CD Spotlight is Classical Music Daily's regular series of online CD reviews, which are always illustrated with at least a couple of sound samples.
CD Spotlight. Style and Panache - Gerald Fenech listens to flute music by Mieczysław Weinberg. 'A compelling disc which should keep the renewed interest in Weinberg's musical legacy on the upward curve.'
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. High Praise - Gerald Fenech listens to film music by Gerard Schurmann. 'Notes and sound are superb. A must for film addicts.'
CD Spotlight. Fresh and Engaging - Villa-Lobos, Bax and Bolcom from Kerry Duwors and Futaba Niekawa, recommended by Geoff Pearce. '... the sheer musicianship, combined with flawless technique and imaginative programming, never fails to impress me.'
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.'
CD Spotlight. Contrast and Energy - Modern wind chamber music, heard by Geoff Pearce. 'This is an enjoyable disc with quite a diversity of styles, performed by musicians of high calibre. I think most people who listen to these works will enjoy them.'
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. Interesting and Entertaining - Geoff Pearce listens to music by Paul Reale. '... a fantastic disc ...'
CD Spotlight. Jewel in the Scottish Musical Crown - Ona Jarmalavičiūtė is impressed by Mr McFall's Chamber. '... a vivid kaleidoscope of impromptu freely expressed creativity.'
CD Spotlight. 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 ...'
CD Spotlight. The Harpsichord's Newest Reincarnation - Ona Jarmalavičiūtė listens to twentieth century harpsichord concertos. 'Not many harpsichord players are as multifaceted and expressive as Jory Vinikour when interpreting modern music.'
CD Spotlight. Dramatic Stuff - Sibelius' 'Kullervo', recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'The foremost Sibelius conductor Hannu Lintu's interpretation is brimming with maturity and grandeur. His pacing is impeccable, and he draws vivid singing from his choir and soloists, not to mention the impressive sense of sweep from the orchestra.'
CD Spotlight. Unhurried and Spacious - Geoff Pearce listens to Ernst von Dohnányi's first symphony. '... a fantastic disc ...'
CD Spotlight. The Merging of Migrating Sounds - Ona Jarmalavičiūtė listens to music by American composer Derek Bermel. '... here the merge is extremely harmonious.'
CD Spotlight. Music of the Utmost Beauty - Gerald Fenech listens to Weber's 'Euryanthe'. '... highly charged emotional singing, felicitous and lush playing, and the ensemble and choral pieces are brought off with panache and precision.'
CD Spotlight. Charming and Engaging - Geoff Pearce recommends Alexander Moyzes' Dances from Slovakia. '... colourful and joyful music, beautifully performed ...'
CD Spotlight. The French Romantic Experience - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to a CD box set from Palazzetto Bru Zane in Venice. '... almost a mini course in French Romantic music, and well worth a try.'
CD Spotlight. A Tradition Still Alive - Gerald Fenech listens to Advent carols from King's College London. 'A hugely beautiful issue, full of inspiring singing and emotional joy, performed with fine control, impressive depth of tone and a dynamic range that commands one's admiration from start to finish.'
CD Spotlight. Highly Enjoyable - Patrick Maxwell listens to Brahms from the Primrose Piano Quartet. '... the playing is meticulous and the overall effect magnificent.'
CD Spotlight. Gounod's First Faust of 1859 - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to Christophe Rousset's new recording from Bru Zane. 'Everything is lighter, softer, more sensual.'
CD Spotlight. Judged to Perfection - Baroque oboe sonatas played by Xenia Löffler, strongly recommended by Geoff Pearce. '... played very pleasingly with great style and panache by all instruments concerned.'
CD Spotlight. Arrangements for Chamber Orchestra - Gerald Fenech listens to scaled-down Busoni, Debussy and Mahler. 'All four works retain a certain freshness in their new garb, and despite the sound world created being slightly less opulent than their orchestral originals, they still acquire a more fully-fleshed structure than some keyboard reductions.'
CD Spotlight. Great Character - Lucas Ball listens to the latest volume in James Brawn's Beethoven series. '... the sort of technical control and agility that you get from many world class artists.'
CD Spotlight. Sparkingly Virtuosic - Kim Cook plays music for cello and orchestra by Elgar, Schumann, Dvořák and Strauss, recommended by Geoff Pearce. 'The soloist, when she enters, is authoritative, warm and very sure footed, and reveals what a remarkable artist she is.'
CD Spotlight. Deeply Humane - Patrick Maxwell listens to music by John Dowland. '... the exquisite word-painting comes through brilliantly ...'
