Probably the oldest form of music is that made using the human voice. Vocal music is present in most cultures. In Western classical music, vocal music can include art songs, folk songs, choral music, oratorio and opera. It differs fundamentally from instrumental music by normally including text.
Our vocal music articles are listed below, most recent first.
Ensemble. 'Jazzy by Bollywood Standards' - Mike Wheeler is fascinated by the music of Supriya Nagarajan and Lucy Nolan
Spotlight. Plain Strange - Patrick Maxwell watches and listens to the new Deutsche Grammophon Blu-Ray disc of Wagner's 'Götterdämmerung' from Bayreuth. 'The singing and the playing are largely excellent, but this is not the greatest production available ...'
CD Spotlight. Serious Dramatic Goals - Gerald Fenech listens to a unique recording of Rodgers & Hammerstein's 'Oklahoma!'. 'A humdinger of an album, excitingly performed and superbly recorded.'
CD Spotlight. An Exceptional Recording - Gerald Fenech finds William Vann's new recording of music by Parry revelatory. '... highly dramatic performances seething with passionate endeavour and glorious grandeur.'
Ensemble. A Magnificent Undertaking - Roderic Dunnett was at Adrian Partington's 2023 Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester
CD Spotlight. Truly Unique - Patrick Maxwell pays homage to a 1955 Parsifal from the Bayreuth Festival. 'All these impressive voices, heard here in their prime, combined with Knappertsbusch's wonderful orchestra, make a sound which is truly intimate and doubly intense.'
Classical music news - September 2023 Obituaries - Our summary of those the classical music world has lost this month
Ensemble. A Unique Sense of Bravado and Fun - Roderic Dunnett reviews Purcell's 'The Fairy Queen' at Longborough Festival Opera
Ensemble. A Formidable Creation - Roderic Dunnett experiences the first performance of the opera 'Anna' by English composer David Matthews
CD Spotlight. Masterfully Orchestrated - Geoff Pearce listens to Berlioz, Ravel and Saint-Saëns from Canadian soprano Marie-Nicole Lemieux. '... the soloist and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo conducted by Kazuki Yamada are on top form ...'
CD Spotlight. A Very Worthy Performance - Geoff Pearce listens to Santtu-Matias Rouvali conducting Mahler's Resurrection Symphony. '... impressive in its conception and in the quality of the chorus, band and soloists.'
CD Spotlight. Layers of Visibility - John Dante Prevedini considers an important release of music by female Korean composers. '... a prime example of grassroots leadership in the vital cause of making the field of music composition more open to the full spectrum of composers.'
Ensemble. Bold Choices - Mike Wheeler congratulates Nicky Spence and Joseph Middleton on their Buxton Festival programme
CD Spotlight. Quintessentially British - Gerald Fenech is impressed by the first recording of Vaughan Williams' 'Songs of Travel' in a 1954 recital which also includes songs by Davidson, Head, Ireland, Keel, Stanford and Warlock. '... as historically important as it is musically ...'
CD Spotlight. Haydn's 'Turkish' Soundworld - Gerald Fenech explores the composer's seventh opera, 'L'Incontro Improvviso'. '... excellent throughout ...'
Ensemble. Opening up New Possibilities - Mike Wheeler comes across another strand in the concept of historical performance whilst reviewing Handel's 'Orlando' at the Buxton Festival
Ensemble. Really Nice People - Mozart's 'Il Re Pastore' at the Buxton Festival impresses Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Misunderstandings and Jealousy - Mike Wheeler reports on the gender-politics of the Buxton Festival's production of Bellini's 'La Sonnambula'
Ensemble. A Fine Balance between Funny and Sad - Mike Wheeler reports from the Buxton Festival on 'The Land of Might-Have-Been'
CD Spotlight. A Trailblazer of Classical Expression - Anett Fodor encourages music enthusiasts to experience 'Il Boemo – The Czech'. '... a gateway, unveiling hidden treasures from a bygone era.'
Profile. A Spiritual Journey - Roderic Dunnett takes an extended look at the career of English composer Ian Venables, and listens to a recent performance of the orchestral version of his Requiem
CD Spotlight. A Neglected Masterpiece - Gerald Fenech is impressed by Martyn Brabbins' recording of Stanford's Requiem. '... vibrant music-making ...'
CD Spotlight. The Space as an Instrument - John Dante Prevedini listens to the fine sonic details of music by the late Alvin Lucier
Ensemble. A Force to be Reckoned With - Mike Wheeler is impressed by Opera North's concert version of Bizet's 'The Pearl Fishers'
CD Spotlight. A Truly Memorable Issue - Gerald Fenech listens to orchestral anthems by several English composers. '... not only powerful but joyously uplifting.'
Ensemble. Joy Indeed - Beethoven's Choral Symphony at the University of California San Diego impresses Ron Bierman
CD Spotlight. Tremendously Moving - Well-known and less well-known French choral music, recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... performances are full of profound grandeur ...'
Classical music news. Making the world safe for small pianists - The Stretto Piano Festival and other forthcoming events, including the Verbier, Berkshire High Peaks, Presteigne and Oxford International Song festivals
CD Spotlight. Saariaho's Last Gift - John Dante Prevedini is impressed by BIS Records' tribute to the Finnish composer
CD Spotlight. A Particular Mexican Sensibility - Paul Sarcich is impressed by Mexican music recorded by Mr McFall's Chamber. '... a very interesting and well-presented disc.'
CD Spotlight. Strange and Haunting - Geoff Pearce listens to music for voices and orchestra by Shostakovich. '... testament to John Storgårds' abilities to interpret this strangest of all Shostakovich's works ...'
CD Spotlight. Quite Eclectic - Geoff Pearce is entertained by three absurdist works from the 1930s. '... a snapshot of a different age, captured brilliantly.'
Ensemble. An Ambitious Undertaking - Lucas Ball listens to Mahler's 'Resurrection' Symphony performed by a regional choir and orchestra
CD Spotlight. Ticking All the Boxes - Geoff Pearce is delighted by a new recording of two Ravel works. 'A thrilling orchestra, inspired direction, a great cast of singers, two Ravel masterworks, sumptuous recorded sound and a most informative booklet ...'
CD Spotlight. Immense Dramatic Power - Gerald Fenech listens to Berlioz. '... an interpretation overflowing with passion and flair ...'
CD Spotlight. More Operatic than Liturgical - Geoff Pearce listens to Mercadante's Messa Solenne. '... a most welcome recording of music by what is today a relatively little-known composer.'
Classical music news - May 2023 Obituaries - Our summary of those the classical music world has lost this month
Echoes of Oblivion by Robert McCarney - Rough winds do shake
Echoes of Oblivion by Robert McCarney - The home country grown strange
CD Spotlight. The Collective as Artist - John Dante Prevedini listens to new music from the Danish music collective Damkapellet
Ensemble. Crushing Pathos - Ron Bierman listens to Nicolas Reveles' 'Ghosts'
CD Spotlight. Very Satisfying - Geoff Pearce is impressed with songs by Rubbra. '... a very enjoyable and thought-provoking disk ...'
Classical music news - April 2023 Obituaries - Our summary of those the classical music world has lost this month
Ensemble. Resonances Far Beyond - Mike Wheeler listens to J S Bach's 'St Matthew Passion'
Profile. Ronald Stevenson - A little memory, a little overview and a little comment
Ensemble. A Favourite with Audiences - Lucas Ball was impressed when Andrew Slater stepped in at short notice to sing in Elgar's 'The Dream of Gerontius'
Profile. Big Roles - Ron Bierman talks to American soprano Michelle Bradley
CD Spotlight. Lush and Tender - Geoff Pearce recommends a new recording of orchestral music and songs by Franz Schreker. '... these performances make a very compelling case to perform Schreker's music much more often.'
CD Spotlight. A Pleasant Surprise - Schubert songs with orchestral accompaniments, highly recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'An absolute peach of a disc where everything falls into place with astute precision.'
CD Spotlight. Songful and Inventive - Franz Schubert's Mass in A flat, recorded in Stuttgart and enthusiastically recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... evocative, passionate and often gloriously mystical ...'
Classical music news. March 2023 Newsletter - Our March 2023 PDF newsletter has just been published, along with some extra classical music news and our February 2023 classical music obituaries
Echoes of Oblivion by Robert McCarney - Going for a Song
CD Spotlight. Caruso 150 - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to Urania Records' new Caruso tribute album. 'One of the first major singing talents to be commercially recorded ...'
Profile. Creativity, Imagination and Curiosity - Ron Bierman talks to American mezzo Stephanie Blythe
CD Spotlight. Simply Unmissable - Recordings of Renée Fleming at New York Metropolitan Opera impress Gerald Fenech. 'A gem of an issue dedicated to one of today's great divas, whose thrilling voice has excited and captivated audiences for more than three decades.'
Echoes of Oblivion by Robert McCarney - What's in a number?
Classical music news - Juliane Banse - The German soprano will be the new head professor of voice at Madrid's Reina Sofía School of Music for 2023-24
Towards the Unknown Region - The late George Colerick discusses Ralph Vaughan Williams as writer on music, particularly when he turns his thoughts towards Beethoven's Choral Symphony
Classical music news - January Newsletter and December Obituaries - Our January 2023 PDF newsletter has just been published, along with a summary of those the classical music world lost in December 2022
CD Spotlight. An Important Historical Document - Patrick Maxwell listens to Vaughan Williams conducting Vaughan Williams. '... a typically ebullient and undogmatic interpretation of two central works of Britain's most popular composer.'
CD Spotlight. Rarities and Discoveries - Gerald Fenech listens to some unusual Verdi. 'A memorable programme, passionately performed and splendidly recorded ...'
Classical music news. Obituary - John Aler (1970-2022)
Ensemble. Charm, Skill and Versatility - Ron Bierman listens to Isabel Leonard and Pablo Sáinz-Villegas in festive mood
Ensemble. Goose Bumps - Lucas Ball listens to Vaughan Williams and Delius sung by the Worcester Festival Choral Society
CD Spotlight. A Dark Nordic Kingdom - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to Verdi's 'Gustavo III' ('Un ballo in maschera'). '... a good recording to remember a much expected but somewhat disappointing performance.'
CD Spotlight. Generally Moving and Serenely Consoling - Gerald Fenech is impressed by choral music of Herbert Howells and Ian Venables. '... a highly attractive choral disc, refreshingly performed and sumptuously recorded ...'
CD Spotlight. Spiritual Gravitas and Edifying Beauty - Gerald Fenech is moved by Johann Michael Haydn's vocal and choral music. 'Roberta Paraninfo and her Italian choristers deliver riveting performances full of immaculate singing that penetrates straight to the heart, and Michael Haydn's superb choral writing is brought to the fore with flowing simplicity.'
