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.
NEW: Defining Our Field - what is 'classical music' to us, why are we involved and what can we learn from our differences? Read John Dante Prevedini's essay, watch the panel discussion and make your own comments.
A small Edinburgh-based independent classical record label founded in 2000 by Paul Baxter and Kevin Findlan - two students from Edinburgh University, with startup funding from two private individuals and support from the Princes Scottish Youth Business Trust.
The label focusses on instrumental, chamber and choral music, and on recording and promoting new works. Composers featured include Kenneth Leighton, James MacMillan, Stuart MacRae, Ronald Stevenson and Judith Weir.
A grant from the Scottish government enabled the label to release a part-orchestral recording in 2008, featuring the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Gary Walker.
Artists recording on Delphian include Mike Brewer, Geoffrey Webber, Michael Bonaventure, Robert Irvine, David Wilde, the Choir of Gonville and Caius College Cambridge, the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, Laudibus and the Marian Consort.
Further information: delphianrecords.co.uk
CD Spotlight. An Exemplary Partnership - Geoff Pearce is impressed by Mozart Violin Sonatas transcribed and played by oboist Olivier Stankiewicz, accompanied by Jonathan Ware. '... the performances here are astounding.'
CD Spotlight. Technical Brilliance - James Willshire plays piano music by Cecil Coles and Gustav Holst, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'James Willshire is renowned for his virtuosity and intelligence of his keyboard mastery, and all this is on display in this recital.'
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 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. 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.'
CD Spotlight. Approachable Music - The complete violin and piano music of Lutosławski and Penderecki, strongly recommended by Geoff Pearce. 'The performances by violinist Michael Foyle and pianist Maksim Štšura are responsive, intelligent and very polished and I, for one, found this disc a delight.'
CD Spotlight. Love's Trials and Rewards - Gustav Holst's 'The Cloud Messenger', recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'This colourful chamber version by Joseph Fort lends the more tender passages a new intimacy and clarity, while retaining much of the force of the original and preparing the foundations for a new life in performance.'
CD Spotlight. A Splendid Performance - Rachel Mahon plays Canadian organ music, recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'A hugely enjoyable album, well worth hearing ...'
CD Spotlight. Opposite Religious Poles - Secret Catholic music by William Byrd impresses Gerald Fenech. 'Absolute joy from beginning to end.'
CD Spotlight. Masterly Setting - Gerald Fenech listens to choral music by Kenneth Leighton. 'Performances are of a consistently high level throughout and blessed with a beautifully recorded sound.'
CD Spotlight. Jewel in the Scottish Musical Crown - Ona Jarmalavičiūtė is impressed by Mr McFall's Chamber. '... a vivid kaleidoscope of impromptu freely expressed creativity.'
CD Spotlight. A Distinctive Scottish Flavour - Geoff Pearce listens to chamber music and songs by Judith Weir. '... a fantastic disc ...'
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. Crossing Boundaries - Chamber music by Nigel Osborne, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... beguiling and vivid performances ...'
CD Spotlight. Brilliantly Executed - John Kitchen plays British Light Music by Arthur Sullivan and Michael Thomson, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'A gem of a disc full of wit, warmth and colour ...'
CD Spotlight. A Thrilling Musical Discovery - Violin Concertos by Giovanni Giornovich, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'Bojan Čičić has this repertoire in his blood, and this shows in performances of exhilarating beauty.'
CD Spotlight. A Beacon of God's Love - Gabriel Jackson's Passion impresses Gerald Fenech. 'Emotionally charged performances, superb sound quality and highly informative annotations complete a revelatory disc that is wholly in tune with the present Lenten season.'
CD Spotlight. Gorgeously Sung - Choral music by Richard Allain, heard by Roderic Dunnett. 'The music is undoubtedly beautiful, without exception.'
CD Spotlight. Idiomatically Revealing - Oxana Shevchenko plays Stravinsky for solo piano, heard by Roderic Dunnett. '... finely and deftly played.'
