Recording reviews

Masterworks BroadwayCD Review: A round-up of new musical theatre recordings released by Masterworks Broadway Masterworks Broadway continues to impress with its dedication to the musical theatre genre. Recent months have seen the appearance of an extraordinarily stimulating range of albums, ranging from the first official CD release of Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett’s legendary concert at Lincoln Center to a brand new recording of Lloyd Webber and Rice’s seminal Evita, based on the current Broadway revival... more>

Gillian KeithCD Review: Gillian Keith's Strauss recital disc (Champs Hill Records) With recordings devoted exclusively to Strauss's lieder pretty thin on the ground, Canadian soprano Gillian Keith's new release 'bei Strauss' should be welcomed by those who want to delve further into the Strauss repertoire... more> The Schubert EnsembleCD review: The Schubert Ensemble performs Brahms and Schubert The Schubert Ensemble are highly regarded for their sensitive, musical performances of the piano plus strings repertoire – especially the Schubert and Brahms masterpieces. It is a real shame, then, that on these two discs they have been let down by poor recording.... more>
L'OlimpiadeCD Review: Naive releases L'Olimpiade by a range of composers As the 2012 Olympics approach, London is bedecked with nationalist symbolism not only for the games but for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee which would appear to have provoked us, as a nation, to rejoice in a nostalgic revisiting of 1950s taste. Whereas coronation favourites such as teacakes and sponge... more> A Song of FarewellCD Review: Paul McCreesh presents an impressive album of A Song of Farewell A Song of Farewell: Music of Mourning and Consolation is, in many ways, an aural discussion of death. While this description may sound depressing or daunting, the album presents, as the subtitle suggests, a comfort that poignantly complements the sadness. Though famed in the world of ... more>
Florestan TrioCD Review: The Florestan Trio records Beethoven's Piano Trios on Hyperion Just a few months ago, after sixteen successful years together the Florestan Trio gave their last concerts in London. Now Anthony Marwood (violin), Richard Lester (cello) and Susan Tomes (piano) are each off exploring fresh musical pastures. So this four-disc boxed set of the Beethoven Trios, each released individually... more> TeuzzoneCD Review: Vivaldi's Teuzzone features in a dazzling recording from Naive Teuzzone is the twelfth opera in naďve’s Vivaldi Edition’s series and, incidentally, the first new release by Jordi Savall (Farnace was first previously on Alia Vox). The opera belongs to a period of Venetian obsession with exoticism and chinoiseries influenced by the city’s trading links... more>
ChopinCD Review: Nikolai Lugansky's take on Chopin's Sonata No. 3 (Onyx) Piano Sonata No. 3 in B minor represents for many the most perfect example of musical creativity and bold originality that can be found in Chopin's large-scale musical structures. The work holds together as one great, sweeping pianistic statement, but overflows with musical imagination... more> XenakisCD Review: Handel's Alexander's Feast (Delphian) If, sometime soon, you find yourself browsing the classical shelves at the local record store (or, these days, corporate mega record store), you will undoubtedly come across several recordings (both good and bad) of Handel's Messiah: that charming yet over-played oratorio from which the famous "Hallelujah" chorus hails... more>
XenakisCD Review: Xenakis's Collected Orchestral Works (Timpani) Xenakis's first mature work, 1954's Métastaséis, unusally for a composer at the outset of his career, is a work not for chamber ensemble or soloist but for orchestra: the reason being the idiosyncrasy of Xenakis's compositional approach, which envisages the fusing together of a myriad of individual... more> LezhnevaCD Review: Julia Lezhneva's Rossini recital (Naive) Isabella Colbran was a mere sixteen years old when, in 1801, she made her professional concert début in Paris. In an intriguing case of trans-historical serendipity, soprano Julia Lezhneva made her professional début, like Colbran, at sixteen. Despite her young age (or, perhaps, because of it), Lezhneva recently has become... more>
OlafssonCD Review: New recordings of Handel keyboard music, and Bach and Chopin on the piano Bridget Cunningham's first solo harpsichord album is her second disc on the young Rose Street Records label to explore early Irish themes, this time through Handel's stay in Ireland from 1741 to 1742. The programme is built around two... more> LachenmannCD Reviews: Lachenmann string quartets and music from the Donaueschingen festival (Neos) Part of the compulsiveness of Lachenmann's three quartets, as Peter Becker mentions in his sleeve notes, is the sense of mystery that emerges from Lachenmann's virginal presentation of musical sound. As you become immersed in the sound world... more>
