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.
Patric Standford may have written these short pieces deliberately to provoke our feedback. If so, his success is reflected in the rich range of readers' comments appearing at the foot of most of the pages.
CD Spotlight. Dramatic Potency and Marvellous Clarity - Gerald Fenech listens to piano music by German-born Danish composer Friedrich Kuhlau. 'Marie-Luise Bodendorff is an inspired and enthusiastic interpreter of this rare but lovely repertoire ...'
CD Spotlight. Enigmatic yet Fascinating - Music by Rued Langgaard for violin and piano, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'The conclusion of a visionary cycle that is worthy of serious attention.'
CD Spotlight. Engrossingly Moving - Works for clarinet and orchestra by Nielsen, Copland and MacMillan, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'A challenging programme, superbly presented and recorded.'
CD Spotlight. A Memorable Recording - Music by Bo Holten, heard by Geoff Pearce. '... storytelling at its best.'
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. Revisiting the Close Bond of Violin and Guitar - Kim Sjøgren and Lars Hannibal play music by Paganini and Sarasate, heard by Ona Jarmalavičiūtė. '... very elegant, vibrant, virtuosic and illustrative.'
CD Spotlight. Changes of Mood - Geoff Pearce is impressed by Carl Nielsen's music for solo violin and for violin and piano. 'The performances are of a high standard, as one would expect, and violinist Hasse Borup and pianist Andrew Staupe play the music with great affection and attention to detail.'
Classical music news - September 2020 Obituaries - Our summary of those the classical music world has lost this month
CD Spotlight. A Sort of a Mystery - Carl Nielsen's incidental music for the play 'The Mother', recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... an interpretation of the utmost precision, with tempi and dynamics handled with vibrant, life-affirming gusto.'
Classical music news. The Mother - In July 2020 Dacapo Records will release the first recording of Carl Nielsen's complete music for Helge Rode's play 'Moderen'
Opening Up After Quarantine - Suggestions for musicians, by Gordon Andrew R
CD Spotlight. Unique and Most Compelling - Concertos by Danish composer Bent Sørensen, heard by Eugene Takeuchi-Williams. '... in these three pieces, Sørensen is the consistent champion of the understatement.'
Ensemble. Memorable and Entertaining - Australia's first production of 'Il viaggio a Reims', reviewed by David Mitchell
Classical music news. Obituary - Ib Nørholm (1931-2019)
CD Spotlight. Distractingly Unusual - Peter Navarro-Alonso's Goldbergs re-invented, heard by Keith Bramich. 'It's certainly clever, but I'm not sure what it gives us that we don't already have.'
CD Spotlight. Beautifully Wrought - Orchestral music by Svend Erik Tarp delights Geoff Pearce. '... this disc left me thirsting for more from this composer, and from Scandinavian music generally.'
CD Spotlight. Exemplary Performances - Martin and Martinu choral music pleases Geoff Pearce. '... beautiful music, lovingly performed ...'
CD Spotlight. Timeless Significance - The Lassus St Matthew Passion, lauded by Gerald Fenech. 'Bo Holten and Musica Ficta give unerring performances, and their immaculate communication of the text added to the purity of the singing certainly contribute immensely to the enjoyment of this rarely heard work.'
DVD Spotlight. Hard to Chew - Music by Axel Borup-Jørgensen, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'This is music that needs to be listened to several times before one can start to comprehend the composer's inner thoughts ...'
CD Spotlight. Fine Indeed - Rikke Sandberg plays Rachmaninov, heard by the late Howard Smith. '... most clearly true to the spirit of the music ...'
CD Spotlight. Masterly Fusion - Tchaikovsky's music for violin and orchestra impresses Gerald Fenech. 'The American violinist Jennifer Koh interprets these testing pieces with dazzling virtuosity and passionate exuberance, and the Violin Concerto in particular is one of the most exciting renditions I have heard in recent times.'
CD Spotlight. Brilliantly Performed - Music by Halvorsen, Nielsen and Svendsen impresses Gerald Fenech. 'Henning Kraggerud's technical brilliance lends a balanced fluidity to all three works, and each is allowed to betray all the enterprising orchestral colours hidden within each score.'
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. Wholehearted Enjoyment - Chinese recorder concerti, heard by the late Howard Smith. '... a treat awaits you.'
CD Spotlight. Timeless Sandscapes - Symphonies by Per Nørgård impress Gerald Fenech. '... superlative performances ...'
CD Spotlight. A Boy Prodigy - Piano music by Niklas Sivelöv, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... marvelous technique and improvisational skills.'
CD Spotlight. Angelic Stuff - Paul Hillier conducts Arvo Pärt, recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... performances of the most wondrous beauty.'
CD Spotlight. Remarkable Playing - Danish and Faroese recorder concerti, enjoyed by Geoff Pearce. '... Michala Petri is a champion of this instrument.'
CD Spotlight. Colouristic Potential - Vocal music by Olivier Messiaen impresses Gerald Fenech. '... imaginative conducting ...'