CD Spotlight. Fresh and Natural - Leila Schayegh plays Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons', heard by Gerald Fenech. '... she succeeds brilliantly with some magical playing full of "joie de vivre" and silhouetted tone painting.'
CD Spotlight. Delicately Played - Ali Hirèche plays Chopin, heard by Patrick Maxwell. 'Hirèche manages to give an impeccable portrait of Chopin, through a mixture of the multiple skills required to give an effervescent yet intimate feel to the music.'
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 ...'
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.'
CD Spotlight. Something of Rare Beauty - Twentieth century oboe sonatas by York Bowen, Petr Eben, Henri Dutilleux, Eugène Bozza, Francis Poulenc and Camille Saint-Saëns, heard by Geoff Pearce. 'What a fantastic and inspiring team Alex Klein and Phillip Bush make.'
CD Spotlight. An Introspective Reflection - Ona Jarmalavičiūtė listens to music created by Australian composer Mark John McEncroe. '... beautiful music is currently in demand, and there are listeners for Mark John McEncroe's emotional platform.'
CD Spotlight. Impressive and Delightful - Geoff Pearce listens to Martin Setchell playing the Christchurch Town Hall Rieger organ in New Zealand. '... a wide range of organ music that I am sure will delight lovers of fine organ playing.'
CD Spotlight. Vintage Rossini - A Munich recording of the early opera 'Sigismondo', heard by Gerald Fenech. 'Keri Lynn Wilson paces the work with an uncanny tempo that strikes an ideal balance between the psychological and musical aspects of the opera, and her conducting is consistently sensitive to the nuanced phrasing and textures of the score.'
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. The Connection that Musical Depth Provides - Ona Jarmalavičiūtė writes about a new CD of music by Peruvian composer Jimmy López Bellido
CD Spotlight. Uplifting and Inspired - Dvořák's 'Saint Ludmila' impresses Gerald Fenech. 'A piece for the ages, passionately performed and recorded.'
CD Spotlight. Truly Lovely - Music by Petr Eben for girls' choir impresses Geoff Pearce. 'This great disc of an exceptional girls' choir performing the work of one of Bohemia's most important voices does not disappoint in any way ...'
CD Spotlight. Understated Sensuousness - Symphonies by Nikolay Myaskovsky intrigue Geoff Pearce. '... the Ural Youth Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Alexander Rudin) plays very well indeed, especially considering the age of the players. I am particularly impressed by the woodwind and brass, which never fail to impress.'
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.'
CD Spotlight. Considerable Appeal - Music by Peter Lieuwen, heard by Geoff Pearce. 'Peter Lieuwen appeals on many different levels, and this offering demonstrates his recognisable and accessible style.'
CD Spotlight. Triumphant Splendour - Gerald Fenech commends the reissue of Roger Norrington's recording of Elgar's Symphony No 1 with the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra. '... Norrington conveys the sweep of the score spontaneously in one breath and takes his players on a headlong ride to the finish which is simply spinetingling.'
CD Spotlight. Very Colourful - Geoff Pearce recommends music by Manuel de Falla. '... superb performances by all concerned.'
CD Spotlight. Hauntingly Beautiful - Rachmaninov's Vespers, recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'Although the choir is not Russian, performances are as passionately devotional as one can expect, particularly the soprano and bass sections, who capture the wide range of dynamics with astounding clarity and vision.'
CD Spotlight. Sound Pallette from Hong Kong - Ona Jarmalavičiūtė listens to music by members of the Hong Kong Composers' Guild
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 ...'
CD Spotlight. Thoroughly Engaging - Piano quartets by Andrew Anderson, heard by Geoff Pearce. '... compelling and unique.'
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.'
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.'
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.'
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.'
CD Spotlight. An Impassioned Account - Seldom-performed Beethoven, recommended by Geoff Pearce. '... excellent performances by all concerned.'
CD Spotlight. Hard to Resist - Johann Strauss Junior's 'Eine Nacht in Venedig', arranged by Erich Wolfgang Korngold and heard by Gerald Fenech. 'Marius Burkert and his fine team of soloists and chorus exude a performance that has subtlety and charm, and the vivid freshness of Korngold's arrangement is brought out with a wistful elan ...'
CD Spotlight. Jollity Ultimately Triumphs - Orchestral music by Dmitri Kabalevsky, heard by Geoff Pearce. 'I am pleased to see this interesting disc, as it showcases an important composer from the Soviet era.'