machinesCD Review: Garth Knox, Paul Roe, the Fidelio Trio, and more on NMC's new Ed Bennett portrait In my review of Ed Bennett's Dzama Stories I noted of Bennett that he 'powerfully evokes cruel worlds and uncanny valleys'. This new NMC portrait disc confirms Bennett as composer laureate of the surreal and the embellished, featuring as it does a range... more> SchumannCD Review: Sakari Oramo completes his Schumann cycle (Sony) The booklet that accompanies the second chapter of Sakari Oramo's interpretation of Schumann's symphonies declares that the 'RSPO actively strives to renew the classical repertoire' and 'regularly plays contemporary music and commissions new works'... more>
SchoendorffCD Review: Cinquecento performs Schoendorff (Hyperion) Cinquecento are once again brilliant, sensitive and convincing. And yet their sixth album poses a delightful problem: that they appear to have the Midas touch with renaissance vocal polyphony somewhat complicates the ease with which we can form an opinion about the quality... more> LangCD Reviews: New releases by Lang and Dufourt on Kairos The Vienna-based Kairos label has dedicated two previous releases to the music of the Austrian composer Bernhard Lang. Now comes a third one, featuring two works composed by Lang in the past four years. Lang's music is concerned with... more>
guerreroCD Review: Guerrero from Ensemble La Sestina (DHM) Far from being a just another cutesy title, The Angel's Voice explores a wealth of music written for upper voices by the Spanish composer Francisco Guerrero (1528-1599). These compositions depart from the traditional 4-voice cantus-altus-tenor-bassus texture and use modern SAT voices and even those scored ad aequales... more> BrahmsCD Review: Murray Perahia returns to the studio in style with Brahms (Sony Classical) There's nothing more difficult to review than a perfect, or near-perfect, recording such as Murray Perahia's new disc of Brahms's piano music. There are so many elements of a musical performance that one... more>
Trio MediaevalCD Review: A Worcester Ladymass from Trio Mediaeval (ECM) This new album from Trio Mediaveal is surely one of the most eagerly awaited of their career. Following their highly successful Folk Songs (2007), A Worcester Ladymass returns to the mediaeval sacred music with which these talented sopranos first made their name. After wooing us with... more> DiDonatoCD Review: Joyce DiDonato: Diva/Divo It almost seems as if mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato can sing anything. After dazzling the public with wildly successful discs focusing on Handel ('Furore') and Rossini ('Colbran – The Muse'), she offers this new disc of arias taken from a broad spectrum of composers. Always informing her artistry with keen intelligence, DiDonato hasn't... more>
AllegriCD Review: Allegri and the Music of Rome from The Cardinall's Musick (Hyperion) Allegri's Miserere is today one of the most famous and recognisable pieces of music from the sixteenth century, yet, as with all of Andrew Carwood's ventures, there is more to this programme than meets the eye. Many discs have borne similar titles over the... more> LemieuxCD Review: Marie-Nicole Lemieux: Ne me refuse pas (Naive) Canadian contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux has assembled a small, but impressive discography of mostly 'niche' titles over the last half-dozen years.  In addition to discs of French mélodies and Schumann lieder, she has made strong contributions to several complete operas by Vivaldi – all under an... more>
HolanderDVD Review: Ioan Holander honoured with a Viennnese Gala (DG) In order to celebrate his retirement after nineteen years as general director of the Vienna State Opera, Ioan Holender organized the glittering parade of star singers and conductors preserved on these highly entertaining DVDs. Opera is a very serious business in Vienna... more> RodolfusCD Reviews: A Choral Collection and Howells from the Rodolfus Choir (Signum) The Rodolfus Choir was founded by Ralph Allwood in the early 1980s for singers aged 16-25 who have attended Eton Choral Courses and who are intending to apply for university choral scholarships. Their sound is, unsurprisingly, light, nimble, accurate... more>
magnussenCD Review: Decibel and Paul Dunmall's startling new disc This new disc pairs the formidable improvising saxophonist Paul Dunmall with the composer Ed Bennett's own ensemble, Decibel, in Bennett's startling recent work Dzama Stories, adding to this a piece from 2001 for amplified female voice ... more> King JamesCD Reviews: Choral music for King James and Prince Henry: Westminster; Gallicantus (Hyperion; Signum) Music from the reign of King James I explores works by composers with links to both the Chapel Royal and Westminster Abbey, and whilst not all the music on this disc would have been sung in the Abbey during King James' reign, it would... more>