CD Spotlight. Immediate Appeal - Music by and inspired by Axel Borup-Jørgensen, recommended by Geoff Pearce. '... very descriptive, atmospheric music ...'
CD Spotlight. Probing Interpretations - John McCabe plays Nielsen, recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... an exciting and forceful advocate ...'
CD Spotlight. Imaginative Programming - Music for recorder and harpsichord from Denmark and the UK, recommended by Geoff Pearce. '... this partnership works very well musically ...'
CD Spotlight. Northern Landscapes - Symphonies by Per Nørgård, recommended by Ron Bierman. 'It's hard to imagine a more ideal presentation ...'
CD Spotlight. Heartfelt Buoyancy - Tchaikovsky, known and unknown, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... a wondrous sense of joy ...'
CD Spotlight. Delectable Listening - Michala Petri plays Telemann, admired by Robert Anderson. 'The performance is indeed triumphant.'
Ensemble. Oversized Lieder - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to Schoenberg in Bucharest
CD Spotlight. Quirkily Playful - Vilde Frang plays Tchaikovsky and Nielsen, heard by Robert Anderson. '... exhilarating to the highest degree.'
Ensemble. Lilting Charm - Bill Newman listens to the Danish String Quartet
CD Spotlight. Entirely Captivating - The Nativity story told through music, recommended by Howard Smith. '... a balanced and fulfilling listening experience.'
CD Spotlight. Outside the Box - A recital by Gunnar Johansen, heard by Howard Smith. '... a floodtide of seismic power and romantic fervor ...'
Ensemble. Highly Atmospheric - Massenet's 'Werther', reviewed by Robert Hugill
An Eloquent Devotee - Ronald Stevenson's writings on Grainger, read by Robert Anderson
Ensemble. Beautifully Phrased - Los Angeles Opera's 'The Marriage of Figaro', welcomed by Maria Nockin
CD Spotlight. Formidably Difficult - Antonín Dvorák's Piano Concerto, heard by Stephen Francis Vasta. '... commendable, as far as it goes.'
CD Spotlight. Highly Challenging - Music for unaccompanied violin, heard by Howard Smith. '... searching performance ...'
Ensemble. Brisk Ebullience - Lawrence Budmen sends a second report from this summer's Tanglewood Festival
CD Spotlight. Forever Challenging - Symphonies by Leif Kayser, heard by Patric Standford. '... his ingenious inventiveness continues to impress.'
CD Spotlight. Sacrificing the 'unmodern' - Music by Julius Röntgen and Per Nørgård, heard by George Balcombe. 'How could any audience resist ... ?'
CD Spotlight. Exceptional Assurance - J S Bach organ sonatas, heard by Howard Smith. '... an immensely satisfying conclusion.'
Ensemble. Thought-provoking - Music by Harle and Maxwell Davies, heard by Malcolm Miller
Record Box. Magical and Sensitive - A recording by the National Youth Choir of Great Britain inspires Patric Standford
CD Spotlight. A Unique Sound - Italian baroque music played on saxophones, appreciated by Paul Sarcich. '... quality with a very large Q.'
Ensemble. Frenetic pace - Nielsen's 'Maskarade', reviewed by Robert Hugill
DVD Spotlight. A powerful work - Rued Langgaard's opera 'Antikrist', investigated by Robert Anderson. '... interpreted with total commitment ...'
Ensemble. Devastating power - Astor Piazzolla's 'Maria de Buenos Aires' in Copenhagen, recommended by David Wilkins
CD Spotlight. Red ribbon - The Talla Vocal Ensemble, recommended by Patric Standford. '... guaranteed to delight listeners ...'
CD Spotlight. Mastery of orchestration - The music of Antal Doráti, recommended by Ron Bierman. 'Sharon Bezaly's tone is gorgeous ...'
CD Spotlight. Sheer beauty - Choral music by Bernhard Lewkovitch, enjoyed by Patric Standford. '... superb advocates for a composer who well deserves far more of our attention.'
CD Spotlight. A palpable reality - Gillian Weir plays Messiaen, and Robert Anderson is thrilled. '... exciting fidelity ...'
Provocative thoughts, from Patric Standford - orchestral players
Site seeing - cultural enlightenment, with Keith Bramich
Site seeing - It's all online ...
Record box - Out with a bang. Trios for clarinet, with Basil Ramsey
CD Spotlight - Transparently colourful. '... chamber music for orchestra, beautifully made.' The Preludes for Sinfonietta of Vagn Holmboe, with Patric Standford
Legendary Artist - Gordon Rumson investigates the pianist, composer, teacher, activist and organiser Gunnar Johansen (concluded from last week).
Record box - A maverick streak. Nielsen at his best, with Basil Ramsey
Legendary artist - Gordon Rumson investigates the pianist, composer, teacher, activist and organiser Gunnar Johansen
Planning your collection - Faust, Iona Brown and Percy Grainger