Echoes of Oblivion by Robert McCarney - The Mouth of Hell
Classical music news - November 2022 Obituaries - Our summary of those the classical music world has lost this month
CD Spotlight. Enraptured Spirituality - Robert McCarney listens to music by William Baines. '... a very welcome CD ...'
CD Spotlight. Alive and Impassioned - Gerald Fenech is impressed by Warner Classics' thirty CD Vaughan Williams New Collector's Edition. '... the music is often presented in all its thrilling drama to telling effect.'
Echoes of Oblivion by Robert McCarney - Horses for Courses
Ensemble. Full of Panache - Giuseppe Pennisi writes about a recent performance of 'Don Giovanni' in Rome
CD Spotlight. A Touch of Immortality - Gerald Fenech listens to Rossini's 'Messa di Gloria'. '... heartwarming performances full of glowing fervour and devotional ardour.'
CD Spotlight. Irish Coffee - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to Puccini's 'La bohème' from Irish National Opera. 'The excellent Italian diction of all the singers, both the protagonists and those in secondary roles, is remarkable.'
CD Spotlight. An Enticing Collection - Gerald Fenech listens to a new and unusual album of music by Ralph Vaughan Williams, released today on the composer's 150th birthday. '... superbly crafted little miniatures ...'
CD Spotlight. A Glorious Masterpiece - Gerald Fenech listens to Handel's 'Theodora'. 'Joyce di Donato and Michael Spyres ... are truly impressive in their interpretations of the title roles full of overwhelming commitment and audacious singing virtuosity.'
Ensemble. Fine-tuning Still to be Done - Folk-songs collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Freshness and Vigour - Robert McCarney listens to music by British composer Robert Saxton. 'This is a very well prepared and presented disc that does an excellent job of providing a portrait of the composer.'
CD Spotlight. Beautiful and Well-crafted - Gerald Fenech listens to Johann Simon Mayr's opera 'Alfredo il Grande'. 'This is a gem of a premiere recording that should enhance Mayr's reputation as a truly fine opera composer which he richly deserves.'
CD Spotlight. Wonderfully Transparent and Detailed - Robert McCarney listens to symphonies by Latvian/Canadian composer Tālivaldis Ķeniņš. 'The playing by all concerned is excellent.'
CD Spotlight. Inner Turmoil - Handel's 'Amadigi di Gaula', strongly recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... full of passion and angst.'
Classical music news. Winners, Projects, Cancellations - Items in the news
Echoes of Oblivion by Robert McCarney - Seven Tuscan Nights
CD Spotlight. Tender and Intimate - Geoff Pearce listens to Mahler's Fourth Symphony. 'I find this recording very satisfying on so many levels.'
CD Spotlight. An Almost Unworldly Acceptance and Peace - Geoff Pearce is inspired by 'Cloud Ossuary' and 'Mist Waves' - music by Douglas Knehans. '... a stellar performance by this fine young pianist.'
Ensemble. Songs from the Shows - Mike Wheeler enjoys a 'Strictly Musical' evening at Buxton Opera House
Ensemble. Handel vs Bononcini - Mike Wheeler listens to the English Concert and soprano Anna Dennis at the Buxton Festival
Ensemble. A Welcome Opportunity - Mike Wheeler listens to the recital 'Colour My Song' at the 2022 Buxton Festival
Ensemble. Effectively Communicated - Mike Wheeler listens to Kate Whitley and Laura Attridge's oratorio 'Our Future In Your Hands' at Buxton
CD Spotlight. Nobler in the Mind? - Giuseppe Pennisi finds Joseph Summer's 'Hamlet' a musical hodgepodge. '... almost in late Romantic style.'
Ensemble. A Massive and Moving Sound - Keith Bramich listens to Dvořák's Requiem at the first evening concert of the 2022 Three Choirs Festival in Hereford Cathedral
Ensemble. Warmth and Sassiness - Mike Wheeler was at Buxton Opera House for 'Gypsy: A Musical Fable'
Ensemble. Taut and Focused - Mike Wheeler reports from the Buxton Festival on Rossini's 'La Donna del Lago'
CD Spotlight. Champagne Stuff - Gerald Fenech listens to Rossini's 'La Scala di Seta'. 'José-Miguel Pérez-Sierra's vivid conducting draws from both singers and Kraków Philharmonic Orchestra players performances full of delectable charm and infectious pleasure ...'
Ensemble. Beyond Earthly Existence - Giuseppe Pennisi reports on the International Chigiana Festival and Summer Academy
Ensemble. Changing Tastes - Giuseppe Pennisi was in the audience for Leonard Bernstein's 'Mass'
Ensemble. Commemorating Malcolm Goldring - The Sitwell Singers pay tribute to their former conductor, with help from various friends and colleagues, including a new work written for the occasion by Bob Chilcott, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Three Days at the Ravenna Summer Festival - Giuseppe Pennisi reports from 'The Italian Salzburg'
CD Spotlight. Subtle Differences - Ravel on period instruments, heartily recommended by Geoff Pearce. '... there are some truly lovely moments ...'
CD Spotlight. Beauty to Entice the Ears - Gerald Fenech listens to a compilation mass from Antonio Vivaldi's music. '... vibrant playing full of unalloyed joy.'
CD Spotlight. Sorrowful Magnificence - Gerald Fenech is impressed by Johann David Heinichen's Passion Oratorios. '... engrossing performances that are as gripping as they are reverential.'
Ensemble. Effectively Realised - Mike Wheeler listens to Brahms' Requiem
Ensemble. A Crash Between Worlds - Adam J Sacks describes something entirely new, combining Brahms and Radiohead
CD Spotlight. Solace to Listeners - Patrick Maxwell listens to a box set of John Barbirolli's Elgar recordings for Warner Classics. '... a musical artefact which still tells us how Britain's most famous composer really can sound like ...'
Classical music news. Obituary - Teresa Berganza (1935-2022)
Ensemble. Stewards of Creation - Haydn's 'The Creation' marks Harry Christophers' final concert with Boston's Handel and Haydn Society, heard by John Dante Prevedini
CD Spotlight. Fascinating Listening - Music by Wolfgang Rihm, recommended for those who enjoy the challenges of listening to contemporary music, by Geoff Pearce. 'The performers here really excel and do this music justice.'
Ensemble. Poise and Sensitivity - Mike Wheeler listens to baroque choral music by J S Bach, Handel and Purcell
CD Spotlight. Thoroughly Delightful - Geoff Pearce listens to chamber music by Poulenc. '... the performers are all very fine ...'
CD Spotlight. A Verdi Avenue - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to Francesco Meli. '... a demonstration of Meli's ability but also of his genuine love for Verdi ...'
Classical music news - March 2022 Obituaries - Our summary of those the classical music world has lost this month
Profile. Behind the Words and Between the Lines - Ron Bierman talks to Canadian conductor Yves Abel
CD Spotlight. Exhilarating from Start to Finish - Gerald Fenech listens to suites of incidental music by Arthur Sullivan. 'Andrew Penny is an enthusiastic advocate of this composer, and his lively and beautifully shaped interpretations are a treat to the ear.'
Ensemble. The Magical Countertenor Voice - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to Raffaele Pé
CD Spotlight. Songs of Stevenson - Roderic Dunnett listens to a recital by Scottish bass Brian Bannatyne-Scott. '... a notably original disc ... well worth exploring.'
CD Spotlight. A Series of Polished Gems - Roderic Dunnett listens to chamber, instrumental music and songs by Gerard Schurmann. 'This is one of the most enchanting, fragile, flawless song cycles I have ever heard, anywhere.'
CD Spotlight. Beauty and Emotional Depth - Geoff Pearce recommends Schubert's 'Winterreise', performed by Mark Padmore and Paul Lewis. '... everything that I could wish for ...'
CD Spotlight. A Young Saxon's Occasional Opera - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to 'Enea in Caonia' by Hasse. 'Stefano Montanari conducts ... skilfully, mostly in support of the voices.'
Ensemble. Pierrot in Rome - Music by Arnold Schoenberg, Sylvano Bussotti and Giacomo Puccini, heard by Giuseppe Pennisi
Classical music news - January 2022 Obituaries - Our summary of those the classical music world lost this month
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 ...'
Music Lessons from Long Ago - Recollections by Barbara Siket
Ensemble. Gardiner's Falstaff - Giuseppe Pennisi visits Florence for a new production of Verdi's comic opera
CD Spotlight. Sumptuous, Virtuosic, Wild and Spectacular - Mozart from Salzburg, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... consistently vibrant, sensitive and heartwarming.'
Classical music news - October and November 2021 Obituaries - Our summary of those the classical music world has lost this and last month
Ensemble. An Unconventional and Complex Score - The first performance of 'Julius Caesar' by Giorgio Battistelli, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
CD Spotlight. A Universal Happy Ending - Gerald Fenech reviews a new recording of Franz Ignaz Beck's opera 'L'isle déserte'. 'Michael Schneider and his La Stagione Frankfurt players give a pleasant and sprightly performance, but attention to detail is always of paramount importance.'
Ensemble. With Pope Francis' Blessing - The first performance of 'L'ultima estate - Memorie di un mondo che non c'è più' by Marcello Filotei, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
CD Spotlight. Balance and Moderation - Handel's 'Aci, Galatea e Polifemo', heard by Gerald Fenech. '... under the sensitive conducting of Luca Guglielmi, both singers and ensemble are able to display a presence and virtuosity that are just outstanding.'
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.'
CD Spotlight. Chinese Contemporary Music - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to Xiaoyong Chen. 'The mixture of colours is very interesting.'
CD Spotlight. An Epic Undertaking - Hänssler Classic's C P E Bach edition, recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... an exhilarating collection of C P E Bach's works ...'
Ensemble. Intimacy and Intensity - Ian Bostridge and Imogen Cooper at the Oxford Lieder Festival impress Patrick Maxwell
Ensemble. Not Just a Recital - Giuseppe Pennisi reviews a concert in Rome dealing with contrasted passions of love
Ensemble. A Triumph of Mahler and Hrůša - Giuseppe Pennisi was at one of the opening concerts of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia's new season
CD Spotlight. A Connection with Mahler - Music by Penderecki, recommended by Geoff Pearce. 'The Polish Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Sopot, conducted by Wojciech Rajski, is magnificent.'
CD Spotlight. Vaughan Williams and English Folk Songs - Simon Farrugia recommends Albion Records' astonishing new recording. 'The freshness of sound presented in this album gives a new dimension to Piazzolla's music ...'
CD Spotlight. Birdsong Fragments - 'Songs of Travel and Home' performed by Jullien van Mellaerts, recommended by Geoff Pearce. '... a singer with a very expressive voice, a pleasing tone, a great insight into the music he sings ...'
Profile. Serving the Larger Community - Ron Bierman talks to David Bennett, general director of the San Diego Opera Association
CD Spotlight. All Done with Mirrors - Geoff Pearce listens to music involving the double bass by Britta Byström, Eduard Tubin, Jesper Nordin and Carin Malmlöf-Forssling. '... a fitting reflection of the work of this fine composer.'
