble. Sprightly, Polished and Gleaming - Mike Wheeler listens to Mozart, Malcolm Arnold and Lennox Berkeley from Alec Frank-Gemmill and Sinfonia Viva, conducted by Frank Zielhorst
Ensemble. Expressive Progression - Mike Wheeler enjoys a concert by Stephen Hough, Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra
Ensemble. An Endurance Test - Rossini, Monti, J S Bach, Mozart, Handel, Vaughan Williams and Dave Maslanka from the Syzygy Quartet, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. A Splendid Compendium - Iberian concertos and sonatas, recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... finely and eloquently played by an ensemble that is passionately committed to creating a sound world that never ages.'
Ensemble. For Students to Complete? - Accademia Bizantina's 'The Art of Fugue' enthralls Rome and Giuseppe Pennisi
CD Spotlight. Telling Clarity - Telemann concertos impress Gerald Fenech. '... in the Berliners' hands Telemann's music sounds even more trailblazing than maybe the composer intended.'
CD Spotlight. A Wealth of Pleasure - European carols and songs in new arrangements, enjoyed by Roderic Dunnett. 'The singing throughout is of a high quality ...'
Ensemble. Wit and Effervescence - Music in the Time of Goya, by Derek Murray
CD Spotlight. Scottish Dance - Music by Robert Mackintosh, recommended by Laura Kennelly. 'No problem feeling music's power here ...'
Ensemble. Fighting for Freedom - A new start for 'Il Trionfo di Clelia'? Giuseppe Pennisi has his doubts
CD Spotlight. New Light - Music from eighteenth century Mexico, recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'A peach of a disc ...'
CD Spotlight. Equal Partners - Chamber music by Barbara Harbach, enjoyed by Ron Bierman. '... more humor than can be found in the entire oeuvre of many contemporary composers.'
Ensemble. Exuberantly Florid Writing - Mike Wheeler listens to António Teixeira's Te Deum
Sex and Absolute Power - Handel's 'Giulio Cesare in Egitto', reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. An Individual Spirituality - Contemporary music from London's Trinity Laban Conservatoire, heard by Malcolm Miller
CD Spotlight. Knowledge and Imagination - Lavinia Meijer plays recent music for harp, and impresses Paul Sarcich. '... an exceptional player ...'
CD Spotlight. Many Levels - Chamber music by Mozart and Smetana, heard by Howard Smith. '... judged to perfection ...'
Ensemble. Growing Up - Hans Werner Henze's 'Pollicino' thrills children and adults in Florence, by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. An Epic Opera - Rossini's 'William Tell', from Rome to the BBC Proms, by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Strongly Musical - Handel's 'Radamisto' at the London Coliseum, reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Beautifully Phrased - Los Angeles Opera's 'The Marriage of Figaro', welcomed by Maria Nockin
CD Spotlight. Sheer Delight - Table music by Biber, recommended by Patric Standford. '... a superb and sensitive performance ...'
Ensemble. Spirited Performances - Santa Fe Opera's 'The Magic Flute' impresses Maria Nockin
Ensemble. Dramatic Strength - The 'Glory of God' through three Verdi operas at the Sferisterio Festival 2010, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
Wondrously Expansive - Ronan Magill's recital at London's Wigmore Hall impresses Robert Anderson
CD Spotlight. Playing Rameau - Interpretations by Stephen Gutman, recommended by George Balcombe. '... not a million miles away from jazz.'
Ensemble. Contemporary Resonance - Grange Park Opera's 'Capriccio', enjoyed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Young Eroticism in the Third French Republic - Massenet's 'Manon' returns to Rome, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Intelligent and Satisfying - English National Opera's new production of 'Tosca', reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Fine Tone - Derby Grammar School and High School Choral Society, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Human Nature - A staged 'Così fan tutte' at Severance Hall in Cleveland, enjoyed by Kelly Ferjutz
Ensemble. Unusual and Different - Tan Dun's 'The Banquet', reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
Magnificent Scholarship - Robert Hugill reads the new Cambridge Handel Encyclopaedia
CD Spotlight. Beauty of Timbre - Vivica Genaux sings Vivaldi, heard by Maria Nockin. 'Genaux's diction is excellent ...'
Ensemble. Excellent Singing - Handel and Rossini from Los Angeles Opera impress Maria Nockin
CD Spotlight. Fine-honed Skill - Alessandro Scarlatti's 'Davidis pugna et victoria', heard by Robert Anderson
CD Spotlight. Splendidly Performed - Baroque music for cello, recommended by Howard Smith. 'An exemplary CD ...'
Ensemble. An Enthralling Performance - Robert Hugill reviews Handel's 'Flavio'
Ensemble. Profoundly Beautiful - William Christie's 'Dido and Aeneas' impresses Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Sing ye to the Lord - Roderic Dunnett was at the 2009 Hereford Three Choirs Festival
Ensemble. Especially Successful - Gillian Wills reports from the Australian Fesival of Chamber Music
Ensemble. A Magisterial Presence - William Christie conducts Purcell's 'The Fairy Queen', reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Crisp and Incisive - English Touring Opera's 'Magic Flute', enjoyed by Robert Hugill