NEW: James Ross and Eric Fraad discuss Streaming, Downloads and CDs with Maria Nockin, Mary Mogil, David Arditti, Gerald Fenech, John Daleiden, John Dante Prevedini, Lucas Ball and Stephen Francis Vasta in our hour-long May 2021 video.
CD Spotlight. Passionately Colourful Orchestration — Gerald Fenech listens to music by Catalan composer Joan Manén. 'Ana María Valderrama's rendition of the Concerto is technically superb, and there's a purity in her tone that you don't experience every day. Darrell Ang gives sympathetic support throughout.'
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.'
CD Spotlight. The Sweetness of Life — Music by French baroque composer Michel-Richard de Lalande, heard by Giuseppe Pennisi. 'The instrumental ensemble, playing period instruments or a violin manufactured in 2011 but after period specifications, is excellent.'
CD Spotlight. Great Entertainment — SOMM Recordings' second volume of film music, enjoyed by Gerald Fenech. 'Iain Sutherland and his Promenade players display no want of energy and each track is tackled with effervescence and enthusiasm, making the music sound even more exciting than it was thought to be.'
CD Spotlight. Tristan, Isolde and God Almighty — Giuseppe Pennisi listens to Olivier Messiaen's Turangalîla Symphony. 'On this rendering, British conductor Alexander Soddy handles very well the Nationaltheater Orchester of Mannheim, where he is general director of music, and the two soloists, Tamara Stefanovich at the piano and Thomas Bloch at the Ondes Martinot.'
CD Spotlight. Fresh and Imaginative — Gerald Fenech is impressed by John Rutter's sacred music, arranged by Luc Vertommen for brass band. 'Stirringly performed and conducted, this is music whose melodies and harmonies fit perfectly with the sound of a brass band ...'
CD Spotlight. An Absolutely Stunning Experience — Gerald Fenech is moved by organ transcriptions of symphonic music by Anton Bruckner. 'Memorable performances, high-tech sonics and informative annotations complete this superb and innovative first instalment that sets my imagination alight.'
CD Spotlight. Strauss from the Antipodes — Giuseppe Pennisi reviews rarely-heard François Couperin orchestral transcriptions by Richard Strauss. '... good rendering by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra under Jun Märkl ...'
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.'
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.'
CD Spotlight. Astounding Work — A second volume of orchestral music by Austrian composer Hans Rott, heard by Geoff Pearce. '... performed with passion and understanding, and the quality of the recording matches this. Bravo.'
Classical music news. New Conducting Competition — Only Stage Management Company in cooperation with Classics Management Budapest announces the first edition of the Only Stage International Conducting Competition
CD Spotlight. An Unforgettable Recital — Ona Jarmalavičiūtė listens to Evgeny Kissin's Chopin recital from the 1985 December Nights Music Festival. 'From the very beginning of his career at the top of his game, Evgeny Kissin presents a performance that is, simply put, wild.'
CD Spotlight. Fresh and Startlingly Immediate — Forgotten recordings from George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra, unreservedly recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... the music is dispatched with energetic vigour, which was the hallmark of all Szell's performances.'
CD Spotlight. In Grand Style — Ballet music by Tcherepnin, enjoyed by Geoff Pearce. 'The Moscow Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Henry Shek, performs this music ... with all the passion and commitment such a score requires.'
CD Spotlight. The Para-Liturgical Art of Tchaikovsky — Ona Jarmalavičiūtė listens to the Latvian Radio Choir. '... the score's full range is captured sharply and sensitively, bringing out the true colors as well as the pure and attractive sound of choral liturgical music.'
CD Spotlight. An Absolute Delight — Volume three of Charles Koechlin's 'Les Chants de Nectaire' impresses Geoff Pearce. '... Nicola Woodward's playing is sumptuous, insightful and virtuosic when it needs to be, without ever being flashy.'
CD Spotlight. Awesome Stuff — Gerald Fenech is impressed by Ilya Gringolts' performances of three violin concertos by Pietro Locatelli. 'Ilya Gringolts' playing is phenomenally spellbinding, and his scintillating virtuosity and flawless execution are absolute joys and wholly worthy of constant admiration.'
CD Spotlight. The Dead in the Square — Allan Pettersson's Symphony No 12, strongly recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'Christian Lindberg gives a colossal interpretation of this difficult score, where everybody involved is wholly engrossed in Pettersson's unique creation.'
New Releases — Keith Bramich describes some changes this magazine is making to its reviewing process, and provides a snapshot of information provided by record labels, promoters and individual artists over the last month
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 ...'
CD Spotlight. Exquisitely Written — Flute music for Louis XIV's Court, recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'This is music full of gentle sensitivity and graceful intimacy, wonderfully performed and recorded, and a veritable treasure trove from the height of the French baroque era.'
