VIDEO PODCAST: Women Composers - Our special hour-long illustrated feature on women composers includes contributions from Diana Ambache, Gail Wein, Hilary Tann, Natalie Artemas-Polak and Victoria Bond.
On 18 (or possibly 19) November 1786 at Eutin, near Lübeck, was born the German composer and critic Carl Maria von Weber. His industrious life was sadly shortened by tuberculosis, but not before several operas were written and produced, of which Der Freischütz was an enormous success. He was much involved in almost every aspect of opera administration. Covent Garden commissioned Oberon, for which Weber came to London in 1826 to direct rehearsals, but shortly after the première he died (on 5 June), and it was Wagner who arranged for his body to be brought back to Germany.
CD Spotlight. A Must-have Disc - Martin Owen plays Strauss, Schumann and Weber, strongly recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'Martin Owen's command of this repertoire is just staggering, and his sheer virtuosity is nothing short of breathtaking.'
Quality or Taste? - Béla Hartmann discusses quality in the Arts
Ensemble. In Honour of Carla Fracci - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to Adolphe Adam's 'Giselle' at Teatro dell'Opera di Roma
Ensemble. A Rare and Novel Experience - Opera Warwick's production of Weber's 'The Marksman', heard by Roderic Dunnett
CD Spotlight. Powerful Drama - Roderic Dunnett listens to 'Der Freischütz' from René Jacobs and the Freiburger Barockorchester. '... a whispering, confidential or, where needed, overawing and commanding performance ...'
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.'
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.'
Ensemble. A Winning Team - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to a pre-tour concert by Martha Argerich and Antonio Pappano, with the Symphony Orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
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. Puckish Effervesence - A piano recital by Stephen Hough, heard by the late Howard Smith. '... music from the sublime to the Antipodean.'
Ensemble. Typically Thoughtful - Paul Lewis at the Buxton Festival, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Splendidly Lucid - Elgar, Weber, Tchaikovsky and more from Julian Bliss, Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra, reported by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Barnstorming Virtuosity - The Rochdale Town Hall organ, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... played with absorbing panache by Byram-Wigfield ...'
Ensemble. Challenging, Versatile and Unexpected - Roderic Dunnett visits Hungarian State Opera
Ensemble. Exuberance in Reserve - A wide-ranging programme from Christopher Stripp and Lucy Colquhoun, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Whipped Cream - Buxton Festival's 2014 Opera Gala, attended by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Tonal Refinement - Christmas music from Derby Concert Orchestra, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Delicious Buzzing - A new departure for Derby's Assembly Rooms, appreciated by Mike Wheeler
Ever Responsive - Two recitals by Alberto Portugheis impress Malcolm Miller
CD Spotlight. Vibrant Music - Mendelssohn Trio and Sonatas, heard by Robert Anderson. '... ready skill and deft handling ...'
Ensemble. Deeply Expressive - Mahler, Weber and Strauss at Derby Cathedral, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Great Sensitivity - The Vienna Tonkünstler Orchestra, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Sensitive and Vivid - Laura Isaacson and Patricia Capone, heard by Mary Isaac
Ensemble. An Epic Opera - Rossini's 'William Tell', from Rome to the BBC Proms, by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Pilgrimages of the Soul - Giuseppe Pennisi visits Italy's Sagra Musicale Umbra
Ensemble. Atmosphere is Everything - Weber's 'Der Freischütz', reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Beautifully Expressive - The Isolani Quartet, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Wilfully Distorted - Petrenko conducts the RLPO, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Bizarre Perception - Alistair Hinton discusses a recent article on English music by David Hamilton
Highly Articulate - American dramatic soprano Christine Brewer talks to Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Sing ye to the Lord - Roderic Dunnett was at the 2009 Hereford Three Choirs Festival
A Real Find - Robert Davies made a remarkable impact when he stood in as Papageno late in the run of English Touring Opera's 'The Magic Flute'; Roderic Dunnett profiles him and celebrates the progress of other ETO cast members
Ensemble. A Magisterial Presence - William Christie conducts Purcell's 'The Fairy Queen', reviewed by Robert Hugill
CD Spotlight. Fire and Magic - Richard Stoltzman's 'Phoenix in Flight', recommended by Malcolm Tattersall. '... meltingly beautiful ...'
Ensemble. Powerfully Sonorous - Fauré, Bliss, Brahms and Weber played by the Frith Piano Quartet, and reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Nicely Judged - Beethoven, Stravinsky and Weber from The Hallé Orchestra impresses Mike Wheeler
Old and New Worlds - Ioana Osoianu talks to Keith Bramich about her life in the East and West
CD Spotlight. Melodic Impact - Music by Spohr, Rolla and Kalliwoda, reviewed by Howard Smith. '... seasoned insights and faultless empathy.'
Record Box. Great Entertainment - Stokowski conducts ballet music, heard by Patric Standford
Ensemble. Playfulness and Spirit - Mike Wheeler joins the Hallé Orchestra's 150th birthday celebrations
Ensemble. A Memorable Concert - Chloë Hanslip, Slatkin and the RPO, reviewed by Malcolm Miller
Searing Intensity - Gillian Wills talks to conductor Sebastian Lang-Lessing in the context of the recent Mendelssohn Festival in Hobart, Tasmania
Ensemble. Colourful Renditions - Recitals by Denitsa Laffchieva and Evelina Puzaite, reviewed by Bill Newman
Ensemble. New Light - A performance by Christian Knapp and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Record Box. Lions and Lionesses - Romantic music for piano and orchestra, reviewed by George Balcombe
Ensemble. Style and concept - Two young pianists of outstanding promise, by Bill Newman
CD Spotlight. Fundamental spirit - The Pergamenschikow-Gililov recordings 1990-1994, appreciated by Tess Crebbin. '... fresh and invigorating ...'
Listening with baroque ears - Robert Hugill investigates the world of collaborative opera
Ensemble. Unalloyed genius - Glyndebourne's recent 'Euryanthe' is fêted by Roderic Dunnett
Planning your collection - Global Fascinations and Sophistications - Emma Johnson; Martinu string quartets, with Bill Newman