CENTRAL ENGLAND: Mike Wheeler's concert reviews from Nottingham and Derbyshire feature high profile artists on the UK circuit - often quite early on their tours.
SPONSORED: CD Spotlight. A Fantastic Collection. Penelope Cave Panorama CD. Little-known harpsichord gems, strongly recommended by Alice McVeigh.
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Classical music news. Obituary - Kaija Saariaho (1952-2023)
Ensemble. Ear-catching Moments - Mike Wheeler listens to Bomsori Kim, Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Echoes of Oblivion by Robert McCarney - Looks like we got ourselves a reader
CD Spotlight. Insightful and Compelling - Geoff Pearce is impressed by this Chandos recording of Shostakovich's Symphonies Nos 12 and 15. 'The BBC Philharmonic Orchestra is totally committed to these works and the playing, both solo and in ensemble work, is of the highest order.'
Ensemble. Peak Intensity - Mike Wheeler listens to Dvořák, J S Bach, Dobrinka Tabakova and Sibelius from Jakob Koranyi, Tabita Berglund and the Hallé Orchestra
Echoes of Oblivion by Robert McCarney - Wanted: Digital or Analogue
Echoes of Oblivion by Robert McCarney - Behind the Wall of Sleep
Profile. Big Roles - Ron Bierman talks to American soprano Michelle Bradley
Ensemble. Captivating Performance - Mike Wheeler listens to Khachaturian, Mozart, Robert Schumann and Sibelius from Jordanian-Palestinian pianist Iyad Sughayer
Echoes of Oblivion by Robert McCarney - What's in a number?
Echoes of Oblivion by Robert McCarney - Turn that racket down!
Ensemble. Twentieth Century Colours - Giuseppe Pennisi is impressed by a concert given by the orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
CD Spotlight. Finnish Magic and Mystery - Orchestral music inspired by the Kalevala impresses Gerald Fenech. '... spectacular stuff, full of vivid imagery and larger than life characters woven in a tapestry of harmonic splendour ...'
Echoes of Oblivion by Robert McCarney - Sound Below Zero
Classical music news - A New Organ in Poland - Iveta Apkalna gives the first performance of Esa-Pekka Salonen's Organ Concerto to inaugurate the new organ in Katowice's NOSPR Concert Hall
Classical music news - The Richter Scale Premixes - News from Eric Fraad's Heresy Records
Ensemble. Breathtaking Energy and Commitment - Mike Wheeler listens to Filarmonica Braşov
CD Spotlight. Infectious Energy - Sibelius from the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Nicholas Collon, heard by Stephen Francis Vasta. '... the playing is gorgeous.'
CD Spotlight. Symphonic Maturity - Patrick Maxwell listens to Sibelius symphonies. '... the wind and brass playing is pristine throughout.'
Classical music news - August 2022 Obituaries - Our summary of those the classical music world has lost this month
CD Spotlight. Exhilarating Performances - Orchestral music by Ludvig Norman, recommended with conviction by Gerald Fenech. '... rich in melody, colour and wide-ranging harmonies.'
Ensemble. Shaped with Care - Mike Wheeler listens to Sibelius, Grieg and Dvořák from Derby Concert Orchestra and guest conductor Bob Chasey
CD Spotlight. Dimensions of Accessibility - John Dante Prevedini is inspired by Takashi Yoshimatsu's piano suites. '... Oshima-Ryan brings a remarkable clarity and precision to the performance ...'
Ensemble. Songs of the Distance - Giuseppe Pennisi describes how American music is back, alive and well at the Spoleto Festival
CD Spotlight. A Rich Tradition - Gerald Fenech listens to orchestral music by American composer William Grant Still. 'A peach of an issue, superbly performed, recorded and annotated.'
CD Spotlight. Star of the North - Gerald Fenech strongly recommends Meyerbeer's 'L'Étoile du Nord' on Naxos. 'Vladimir Jurowski conducts the piece with natural gusto and sparkling flair ...'