LisztCD Reviews: New surveys of Liszt songs get underway on Hyperion and Marsyas The anniversaries are coming thick and fast, and Franz Liszt – a composer who still resists posterity's attempts to categorize – is set to get the treatment in 2011. These releases are most welcome in addressing one section of his work that remains little known: the songs... more> David Campbell on BroadwayCD Review: David Campbell On Broadway and What Makes Sammy Run? from Masterworks Broadway Masterworks Broadway continues its virtual monopoly amongst the major labels of the Broadway repertoire with these three contrasting releases. First up is On Broadway, the fourth solo album from Australian musical theatre performer... more>
MantraCD Review: New releases of Stockhausen and Schoenberg on Naxos Stockhausen's Mantra was composed in 1970. It was the first piece to be based on the German composer's formula technique, which subsequently went on to inform all of his later compositional output, most expansively in the Licht opera cycle. This strictly-conceived approach to composition arose after a freer period during... more> MozartBlu-ray Reviews: Claus Guth's Don Giovanni and Così from Salzburg (Euroarts) These two new blu-ray discs give us the second and third parts of Claus Guth's Mozart/Da Ponte cycle from the Salzburg Festival, due to be revived in its entirety at the 2011 festival. While the 2006 Figaro was released on Deutsche Grammophon DVD, this Don Giovanni and Cosě... more>
FluteCD Review: René Jacobs' new Magic Flute is released on Harmonia Mundi After the three Da Ponte operas, La Clemenza di Tito and, most recently, Idomeneo, René Jacobs has finally reached Die Zauberflöte, and his approach is typically invigorating, iconoclastic and vividly realised. Unusually, perhaps, it is what he does with the dialogue ... more> ScordaturaCD Review: Trio Scordatura with works by young Irish composers As its name suggests, Trio Scordatura is mainly interested in work branching off somewhat from the norm, perhaps in a like fashion to scoratura tuning's wayward wandering from standard tuning. Scanning the names in the ensemble's repertoire we find such composers as Scelsi, Radulescu, Grisey, Niblock... more>
ELISIONCD Review: Ensemble works by Ferneyhough on Kairos This is the first collection of Brian Ferneyhough's music to be issued on the Kairos label. Featuring cracking performances by Australia's ELISION ensemble, conducted by Franck Ollu and Jean Deroyer, the selection focuses on relatively recent works, most of which see the English composer tacking the concerto form... more> Emersons DvorakCD Review: Old World - New World: The Emerson Quartet play Dvorak (DG) At the beginning of March of this year London's Southbank Centre played host to the Emerson String Quartet for three wholesome evenings of Czech chamber music. A few works by Janácek and Martinu were included, reminding audiences of the ensemble's acclaimed... more>
LoeschelCD Review: A new setting of Blake's Songs of Innocence Hannes Loeschel is a Viennese musician whose background in performance of contemporary music has led into a diverse practice divided between improvisation and 'composition in interdisciplinary contexts' (composing and leading ensembles in theatre, dance, and visual art contexts). Here, he... more> DomingoCD Review: Placido Domingo explores Leoncavallo rarities in La Nuit de mai Tenor and baritone, conductor and artistic director, Wagnerian and Handelian: there's apparently nothing Plŕcido Domingo can't do. This year he's singing Verdi's Simon Boccanegra, a baritone role, as well as Bajazet in Handel's Tamerlano... more>
CrociatoCD Review: Meyerbeer's Il Crociato in Egitto (Naxos) Despite the melodic invention and remarkable variety of his music, the operas of Giacomo Meyerbeer (1791 – 1864) remain unknown to most of the opera-going public. There are several reasons for this relative neglect, not the least of which is the grand scale on which he wrought his stage works: his Robert le Diable... more> WillaertCD Review: Ireland's Enchantment with Emerald Baroque (Rose Street Records)When George Frideric Handel travelled to Ireland in 1741 to work in the city of Dublin, he enjoyed a year-long creative sojourn working with many local musicians who sang in his concerts at the new Music Hall on Fishamble Street. Considering that London was a thriving musical city at this time, Handel's decision... more>