CD Spotlight. Continuous Excitement — Keyboard concertos by Franz Joseph Haydn, recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'Mélodie Zhao's interpretations are full of warmth and colour, and her phrasing, even in the quicker passages, is consistently arresting.'
CD Spotlight. Stylistic Contrasts — Trumpet concertos by Alexander Arutiunian, Vladimir Peskin and Alfred Desenclos, heard by Paul Sarcich. '... this is a fine calling card for Selina Ott, who is one of those young players who will be very interesting to watch mature.'
CD Spotlight. Absolutely Fantastic — Music by Schnittke for violin and piano, recommended by Geoff Pearce. 'The performances are great all round, and this is a useful addition to anyone's collection.'
CD Spotlight. Mascagni in a New Garb — Gerald Fenech recommends a new recording of Pietro Mascagni's 'Iris'. 'Krieger's exhilarating conducting draws from both his singers and players some truly sublime performances, full of unbridled enthusiasm.'
CD Spotlight. Performed at the Vauxhall Gardens — Symphonies by eighteenth century British composer John Abraham Fisher, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'Michael Halász and his Czech team are in exuberant form and their pleasantly flowing performances bring out all the charm, wit and cheerfulness of this lovely music.'
CD Spotlight. Most Welcome — Gerald Fenech listens to French piano duets. 'Paul Lewis and Steven Osborne, two of Britain's foremost pianists, give matchless performances, and their virtuosic brilliance and unique sensitivity to the many nuances of these scores are an absolute joy to listen to.'
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.'
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.'
CD Spotlight. A Strange Beauty — Symphonies by Daniel Jones, heard by Geoff Pearce. 'The BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra delivers fine performances, as does the direction of its conductor, Bryden Thomson.'
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.'
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. Recommended by Mozart — Georg Anton Benda's melodrama 'Medea', reviewed by Gerald Fenech. 'Katharina Thalbach is overwhelmingly effective as the narrator, while Marcus Bosch's conducting is intensely committed, capturing all the seething complexities of love, betrayal and revenge, grappling in Medea's heart and mind, with electrifying exuberance.'
CD Spotlight. Different Worlds — Haydn symphonies, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'György Vashegyi ... conducts these absolutely sparkling pieces with formidable authority and unbridled zeal ... and his players respond with some utterly warm performances, brimming with bouncy wit and humour yet equally incisive drive.'
CD Spotlight. Exciting and Superbly Executed — Franz Schreker's opera 'Der ferne Klang', highly recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'Sebastian Weigle conducts this stirring but difficult work with wonderful intuition, bringing out all the luscious orchestral beauty with disarming clarity.'
CD Spotlight. A Dazzling Career and a Dissolute Life — Two versions of Alessandro Stradella's serenata 'La Circe', reviewed by Gerald Fenech. 'Estevan Velardi executes this rare programme with exceptional insight and skill ...'
CD Spotlight. A Prodigious Compositional Career — Gerald Fenech listens to music by French baroque composer Joseph Bodin de Boismortier. 'The Neumeyer Consort's performances display a mastery of Boismortier's language that is just astonishing ...'
CD Spotlight. A Journey of Unending Delights — Music by Paul Wranitzky impresses Gerald Fenech. 'The Neumeyer Consort's performances display a mastery of Boismortier's language that is just astonishing ...'
CD Spotlight. Technical Brilliance — James Willshire plays piano music by Cecil Coles and Gustav Holst, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'James Willshire is renowned for his virtuosity and intelligence of his keyboard mastery, and all this is on display in this recital.'
CD Spotlight. The Perfect Musical Mixture — Gerald Fenech listens to music by Johann Rosenmüller. 'Gregor Meyer and his forces give disciplined yet highly laudable performances, and their commitment to the cause is spirited and vibrant.'
CD Spotlight. Modernity and Sweeping Power — Beethoven's 'Eroica' Symphony on period instruments impresses Gerald Fenech. '... Beethoven's intended instrumental balances and effects are brought alive once more in revelatory fashion.'
CD Spotlight. A Master of Improvisation — Music by Roland Dyens played by Anna Mnich and recommended by Geoff Pearce. 'The guitarist is clean in her execution, sympathetic in her musical treatment and her harmonics are flawless.'
CD Spotlight. A Unique Orchestral Mastery — Music by Walter Braunfels, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'Gregor Bühl ... marshalls his forces with full-blooded conviction, and his orchestra responds brilliantly to Braunfels' luscious musical language ...'
CD Spotlight. An Exemplary Partnership — Geoff Pearce is impressed by Mozart Violin Sonatas transcribed and played by oboist Olivier Stankiewicz, accompanied by Jonathan Ware. '... the performances here are astounding.'
CD Spotlight. Dramatic Potency and Marvellous Clarity — Gerald Fenech listens to piano music by German-born Danish composer Friedrich Kuhlau. 'Marie-Luise Bodendorff is an inspired and enthusiastic interpreter of this rare but lovely repertoire ...'