Classical music news. Obituary - John Poole (1934-2020)
CD Spotlight. Fierce Urgency - Bach Collegium Japan's St Matthew Passion, reviewed by Patrick Maxwell. 'Suzuki's forces create this inner energy in a way that surges, through the music, into the crucifixion, creating the mix of oratorio and opera that Bach must have been envisaging when the work was first performed across the church of St Thomas' in Leipzig in 1827.'
CD Spotlight. Startlingly Original - Michael Gielen conducts Beethoven's 'Missa Solemnis', heard by Gerald Fenech. 'The orchestra is magnificent and the choir rises to the occasion with some impassioned singing. Top of the list are the four soloists, whose renditions are nothing short of impressive and iridescent.'
Classical music news. Obituary - Krzysztof Penderecki (1933-2020)
CD Spotlight. Effervescent Beauty - Music by Pärt, Vasks and MacMillan, sung by the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, impressing Patrick Maxwell. 'This recording from the Choir of Clare College Cambridge under the direction of Graham Ross cements their position as one of the finest church ensembles in the country ...'
CD Spotlight. Serious and Entertaining - Ona Jarmalavičiūtė listens to choral music by William Mathias. '... each moment ... truly captivates and draws further.'
CD Spotlight. Touching the Heart - Choral music by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'David Shuler and his choristers deliver interpretations of sheer beauty brimming with natural and musical phrasing, spot-on-intonation and a glorious tonal blend ...'
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.'
Ensemble. Variegated Colours - Alexander Binns plays Messiaen, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Emotional Gravitas - Gerald Fenech recommends this recording of the 1876 version of Dvořák's Stabat Mater. '... this latest undertaking has excellence written all over it.'
Ensemble. From Chaos to Ecstasy - Haydn's 'The Creation' in Rome, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Much to Enjoy - Christmas with the Sitwell Singers, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. 'Messiah' Overload? - Handel from Derby Bach Choir, reviewed 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.'
Ensemble. A Dramatic Requiem - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to Verdi in Rome
Ensemble. As Fresh As Ever - Mike Wheeler takes stock of Benjamin Britten's 1948 cantata 'St Nicholas'
CD Spotlight. A Glittering Compilation - Spanish Christmas music from Stile Antico impresses Gerald Fenech. 'Flawless performances by Stile Antico, added to some impressive sonics and eye-catching presentation ...'
Profile. A Controversial Figure? - George Colerick investigates the younger Franz Liszt
Ensemble. Tremendous and Sublime - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to Berlioz's 'Grande Messe des morts'
Profile. Spectacular Productions - George Colerick explores the rise and decline of French composer Charles Gounod
Ensemble. In the Vatican Basilicas - Giuseppe Pennisi reviews a special concert
CD Spotlight. Uplifting and Inspired - Dvořák's 'Saint Ludmila' impresses Gerald Fenech. 'A piece for the ages, passionately performed and recorded.'
CD Spotlight. Absolutely Exhilarating - Gerald Fenech discovers Friedrich Schneider's oratorio 'The Last Judgement'. 'Gregor Meyer keeps the drama moving briskly, and his forces respond brilliantly to the kaleidoscopic sequence of emotions coursing through the three sections.'
Ensemble. Packed With Good Things - Roderic Dunnett reports from the 2019 Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester
CD Spotlight. Hauntingly Beautiful - Rachmaninov's Vespers, recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'Although the choir is not Russian, performances are as passionately devotional as one can expect, particularly the soprano and bass sections, who capture the wide range of dynamics with astounding clarity and vision.'
Profile. Only the Screen - Ona Jarmalavičiūtė talks to the Belgian singer and conductor Tore Tom Denys
CD Spotlight. An Impassioned Account - Seldom-performed Beethoven, recommended by Geoff Pearce. '... excellent performances by all concerned.'
Sacred and Secular - Rossini's 'Petite Messe Solennelle' from Derby Bach Choir, Richard Roddis and friends, appreciated by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Devotional Piety - Music by Niccola Monti, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... distinctive and brilliant, rich in operatic and chromatic devices with an orchestration that is harmonically well-balanced and full of melodic touches of the utmost beauty.'
Ensemble. Sacred and Profane - Symphonies, cantatas and concertos by J S Bach, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
CD Spotlight. Quite Sublime - Sacred music by Antonio Maria Bononcini, recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... an issue that oozes beauty ...'
Ensemble. Exotic Soundscapes - Two London concerts featuring music from the opera to the orient, attended by Malcolm Miller
Ensemble. Artistic Magic - Seraphic Fire's Rachmaninov Vespers, reviewed by Lawrence Budmen
Ensemble. Pilgrimages of the Soul - Giuseppe Pennisi visits Italy's Sagra Musicale Umbra
CD Spotlight. Ready to Oblige - Music by Beethoven?, reviewed favourably by Robert Anderson. '... the pleasure of unfamiliar music and fine performances.'
CD Spotlight. Airy Textures - Handel's 'Judas Maccabaeus', heard by Robert Anderson. '... the choral mood is everything.'
CD Spotlight. Nearly Unknown - Bologna's Renaissance music, heard by Giuseppe Pennisi. '... an efficient and effective local ensemble ...'
Imaginative Heights - Gordon Rumson looks forward to the Calgary Art Song Competition
Record box. Occasionally beautiful - The sacred choral music of Robert Evett, explored by Ron Bierman
Record box. Dvorák on the edge - His Stabat Mater reconsidered, by Basil Ramsey
Record box. Cathedral setting - Howells in ecclesiastical mode, by Basil Ramsey
Subtle Celebration - James MacMillan talks to Roderic Dunnett about composing sacred and liturgical music.