KirchschlagerCD Review: Angelika Kirchschlager inaugurates Hyperion's new Brahms edition It was only a matter of time before Johannes Brahms joined the pantheon of song composers to receive the complete-edition treatment on Hyperion, and Austrian mezzo Angelika Kirchschlager is appropriately starry singer for volume one. As often before, though, the most consistent pleasure more> WillaertCD Review: Cinquecento perform Willaert (Hyperion) Given the astounding volume of high quality sacred polyphony that survives from the sixteenth century, it is not surprising that major figures like Adrian Willaert (1490-1562) are still somewhat under-represented on disc. Hyperion are, as ever, doing much to improve this situation and their latest release by the ensemble Cinquecento... more>
PelagioCD Review: Mercadante's Pelagio (Dynamic) The Festival della Valle D'Itria, held every summer in Martina Franca, Italy, is one of the most valuable artistic ventures of our time. I say this, because to my knowledge, this small-scale festival (generally three operas per year) has never lost track of their mission: to research hidden corners of the operatic repertoire... more> GotterdammerungCD Review: Wagner: Götterdämmerung (Hallé) Sir Mark Elder has been a favourite with British audiences for decades now, but it's really during the past ten years, while he's been Principal Conductor at the Manchester-based Hallé Orchestra, that have seen him rise to the level of national treasure. After a rocky period, during which artistic standards were... more>
Il templarioCD Review: Nicolai's Il templario (CPO) With the recent issue of Sir Arthur Sullivan's romantic opera Ivanhoe on the Chandos label (reviewed on, it occurred to me that I had never gotten around to listening to another recent recording based on the same story: Otto Nicolai's Il Templario. The CPO label issued this live performance... more> IvanhoeCD Review: Sir Arthur Sullivan's Ivanhoe (Chandos) Occupying their own sub-niche within the genre of operetta, the collaborative works of librettist William Gilbert and composer Arthur Sullivan (G&S) have been consistently popular since their creation, beginning in the 1870's. Lovingly devoted - no, fanatical – G&S enthusiasts have insured that the humor ... more>
FinleyCD Review: Gerald Finley: Great Operatic Arias (Chandos Opera in English) Canadian baritone Gerald Finley is one of the most versatile artists currently active on the world's stages. As a robust, lyric baritone, he is perfectly poised in a hybrid vocal category that easily encompasses traditional operatic roles, the intimacy of the recital platform, and even musical theater... more> KennedyCD Review: Andrew Kennedy sings Mozart, Gluck & Berlioz (Signum) This is an impressive album of challenging arias from relative newcomer, tenor Andrew Kennedy. Judging from his biography as published in the notes to the recording, he may be best known to British audiences, since he studied at both King's College and the RCM, and was also a member of the Young Artists... more>
On the Town and The RevuersCD Review: Leonard Bernstein's On the Town and the rarity The Revuers As much as I admire West Side Story (1957), Leonard Bernstein's much earlier On the Town of 1944 has always been closer to my heart. Written in the latter stages of the Second World War, it deals with three soldiers on ‘shore leave' for a day, and their adventures... more> DvorakCD Review: Sir Charles Mackerras and the Philharmonia in Dvorák Symphonies (Signum) As the Australian conductor Sir Charles Mackerras approaches his eighty-fifth birthday later this year, he continues to make impressive contributions to an already imposing discography. World-renowned in large part for his fervent advocacy of Czech music, Mackerras has made... more>
MouluCD Review: Stephen Rice and The Brabant Ensemble in Moulu (Hyperion) The early music pioneer Noah Greenberg once wrote of Gustav Reese's books, Music in the Middle Ages and Music in the Renaissance, that they 'not only opened up six or seven centuries of music hitherto known only to certain scholars in the United States, but also gave us insight into almost every aspect... more> Von OtterCD Review: Anne Sofie von Otter sings French Baroque arias (Archiv) In the notes for her newest recording Ombre de mon amant, Anne Sofie von Otter refers to French music from the Baroque period as her 'new love affair'. It almost seems impossible that this is her first solo recording of arias by such composers as Rameau, Charpentier, and Lambert, since von Otter's voice and technique fit so... more>
AntoniniCD Review: Giovanni Antonini conducts Beethoven Symphonies 5&6 (Sony) This coupling marks the mid-point of an ongoing Beethoven cycle, and is the first of the series to come my way. The usual doubts about yet another set of the Great Nine symphonies being necessary in the present economic climate, however, are allayed within minutes of putting this disc on... more> MercerCD Review: Shannon Mercer sings music by Francesca Caccini (Analekta) Despite the fact that this new release of arias by Francesca Caccini appears to be Shannon Mercer's sixth recording for the Analekta label, I had never previously encountered this superb soprano. A quick check of the catalog reveals that she has recorded Welsh songs and music by Bach, Vivaldi, Mondonville, and Marais... more>