CD Spotlight. An Unexpected Kinship - Stephen Francis Vasta listens to Susanna Mälkki conducting Bartók. 'The Helsinki Philharmonic sounds good, with expressive reeds and resonant strings ...'
Ensemble. Winter and Spring - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to orchestral music in Rome
Ensemble. Fascinatingly Elusive - Dora Pejačević, Sibelius and Mahler from Tamsin Waley-Cohen, Jan Latham-Koenig and the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. A Glorious Operatic Triumph - Gerald Fenech listens to Korngold's 'Die tote Stadt'. '... Klaus Florian Vogt and Camilla Nylund rise superbly to the occasion with some searing interpretations worthy of the score.'
CD Spotlight. A Marvellous Set - Geoff Pearce listens to the Sibelius symphonies, played by the Oslo Philharmonic and Klaus Mäkelä. 'The Oslo Philharmonic responds magnificently to the direction and vision of Klaus Mäkelä.'
CD Spotlight. Sparkling Joy - Gerald Fenech listens to four volumes of Danacord's series of recordings by Danish conductor Thomas Jensen. '... all Jensen's interpretative genius is captured with electrifying vividness.'
CD Spotlight. Stimulating and Challenging - Concertos by Kalevi Aho, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'Invigorating stuff in excellent sonics and detailed annotations.'
Classical music news - January 2022 Obituaries - Our summary of those the classical music world lost this month
CD Spotlight. Music of the Utmost Beauty and Originality - Gerald Fenech listens to Thomas Jensen conducting music by Jean Sibelius. '... full of fire, passion and, above all, authority ...'
CD Spotlight. Hugely Educational - Christiane Karg's new album, heard by Keith Bramich. '... great clarity and precision in Christiane Karg's voice and sensitive support from Gerold Huber ...'
Ensemble. Two Young Stars in the Musical Firmament - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to cellist Zlatomir Fung and pianist Richard Fu
CD Spotlight. Immediate and Colourful - Geoff Pearce listens to Sebastian Fagerlund. '... probably definitive performances of these works.'
CD Spotlight. Culmination of the 'Tintinnabuli' Style - Gerald Fenech listens to Arvo Pärt's St John Passion. '... powerful and emotional stuff performed with devotional ardour and spiritual rigour.'
Ensemble. Water Under the Bridge - Mike Wheeler welcomes Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra back to Nottingham's Royal Concert Hall for the opening of the new season
CD Spotlight. Wonders from Finland - Newly discovered Finnish violin music, recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'An enthralling collection, superbly recorded ...'
Aix and Pains - Giuseppe Pennisi previews the 2021 edition of the Aix-en-Provence Festival
CD Spotlight. Awesome Stuff - Gerald Fenech is impressed by Ilya Gringolts' performances of three violin concertos by Pietro Locatelli. 'Ilya Gringolts' playing is phenomenally spellbinding, and his scintillating virtuosity and flawless execution are absolute joys and wholly worthy of constant admiration.'
CD Spotlight. Beset by Misfortune - Gerald Fenech listens to 'Kullervo' by Jean Sibelius. '... beautifully shaped and vocally refined and the voices come across clear and resonant.'
CD Spotlight. A Vision of Ambivalence and Incoherence - Music by Kalevi Aho, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... it makes huge demands on the listener ...'
Ensemble. Big Statements - Laurence Caldecote plays works by Théodore-César Salomé, William Harris, Hendrik Andriessen, George Frideric Handel, Wallace Sabin, Herbert Howells, Leonard Butler and Jean Sibelius for the Derby Cathedral Autumn Organ Recitals, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Dash and Verve - Gerald Fenech listens to Piano Concertos 3, 4 and 5 by the enigmatic Camille Saint-Saëns. 'Alexandre Kantorow performs these highly attractive concertos with terrific panache, energy and a forward-thrusting momentum that make the whole project deeply distinctive while respecting throughout the composer's imaginative and innovative bravado.'
Classical music news. September 2020 Newsletter - 'A Quiet Logic', Classical Music Daily's September 2020 Newsletter, has just been published, along with an assortment of short news items
CD Spotlight. Ostentatiously Evocative - Vadim Gluzman plays music by Pēteris Vasks, heard by Patrick Maxwell. 'The music on this impressive recording deserves much larger recognition ...'
