RECENT: Find out about composers from unusual places, including Gerard Schurmann, Giya Kancheli, Nazib Zhiganov and Nodar Gabunia, about singing in cars, and meet Jim Hutton from the RLPO and some of our regular contributors in this eighty-minute February 2021 video.
CD Spotlight. Sensual Serenades - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to music by Stradella. '... an excellent way to get to know Stradella ...'
Ensemble. The Early Bird Arrives - Two more concerts at the 2021 Buxton Festival, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Everything you know is wrong! - Mike Wheeler listens to The Sixteen in Derby
CD Spotlight. Artistic Heritage - Music by Henry Purcell and John Taverner, unreservedly recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... the singing and playing are consistently warm and passionate ...'
Defining Our Field - John Dante Prevedini asks what is 'classical music' to us, why are we involved and what can we learn from our differences?
CD Spotlight. A Dazzling Career and a Dissolute Life - Two versions of Alessandro Stradella's serenata 'La Circe', reviewed by Gerald Fenech. 'Estevan Velardi executes this rare programme with exceptional insight and skill ...'
A Thriller about a Score - Giuseppe Pennisi explores a new critical edition of Palestrina's 'Missa Papae Marcelli'
Ensemble. A Call from On High - Mike Wheeler listens to the Sinfonia Viva Brass Quintet
CD Spotlight. Miniature Gems - Gerald Fenech listens to music by two neglected Italian Baroque composers - Alessandro Stradella and Giovanni Lorenzo Gregori. '... precise yet stylish playing ...'
CD Spotlight. Exquisitely Written - Flute music for Louis XIV's Court, recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'This is music full of gentle sensitivity and graceful intimacy, wonderfully performed and recorded, and a veritable treasure trove from the height of the French baroque era.'
CD Spotlight. Unearthing Lost Cornerstones - John Dante Prevedini listens to music by seventeenth century composer Balthasar Erben. '... the disk itself becomes a curatorial introduction to the composer's entire life and work. The Coviello label evidently understands the weight of this responsibility very well ...'
Profile. A Philological Discovery - Giuseppe Pennisi writes about the seventeenth century Italian architect and global musician Carlo Rainaldi
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. A Real Adventure - Christmas in seventeenth century Mexico, conjured up by Siglo de Oro, Patrick Allies and friends, greatly impresses Keith Bramich. 'Siglo de Oro's performances here are superbly well-blended, joyously fresh and optimistic, seemingly flowing over and through the listener, sweeping them along in a stream of Mexican-tinged Renaissance splendour.'
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. 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. An Integral Part of Christmas - Carols from the SWR Vokal Ensemble, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... beautifully shaped and vocally refined and the voices come across clear and resonant.'
CD Spotlight. A Philological Discovery - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to a Naxos boxed set of Monteverdi madrigals. 'I think it was successful and is worth listening to by those accustomed to different ways of performing Monteverdi.'
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. Don Giovanni's Ancestor - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to the seventeenth century 'L'Empio Punito' by Alessandro Melani. '... a real discovery for opera lovers who have not experienced a live performance.'
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.'
Classical music news - The English Music Festival - The Sussex-based festival plays its part in the return to music-making in the UK with an Autumn Festival on 9 and 20 October 2020
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. A Musical Goldmine - Gerald Fenech enjoys music by Giovanni Battista Vitali. '... gorgeously crafted music full of melodic sweetness and intensely passionate emotions.'
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. Translucent Performances - Gerald Fenech listens to music written for Louis XIII. '... a rich array of delicately chiselled miniatures full of fragile beauty and sweet-sounding textures.'
CD Spotlight. Opposite Religious Poles - Secret Catholic music by William Byrd impresses Gerald Fenech. 'Absolute joy from beginning to end.'
Ensemble. Gesualdo and Friends - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to Les Arts Florissants
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.'
CD Spotlight. Deeply Humane - Patrick Maxwell listens to music by John Dowland. '... the exquisite word-painting comes through brilliantly ...'
Ensemble. Don Giovanni's Forefather - Giuseppe Pennisi writes about a performance of 'L'empio punito' by Alessandro Melani
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.'