CD Spotlight. Overtly sentimental? - Bellini's 'I Puritani', heard by Gerald Fenech. '... the chemistry between conductor and performers cannot be faulted.'
CD Spotlight. Brief Time Well Spent - John Dante Prevedini listens to music for six solo voices and electronics by Gregory W Brown. '... engaging, provocative and full of genuine surprise.'
Ensemble. Very Convincing - Lucas Ball listens to Bach and Buxtehude at last month's Three Choirs Festival in Worcester UK
CD Spotlight. Innovative and Different - Paul Abrahám's operetta 'Ball at the Savoy' impresses Gerald Fenech. '... the performance has a rhythmic energy that keeps the music flowing effortlessly from start to finish ...'
CD Spotlight. Inner Energy and Passion - Gerald Fenech listens to Beethoven orchestral music. '... mouth-watering moments of great dramatic intensity ...'
Ensemble. Backwards and Forwards - Mike Wheeler rounds up his coverage of the 2021 Buxton Festival with concerts by Sarah Connoly, Roderick Williams and Natalie Clein
CD Spotlight. Sensual Serenades - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to music by Stradella. '... an excellent way to get to know Stradella ...'
Ensemble. Quietly Compelling - Two Buxton Festival concerts involving the guitar, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Classical music news - July 2021 Obituaries - Our summary of those the classical music world has lost this month
Classical music news - Female Grief, Sacrifice and Heroism - Announcing the release of 'iGIRL', a new electronic opera by Roger Doyle with libretto by Marina Carr
Ensemble. Everything you know is wrong! - Mike Wheeler listens to The Sixteen in Derby
CD Spotlight. Many Hidden Nuances - Monteverdi organ works, reviewed by Gerald Fenech. 'Kriju Koetsveld is a keen advocate of this repertoire ...'
CD Spotlight. Beautifully Crafted - Music by Dutch composer Hendrik Andriessen, recommended by Geoff Pearce. '... absolutely inspirational ...'
Ensemble. Star Wars - Giuseppe Pennisi recommends listening to but not watching Maggio Musicale Fiorentino's production of Verdi's 'La forza del destino'
CD Spotlight. Heartfelt Pathos - Juan Bautista Cansino's Stabat Mater, strongly recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... serenity and resignation beyond comprehension.'
CD Spotlight. Extremely Rare - 'Mademoiselle de Belle-Isle' by Spyridon Samaras, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'Performances are excellent ...'
Ensemble. Black and White - Verdi's 'Il trovatore' from Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
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 ...'
Profile. Paul Zicheng Fu: A Life in Music - Gordon Andrew R investigates a Chinese-born composer who has settled in Canada
Ensemble. Three Days in Ravenna - Giuseppe Pennisi samples Northern Italy's high profile and wide-ranging arts festival
CD Spotlight. A Bridge between Musical Cultures - Music by Lukas Ligeti, heard by Giuseppe Pennisi. 'If you like electronic music and African (even archaic) music, this CD is your perfect cup of tea.'
CD Spotlight. Truly Breathtaking Music - Willem Jeths' Requiem, recommended by Geoff Pearce. 'Kelly God is phenomenal and James Gaffigan's direction of the very fine forces is inspired.'
CD Spotlight. Challenging Music - Erwin Schulhoff's only opera, 'Flammen', reviewed by Gerald Fenech. 'The performance is exhilarating and the recording sumptuous.'
CD Spotlight. A Kiss from the Queen - Johann Strauss II's only opera, 'Ritter Pásmán', heard by Gerald Fenech. '... vibrantly performed by the Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra and finely conducted by Alfred Walter.'
Classical music news. Petrichor Competition and Save Lev's Violin - The submission deadline for a new international music competition will pass in a few days' time, and money is being raised to restore a precious violin
Classical music news - May 2021 Obituaries - Our summary of those the classical music world has lost this month
Ensemble. Three Divas - Maria Nockin reviews a streamed recital from Versailles, given by Ailyn Pérez, Nadine Sierra, Isabel Leonard, Vlad Iftinca and Pablo Sáinz-Villegas
CD Spotlight. Innermost Tenderness - Gerald Fenech listens to arias by Johann Joseph Fux. 'Maria Ladurner is an inspired and impassioned advocate of Fux's music, and her supreme performances have a thrilling realism that brings out all the contrasting timbres of this fragile yet gravitas-filled music.'
CD Spotlight. The Roaring Twenties - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to the first complete recording of Reynaldo Hahn's 'Ô mon bel inconnu'. '... a period-piece that, musically, can be very much enjoyed today ...'
Ensemble. A Quartet of Jubilation - Vocal music by Wagner and Richard Strauss, streamed from Germany and enjoyed by Maria Nockin
Ensemble. Figaro via Laugh-in - Ron Bierman reviews San Diego Opera's parking-lot production of Rossini's 'The Barber of Seville'
CD Spotlight. History of an Ancient Town - Music by Paul Hindemith, heard by Geoff Pearce. 'This excellent disc has strong performances by orchestra, chorus and vocal soloists.'
Ensemble. The Right Touch - Gaetano Donizetti's 'The Elixir of Love', reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Rollicking Comedy - Maria Nockin reports from San Diego Opera's drive-in performances of Rossini's 'The Barber of Seville'
Classical music news. Obituary - Christa Ludwig (1928-2021)
Ensemble. Pelléas in the Waters - Giuseppe Pennisi experiences a new Italian production of Debussy's opera via TV
CD Spotlight. A Jewel Box of Opera Rarities - Giuseppe Pennisi explores a CD set marking the Orfeo International label's first forty years. '... at least two masterpieces emerge ...'
CD Spotlight. Beautifully Crafted - Geoff Pearce listens to Lieder by Swiss composers Hans Schaeuble, Frank Martin, Peter Mieg, Othmar Schoeck and Arthur Honegger. '... one of the loveliest discs I have ever heard.'
CD Spotlight. One of Rameau's Greatest Works - The opera 'Dardanus' impresses Gerald Fenech. 'György Vashegyi paces his forces with meticulous mastery, and his thorough knowledge of the score enables him to bring to the listener all the felicitous nuances of this imaginative music.'
Ensemble. In the Easter Egg - Giuseppe Pennisi takes a critical look at two April 2021 performances of Verdi's 'La Traviata'
CD Spotlight. High Romanticism - Paul Sarcich discovers the music of Robert Kahn. 'Ensemble Émigré have done fine service to Kahn ...'
Ensemble. Easter Concerts - Giuseppe Pennisi experiences two recent performances broadcast on Italian TV
CD Spotlight. Natural Talents - Gerald Fenech listens to Easter cantatas by Baroque German composer Christoph Graupner. 'Christian Bonath and his team give these baroque choral gems the ideal exposure, and reveal them to be the masterpieces they truly are in performances of inspirational nobility and incomparable beauty.'
Classical music news. Obituary - Jane Manning (1938-2021)
CD Spotlight. An Important Discovery - Georg Philipp Telemann's Markus-Passion 1759, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi. 'Hermann Max, a specialist not only of baroque but especially of Georg Philipp Telemann, conducts Das Kleine Konzert with rigor and flair as well as emphasis on the dramatic impact of the recitatives and on the moral content of the arias.'
Classical music news - Vienna Deadline - There are a few more days to apply for the 2021 Vienna International Music Competition
Ensemble. Half and Half - Giuseppe Pennisi is not entirely convinced by Teatro San Carlo di Napoli's new production of Gioacchino Rossini's 'Il Turco in Italia'
Classical music news - March 2021 Obituaries - Our summary of those the classical music world has lost this month
Ensemble. A Half-Successful Experiment - Teatro Comunale di Bologna's new production of Cilea's 'Adriana Lecouvreur', reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
CD Spotlight. Benjamin Britten and James Joyce - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to two sets of English folk and other songs. '... very good listening ...'
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 ...'
Ensemble. A Revolutionary 'Ernani' in Palermo - Giuseppe Pennisi reports on a production modified for TV and streaming
Ensemble. A Fast Rising Career - Bulgarian soprano Sonya Yoncheva's Met Stars recital with pianist Julien Quentin, experienced by Maria Nockin
Ensemble. Lolita in Jerusalem - Elena Stikhina in Teatro alla Scala's new production of 'Salome' by Richard Strauss impresses Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Mixed Feelings - Giuseppe Pennisi reviews the new Opéra de Paris production of 'Aida'
Ensemble. A Human Tragedy - HD streaming of the opening night at the new Staatsoper Unter den Linden production in Berlin of Janáček's 'Jenůfa' impresses Giuseppe Pennisi
Classical music news - February 2021 Obituaries - Our summary of those the classical music world has lost this month
Ensemble. Appreciation of Nature - Maria Nockin reviews a 'Met Stars' online concert from the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, featuring Anna Netrebko, Elena Maximova and Pavel Nebolsin
Ensemble. An Opera for Voices - Giuseppe Pennisi reviews Vincenzo Bellini's rarely-staged 'Il Pirata'
Ensemble. Fit for Streaming? - Giuseppe Pennisi investigates various current and recent opera productions
CD Spotlight. Beyond Memorable - Hans Rosbaud conducts Gustav Mahler symphonies, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'Rosbaud ... lays out the whole range of Mahler's passion with a fiery sense of musicality.'
Ensemble. Bohème dated 1896 - Giuseppe Pennisi reviews Puccini, broadcast from Teatro Regio Torino in Italy
Ensemble. Twilight of Dreams - Giuseppe Pennisi experiences a pastiche for our times at the opening of Teatro Massimo di Palermo's 2021 season
CD Spotlight. Charming and Evocative - Geoff Pearce listens to music by Alexander Rahbari. 'The performances by all involved are very fine, and I hope that this will serve to open the ears, minds and heart to music that perhaps, without this fine composer, most of us would never get to hear.'
Ensemble. Arduous and Contrasting Passion - Bellini's 'I Puritani' at Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, recommended by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Smooth High Notes and Powerful Drama - Piotr Beczała and Sondra Radvanovsky's Met Stars Live recital from Wuppertal, recommended by Maria Nockin
Profile. A Philological Discovery - Giuseppe Pennisi writes about the seventeenth century Italian architect and global musician Carlo Rainaldi
CD Spotlight. Metamorphosis of a Georgian Soul - John Dante Prevedini reviews essential recordings of the Giya Kancheli symphonies. '... a unique symphonic expression of the Georgian experience ...'
On Fischer-Dieskau's Schubert - Patrick Maxwell investigates the German baritone's legacy
CD Spotlight. A Superb Set - The complete symphonies of Heitor Villa-Lobos, recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'Octogenarian Brazilian conductor Isaac Karabtchevsky's performances are fine and show no lack of passion or vigour.'
