Patric Standford may have written these short pieces deliberately to provoke our feedback. If so, his success is reflected in the rich range of readers' comments appearing at the foot of most of the pages.
Defining Our Field - John Dante Prevedini asks what is 'classical music' to us, why are we involved and what can we learn from our differences?
Summer Festivals in Europe - Giuseppe Pennisi investigates the fast-evolving festival scene
CD Spotlight. Absolutely Superb - Early music from Northern Europe, highly recommended by Geoff Pearce. 'These are truly great performances of less familiar music, and all musicians featured are of the finest quality.'
CD Spotlight. Specially Reconstructed - Music for ancient giant horns, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... for those who wallow in the joys of past cultural mysteries and their unraveling, this issue is a must.'
CD Spotlight. Polyphonic Masterpieces - Music from the Baldwin Partbooks, recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'The Marian Consort's delivery is clean, unembellished and wholly uplifting ...'
CD Spotlight. Euro Folk Champions - The Apollo Chamber Players, impress Howard Smith. '... this scantily adorned traditional music derives straight from the heartbeat of regions in Southern, Eastern, and Central Europe.'
DVD Spotlight. Blocks of Snow - 'Cavalleria rusticana' and 'Pagliacci', reviewed by Robert Anderson. '... not always marooned in frozen wastes.'
DVD Spotlight. Admirable Intentions - Gillian Rogell teaches chamber music, observed by Howard Smith. 'It's all fairly basic stuff ...'
Ensemble. The Quality of Mercy - Giuseppe Pennisi visits the 2011 Aix-en-Provence Festival and reports on four of the six operas
CD Spotlight. Uncommonly Addictive - Choral music by Eriks Esenvalds, recommmended by Howard Smith. '... exciting music of the utmost graciousness.'
Ensemble. Artistic Freedom - Giuseppe Pennisi visits the sophisticated music festival in a Tuscan mountain convent and stays for the full three days
Ensemble. Intense Confrontation - Verdi's 'Ernani' - more revolutionary than patriotic, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Orchestral Nuances - Thanks to a sparkling 'Barber of Seville', Giuseppe Pennisi rediscovers the beauty of Rossini's orchestration
Ensemble. Rewarding Performances - Arizona Opera's 'The Abduction from the Seraglio', reviewed by Maria Nockin
Ensemble. New Ideas - Malcolm Miller enjoys the Meitar Ensemble in concert and reports on the conference 'Art Musics of Israel'
Ensemble. A Tad More Sensual - Simon Keenlyside sings Don Giovanni with the Cleveland Orchestra, appreciated by Kelly Ferjutz
CD Spotlight. Distinct Insights - Dejan Lazic plays Beethoven, heard by Howard Smith. '... a crisp, vernal, excellently deliniated performance ...'
Ensemble. Happy Melodies - Rossini's 'Il Turco in Italia' delights Maria Nockin
CD Spotlight. Instinctive Artistry - Jill Crossland plays Mozart and Beethoven, heard by Howard Smith. '... a distinctive, beautifully considered performance.'
CD Spotlight. Quite Breathtaking - David Korevaar plays Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, admired by Howard Smith. '... lots to admire ...'
Ensemble. A Marvelous Job - Puccini's 'La Fanciulla del West', heard by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. A Wonderful Surprise - Los Angeles Opera's 'Rigoletto', enjoyed by Maria Nockin
Ensemble. Soirées musicales - Mariella Devia and the Twilight of Bel Canto, heard by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. A Memorable Night - The Israel Camerata Orchestra Jerusalem, heard by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ask Alice - On rodents, requiems and bow restorers, with classical music agony aunt Alice McVeigh
Profile. Two Americans in Paris - Maria Nockin talks to Vivica Genaux and Lawrence Brownlee
CD Spotlight. A Delightful Spirit - Balkan music for flute and guitar, heard by Howard Smith. '... a near perfect blend of timbre and balance ...'