CD Spotlight. Cheerfulness, Humour and Passion - Pietari Inkinen conducts Dvořák's Symphony No 6, enjoyed by Gerald Fenech. 'This fine issue also includes three overtures ...'
CD Spotlight. Audacious Symphonic Language - Prokofiev's Symphonies Nos 3 and 6 played by the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'Pietari Inkinen and his German ensemble are on top form and both symphonies receive compelling interpretations full of cohesive and dynamic playing.'
Classical music news. June 2020 Newsletter - 'The Art of Thinking', Classical Music Daily's June 2020 Newsletter, has just been published, along with an assortment of short news items
CD Spotlight. A Celebratory Mood - Gerald Fenech is impressed with a new recording of Beethoven's Mass in C. 'Leif Segerstam leads a first-class group of soloists and brings out all the humanity and tenderness of the music with aplomb.'
CD Spotlight. Interesting Stuff - Beethoven's 'King Stephen' and other rare works, appreciated by Gerald Fenech. 'Finely performed and recorded, this CD is a must for all serious collectors and admirers of the great man.'
CD Spotlight. Uniformly Excellent - A complete recording of Beethoven's 'The Ruins of Athens', highly recommended by Julian Jacobson. 'The maverick Finnish conductor and composer Leif Segerstam ... and his varied forces give a splendidly committed and characterful account of the complete entertainment.'
Ensemble. Undeniably Exciting - Mike Wheeler listens to Bizet, Ravel, Debussy, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Sibelius and Walton from Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Yan Pascal Tortelier and the Iceland Symphony Orchestra
CD Spotlight. Dramatic Stuff - Sibelius' 'Kullervo', recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'The foremost Sibelius conductor Hannu Lintu's interpretation is brimming with maturity and grandeur. His pacing is impeccable, and he draws vivid singing from his choir and soloists, not to mention the impressive sense of sweep from the orchestra.'
Classical music news. Tapiola Sinfonietta - The Finnish Orchestra has received the 2019 Diapason d'Or for its disc of Saint-Saëns' Piano Concertos
Ensemble. Particularly Irresistible - Music by Smetana, Martinů and Dvořák from Laura van der Heijden, Pietari Inkinen and the Prague Symphony Orchestra impresses Mike Wheeler
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
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
CD Spotlight. An Impassioned Account - Seldom-performed Beethoven, recommended by Geoff Pearce. '... excellent performances by all concerned.'
CD Spotlight. A Sense and Taste for the Infinite - Choral music by Rautavaara, Wennäkoski and Livorski impresses Gerald Fenech. 'For those who love contemporary choral singing, this disc should prove a real revelation ...'
Ensemble. A Fresh Pair of Ears - Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov and Sibelius from Vasily Petrenko and the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, heard by Mike Wheeler
Classical music news. Towards the Light - Helsinki Chamber Choir's new CD will be released on 1 March 2019
Ensemble. Collective Talent - Mike Wheeler marvels at The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain
CD Spotlight. Very Weird - Orchestral music by Witold Lutoslawski, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'This is meaty music through and through and, admittedly, for some this may be off-putting.'
Ensemble. A Safety-first Programme - Sibelius, Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn and Dvorák from Alexander Gavrylyuk, Karl-Heinz Steffens and the Hallé Orchestra, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Particularly Satisfying - Music by Erkki-Sven Tüür, heard by Geoff Pearce. '... for those who enjoy contemporary music, and like to hear something new and refreshing, Tüür ticks all the boxes.'
Ensemble. 1917 and Dante's 'Divine Comedy' - Giuseppe Pennisi samples the two themes at this summer's Ravenna Festival
CD Spotlight. Unconscious Dimension - Music by Rautavaara, recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... the singers' phrasing, harmonic direction and melodic sense all indicate how much this music is in their blood.'
CD Spotlight. Riveting Discoveries - Music from Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... as absorbing as it is enticing.'