Ensemble. Mariotti and The Ninth - Giuseppe Pennisi reviews Michele Mariotti's January 2021 Beethoven performance in Parma
Classical music news - Dreams of a New Day - Cedille Records announces new releases for 2021
CD Spotlight. An Individualistic Voice - Music by French composer Florent Schmitt, recommended by Geoff Pearce. 'The orchestra and soloists are very fine, and the atmospheric nature of the music is beautifully captured.'
Classical music news - January 2021 Obituaries - Our summary of those the classical music world has lost this month
Ensemble. A Fun-loving Tradition - New York Metropolitan Opera's New Year's Eve Gala Concert, reviewed by Maria Nockin
Ensemble. Christmas is for Concerts - Giuseppe Pennisi makes his festive choice from the Italian media
CD Spotlight. Sensitive and Thoughtful - More Christmas music from Clifton Cathedral, heard by Keith Bramich. '... this 1997 choir has a crisper sound than its 1987 vintage, and the ensemble is neater.'
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.'
Ensemble. A Delightful Addition to Christmas - Bryn Terfel in Wales, the latest Met Stars live in concert, reviewed by Maria Nockin
Classical music news - December 2020 Obituaries - Our summary of those the classical music world has lost this month
CD Spotlight. Enchanting and Powerful - Patrick Maxwell listens to Bruckner motets. '... performed superbly ...'
Ensemble. The Greatest La Scala Extravaganza - An unusual opening to La Scala's season in Milan, reported by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Hundreds of Thousands in Line for a Barber - A new Rome production of Rossini's 'Barber of Seville' especially for TV, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Modern Italian Music in Rome - Works by Francesco Pennisi, Goffredo Petrassi and Marcello Panni, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Zubin's Otello - Giuseppe Pennisi watches a new Florence production of Verdi's 'Otello' on Italian TV
Classical music news - November 2020 Obituaries - Our summary of those the classical music world has lost this month
CD Spotlight. Six Composers, Piano, Strings and Voice - Ona Jarmalavičiūtė listens to works by six female composers. '... performed profoundly ...'
Ensemble. ROF is Back and in Good Spirits - Giuseppe Pennisi reports on 'Il barbiere di Siviglia' and the Rossini Opera Festival's current performances
Ensemble. An Innovative Approach - Giuseppe Pennisi experiences three operas from the 2020 Donizetti Opera Festival
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. Stylistically Varied - Geoff Pearce recommends music by Mikis Theodorakis and Jani Christou. '... the varied moods, colours and textures are brought vividly to life.'
Ensemble. Great Emphasis on Detail - Giuseppe Pennisi enjoys streamed performances of a Carmen double bill in Rome
Ensemble. Horns and Headlights? - Ron Bierman reports on San Diego Opera's 'La bohème' from a parking lot in San Diego
CD Spotlight. Triumphant Optimism - Lucas Ball compares two Beethoven choral works on a new recording from harmonia mundi. 'I love what the chorus does here ...'
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.'
Ensemble. Italy's Last 'Traviata' (For a While) - Giuseppe Pennisi reports on Verdi's opera in Rieti
Ensemble. A Nuanced, Idiomatic Portrayal - San Diego Opera's first drive-in opera - 'La bohème', appreciated by Maria Nockin
Ensemble. A Delightful Morning - Diana Damrau and Joseph Calleja sing live from Caserta in Italy as part of Met Stars Live in Concert, experienced by Maria Nockin
Classical music news - Muti Returns to Palermo - Riccardo Muti will be back in Palermo for three concerts and will be granted freedom of the city
Ensemble. A Survival Strategy - Giuseppe Pennisi writes about the current music scene in Italy, touching on recent notable performances
Classical music news - Refugee Orchestra Project - New commissions are up and running in Lidiya Yankovskaya's project which demonstrates the importance of refugees to the United States cultural scene
Classical music news - October 2020 Obituaries - Our summary of those the classical music world has lost this month
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.'
Ensemble. A Touch of Verdi in Rossini's Last Work - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to Opera Roma's grand performance of Petite Messe Solennelle in Rome
CD Spotlight. Between Centuries and Cultures - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to Johann Simon Mayr's 1814 opera 'Le due duchesse'. 'The richness is clear from the Sinfonia.'
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. A Multifaceted Intellectual - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to Saint-Saëns' opéra fantastique 'Le timbre d'argent'. 'From the very start of the overture, the listener feels that this is a brisk and expert ensemble.'
Ensemble. It Pays to be Brave - George Frideric Handel's 'Rinaldo' in Florence, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Absolute Purity of Tone - American mezzo Joyce DiDonato's Met Stars Live recital from Germany, reviewed by Maria Nockin
CD Spotlight. Somewhat Disturbing - Thought-provoking music by Naomi Pinnock, heard by Geoff Pearce. 'The performances and attention to detail were impressive, which added to my enjoyment and comprehension of the music.'
CD Spotlight. In Tune with the Changing Times - Giuseppe Pennisi discovers the eighteenth century Neapolitan composer Girolamo Rossi. '... an important discovery.'
CD Spotlight. Matching Words with Music - Gerald Fenech listens to music for soprano and clarinet by Lori Laitman, Kalmen Opperman and Diana Rosenblum. 'The programme is delivered with panache and polished maturity ...'
Ensemble. Innovative for the Time - Giuseppe Pennisi discovers Nicola Bonifacio Logroscino's Stabat Mater at the Ravello Festival
CD Spotlight. Delicate Textures - Songs for soprano and ensemble by Symon Clarke, enjoyed by Geoff Pearce. '... the music is very well-written, thoughtful and beautifully performed.'
Ensemble. Seemingly Effortless - Lise Davidsen and James Baillieu's Met Stars Live recital from Oslo, reviewed by Maria Nockin
CD Spotlight. An Experimental Shake - Ona Jarmalavičiūtė listens to Shakespeare settings by Brahms, Schumann, Pesetsky and Summer. '... the experiment ... should be praised for its courage and innovation ...'
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.'
CD Spotlight. An Unusual Debut - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to music by Ravel, James Francis Brown and Liana Alexandra, performed by Andrea Oliva and the Hemisphaeria Trio. '... an innovative program by a very promising ensemble.'
CD Spotlight. Well Worth Supporting - Geoff Pearce listens to the third symphony by Italian-born American composer John A Carollo. '... a distinct, assured musical voice which is not quite like anyone else I have heard.'
Ensemble. The Weather and The Light - Maria Nockin reports on Aleksandra Kurzak and Roberto Alagna's recital for 'Met Stars Live in Concert'
Ensemble. The Belcanto Concerts - Giuseppe Pennisi sends his last report from this year's Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro
Ensemble. Rossini's Last Sin - Giuseppe Pennisi attends a very special performance at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro
Ensemble. Music through Breath - Adrian Kelly talks to Christian Curnyn about Handel's 'Acis and Galatea' as part of the Buxton International Festival Digital 2020 Season, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Promised in Marriage - Giuseppe Pennisi reports from the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro
Ensemble. A Connolly Smorgasbord - A selection of performances by Sarah Connolly, as part of the Buxton International Festival Digital 2020 Season, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Soulful Awareness - Patrick Maxwell listens to Margarita Gritskova and Maria Prinz performing Prokofiev songs. '... played with a precise and enjoyable dexterity and with admirable clarity; the collection as a whole deserves to be celebrated.'
Ensemble. Respecting the Spirit of The Merry Widow - Giuseppe Pennisi relates how 'Die lustige Witwe' is enthralling Rome
Ensemble. A Soothing Balm on our Troubled Time - Maria Nockin connects to Renée Fleming and Robert Ainsley's Metropolitan Opera recital from the Dumbarton Oaks Museum music salon in Washington DC
Ensemble. Pappano's 'Ninth' - Giuseppe Pennisi reports on Beethoven from Rome's Parco della Musica
Ensemble. Bring Back the Blue and the Light - Maria Nockin was impressed by Jonas Kaufmann's recital with Helmut Deutsch in New York Metropolitan Opera's new 'Met Stars Live in Concert' series
CD Spotlight. A Powder-keg of Uncontrolled Passions - Gerald Fenech is impressed with this new recording of Korngold's 'Violanta'. '... Pinchas Steinberg's insightful reading draws some hot-blooded singing and playing.'
Ensemble. Siena Wins a Heroic Bet - Giuseppe Pennisi attends the opening performance of the completely re-designed Chigiana International Festival and Summer Academy
Profile. Beautiful Things - Ona Jarmalavičiūtė talks to Croatian-American musician and peace activist Nenad Bach, who finds the power of music undeniable, like the power of love
Ensemble. A Miracle in Ravenna - Giuseppe Pennisi reports from a modified Ravenna Festival
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'
CD Spotlight. Out of the Ordinary - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to a new recording of Verdi's 'Otello'. '... a new and beautiful reading ...'
Classical music news. The Prison - The first recording of Ethel Smyth's 1930 work 'The Prison' is to be released on Chandos Records
CD Spotlight. Engrossing Memories - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to music by Gershwin, Copland and Bernstein. 'The Wolf Trap Opera National Orchestral Institute Philharmonic, conducted by James Judd, offers very professional, but not startling, performances.'
CD Spotlight. An Impressive Undertaking - Simon Rattle conducts Wagner's 'Die Walküre', heard by Giuseppe Pennisi. 'The singing and the orchestra raise this performance above the ordinary.'
CD Spotlight. Imperial Music - Giuseppe Pennisi enjoys a recital by Karina Gauvin. 'Here the listener can appreciate Karina Gauvin's superb phrasing and elegant coloratura.'
CD Spotlight. Magical Repertoire - Rimsky-Korsakov's 'Kashchei the Immortal', enjoyed by Gerald Fenech. 'Do not be taken aback; the sound quality is miraculous and I enjoyed listening to this historic venture with immense pleasure.'
CD Spotlight. Meaning and Identity - Gerald Fenech listens to Leonard Bernstein's first two symphonies. 'A wholly impressive issue, brilliantly performed and recorded ...'
Classical music news - If The Night Grows Dark - Bright Shiny Things releases soprano Camille Zamora's survey of four centuries of Spanish song
CD Spotlight. A Korngold Renaissance - Giuseppe Pennisi reviews a four CD set of music by the Austrian-born composer. 'The wholeness of this anthology is admirable.'
CD Spotlight. Undoubted Historical Importance - Paul Sarcich listens to music by Nikos Skalkottas. '... Skalkottas is no slave of Schoenberg - he has his own take on Schoenberg's methods and one could not confuse the two.'
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. Inestimable Value - Gerald Fenech listens to 'Hypermnestre' by French baroque composer Charles-Hubert Gervais. 'Vashegyi marshalls his moderate forces with a caring deftness that betrays his sense of purpose and engagement with Gervais' score. Indeed, this is a deeply intelligent and attractive performance that should arouse the fresh sense of investigation which it so richly deserves.'