DVD Spotlight. Forthright Tempos - The Wihan Quartet plays Beethoven, heard by Howard Smith. '... little to truly set their work apart ...'
CD Spotlight. Beautifully Managed - Music for flute and guitar, heard by Howard Smith. '... reflective and purposeful ...'
Ensemble. A Remarkable Event - Paul Sarcich visits the West Cork Chamber Music Festival
Ensemble. Indulging in Forbidden Consecutives - Mastersingers at the BBC Proms, reviewed by Robert Anderson
Ensemble. Nearly a Male Lulu - 'Don Giovanni' in Aix-en-Provence, a black comedy of sex and loneliness, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Sisters Under the Skin - Donizetti's 'Maria Stuarda' at Opera North, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Clearly Important - The seventh Klavessiinfestival held in Tallinn, Estonia, attended by Peter Howell
Profile. Real Meaning - Maria Nockin talks to American mezzo-soprano Susan Graham
Ensemble. A Masterly Performance - Massenet's 'Werther' on the psychotherapist's couch, by Giuseppe Pennisi
Winning Ensembles - Malcolm Miller was at the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe Chamber Music Competition
Ensemble. A Top-notch Formation - Operas by Zemlinsky and Puccini, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Seldom Performed - 'Lulu' lands at La Scala, by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ninety Stars are Born - Giuseppe Pennisi tours Austria with a young Italian symphony orchestra
CD Spotlight. Sterling Playing - Wendy Warner's interpretations of Popper and Piatigorsky, heard by Howard Smith. '... sovereign music-making deserving of the highest accolades.'
CD Spotlight. Mice in the Manger - A selection of Christmas music, enjoyed by George Balcombe. '... an amazing collection.'
Ensemble. A Sparkling Concert - Sabbath music from the Zemel Choir, enjoyed by Malcolm Miller
CD Spotlight. Splendidly Performed - Baroque music for cello, recommended by Howard Smith. 'An exemplary CD ...'
CD Spotlight. Intense Expressiveness - Music from Venice, reviewed by George Balcombe. '... an amazing display of eighteen short pieces ...'
Ensemble. Unity of Conception - Malcolm Troup was at the BPSE Summer Festival in London
CD Spotlight. Towering Achievement - Beethoven's late string quartets impress Robert Anderson. '... full marks to these players ...'
Marvelously Gifted - Bill Newman listens to pianist Alexander Romanovsky
Ensemble. True Artistry - Howard Smith attends New Zealand's Music Fair of Japan 2009
Ensemble. Another Treat - Martinu's 'Mirandolina' at Garsington Opera, by Roderic Dunnett
Music for Musicians Only? - The public turns a deaf ear to improvised music. As for classical music, Jan Dahlstedt claims that having abandoned improvisation, classical music entered a sidetrack from which it has never escaped, thus badly stifling creative progress. If he is guilty of heresy or may have a point, read on and judge for yourself.
CD Spotlight. Perfection - Benjamin Britten folksong arrangements, recommended by Howard Smith. '... this release is worth several times it's weight in gold.'
An Unexpected Treasure - Jeanette Hanscome talks to author Helen Martens about her new book 'Felix Mendelssohn: Out of the Depths of His Heart'
Record Box. Full and Resonant - Violin concertos by Bohuslav Martinu, reviewed by Patric Standford
Ensemble. Podium Celebrity - Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra in Florida, reviewed by Lawrence Budmen
DVD Spotlight. Terrifying Intensity - Puccini's 'Turandot', reviewed by Robert Anderson. '... brimful of imagination ...'
Profile. The Hungarian Nightingale - A meeting with Gisela Doráti, better known as 'Gizi', by Bill Newman
Reminiscent retrospectives - Trails and Euros, with Jennifer Paull
Second sight - The Tyrant as Hero. Wilfrid Mellers, reflecting on a Handel opera (concluded from last week)
Second sight - The Tyrant as Hero. Wilfrid Mellers, reflecting on a Handel opera