CD Spotlight. Exceptional Clarity - Masaaki Suzuki conducts Stravinsky, recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... immaculately performed ...'
Ask Alice - On Sibelius growing like a fungus, with Classical Music Agony Aunt Alice McVeigh
Ensemble. Earthy Vigour - Smetana, Beethoven and Sibelius from Jennifer Pike, Pietari Inkinen and the Prague Symphony Orchestra, impress Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Much to Admire - Songs by Berlioz, Chausson and Duparc, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... Soile Isokoski interprets this unique repertoire with eloquence and mastery ...'
CD Spotlight. Dark Sounds - Sibelius' 'Pelléas et Mélisande', heard by Geoff Pearce. '... Leif Segerstam shows his love of this music by letting it unfold naturally.'
CD Spotlight. Immediate Appeal - Music by and inspired by Axel Borup-Jørgensen, recommended by Geoff Pearce. '... very descriptive, atmospheric music ...'
CD Spotlight. A Sonic Discovery - Orchestral music by Alexander Zemlinsky, recommended by Geoff Pearce. 'The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra responds superbly to John Storgårds ...'
CD Spotlight. Heavy Laden - Performances of Shostakovich violin concertos, admired by Robert Anderson. 'Christian Tetzlaff manages both works' difficulties effortlessly ...'
Sibelius and Myth - George Colerick discusses Finnish culture and asks if Sibelius was one of the greatest melodists
CD Spotlight. Entrancing Imagery - Sibelius tone poems enthrall Gerald Fenech. 'A magically enthralling foray into Finnish mythology.'
CD Spotlight. Imaginative and Profound - Olivier Messiaen's 'Turangalîla-Symphonie', heard by Keith Bramich. '... a vibrant, sparkling performance ...'
CD Spotlight. Infinite Hues - Zina Schiff plays Sibelius, Barber and Ben-Haim, heard by Andrew Schartmann. '... Barber's Violin Concerto ... is easily the highlight of the disc.'
CD Spotlight. Interpretative Compass - Jennifer Koh plays Bach and more, heard by Howard Smith. '... divine, finely-spun tone ...'
CD Spotlight. Enduring Legacy - Sibelius symphonies, recommended by Howard Smith. '... an important enterprise ...'
Beautifully Judged - Mike Wheeler listens to Finnish pianist Juho Pohjonen
Ensemble. Silvery Tones - Maria Nockin was at the opening concert of Phoenix Chorale's 2012-13 season
Ensemble. Natural Affinity - Klaggerud, Petrenko and the Philharmonia, heard by Bill Newman
CD Spotlight. Lyrical Richness - Arensky Piano Trios, heard by Robert Anderson. 'The Rachmaninov Trio Moscow plays with obvious affection for the music and enviable skill.'
Ensemble. True Ear Candy - Wagner's 'Lohengrin' at L A Opera, enjoyed by Maria Nockin
A Golden Treasury - Havergal Brian on European and American music, read by Patric Standford
Ensemble. Most Memorable - A recital by Soojin Han and Tadashi Imai impresses Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. A Brave Show - Choral music by Sibelius, heard by Robert Anderson. '... much here to surprise and fascinate ...'
CD Spotlight. Delicate Refinement - Music for piano by Sibelius, heard by Robert Anderson. 'Folke Gräsbeck is a splendid advocate ...'
Ensemble. Awakening of Nature - Mahler's Third Symphony, appreciated by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Clearly Important - The seventh Klavessiinfestival held in Tallinn, Estonia, attended by Peter Howell
Ensemble. A Different Rendition - Puccini's 'Tosca' on the big screen, reviewed by Maria Nockin
CD Spotlight. Deft and Brilliant - Sibelius orchestral music, recommended by Robert Anderson. '... in the safest of hands.'
Ensemble. Particularly Memorable - Elgar, Rachmaninov and Sibelius from the Hallé Orchestra, enjoyed by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Sacrificing the 'unmodern' - Music by Julius Röntgen and Per Nørgård, heard by George Balcombe. 'How could any audience resist ... ?'