HoughCD Review: Stephen Hough's Tchaikovsky marks Hyperion's half-century Twenty years after its conception, Hyperion's widely-acclaimed Romantic Piano Concerto series has reached its discographical half-century. The statistics make for very impressive reading. 131 works for piano and orchestra by 63 composers, performed by a total of 20 pianists under... more> Tallis ScholarsCD Review: Victoria's Lamentations of Jeremiah: The Tallis Scholars (Gimell) Back in 1990 when The Tallis Scholars were celebrating Gimell's tenth birthday, David Fallows wrote of their first disc 'It is hard to think of a record label having had a more auspicious debut or one that so clearly forecast what was to come over the next decade, in terms of both repertory and performance quality'... more>
O Praise the LordCD Review: Restoration Music from James O'Donnell and Westminster Abbey (Hyperion) When musicians with such a rich history as that of The Choir of Westminster Abbey choose to research and record their musical inheritance, we can be pretty certain such a project will be both exciting and illuminating. That this disc has also been fuelled, one suspects, by some impressively... more> ElgarCD Reviews: Elgar Violin Concertos from Znaider & Zehetmair (RCA/Hallé) If there was any residual doubt as to the music of Elgar now reaching well beyond the borders of England to mainland Europe – from which the composer drew perhaps greater influence than his homeland – these two new excellent recordings must surely banish it once and for all. For here we have... more>
Schnitzer and SeiffertCD Review: Wagner from Peter Seiffert and Petra Maria Schnitzer (Orfeo) The Munich-based label Orfeo has long maintained an interesting catalog of recordings that have showcased unusual repertoire and first-rate singers. I had looked forward to hearing this new disc of Wagner scenes by the husband and wife team of tenor Peter Seiffert and soprano Petra Maria Schnitzer for... more> ZomerCD Review: Love and Madness: Johanette Zomer sings Handel Arias (Channel Classics) There has been much recent interest in reviving every last note of Georg Friedrich Händel's vocal music, and it seems like new discs of his arias appear on the market almost monthly. There are literally dozens to choose from, many of which offer singing and orchestral playing of the... more>
RogierCD Review: Rogier from the Choir of King's College London (Hyperion) There are still surprisingly few recordings available of music by Philipe Rogier so a new release, especially one of such high quality as this, is particularly welcome. On this disc, their first for Hyperion, The Choir of King's College London directed by David Trendell present Rogier's magnificent parody mass... more> AllegroCD Review: Rodgers and Hammerstein's Allegro (Sony Broadway Masterworks) During the 1940s and particularly the 1950s, the Broadway musical attained a cultural respectability it had never really enjoyed before and which it started to lose at the end of that period. Without question, the most important figures in this period were Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II... more>
MitridateCD Review: Adam Fischer conducts Mozart's Mitridate (Da Capo) The catalog of Mozart opera recordings isn't exactly crowded with versions of his early opera seria Mitridate, re di Ponto. In fact, this new release from conductor Adam Fischer, published on the Dacapo Records label, is only the third studio issue, following previous recordings from Leopold Hager and Christophe Rousset... more> WalkureOpera CD Review: Simone Young conducts Die Walküre (Oehms) This tautly dramatic performance of Die Walküre continues the leisurely release of Hamburg Opera's Ring on Oehms. Like Thielemann's complete cycle on Opus Arte, it is on CD only; unlike Thielemann's, the booklet is lavishly illustrated giving us a hint of an interesting looking production... more>
AladdinCD Review: Cole Porter's TV musical, Aladdin (Naxos) All credit to Naxos for being imaginative in their choice for this latest instalment in their public-domain Naxos Musicals series (not available in the USA for legal reasons). Aladdin (1958) was Cole Porter's final completed work and represents his attempt to write the score for a CBS television musical, a genre which was... more> Call Me FlottCD Review: Felicity Lott's new album - Call Me Flott At the age of 62, Dame Felicity Lott is still in command of a formidable instrument. The top of her soprano is less creamy than it was, but she still creates a beautiful sound, has excellent tuning and sings with crisp diction. For her latest release, she's joined forces with regular pianist partner Graham Johnson for a CD of... more>