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. Unpredictable and Beautiful - Gerald Fenech admires volume 4 of Malcolm Martineau's 'Decades - A Century of Song'. 'The programme is mellifluously performed and all the songs give immense pleasure. Martineau's singers have fresh, youthful voices and they are consistently caring for each word in the texts, while his own playing is sensitive and coloured throughout.'
CD Spotlight. Psychological Acuity - Music for harp by Boris Tishchenko impresses Gerald Fenech. '... challenging but highly rewarding music, passionately performed and sumptuously recorded.'
CD Spotlight. An Absolute Soprano - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to a recording by Marina Rebeka. '... perfect emission ... consummate technical skills ...'
CD Spotlight. Highly Effective - Gerald Fenech listens to miniatures by William Mathias. '... splendid and sweetly unaffected performances ...'
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.'
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.'
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.'
Classical music news - March 2020 Obituaries - Our summary of those the classical music world lost last month
CD Spotlight. A Good Anthology - The story of Dido, Queen of Carthage, as seen by eight Baroque composers, heard by Giuseppe Pennisi. '... this is a book and two CDs to enjoy and to make an elegant gift.'
Ensemble. The Finest Musical Superglue - Mike Wheeler witnesses 'Energy', Sinfonia Viva's latest schools project
Classical music news - February 2020 Obituaries - Our summary of those the classical music world lost last month
CD Spotlight. A Delight - Song cycles by Mahler, Berg and Rhian Samuel, sung by Ruby Hughes with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, impress Geoff Pearce. 'Right from the start, she shows a more flexible and somewhat lighter voice, but a very good understanding of the lyrics, and she colours her voice beautifully to express this.'
Ensemble. Gesualdo and Friends - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to Les Arts Florissants
Classical music news. Darya Dadvar - The Iranian opera singer is to appear in Los Angeles on 8 March 2020
Classical music news. Obituary. Mirella Freni (1935-2020) - The Italian soprano died on 9 February 2020
Classical music news - January Obituaries - Our summary of those the classical music world lost last month
Portraits. Jakub Józef Orliński - Anett Fodor writes about the Polish counter tenor and his latest album
CD Spotlight. Exquisite Pacing - Gerald Fenech listens to Mendelssohn's String Symphonies. 'Michi Gaigg and his Baroque Orchestra deliver performances full of charm and beauty ...'
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
CD Spotlight. Why Mahler? - Roger Norrington's interpretation of Mahler's Fourth Symphony, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'Roger Norrington presents the music very much as Mahler would have approved, and dynamics are never exaggerated. The orchestra is never allowed to be short on emotion and overall this performance is deeply moving. Anu Komsi is also perfectly cast as the child-like soprano in the last movement.'
CD Spotlight. Absolutely Riveting - Kent Nagano's recording of the 1869 version of Mussorgsky's 'Boris Godunov', reviewed by Gerald Fenech. 'Nagano's formidable insight is able to take the listener on a musical journey into the dark depths of the human soul. Painful, yes, but unmissable.'
CD Spotlight. A Distinctive Scottish Flavour - Geoff Pearce listens to chamber music and songs by Judith Weir. '... a fantastic disc ...'
Classical music news. Obituary - Peter Schreier (1935-2019)
Ensemble. 'Messiah' Overload? - Handel from Derby Bach Choir, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. The Merging of Migrating Sounds - Ona Jarmalavičiūtė listens to music by American composer Derek Bermel. '... here the merge is extremely harmonious.'
Ensemble. Bold and Engrossing - Giuseppe Pennisi reviews Verdi's 'Les Vêpres Siciliennes' at Teatro dell'Opera di Roma
Ensemble. Pearls on the Thread of Recitative - David Mitchell reviews Pinchgut Opera's production of Vivaldi's 'Farnace'
Ensemble. A Real Triumph - Giuseppe Pennisi experiences Puccini's 'Tosca', live in HD at the inauguration of La Scala's 2019-20 opera and ballet season
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'
Ensemble. Contemporary Premieres - Giuseppe Pennisi experiences three new operas in Rome
Ensemble. Economical but Effective - Giuseppe Pennisi reviews the new production of Puccini's 'Trittico' in Florence
Profile. An Early Maturity - George Colerick spotlights 1823, a critical year in the career of Franz Schubert
Ensemble. Affectionate Complicity and Tensions - Giuseppe Pennisi reviews Mozart's 'Idomeneo' in Rome
Ensemble. Magisterial Performance - Nina Stemme returns to Australia to sing Wagner, heard by David Mitchell
Ensemble. An Autumn Trilogy - 'Norma', 'Aida' and 'Carmen' in Ravenna, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
CD Spotlight. Deeply Humane - Patrick Maxwell listens to music by John Dowland. '... the exquisite word-painting comes through brilliantly ...'
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 ...'
CD Spotlight. Handel and the Roman Baroque School - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to Lorenzo Tozzi's Romabarocca Ensemble. '... a precious CD from which to learn little known aspects of baroque music ...'
Profile. Collecting Gems - Ron Bierman talks to the American tenor Carl Tanner
Ensemble. Florence Rediscovers a Masterpiece - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to Gaspare Spontini's 'Fernand Cortez ou La Conquête du Mexique'
Ensemble. Tremendous and Sublime - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to Berlioz's 'Grande Messe des morts'
CD Spotlight. To Be or Not To Be - Franco Faccio's opera 'Amleto', heard by Gerald Fenech. 'A must for all opera lovers, particularly those interested in nineteenth century Italian repertoire.'
Classical music news. Obituary - Jessye Norman (1945-2019)
Classical music news. Mortality and Loss - Carolina Eyck releases 'Elegies for Theremin & Voice' on Butterscotch Records on 27 September 2019
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.'
CD Spotlight. Uplifting and Inspired - Dvořák's 'Saint Ludmila' impresses Gerald Fenech. 'A piece for the ages, passionately performed and recorded.'
Ensemble. Lieder with Harp - Giuseppe Pennisi reports on a world tour by Diana Damrau and Xavier de Maistre
Ensemble. A Star is Born - Giuseppe Pennisi is impressed by Enkeleda Kamani as Gilda in Verdi's 'Rigoletto' at La Scala, Milan
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. Imaginative Touches - Rossini's 'Eduardo e Cristina', recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... sensitively dramatic singing, invigorating playing and some glowing conducting from Gianluigi Gelmetti ...'
Classical music news. Plácido Domingo - The Spanish tenor has been accused of multiple sexual harrassment
Ensemble. In Many Respects a Success - Longborough Festival Opera's wacky production of Cavalli's 'La Calisto', reviewed by Roderic Dunnett
CD Spotlight. Full of Surprises - Michael Hofstetter's recording of Weber's 'Oberon', recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'Recommended ... if only for the magical sound world created by Hofstetter.'
Profile. Only the Screen - Ona Jarmalavičiūtė talks to the Belgian singer and conductor Tore Tom Denys
CD Spotlight. Quite Unusual - Orchestral storytelling by Jon Deak, heard by Geoff Pearce. 'The performances here are very good, the music colourful and inventive, and I can imagine that this disc may appeal more to people with children than to adult listeners.'
Ensemble. Magisterial Creativity - Patrick Maxwell visits London to hear Haydn's 'The Creation' at the BBC Proms
CD Spotlight. Bold Simplicity - Patrick Maxwell listens to music from Wadham College Chapel, Oxford. 'The choral sound is well produced, if at times lacking in cohesion, and the interpretations at the hands of Katharine Pardee are well handled.'
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
CD Spotlight. A Timely Resurrection - Music by Kurt Weill, enjoyed by Gerald Fenech. 'Recorded seventeen years ago, this reissue retains its freshness remarkably well, and the performance of both works is delivered with great elegance and elan.'
Ensemble. Ballet of Sheep - Opera Della Luna's 'Orpheus in the Underworld' at the Buxton Festival, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. A Local Heroine/Antiheroine - Mike Wheeler experiences the pasticcio 'Georgiana' at the Buxton Festival
Ensemble. Baroque Oratorios in Rome - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to selections of music by Alessandro Scarlatti, Bernado Pasquini and George Frideric Handel
Ensemble. Vintage Buxton - Mike Wheeler reports on the current production of 'Eugene Onegin'
CD Spotlight. An Impassioned Account - Seldom-performed Beethoven, recommended by Geoff Pearce. '... excellent performances by all concerned.'
Ensemble. A Neat Idea - A song recital by James Gaughan and David Hammond, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Out of Nature - Giuseppe Pennisi was at the opening concert of the 2019 Chigiana International Festival
Ensemble. A Different 'Aida' - Denis Krief's new production in Rome, experienced by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. 'Proserpine' in Spoleto - An opera by Italian composer Silvia Colasanti, experienced by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. San Francisco's Starry Rusalka - James Sohre sends the last of three reports from San Francisco Opera
Ensemble. Italian Operas in Miskolc - Anett Fodor sends her final report from the 2019 Bartók Plus Opera Festival
Ensemble. Lack of Originality - Anett Fodor has some reservations about Albin Fries' new opera 'Nora', which was given its first performance recently at the Bartók Plus Opera Festival
Ensemble. A Repertory 'Tosca' - Giuseppe Pennisi considers Puccini's opera as a real orchestral masterpiece
Ensemble. Three Operas in Three Different Styles - Anett Fodor reports from Miskolc on La bohème, The Golden Dragon, Duke Bluebeard's Castle and a symphonic work by Scriabin
Sacred and Secular - Rossini's 'Petite Messe Solennelle' from Derby Bach Choir, Richard Roddis and friends, appreciated by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. 'Music Makes a Town' - Anett Fodor reports from the opening gala of the 2019 Bartók Plus Opera Festival
Ensemble. On the High and Open Sea - Giuseppe Pennisi samples Italy's 2019 Ravenna Summer Festival
CD Spotlight. The Darling of Hamburg - Gerald Fenech listens to songs by Louise Reichardt. 'Amy Pfrimmer's singing is supremely warm and refreshing, and the innocent beauty of these songs is brought out in bright, luminous textures.'
Ensemble. Mahler's 'Resurrection' - Giuseppe Pennisi reports on an Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia performance in Rome
CD Spotlight. The Spirit of Tango - Piazzolla's 'María de Buenos Aires', recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'Bouncy yet thought-provoking stuff.'
Ensemble. A Triumph - Alice McVeigh was at Covent Garden for the last performance of Gounod's 'Faust'
CD Spotlight. An Invaluable Addition - Kathleen Ferrier sings the Bach Magnificat, impressing Gerald Fenech. 'A masterstroke by SOMM and an invaluable addition to the Ferrier discography that will grace any music collection.'
Classical music news. Obituary - Heather Harper (1930-2019)
CD Spotlight. A Quintessentially French Bestiary - French songs by various composers, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'Ducks, peacocks, pigs, butterflies, dromedaries, carp, cicadas and owls are just some of the creatures in the menagerie assembled for this recording.'