CD Spotlight. Evolution of a Spirit - Ona Jarmalavičiūtė reviews the latest CD from Donald Nally and The Crossing
CD Spotlight. Lost Gems Unearthed - Gerald Fenech listens to music by contemporaries of the Strauss family. 'John Georgiadis deserves immense credit not only for his painstaking research and wonderful arrangements, but also for his vibrant and energetic conducting that breathes new life into an era that once celebrated life with an unparalleled exuberance.'
CD Spotlight. His Music Glows - Richard Meszto listens to works by Leonard Bernstein. 'Iain Sutherland leads the Hannover Philharmonic in these fine and well thought out performances.'
CD Spotlight. From Russia with Love - Musorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and Liadov orchestral music from Dmitry Kitajenko and the Gurzenich Orchestra, Cologne, impresses Gerald Fenech. 'Kitajenko draws some gorgeous playing from his Cologne forces, and dynamic and tempo markings are observed with fidelity. Also, orchestral textures are both warm and revealing of inner detail.'
CD Spotlight. A Fine Start - American recordings of Elgar, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... considering today's technological excellence, this issue is strictly for collectors with a nostalgia for the past.'
CD Spotlight. Particularly Thrilling - Music for strings by Alfonso Romero Asenjo intrigues Geoff Pearce. 'It showcases the composer's skill in writing for strings, and at the same time one can sense his development as a composer.'
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.'
CD Spotlight. Lauded all over Europe - Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... performances are passionately committed, resonating continuously the collective emotion that is mystical and festive, painful and joyous, surprising and disturbing.'
CD Spotlight. Seldom Recorded - Music for horn and piano, recommended by Geoff Pearce. '... two superb musicians enjoying themselves in music which is not well-known ...'
CD Spotlight. Novel Sounds and Experimentation - Havergal Brian's Symphonies Nos 7 and 16, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'Alexander Walker and his Russian forces give passionately committed performances, highly idiomatic and bursting with excitement.'
CD Spotlight. Crossing Boundaries - Chamber music by Nigel Osborne, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... beguiling and vivid performances ...'
CD Spotlight. Sheer Musicianship - Geoff Pearce listens to music for viola, played by Matthew Lipman. '... a delight for the listener and aficionados of the viola.'
CD Spotlight. Spiritual and Emotional Depth - Piano trios from the Delphi Trio by Beethoven, Brahms and Bolcom, recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'An invigorating mixture of past and present, brilliantly executed and sumptuously recorded, which is truly worth investigating.'
CD Spotlight. The Spirit of Tango - Piazzolla's 'María de Buenos Aires', recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'Bouncy yet thought-provoking stuff.'
CD Spotlight. An Emotional Journey? - Geoff Pearce listens to music for solo instruments and orchestra. 'The performance is very tight and exciting.'
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.'
CD Spotlight. A Sense and Taste for the Infinite - Choral music by Rautavaara, Wennäkoski and Livorski impresses Gerald Fenech. 'For those who love contemporary choral singing, this disc should prove a real revelation ...'
CD Spotlight. Freshness and Imagination - Rhapsodies for Piano and Orchestra by Matej Meštrović, heard by Geoff Pearce. '... lovers of music that is tuneful and that does not require deep thought will really enjoy this disc.'
CD Spotlight. Brilliantly Executed - John Kitchen plays British Light Music by Arthur Sullivan and Michael Thomson, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'A gem of a disc full of wit, warmth and colour ...'
CD Spotlight. Great Performances - Music for oboe and cor anglais by Phil Salathé, heard by Geoff Pearce. 'This composer is technically assured, and has a unique perspective and voice.'
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.'
CD Spotlight. A Thrilling Musical Discovery - Violin Concertos by Giovanni Giornovich, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'Bojan Čičić has this repertoire in his blood, and this shows in performances of exhilarating beauty.'
CD Spotlight. A Compelling Disc - Schoenberg piano music, recommended by Geoff Pearce. 'Yoko Hirota's performances here are truly exceptional ...'
CD Spotlight. A True Czech Operatic Masterpiece - Gerald Fenech listens to Janáček's 'The Cunning Little Vixen'. 'This performance from Frankfurt has everything going for it ...'
CD Spotlight. Deeply Emotional - Alice McVeigh listens to music by the late John Joubert. 'William Boughton conducts with great sensitivity, and the orchestra excels.'
CD Spotlight. Truly Sublime - Mariss Janssons conducts Bruckner's Symphony No 9, recommended by Geoff Pearce. 'The precision, attention to detail, warmth and depth of sound really set this recording apart from the pack.'