Wizard of OzCD Review: Classic Movie Musical soundtracks re-released on Sony Avid collectors of soundtracks, particularly those of movie musicals, will already have the titles under discussion in this review, since they're reissues of a series previously available from the Turner Entertainment Co. in the late 1990s and 2000s. But making them newly available at affordable prices for the UK market.... more> Orlando PaladinoOpera DVD Review: René Jacobs conducts Haydn's Orlando Paladino (Harmonia Mundi) This outstanding production of Joseph Haydn's Orlando Paladino was concocted at Berlin's Staatsoper Unter den Linden and recorded live on 8 May, 2009 in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the composer's death. Aside from the focused attention of conductor Antal Doráti ... more>
Alpine SymphonyCD Reviews: New Alpine Symphonies from Haitink and Bychkov (LSO Live/Profil) It's an ironic coincidence that as we get into this pair of Mahler anniversaries we have two new recordings of Strauss's Alpine Symphony. As studies of the symphony's long gestation have shown, it was finally completed as both a tribute to Mahler the man and a critique of what Strauss... more> FalstaffDVD Review: Christopher Purves stars in Richard Jones's Glyndebourne Falstaff (Opus Arte) With this Glyndebourne production of Verdi's final masterpiece, Falstaff, Richard Jones's unique directorial style – sometimes astringent, never dull – finds a magnificent partner. Widely praised when it was unveiled at the start of the 2009 festival, and subsequently taken on tour... more>
DvorakCD Review: Piers Lane and the Goldner Quartet in Dvorak (Hyperion) Antonín Dvorák's two works for piano quintet herald from very different stages in the composer's development. The First Quintet, Op. 5 was written in 1872 by a struggling viola player whose attempts find a unique compositional voice led towards often astounding, if underappreciated, experimentalism... more> MerlinCD Review: A rare outing for Carl Goldmark's Merlin (Hänssler Profil) Hungarian composer Carl Goldmark (1830 – 1915) was something of a self-taught renaissance man. In addition to composition, he studied languages, philosophy, literature, and sciences, and continued on the path of learning throughout his life. By age 45, he had achieved worldwide fame... more>
LuisiCD Review: Fabio Luisi conducts Strauss's Don Juan and Aus Italien(Sony) The Staatskapelle Dresden has seen Music Directors come and go, sailing relatively unscathed through its centuries-long tradition. Fabio Luisi is the lastest casualty, storming out a month ago in the middle of preparations for a Ring Cycle at the Semperoper. The controversial figure of Christian Thielemann looms... more> ManiaciCD Review: Male soprano Michael Maniaci sings Mozart (Telarc) Following hard on the heels of Philippe Jaroussky's recent disc of 'Forgotten Castrato Arias', comes this new disc from 'male soprano' Michael Maniaci. For his debut with the American label Telarc, Maniaci has chosen an all Mozart program of arias originally composed for soprano castrato. In addition to vocal selections from the operas... more>
TristanDVD Review: Christoph Marthaler's Tristan from Bayeruth (Opus Arte) Following hot on the heels of Christian Thielemann's Ring – released, unusually for Opus Arte, on CD – the company is back in its usual medium for this Tristan und Isolde. Again from Bayreuth, the performance has appeared on DVD with unusual speed, but enters a catalogue already well stocked with filmed versions... more> LucreziaCD Review: A disappointing new Lucrezia Borgia from Bergamo (Naxos) Gaetano Donizetti achieved lasting fame as one of Italy's greatest nineteenth-century composers when his opera Anna Bolena was produced in Milan during December of 1830. Certainly no 'overnight success', he had already been composing operatic works for nearly fifteen years, and by 1826 at age 29... more>
RingOpera CD Review: Christian Thielemann conducts the Ring at Bayreuth (Opus Arte) This new Ring from Opus Arte seems coloured by tacit criticisms. Most obvious is the fact that there's no mention of the fact that this cycle, recorded at the 2008 Bayreuth Festival, was a revival of Tankred Dorst's 2006 production. The box-cover for each work in the tetralogy is all we have to give us a hint... more> ByrdCD Review: The Cardinall's Musick conclude their monumental Byrd survey (Hyperion) The Byrd Edition finally comes to an end with this highly impassioned volume that closes with a long-awaited recording of Infelix ego. Regular readers will know that I have been extremely enthusiastic about this entire recording-project which I see as important both for understanding the magnitude... more>