Classical music news. Obituary - Ruth-Margret Pütz (1930-2019)
Ensemble. Petrenko's Highly Dramatic 'Ninth' - Giuseppe Pennisi reports on a special concert in Rome
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.'
Ensemble. A Contemporary 'Stabat Mater' - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to a new work by Nicola Piovani
Ensemble. A Noble Simplicity - Giuseppe Pennisi was at the Roman debut of Gluck's 'Orfeo'
Ensemble. Engrossing and Thought-provoking - Ron Bierman reports on San Diego Opera's staging of Jake Heggie's 'Three Decembers'
Ensemble. A Clear Success - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to contemporary music in a baroque setting
Ensemble. A Popular Music Drama - Giuseppe Pennisi is impressed by Musorgsky's 'Khovanshchina' at La Scala Milan
Ensemble. All About Collaboration - Music by Steve Reich impresses Mike Wheeler
Classical music news. Schubertiade 2019 - Austria's unique festival celebrating Franz Schubert in two different locations has announced its 2019 concerts
Ensemble. High Jinks - Roderic Dunnett enjoys Opera Warwick's production of Offenbach's 'La vie Parisienne'
CD Spotlight. Sensitive and Meditative - Kamyar Mohajer's 'Pictures of the Hidden' engages Geoff Pearce. 'The performers here are superb.'
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.'
Ensemble. Zesty Singing - Edward Turner conducts Handel's 'Messiah' at Derby Cathedral, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Vienna at Santa Cecilia - Manfred Honeck conducts, and Giuseppe Pennisi was in the audience
CD Spotlight. Highly Unusual - Music by Toivo Tulev, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'The highlight of this recording is undoubtedly the 2013 Magnificat in which Tulev courageously departs from the text's traditional solemn setting and creates a sound world of immense originality by means of stratospherically high string writing and wild percussion solos.'
CD Spotlight. New and Unusual - Winter and Christmas music from Papagena, enjoyed by Keith Bramich. 'Everything sounds fresh ...'
Ensemble. Properly Exultant - Bach's 'Christmas Oratorio' in Derby Cathedral, enjoyed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Something Really Special - Bliss, Elgar and Vaughan Williams from Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Elizabeth Watts, Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. The Homely and the Cosmic - Two concerts from Nicholas Kok and Sinfonia Viva, enjoyed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. A Different 'Gospel' - Giuseppe Pennisi explores the mesmerising aural world of John Adams
Ensemble. Enthralling Seasons - Haydn's oratorio begins one of Rome's major concert seasons, heard by Giuseppe Pennisi
CD Spotlight. Addiction to Poetry - Debussy songs, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'Two joyful hours from four of the most passionate advocates for Debussy you can find at present.'
CD Spotlight. Stellar Performances - Handel Cantatas, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... music of the utmost beauty, full of emotional outpourings that cover the whole spectrum of the human condition ...'
Ensemble. A Musical and Social Bonanza - Roderic Dunnett continues his in-depth review of this year's Three Choirs Festival in Hereford
Ensemble. A Natural Assurance - Monteverdi and Elgar from the Three Choirs Festival at Hereford impress Roderic Dunnett
Ensemble. An Absolute Triumph - Roderic Dunnett listens enraptured to Ireland and Smyth at the opening night of the 2018 Three Choirs Festival
CD Spotlight. Sober and Engrossing - Orchestral music by Toshio Hosokawa, heard by Giuseppe Pennisi. 'The interpreters ... are high level and accustomed to working with Hosokawa and his music.'
Ensemble. Genuine Insights - Lizzie Ball and Morgan Szymanski at the Buxton Festival impress Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Plus and Minus - Songs and arias from Jennifer Davis and Caroline Dowdle at the Buxton Festival, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. An Odd Couple? - Music from Japan and Portugal at Rome's 'Opus' Festival, heard by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Daily Puccini - Malcolm Miller enjoys an opera lollipop recital in the city of the composer's birth
CD Spotlight. Finely Crafted - Twentieth century Polish songs, recommended by Geoff Pearce. '... a fascinating journey into the evolving compositional style of Karol Szymanowski ...'
Ensemble. Playing The Long Game - Mahler's 'Resurrection' Symphony from Jamie Phillips and the Hallé Orchestra impresses Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Colourful Performance - Dmitrij Kitajenko conducts Mussorgsky and Prokofiev, heard by Stephen Francis Vasta. 'Vladislav Sulimsky sings with feeling in a compact, reasonably firm baritone ...'
Ensemble. Unaffected Directness - A song recital by Curran Doherty and Edward Turner, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Highly Promising Talent - Katie Gilbert, Esther Beard and Edward Leung at Derby Cathedral, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. The Endless Darkness of Light - Adriano Guarnieri's new opera at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, experienced by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Vaguely Supernatural - George Benjamin's 'Lessons in Love and Violence' at Covent Garden, heard by Alice McVeigh
CD Spotlight. Candid Simplicity - Choral music by Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari, investigated by Gerald Fenech. 'Friedrich Haider and his team give sympathetic performances full of committed endeavour and unbridled enthusiasm ...'
CD Spotlight. Absolutely unmissable - Prokofiev's 'Ivan the Terrible', recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... a blockbuster of an issue which should delight both film score collectors and Prokofiev admirers in equal measure.'
CD Spotlight. Invaluable and Timely - Nicola Porpora's 'L'Amato Nome', enjoyed by Gerald Fenech. 'Stile Galante deliver performances that are sensitive, intelligent and beautifully controlled with the singing in particular being stylish and elegant yet consistently expressive and linguistically meticulous.'
Ensemble. Well Conveyed - Stainer, Tavener, Ireland, Matthew Martin and Vaughan Williams from Derby Choral Union, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Exemplary Performances - Martin and Martinu choral music pleases Geoff Pearce. '... beautiful music, lovingly performed ...'
CD Spotlight. An Outstanding Selection - Music by Christoph Graupner, strongly recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'Exquisitely beautiful music, superbly performed, sumptuously recorded and splendidly packaged.'
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. Spiritual Balance - Reinhard Keiser's Markus-Passion impresses Gerald Fenech. 'Christian Brembeck and his team deliver a performance brimming with vibrant imagery and committed, stylish singing while adhering to Keiser's wishes by moving from verse to verse with effortless purpose.'
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.'
CD Spotlight. Unerring Beauty - Praga Digitals' tribute to Victoria de los Ángeles, heard by Roderic Dunnett. 'De los Ángeles herself is, needless to say, enchanting. The purity, the innocence of the voice, as one can hear here, is simply unique to her.'
CD Spotlight. Seemingly Interminable - German lieder from Wilhelm Pfeiffer, heard by the late Howard Smith. '... to hear this fine music performed with consummate artistry and fidelity to these composers' wishes I can only suggest you look elsewhere.'
Ensemble. Engagingly Light on its Feet - Handel's 'Messiah' from Derby Choral Union, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Sensitive Direction - Gustav Mahler's 'Das Klagende Lied', heard by Geoff Pearce. '... a fine performance of a somewhat little-known work.'
Ensemble. Centres of Excellence - Roderic Dunnett looks back to the 2017 Three Choirs Festival at Worcester, and forward to 2018 in Hereford
CD Spotlight. Diverse Elements - Music by Duruflé and Respighi attracts Gerald Fenech. '... passionate and wholly committed performance ...'
CD Spotlight. Heavenly Beauty - Choral music by Johann Simon Mayr excites Gerald Fenech. 'This world premiere recording is in every way exemplary ...'
CD Spotlight. Deeply Felt - New music for piano and Chinese folk instruments, enjoyed by Geoff Pearce. '... quietly expansive and evocative ...'
CD Spotlight. Utter Conviction - Antonín Dvorák's 'The Spectre's Bride', welcomed by Gerald Fenech. 'Meister and his Vienna forces capture the eerie atmosphere of the story with chilling effect, and his consistent attention to detail allows the soloists free reign to bring out all the expressiveness of the characters.'
Ensemble. Admirably Clear - Elgar, Grieg and Walton from soloists, Nottingham Harmonic Choir, Rory Macdonald and the Hallé Orchestra, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. A Versatile Composer - Music by Geoffrey Hanson, recommended by Geoff Pearce. 'Performances are superb and everyone is a standout.'
CD Spotlight. Choral Masterpieces - Antonín Dvorák's Mass in D and Te Deum, warmly recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'Performances are first rate, and Antoni Wit and his forces respond with eloquence and characteristically immaculate singing ...'
CD Spotlight. Joyous Occasions - Music by members of the Strauss family delights Gerald Fenech. 'A thoroughly stimulating issue, dashingly performed by Estonian forces conducted by the veteran Neeme Järvi ...'
CD Spotlight. Unmistakably Russian - Music by Alexander Feht impressed the late Howard Smith. 'There can be few, if any, Russian songs of equal calibre fashioned in the Colorado Rockies.'
Ensemble. Full-blooded Performance - Mendelssohn's 'Elijah' from Derby Choral Union and Richard Dacey, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. A Lovely Evening - William Walton's 'Façade' in Rome, alongside a symphony by Alfredo Casella, appreciated by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. A Great Success - Antonio Pappano's St John Passion impresses Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. An Outstanding Example - Co-operation between the Sitwell Singers and Derby Chamber Music, featuring music by John Tavener, Bruckner and Beethoven, impresses Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Tremendous Justice - Brahms' German Requiem and Dvorák's Slavonic Dances from Peter Nardone and the Worcester Festival Choral Society, reviewed by Lucas Ball
CD Spotlight. Delicate and Slender - Handel's 'Messiah', recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'A new experience of a work we have heard so many times.'
Ask Alice - Classical Music Agony Aunt Alice McVeigh gives Bromley Symphony Orchestra's Mahler/Schumann concert a plug
CD Spotlight. Beautifully Presented - Vocal music by Vincent Persichetti, enjoyed by Geoff Pearce. 'Both singers are fine and expressive, accurately expressing the emotional content of each song.'
CD Spotlight. A Beautiful Issue - Art songs by Franz Liszt, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'Benjamin Brecher's sensitive performances are full of dramatic nuances and range of colour ...'
CD Spotlight. Totally Compelling - Schoenberg's arrangements of Mahler songs impress Geoff Pearce. '... I found this version very interesting and overall, more intimate ...'
CD Spotlight. Well-crafted Gems - Chinese and American art song, heard by Geoff Pearce. 'Juliet Petrus has a very fine voice and whose vocal timbre really sits well with these songs ...'
Ensemble. Compellingly Memorable - Schubert and Liszt from Ian Tindale and Nick Pritchard impress Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Ravishingly Beautiful - Karl Jenkins' Cantata Memoria, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... a deeply moving experience ...'
CD Spotlight. Vigorously Interpreted - Butterworth, Gurney and Warlock, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... the programme embraces all that is best of English song-writing in the initial phases of the twentieth century ...'