CD Spotlight. Rich and Varied - Songs by Robin Holloway, recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'Performances are full of expressive variety and sensitivity, complementing the composer's thoughts with undiluted commitment.'
CD Spotlight. A Unique Snapshot - French music for Christmas, sung in Oxford by a Cambridge choir, heard by Keith Bramich. '... Christmas music, much of it well-known in Britain, sung in French in various original and unusual versions ...'
CD Spotlight. Music Archaeology - Music played on the 'Aulos', heard by Gerald Fenech. '... this unique and exciting project is now at its consummation ...'
CD Spotlight. Coherent and Interesting - Music for string quartet by Lyell Cresswell interests Geoff Pearce. 'The Red Note Ensemble, a Scottish group specialising in new music, gives taut, precise performances, played with conviction.'
CD Spotlight. Inspiring Stuff - Hieronymus Praetorius and colleagues, recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'Sigla de Oro give some absolutely brilliant performances ...'
CD Spotlight. Sensational - Maxwell Davies from the Hebrides Ensemble, recommended by Roderic Dunnett. 'As an approach to Maxwell Davies' music, this could scarcely be bettered.'
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. An Enthralling Issue - Songs by Nikolai Medtner impress Gerald Fenech. 'This fine set includes 54 songs, so there are riches aplenty for one to savour and enjoy.'
CD Spotlight. Many Positives - Brahms' Requiem in English astounds Gerald Fenech. '... this four-hand arrangement has a captivating, translucent sound-world that transports the listener into the realms of contemplative existence; an exercise in meditative tranquility.'
CD Spotlight. A Surreal Plot - Piazzolla and Ferrer's 'María de Buenos Aires', strongly recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... the tunes Piazzolla conjured up, a mix of classical forms and Argentine traditions, are consistently vibrant, emotional and at moments compellingly dramatic.'
CD Spotlight. Joy and Wonder - Merton College Oxford's new Christmas CD, recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'The singing is not only exquisite but has that sense of magic and glory that instills in one's spirit a genuine feeling of hope for a true fraternal love among all men.'
CD Spotlight. Infinitely Varied - English music for solo guitar, enjoyed by Geoff Pearce. 'If you love English guitar music, and the performances of Julian Bream in particular, you will truly enjoy this disc.'
CD Spotlight. Material Traces - Very early music from Scandinavia, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... a highly innovative undertaking which may not be everybody's cup of tea, but for those who have a flair for adventure this programme will definitely enthrall.'
CD Spotlight. Specially Reconstructed - Music for ancient giant horns, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... for those who wallow in the joys of past cultural mysteries and their unraveling, this issue is a must.'
CD Spotlight. A Treasure Trove - Music for Palaeolithic bone flutes fascinates Gerald Fenech. '... the oldest evidence of musical creation anywhere in the world.'
CD Spotlight. Superb Compositions - Chamber sonatas by Giovanni Stefano Carbonelli, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'Performances abound in real vitality, rhythmic verve and dramatic engagement, and Carbonelli's genius is allowed to shine in all its exuberance.'
CD Spotlight. Another Gem - New music for choir and ancient instruments, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... this musical melting pot has some unexpected tastes, and surprising delights abound from beginning to end.'
CD Spotlight. Broad and Profound - Philip Higham plays J S Bach's cello suites, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'The soloist's wise and daring approach also leads him to combine elements of period and modern style both in his playing and in his choice of instruments ...'
CD Spotlight. Masterly Throughout - Erik Chisholm's opera 'Simoon', heard by Gerald Fenech. '... Chisholm rises to the occasion with some spectacular music ...'
CD Spotlight. Translucent Artistry - Vocal duets by Schumann, Mendelssohn and Cornelius, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'The two soloists exude immaculate performances full of smooth, silky singing, where every nuance behind each word and note is brought to light ...'
CD Spotlight. Crystalline Beauty - Stravinsky choral music, highly recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... Stravinsky's blend of the mystic and mundane never ceases to astound.'