NeuwirthCD Review: Works by Gösta Neuwirth (Kairos) At the outset of the composer's biography for this new CD, Gösta Neuwirth writes: 'I can with a clear conscience take up Doderer's dictum of having "no biography," but rather "just the… collected deeds of an environment which came to be more or less by accident," for which the following notes on the "subject" may be sufficient.'... more> KohCD Review: Jennifer Koh's Rhapsodic Musings (Cedille) The young violinist Jennifer Koh has been garnering praise Stateside for a high standard of technical punch and a forward-looking ethos. She is now also gathering momentum on an international level, having made a well-received appearance at last year's Proms with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, performing... more>
BrucknerCD Review: Yannick Nézet-Séguin tackles Bruckner's Eighth (Atma) Yannick Nézet-Séguin is arguably the most up-and-coming conductor in the classical music world as we enter 2010. As well as being in his second season as both Principal Conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic and Principal Guest Conductor of the LPO, the young French-Canadian maestro continues... more> RossiniCD Review: Rossini Songs from Opera Rara Devoted entirely to one composer – Gioacchino Rossini – the thirteenth volume of Opera Rara's 'Il Salotto' series is one of the most uniformly satisfying issues to date. Begun around a decade ago with songs by Saverio Mercadante, this important series of recordings has illuminated many hidden corners of repertoire... more>
DamrauCD Review: Diana Damrau's COLORaturaS (Virgin) Sooner or later, every successful coloratura soprano with the good fortune of having a recording contract must issue at least one collection of 'chestnuts'. These are the arias known by every aficionado, and thus, recent singers may be easily compared with their predecessors' recorded legacies. While every selection... more> LohengrinCD Review: Semyon Bychkov's outstanding new Lohengrin In his notes accompanying this superb new recording of Wagner's Lohengrin, conductor Semyon Bychkov shares his personal journey toward the discovery of a new perspective on the character of the scheming, evil Ortrud. Understandably perplexed about how we, as listeners, can feel empathy... more>
HandelCD Review: Dazzling performances of Handel's 1720 keyboard suites Handel's 1720 Eight Great Suites for keyboard, despite being comparatively neglected in his output, have received many fine and diverse recordings over the years. On piano, Sviatoslav Richter's late-seventies reading of these eclectic and colourful works has long been a ... more> JarousskyCD Review: Philippe Jaroussky sings J.C. Bach (Virgin) There has been a strong resurgence in the popularity of Handel's operas over the last ten years, complete with textual editions and period performance practices informed by the solid scholarship that results from research into the primary sources. We are able to hear music from the seventeenth and eighteenth... more>
Ensemble 360CD Review: Ensemble 360 in Beethoven's Septet and Serenade in D (Nimbus Alliance) The retirement of The Lindsay Quartet in 2005 left a blot on the musical landscape, especially in Sheffield, where they were resident for three decades at The Crucible. Replacing them must have been no mean feat, but Ensemble 360 stepped into their shoes very successfully on the group's formation in 2005... more> Porgy and BessCD Reviews: A selection of recent vocal releases Just as the economy's at an all-time low, the classical music record business is at its most productive in a long time. Not a week goes by without another one dropping through my letterbox, and the range of repertoire, artists and styles is encouraging. Space and time don't permit for fuller reviews of some of these items, so this article... more>
GenauxCD Review: Vivaldi Pyrotechnics from Vivica Genaux (Virgin) Firmly established as a specialist in Baroque music, Vivica Genaux has repeatedly stunned her listeners with jaw-dropping renditions of the most hair-raisingly difficult coloratura music. Though she has spent a good deal of time on stage impersonating Rossini's comic heroines, Genaux clearly... more> NelsonsCD Review: A new Heldenleben from Nelsons and the CBSO (Orfeo) That the Munich-based record label Orfeo should have struck a deal with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and its recently-installed, Latvian Music Director, Andris Nelsons, is testament to the orchestra's continued standing in the top-flight. And as Nelsons has already shown... more>