Ensemble. Big-band Jazz and Choral Traditions - Mike Wheeler listens to music by Will Todd and Nils Lindberg, performed by Derby Choral Union with the Midlands Youth Jazz Orchestra
CD Spotlight. Off the Wall? - The King's Singers' Christmas Songbook, heard by Keith Bramich. 'Each track ... is heavily arranged ...'
Ensemble. Well Scrubbed-up and Dapper - Sinfonia Viva and conductor Duncan Ward, with guest soloists Cordelia Williams and Alice Zawadzki, leave a deep impression on Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Consistently Engaging - James MacMillan sets the passion and burial of Christ, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... both singers and instrumentalists are on impeccable form, making for an insightful and focused experience.'
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.'
CD Spotlight. Imaginative and Original - Kirill Kondrashin conducts Rachmaninov, heard by Geoff Pearce. 'The final few minutes are electrifying.'
Ensemble. Transparently a Success - Gustav Holst's 'The Cloud Messenger' impresses Roderic Dunnett
Ensemble. Committed Performance - Mozart from Derby Choral Union, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
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. Mysterious Spirit - Florian Boesch sings Schubert, enjoyed by Gerald Fenech. '... brimming with compelling moments of great yet gentle intimacy ...'
Ensemble. Re-writing the Rule Book - Rutter and Fauré Requiems performed by the Armonico Consort, heard by Keith Bramich
CD Spotlight. Novel Soundscapes - Music by Xiaogang Ye, enjoyed by Geoff Pearce. '... superbly directed and played ...'
CD Spotlight. Major Voices - Vocal and choral music by Lennox and Michael Berkeley, recommended by Geoff Pearce. '... thrilling performance.'
Ensemble. A Great Success - Spiritual and religious music at the Salzburg Festival, heard by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Deliciously Romanticised - Keith Bramich attends the first evening concert of the 2016 Gloucester Three Choirs Festival
CD Spotlight. I truly love it - Music by Frances White and Valeria Vasilevski, recommended by Geoff Pearce. 'Hats off to the four creative forces behind this work. All are exemplary.'
CD Spotlight. A Cracker of a Disc - Contemporary music from San José, heartily recommended by Geoff Pearce. '... lovely, approachable music ...'
Ensemble. Fighting for Justice - Florieke Beelen, Ensemble 10/10 and Clark Rundell, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Resonant Baritone - Mike Wheeler describes Josep-Ramon Olivé and Ben-San Lau's Buxton debut
CD Spotlight. Rare Emotional Content - Sacred music by Gaetano Veneziano, highly recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... this music took me completely by surprise ...'
CD Spotlight. Consummate Skill - William Christie's Les Arts Florissants, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... each piece comes to life with inimitable charm and grace.'
CD Spotlight. Great Heights - Orchestral music by Enrique Granados, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... superbly played by the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra ...'
Ensemble. Refined Phrasing - Gemma Lois Summerfield and Sebastian Whybrew at Buxton impress Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Life Force - Dan Redfeld's 'A Hopeful Place', heard by Keith Bramich. '... a profound, unusual and striking work ...'
CD Spotlight. Surprisingly Dramatic - Organ music by Rudolf Tobias, heard by Roderic Dunnett. 'Ines Maidre is a performer of attractive virtuosity and sound judgment.'
CD Spotlight. Consistently Vibrant - Music inspired by St Francis of Assisi, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'A heart-melting issue ...'
Ensemble. Creative Achievements - A seventieth birthday concert for Alexander Knapp, reviewed by Malcolm Miller
Ensemble. Festive Sparkle - A concert to celebrate the ninetieth birthday of composer Joseph Horovitz, reviewed by Malcolm Miller
CD Spotlight. Into the Unknown - Music by Luigi Gazzotti, recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... meltingly tender renditions ...'
CD Spotlight. Vivid and Colourful - Janácek from the Czech Philharmonic, recommended by Stephen Francis Vasta. 'It's good to hear Neumann in such fine form.'
CD Spotlight. A Genuine Knockout - Balfe's 'Satanella', recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... a work made in Heaven, sparkling, joyous and overtly uplifting.'
Ensemble. Me and my Aunts - A Shakespeare celebration, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Powerfully Transcendent - Cantata for the Children of Terezin, recommended by the late Howard Smith. '... all the authority and seriousness a topic of this magnitude deserves.'
Ensemble. Sinopoli's Loneliness - A concert in memory of the Italian conductor, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
CD Spotlight. Irresistible Momentum - René Jacobs' Haydn Symphonies, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... great zest and alacrity.'
Ensemble. Mahler in Monte-Carlo - Giuseppe Pennisi visits the Printemps des Arts Festival
CD Spotlight. Terrific Intensity - Robert King's 'Israel in Egypt', recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... the version to have ...'
CD Spotlight. Immense Clarity - Bernardo Pasquini's Passion Oratorio, recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... a moving interpretation, full of ardent singing and impassioned energy ...'
CD Spotlight. Wondrous Sensitivity - Music by Gordon Getty, heard by Roderic Dunnett. '... Getty is given the best possible advocacy on this well-recorded Pentatone disc.'
Ensemble. Unassuming Radiance - Mike Wheeler makes special mention of soprano Lisa Cassidy in Derby Bach Choir's Michael Haydn, Mozart and Joseph Haydn
CD Spotlight. Entirely Vivifying - Eighteenth century gallery hymns, recommended by the late Howard Smith. '... direct, unassuming religiosity.'
Ensemble. Sincere Conversion - Mahler's 'Creation', heard by Giuseppe Pennisi
CD Spotlight. Bewitchingly Improvisatory - Rachel Brown's 'A Tribute to Bach', recommended by Alice McVeigh. '... Rachel Brown has enough talent, in her littlest finger, to lift an entire orchestra ...'
Ensemble. Monumental and Hieratic - Stravinsky's 'Oedipus Rex', recommended by Giuseppe Pennisi
CD Spotlight. Meaty Stuff - Songs with orchestra by Michael Csányi-Wills, reviewed by Gerald Fenech. 'A stimulating initiation ...'
CD Spotlight. Fragile Beauty - Jules Massenet art songs captivate Gerald Fenech. 'Shudong Braamse has the perfect voice for this repertoire ...'
CD Spotlight. A Huge Showcase - American soprano Patrice Michaels impresses Paul Sarcich. 'Plenty of good things here ...'
CD Spotlight. Beautiful Moments - Arthur Gottschalk's 'Requiem for the Living', heard by Ron Bierman. '... a solid performance of both orchestra and choir.'
CD Spotlight. Under Development - Fauré songs for bass, heard by Paul Sarcich. 'Roy Howat's accompaniments are crystal-clear always ...'
CD Spotlight. Women in Love - Schubert Lieder captivate Gerald Fenech. '... full of sensibility, ardour and vocal nuance ...'
Ensemble. Wit and Effervescence - Music in the Time of Goya, by Derek Murray
CD Spotlight. Angelic Stuff - Paul Hillier conducts Arvo Pärt, recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... performances of the most wondrous beauty.'
CD Spotlight. December Celebration - New American carols, heard by Keith Bramich. '... this collection of new works is interesting and different.'
CD Spotlight. Delightfully Melodic - Music by Matvey Nikolaevsky, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... immensely enjoyable stuff ...'
Ensemble. A Gripping Account - Derby Bach Choir sings Elgar's 'The Dream of Gerontius', and impresses Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Vocal Chamber Music - Mike Wheeler is impressed by Mosaic at Derby Cathedral
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. Crossover Soprano - A recital by Rebecca Newman, heard by the late Howard Smith. 'The singer's voice is firm with secure intonation ...'
CD Spotlight. Faultless Artistry - Maria Luigia Borsi sings Italian arias, recommended by the late Howard Smith. '... outstanding in every respect.'
Ensemble. A Turning Point - The first in a series of orchestral concerts in Rome, heard by Giuseppe Pennisi
CD Spotlight. Organ transcriptions - Vocal music by Wagner and Elgar, heard by Geoff Pearce. 'Sarah Rose Taylor's voice is warm and creamy.'
A Higher Standard - Malcolm Miller reports from the Wigmore Hall / Kohn Foundation International Song Competition
CD Spotlight. Colouristic Potential - Vocal music by Olivier Messiaen impresses Gerald Fenech. '... imaginative conducting ...'
CD Spotlight. Cleverly Selected - Eighteenth century lied, recommended by the late Howard Smith. '... lucid, expressive variety.'
CD Spotlight. Convulsive Energy - Choral and vocal music by Penderecki, recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... the momentum of Penderecki's creations is marvelously executed.'
Ensemble. Understated Power - Roderick Williams and Susie Allan at the Buxton Festival impress Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Haunting Effect - Spanish and Catalan music from Maria Camahort and friends, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. A Long Musical Summer - Giuseppe Pennisi attended the Chigiana International Festival in Siena
Ensemble. Poise and Elegance - Tchaikovsky and Mozart from the English Chamber Orchestra, enjoyed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Americans in Rome - Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia's Gershwin Gala, attended by Giuseppe Pennisi
CD Spotlight. Very Worthwhile - Vocal music by Michael Murray impresses Geoff Pearce. 'I could not fault the performances, and believe that they represent Michael Murray's vocal works well.'
CD Spotlight. A Middle Course - Music by Bruce Babcock, heard by Howard Smith. '... consistently distinctive and unfailingly proficient.'
CD Spotlight. Truly Superlative - Music by twentieth century women composers impresses Geoff Pearce. '... the Trio des Alpes is committed and convincing ...'
CD Spotlight. Quite Hypnotic - Choral music by William Averitt, recommended by Geoff Pearce. '... the depth of sound is rich and satisfying, and the performances solid.'
CD Spotlight. Well Realized - Varda Kotler and Israel Kastoriano, recommended by Geoff Pearce. '... partnership and sensitivity ...'
Ensemble. Generally Confident - Handel, Haydn and Mozart from Derby Choral Union and the Heart of England Chamber Orchestra, enjoyed by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Orchestral Discipline - Berlioz's 'Harold in Italy', heard by Stephen Francis Vasta. '... sweet, plangent tone ...'
Ensemble. Punchy Vigour - J S Bach's St Matthew Passion, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Dramatic Temperament - 'Euridice' according to Salvatore Sciarrino, heard by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Generous Spirit - Grieg, Tchaikovsky and Nielsen from Katherine Watson, Gary Griffiths, Jian Wang, Nikolaj Znaider and the Hallé Orchestra, enjoyed by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Sublime Beauty - Choral music by Herbert Howells, recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... glorious choral textures ...'
CD Spotlight. Appropriate Innocence - Spanish song, familiar and unfamiliar, heard by Paul Sarcich. 'High quality work all round.'