Glorifying Finnish History - On the birthday of Jean Sibelius, George Colerick discusses the Finnish composer and his music in the light of the politics of the time
Ensemble. Packed With Good Things - Roderic Dunnett reports from the 2019 Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester
Ensemble. In Many Respects a Success - Longborough Festival Opera's wacky production of Cavalli's 'La Calisto', reviewed by Roderic Dunnett
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. Very Sensual - Giuseppe Pennisi steps up to Caetani Castle to listen to madrigals by Gesualdo
Ensemble. An Irresistible Challenge - Mike Wheeler listens to an operatic rarity - 'Lucio Papirio Dittatore' by Antonio Caldara
Ensemble. Baroque Oratorios in Rome - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to selections of music by Alessandro Scarlatti, Bernado Pasquini and George Frideric Handel
Ensemble. A Neat Idea - A song recital by James Gaughan and David Hammond, heard by Mike Wheeler
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.'
CD Spotlight. Absolutely Superb - Early music from Northern Europe, highly recommended by Geoff Pearce. 'These are truly great performances of less familiar music, and all musicians featured are of the finest quality.'
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 ...'
CD Spotlight. Great Sensuality - Caroline Howald's Ensemble Isabella d'Este impresses Gerald Fenech. 'Performances are overflowing with impassioned commitment ...'
CD Spotlight. Breathtaking Depth - Sacred music in seventeenth century Rome, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... performances of celestial beauty ...'
CD Spotlight. Thoroughly Captivating - Seventeenth century Italian solo sonatas, admired by the late Howard Smith. '... Caudle's irreproachable grasp ... invites admiration throughout ...'
Ensemble. Bit of Rough? - Belinda Sykes and Joglaresa in Nottingham, enjoyed by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Great Beauty - Music by Étienne Moulinié, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'The members of Ensemble Correspondances have these pieces under their skin ...'
Subliminal Messages - Evoke your musical senses with Vermeer, by Ellen MacDonald-Kramer
CD Spotlight. Idiomatic Performances - Music for viols, heard by Robert Anderson. '... sensitively blended and tonally warm.'
Ensemble. A Wonderful Rendition - Donizetti's 'Lucia di Lammermoor', enjoyed by Maria Nockin
CD Spotlight. Great Fluency - Music by Pierre Moulu, heard by George Balcombe. '... magically moving individual lines and harmonies.'
Ensemble. A Memorable Programme - Bach Cantatas at London's Royal Academy of Music, heard by Malcolm Miller
Ensemble. Music and Art - Karen Haid experiences Roma Opera Omnia
An Interdisciplinary Field - Two contemporary music festivals in Rome, described by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Growing Up - Hans Werner Henze's 'Pollicino' thrills children and adults in Florence, by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Very Welcome - Robert Hugill experiences Stephen Oliver's 'Euridice'
Ensemble. An Ecstatic Success - Giuseppe Pennisi visits the Sagra Musicale Malatestiana
Majesty, Moment and Control - Ben Bloor's concluding recital for Derby Cathedral's 2010 summer organ series impresses Tony Westerman
CD Spotlight. Praise and Attention - Romabarocca Ensemble plays Carlo Rainaldi, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi. '... they will go far in the rediscovery of Baroque music.'
Ensemble. Darkness to Light - Giuseppe Pennisi visits the Ravenna Festival
CD Spotlight. Full of Clarity - Baroque music in Poland, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... very fine interpretations ...'
Ensemble. Distinctive Fervour - Music for Holy Week sung by the Chapelle du Roi, heard by Robert Hugill
CD Spotlight. Chicago Baroque - Trio Settecento's A German Bouquet, recommended by Malcolm Tattersall. '... very fine performances of some rarely heard but attractive music ...'
CD Spotlight. Intense Expressiveness - Music from Venice, reviewed by George Balcombe. '... an amazing display of eighteen short pieces ...'
Ensemble. A Magisterial Presence - William Christie conducts Purcell's 'The Fairy Queen', reviewed by Robert Hugill
Making a Real Fuss - Robert Hugill looks forward to English Touring Opera's HandelFest this autumn
CD Spotlight. Get Up and Dance - Elizabethan street songs, heard by Maria Nockin. '... plain good listening ...'