CD Spotlight. A Smash Hit - Music for Advent from choir and saxophone, recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... beautifully shaped in both the renaissance and contemporary repertoire ...'
CD Spotlight. Major Voices - Vocal and choral music by Lennox and Michael Berkeley, recommended by Geoff Pearce. '... thrilling performance.'
CD Spotlight. Brilliant Playing - Organ music played by John Kitchen, enjoyed by Gerald Fenech. '... a curiously varied programme ...'
CD Spotlight. Incredible Musicianship - Ancient Scottish Highland music, recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'Although not for the faint hearted, the rewards are great ...'
CD Spotlight. Double Value - Music from the lost palace of Westminster, recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... gracefulness and musical conviction ...'
CD Spotlight. Spectacular Virtuosity - Benjamin Nicholas plays Elgar for organ, recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... thought-provoking insights ...'
CD Spotlight. A Moving Tribute - A recording dedicated to David Trendell, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... intelligence and deep musicality ...'
CD Spotlight. Unmissable Stuff - Music by Antonio Lotti, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... excitement, poignancy and luscious harmonic sounds ...'
CD Spotlight. Immensely Responsive - The Choir of Merton College, Oxford, recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... beautifully moulded lines ...'
CD Spotlight. Barnstorming Virtuosity - The Rochdale Town Hall organ, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... played with absorbing panache by Byram-Wigfield ...'
CD Spotlight. Stylized Dances - J S Bach's French Suites, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... exceptional readings full of profound emotional content, yet scholarly and alive.'
CD Spotlight. Women in Love - Schubert Lieder captivate Gerald Fenech. '... full of sensibility, ardour and vocal nuance ...'
CD Spotlight. Polyphonic Masterpieces - Music from the Baldwin Partbooks, recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'The Marian Consort's delivery is clean, unembellished and wholly uplifting ...'
CD Spotlight. Revealing Light - Early music for mezzo and viols, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'Performances are quintessentially flawless ...'
CD Spotlight. Passionate and Surprising - David McGuinness and friends, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'A beguiling issue in superb sound and catchy presentation.'
CD Spotlight. Lovely and Imaginative - Scottish music from young performers impresses Geoff Pearce. '... beautifully performed ...'
CD Spotlight. Varied Programme - The Usher Hall organ impresses Gerald Fenech. 'John Kitchen oozes out every sound possible from this monster of an organ ...'
CD Spotlight. Eminently Successful - Reconstructed music from the Celtic church, heard by Paul Sarcich. '... immaculate in execution ...'
CD Spotlight. Stirringly Uplifting - Organ music by William Faulkes, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'Duncan Ferguson's renditions are as enthralling as they are warmly expressive ...'
CD Spotlight. Stunning Works - Music for string quartet by James MacMillan, recommended by Andrew Schartmann. '... expressive, virtuosic, and replete with subtle hues.'
CD Spotlight. Vibrant Testimony - Music inspired by the Virgin Mary, recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... overflowing with a translucent beauty ...'
CD Spotlight. Rhythmical Flair - David Wilde's Chopin impresses Robert Anderson. '... Wilde shows how it can be transformed in the hands of a master.'
CD Spotlight. Widely Spread - Christmas music from Caius College Choir, recommended by Keith Bramich. '... high-quality singing with lovely rounded tone ...'
CD Spotlight. Dust and Ashes - Handel's 'The Triumph of Time and Truth', impresses Robert Anderson. '... admirable performance ...'
CD Spotlight. Scottish Dance - Music by Robert Mackintosh, recommended by Laura Kennelly. 'No problem feeling music's power here ...'
CD Spotlight. A Quality Acquisition - John Rutter from Tewkesbury, heard by Howard Smith. '... strikingly effective ...'
CD Spotlight. Highly Recommended - Music for Advent intrigues Gerald Fenech. '... one of the discs of the year as far as choral music is concerned ...'
CD Spotlight. A Vital Force - Music by Handel from Ludus Baroque impresses Howard Smith. '... robust, spring-heeled performances ...'