Ensemble. Winning Flexibility - A recital by Agnieszka Kozlowska and Beate Toyka, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Operatic Riches - Arias by Handel, Bononcini and Ariosti, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'Lawrence Zazzo has a bright and clear timbre ...'
Ensemble. Exciting Times - Duncan Ward makes his debut as Sinfonia Viva's principal conductor, experienced by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. A Musical Polymath - Peter Dickinson's eightieth birthday concert, enjoyed by Malcolm Miller
DVD Spotlight. Words of Consolation - Abbado's Brahms German Requiem impresses Howard Smith. '... a front runner in this work.'
Profile. A Very Lucky Man - Albanian lyric tenor Saimir Pirgu talks to Maria Nockin
CD Spotlight. Musically Conservative - Dohnányi's Symphony No 2 and rarely heard songs, reviewed by Howard Smith. '... beautifully sung by Buffalo baritone Evan Thomas Jones ...'
CD Spotlight. Impressive Clarity - Ancient Irish songs about sleep, heard by Howard Smith. '... conspicuous authenticity.'
CD Spotlight. Very Refreshing - Vocalensemble Lalá, heard by Geoff Pearce. '... always musical and beautifully under control.'
Ensemble. Held Spellbound - Haydn's 'Die Schöpfung' in Wellington, New Zealand, heard by Howard Smith
CD Spotlight. A Niche of Exploration - Music by Hope Wechkin, heard by Howard Smith. '... idiosyncratic, evocative and deeply committed ...'
CD Spotlight. Deeply Moving - Brahms' German Requiem, heard by Howard Smith. '... searching depth and abiding consolation ...'
CD Spotlight. Convincing Work - Music for soprano and percussion orchestra, heard by Paul Sarcich. 'The percussion work on this album is of a very high standard ...'
CD Spotlight. Personal Choice - C P E Bach's Spiritual Songs, heard by Robert Anderson. '... the clavichord, wonderfully sensitive as it is, cannot stand up to a concert singer ...'
CD Spotlight. Expressive Potential - Music by Robert Hanson, heard by Andrew Schartmann. '... blends the beautiful with the obnoxious.'
Ensemble. Capably Sung - J S Bach's St John Passion in Derby Cathedral, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Utterly Idiomatic - Roderic Dunnett listens to vocal and choral music in Kiev
Ensemble. Almost Physical Impact - Verdi's Requiem, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Fourteen People and a Dog - Brits in Rome, heard by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. An Interesting Idea - Opera North's 'From Paris with Love', reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Full Value - The Vienna Tonkünstler Orchestra, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Much to Enjoy - Mark Padmore sings British vocal music, recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... beautifully sung, recorded and presented ...'
CD Spotlight. Rare Multi-Tasking - Marta Bagratuni plays and sings, heard by Howard Smith. '... music of notable sensitivity and fine tonality.'
Ensemble. Chung vs Pappano - Giuseppe Pennisi compares versions of Mahler's Resurrection Symphony
CD Spotlight. Quite Sensational - Iestyn Davies' Handel arias impress Roderic Dunnett. '... pretty wonderful ...'
CD Spotlight. Conscientious Objector - Unknown music by Benjamin Britten, heard by Gerald Fenech
Ensemble. Tension and Restlessness - More Britten, with Finzi and Holst, from Derby Bach Choir, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Liquid Velvet - Paul Wiffen listens to the new soprano-piano duo TangOpera
Ensemble. Intimate and Moving - The Ex Cathedra consort and continuo, heard by Keith Bramich
Ensemble. Exploring the Darker Side - Dan Miller and Richard Hodges at Derby's Festival of Britten, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Deeply Affecting - Ian Bostridge sings Benjamin Britten, heard by Andrew Schartmann. '... Bostridge conveys the emotional content ... with unwavering conviction.'
Ensemble. Eagerly Awaited - Opening night at Severance Hall, by Suzanne Torrey
Ensemble. Oversized Lieder - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to Schoenberg in Bucharest
CD Spotlight. Crystalline Intensity - La Nuova Musica's Vivaldi and Handel impresses Howard Smith. '... recommendable for its baroque verisimilitude and clarity.'
Ensemble. Beautifully Judged - Ravel for piano duet, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Lively Forms - Music by Joaquín Turina, heard by Patric Standford. '... superbly performed ...'
CD Spotlight. Nostalgic and Enthralling - A Joan Sutherland portrait, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... a fitting tribute to the singing legend from Australia ...'
Ensemble. Searing Performances - J S Bach's 'St John Passion' from Music of the Baroque conducted by Jane Glover, enjoyed by Barbara Sealock
CD Spotlight. Wholly Inspiring - A recital by Elaine Huckle, heard by Howard Smith. '... her tonal resources are robust and the delivery pleasingly straightforward.'
Think of Something Beautiful - Malcolm Miller pays tribute to contralto Sybil Michelow
CD Spotlight. Quite Sublime - Sacred music by Antonio Maria Bononcini, recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... an issue that oozes beauty ...'
CD Spotlight. A Winning Combination - Songs, ballads and rondos based on Haydn, enjoyed by Howard Smith. '... unfailingly practiced in late eighteenth century performing style ...'
CD Spotlight. Elegant Precision - A recital by Charlotte de Rothschild, heard by Howard Smith. '... consistently reliable ...'
Ensemble. Crunchy Bitonality - Music by Julian Dawes, enjoyed by Malcolm Miller
Ensemble. A Natural Stage Presence - Guild Music's concert to celebrate the launch of two new CDs, reviewed by Alice McVeigh
Ensemble. Full Rein - Derby Bach Choir sings Haydn, Vivaldi and Beethoven, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Special Enchantment - Richard Hickox's 'Light of Life' impresses Howard Smith. '... Chandos/Hickox win hands down.'
Ensemble. Mother Russia - Works by Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev, enjoyed by Suzanne Torrey
Ensemble. Exquisitely Floated - Soprano Catrin Woodruff joins the Derby Concert Orchestra, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Both Lyrical and Heart-wrenching - Gregory Moomjy experiences a Divaria Productions concert
CD Spotlight. A Dismal Success - Felicity Lott sings Poulenc, heard by Robert Anderson. '... various moods of increasing desperation ...'
CD Spotlight. A Vital Force - Music by Handel from Ludus Baroque impresses Howard Smith. '... robust, spring-heeled performances ...'
Ensemble. Expressive Power - Malcolm Miller listens to The Sixteen's 'The Earth Resounds'
CD Spotlight. Beauty and Power - Australian soprano Nance Grant, heard by Howard Smith. '... an exceptional voice seldom heard beyond local shores.'
Ensemble. A Relaxed Evening - Bill Newman attends a 'family sing-song' event in London
CD Spotlight. Sensuously Crafted - Songs by Maurice Ravel, heard by Robert Anderson. '... skilled and dedicated artists ...'
CD Spotlight. Tempting Fate - Songs by Sibelius, Brahms, Schubert and Mahler, heard by Robert Anderson. '... ripe understanding ...'
CD Spotlight. Buxom and Comely? - Music by Gustav Holst, heard by Paul Sarcich. '... music of charm and individuality.'
CD Spotlight. Varied Repertoire - Christine Brewer and Roger Vignoles, recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... a gamut of emotions which are superbly handled ...'
CD Spotlight. Glorious Singing - A recital by Alice Coote and Graham Johnson, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... interpreted with great zest and passion ...'
CD Spotlight. Ethereal and Beautiful - Karl Jenkins' 'The Peacemakers', heard by Gerald Fenech. '... some rather inspired music.'
CD Spotlight. A Lyrical Outpouring - Vocal music by Richard Strauss, heard by Robert Anderson. 'Anne Schwanewilms manages a thoughtful and gentle radiance throughout.'
CD Spotlight. Commanding Appeal - Music by David Del Tredici, heard by Patric Standford. '... hugely enjoyable ...'
DVD Spotlight. Brilliant - Music from Tyneside and beyond, enjoyed by Howard Smith. '... a rich cavalcade of internationally known and local singers ...'
Ensemble. Purity of Sound - Richard Strauss, Fauré, Debussy, Poulenc, Wolf and Berg from Christiane Karg and Malcolm Martineau, heard by Bill Newman
CD Spotlight. Hit and Miss - Songs by American composers, heard by Howard Smith. '... likeable off-Broadway expertise.'
Ensemble. A Major Revival - Giuseppe Pennisi reports on bel canto in Europe
CD Spotlight. An Umbrella Occasion - Debussy songs, heard by Robert Anderson. '... very accomplished ...'
Ensemble. A Major Treat - Maria Nockin listens to soprano Amber Wagner
Ensemble. Wonderful Singing - Piotr Beczala's recital debut impresses Maria Nockin
CD Spotlight. Abundant Variety - A song recital by Monica Harte, heard by Howard Smith. '... thoughtful finesse and subtlety ...'
CD Spotlight. A Fine Partnership - Daniel Norman and Christopher Gould sing Britten, heard by Robert Anderson. '... the surest of touches ...'
Ensemble. Extremely Close - The Grand Finals Concert of New York Metropolitan Opera's National Council Auditions, reviewed by Gregory Moomjy
Ensemble. Wonderfully Unusual - Vivica Genaux and Europa Galante, heard by Maria Nockin
Ensemble. Remarkable Performance - Eisler, Gershwin, Mozart, Poulenc, Schumann and Weill from Katie Bray and William Vann, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Impressive Music - Songs by Havergal Brian, heard by Patric Standford. '... equal to the intimacy of the skilfully fashioned miniature.'
Ensemble. 'Back to Bloch' - Sybil Michelow on the Importance of being Ernest Bloch
CD Spotlight. A Fine Collection - Operatic bass arias sung by William Powers, heard by Paul Sarcich. '... a formidable mixture of operatic styles ...'
Ensemble. Faust versus Faust - Two concerts conducted by Antonio Pappano, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
CD Spotlight. Warmly Spontaneous - Ravel songs, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... utter conviction ...'
CD Spotlight. Great Fluency - Music by Pierre Moulu, heard by George Balcombe. '... magically moving individual lines and harmonies.'
Profile. Finding the Right Voice - Maria Nockin talks to American composer Daniel Catán
Profile. The State of the Art - Maria Nockin talks to soprano Christine Brewer
Ensemble. Highly Inventive - Music by Stephen Foster, reviewed by Kelly Ferjutz
Ensemble. Compelling Vocal Drama - Lawrence Budmen listens to Measha Brueggergosman and the New World Symphony
Imaginative Heights - Gordon Rumson looks forward to the Calgary Art Song Competition
Ensemble. Imagination and Strength - Celebrating the Mendelssohn anniversary at Mannes College, reported by Anna L Franco
CD Spotlight. Creditable performances - Vocal music by Wolfgang Rihm, reviewed by Robert Hugill. '... purity, clarity and commendable accuracy.'
Record box - Two by two. Animals and music, with Basil Ramsey