CD Spotlight. Admirable Devotion - Sibelius songs, appreciated by Robert Anderson
Ensemble. Simply Magical - Mike Wheeler listens to Haydn, Sibelius and Mendelssohn played by the Hallé Orchestra
CD Spotlight. A Special Quality - Music by Sibelius for voice and orchestra, recommended by Robert Anderson. 'Throughout the set BIS has maintained the high standards ...'
CD Spotlight. A Broader Canvas - Chamber music by Sibelius, enjoyed by Robert Anderson. '... fresh and unfamiliar music, put across with such conviction ...'
CD Spotlight. Inspired Sibelius - Music for the theatre fascinates Robert Anderson. 'Again BIS has done the great master proud.'
CD Spotlight. A Special Joy - The Sibelius tone poems, recommended by Robert Anderson. '... so sparely wrought and of such integrity ...'
Record Box. A Splendid Introduction - Songs by Oskar Merikanto, recommended by Patric Standford
Record Box. Striking Originality - Symphonies by Harri Vuori, heard by Patric Standford
Scrupulously Done - Andrew Barnett's 'Sibelius', read by Robert Anderson
Power and Delicacy - Beate Toyka plays Grieg's piano concerto, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. A Majestic Reading - Mike Wheeler is impressed by Sibelius, Bach and Smetana from Pietari Inkinen and the CBSO
Enthusiastically Recommended - Howard Smith reads an 'owner's manual' of Sibelius orchestral works
Ensemble. Mature Technique - Alina Pogostkina with Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra, appreciated by Mike Wheeler
Fire and Energy - Matthew Coorey and the RLPO in Derby, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. A class act - Finnish music for strings, reviewed by Greg Barns. 'Finland's prodigious musical talent is once again on display ...'
Record box. Emotional shape - Music by Bartók, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Record box. Compelling energy - Music by Tüür, Sibelius and Rachmaninov, reviewed by Howard Smith
Record box. Profoundly effective - Leif Segerstam conducts Sibelius, recommended by Patric Standford
CD Spotlight. Red ribbon - The Talla Vocal Ensemble, recommended by Patric Standford. '... guaranteed to delight listeners ...'
Ensemble. Dazzling technique - Julia Fischer plays Sibelius, appreciated by Lawrence Budmen
Ensemble. Richly sumptuous - The Czech Moravian Virtuosi Orchestra sparkles in novelties from Europe, by Lawrence Budmen
Ensemble. Emotional sound - Tess Crebbin and Sissy von Kotzebue review a Ben Heppner recital in Munich
CD Spotlight. The tonal idiom - Interesting music by composers of varying nationalities, reviewed by Robert Hugill. '... fine, confident performances ...'
Profile. True musical meaning - Finnish pianist Risto Lauriala talks to Bill Newman
Ensemble. All in the mix - Keith Bramich takes in the GRM Experience at Amsterdam's Frascati Theater
Record box. Firm conviction - Basil Ramsey listens to the music of Einojuhani Rautavaara
A tough task - Keith Bramich ponders on the art of the conductor, and attends the 2002 Donatella Flick Conducting Competition
CD Spotlight. Orchestral colour - The symphonies of Kurt Atterberg encountered by Robert Anderson. '... a towering Pelion with which to storm the heavens ...'
Provocative thoughts, from Patric Standford - Amateurs
National ambition - Keith Bramich visits Wales for the opening concert of the 2001 Presteigne Festival
Virtuoso demands - Robert Anderson listens to music by Poul Ruders, Lutoslawski and Sibelius in London's Royal Albert Hall
Record box - Imaginative variety. Trevor Hold's reaction to Kilpinen's songs
Cultural flowering - Malcolm Miller in conversation with Hanna Munitz, General Director of New Israeli Opera
Record box - Absolute partnership. Finding choral sensitivity, with Basil Ramsey
Record Box - Energy and calm. Stirring musical waters, with Basil Ramsey
Record Box - Manners of clothing - At ease with the sacred, with Basil Ramsey
Record box - Blowing to good purpose - Brass in consort, with Basil Ramsey