CD Spotlight. A Beacon of God's Love - Gabriel Jackson's Passion impresses Gerald Fenech. 'Emotionally charged performances, superb sound quality and highly informative annotations complete a revelatory disc that is wholly in tune with the present Lenten season.'
CD Spotlight. Very Interesting and Original - Geoff Pearce listens to chamber music by John McCabe and David Ellis. '... superb performances delivered by the Camerata Ensemble.'
CD Spotlight. A Compelling New Reading - Anett Fodor is impressed by Daniel Harding and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra's recent recording of Mahler's Fifth Symphony. 'Daniel Harding awakens and keeps the listener's curiosity captive, demanding thorough attention for his compelling interpretation.'
CD Spotlight. Improvisatory Freedom - Gerald Fenech listens to pianist Myron Romanul. 'Romanul's playing brims with an expressive power that generates its own excitement and self-belief ...'
CD Spotlight. Past and Present - Gerald Fenech finds music for trombone and piano worthy of serious investigation. 'Performances are wonderfully attractive, with a certain exquisite timbre and beautifully shaped nuances permeating each piece.'
CD Spotlight. Fascination and Influence - Gerald Fenech is impressed by Lucille Boulanger and friends. 'The talented foursome heard here rise brilliantly to the hurdles presented and performances are consistently full of charm and warmth, wrapped up in an aura of unmitigated sensitivity.'
CD Spotlight. Two Fine Violinists - Stephen Francis Vasta listens to music by Erich Wolfgang Korngold. 'Even the Violin Concerto ends with a downward chordal scale that 'resolves' to a dissonance, "à la" Charles Ives!'
CD Spotlight. Highlights of a Composer - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to music by Nicola Sani. 'The performances by Roberto Fabbriciani and Alvise Vidolin, frequent collaborators of Nicola Sani, were just superb.'
CD Spotlight. Gorgeously Sung - Choral music by Richard Allain, heard by Roderic Dunnett. 'The music is undoubtedly beautiful, without exception.'
CD Spotlight. Idiomatically Revealing - Oxana Shevchenko plays Stravinsky for solo piano, heard by Roderic Dunnett. '... finely and deftly played.'
CD Spotlight. Dazzling Symphonies - Symphonies by Ruth Gipps, recommended by Roderic Dunnett. 'It conveys as much energy and artistry and expressiveness today as it did the day it was written.'
CD Spotlight. Extending the Repertoire - Anett Fodor listens to Hungarian viola player Vidor Nagy. 'The mellifluous sound, the doleful melody, as well as Vidor Nagy's sensitive performance convince the listener that both the artist and instrument are worthy of recognition.'
CD Spotlight. Diverse and Interesting - New works for large orchestra, heard by Geoff Pearce. 'All pieces on this disc are varied and the performances are satisfying.'
CD Spotlight. Scuttling Crabs - Music for vibraphone and wind quintet, heard by Geoff Pearce. 'There is some great vibraphone and bassoon work here ...'
CD Spotlight. A Splendid Compendium - Iberian concertos and sonatas, recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... finely and eloquently played by an ensemble that is passionately committed to creating a sound world that never ages.'
CD Spotlight. Sensitive and Meditative - Kamyar Mohajer's 'Pictures of the Hidden' engages Geoff Pearce. 'The performers here are superb.'
CD Spotlight. A Deep Understanding - John McCabe's 'lost' Australian recording, commended by Geoff Pearce. 'The music is unfamiliar, but interesting, full of surprises and variety, and the fine piano playing is insightful and committed.'
CD Spotlight. Rich and Varied - Songs by Robin Holloway, recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'Performances are full of expressive variety and sensitivity, complementing the composer's thoughts with undiluted commitment.'
CD Spotlight. Distractingly Unusual - Peter Navarro-Alonso's Goldbergs re-invented, heard by Keith Bramich. 'It's certainly clever, but I'm not sure what it gives us that we don't already have.'
CD Spotlight. Very Weird - Orchestral music by Witold Lutoslawski, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'This is meaty music through and through and, admittedly, for some this may be off-putting.'
CD Spotlight. Melting Ice - Music from glaciers by Matthew Burtner, recommended by Keith Bramich. '... a slightly romanticised account of the effects of climate change in the far north, which doesn't affect the pure beauty, and often sadness, of these vivid and intriguing natural sound recordings and ideas.'
CD Spotlight. Majestic Feelings - Leon McCawley plays Schubert, admired by Anett Fodor. 'His unique touch, articulation, expressive dialogue between hands and outstanding technique are admirably illustrated in virtuoso passages which demonstrate his remarkable sense of style. This recording offers many memorable moments for the listener.'