PadmoreCD Review: A new Winterreise from Padmore and Lewis (HM) This new Winterreise marks the start of a survey of Schubert's song-cycles by Mark Padmore and Paul Lewis. Presented in Harmonia Mundi's typically lavish style it shows two fine artists bringing a wealth of intelligence to what, by general consent, is the pinnacle of the lieder repertoire. Most fascinating, perhaps, is the way in which Padmore... more> King'sCD Review: Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols from King's Cambridge (EMI) First heard in something close to its present format in 1918, 'A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols' from King's College in Cambridge has become an iconic herald of Christmas. The programming of spoken verses from the King James Bible, interspersed with 'carols' and 'hymns'... more>
L'amico FritzOpera CD Review: Mascagni's L'amico Fritz with Roberto Alagna and Angela Gheorghiu It's hard to know whether Deutsche Grammophon's timing with this new recording of Mascagni's L'amico Fritz is unfortunate or ideal. Bringing together Roberto Alagna and Angela Gheorghiu as Fritz Kobus and Suzel in a rare joint recording since his move to DG from EMI... more> StoyanovaCD Review: Simone Kermes explores 18th century Naples with Lava (DHM) This interesting disc is emblematic of (at least) two things: the huge importance of Naples as an operatic centre in the period 1720 – 1750, and the richness and diversity of the composers whose operas were performed there. If we are by now thoroughly used to opera seria in some of Mozart and above all in... more>
DavislimCD Review: Steve Davislim tackles Winterreise (Melba) This is a handsome CD, playing a shade under 80 minutes, with an integrated booklet running to 54 pages – excellent notes on the work by Richard Stokes, full texts (with the Stokes translations) and credits. It is an all-Australian production, as the record label name suggests, produced in SACD and hybrid surround sound format with the help... more> StoyanovaCD Review: A new operatic recital from Krassimira Stoyanova (Orfeo) This fascinating album of arias for lyric soprano is an absolute triumph for all concerned. The Orfeo label has scored a major coup in signing soprano Krassimira Stoyanova, and one hopes that many more recordings will follow this superb debut disc. Stoyanova first came to the attention of American music... more>
SantafeCD Review: Silvia Tro Santafe in Rossini Scenes and Arias (Signum) From the first notes she sings in 'Cruda sorte! Amor tiranno!' from Rossini's L'Italiana in Algeri, Spanish mezzo-soprano Silvia Tro Santafé presents a strong vocal profile. While her sound may be unconventional, it lends a precision to her characterizations, and will surely help this promising young singer... more> HarterosCD Review: Anja Harteros's Von ewiger Liebe recital (Berlin Classics) Few Lieder recital CDs provide as much enjoyment as this release from soprano Anja Harteros with pianist Wolfram Rieger. Planned originally as a programme for a live concert series, and then subsequently committed to disc under studio conditions, Harteros said, in an interview printed in the accompanying notes... more>
ParisinaCD Review: Donizetti's Parisina in a new recording from Opera Rara Donizetti's brooding and tragic Parisina is one of those rare operas that is both superior in construction and dramatic effect, yet remarkably underperformed. Most 'forgotten operas' have fallen into neglect for a reason: the list of flaws that can diminish the popularity of an opera is endless... more> Georges Aperghis: Works for PianoCD Review: Georges Aperghis: Works for Piano Although listeners outside mainland Europe don't hear much of Georges Aperghis's music in general, his ensemble and chamber works are especially under-represented. These two aspects of Aperghis's corpus represent less well-known features of a composer who is of course usually considered in terms of his... more>
Rattle BrahmsCD Review: Sir Simon Rattle's complete Brahms symphonies with the Berlin Philharmonic Poor old Simon Rattle's about as popular with music critics in the British press as Gordon Brown is nowadays. Having seemingly been able to do nothing wrong during his rise to prominence as the Assistant Conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony... more> Beggar's OperaCD Review: Christian Curnyn conducts The Beggar's Opera (Chandos) There are so few recordings of Britten's version of The Beggar's Opera that this attractively packaged release on the Chandos label is immediately a very welcome addition. It is also a superb performance as we have come to expect from the Curnyn-Chandos partnership, which has been growing from... more>
DiDonatoCD Review: Joyce DiDonato explores Rossini's operas for Colbran (Virgin) Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato has been slowly building a major career, and now must certainly be counted among the most important singers of her generation. Unlike many singers who succumb to the temptations of stardom – debuts all over the world in rapid succession, unwise repertoire choices... more> GlazunovCD Review: The conclusion of José Serebrier's Glazunov cycle (WCJ) José Serebrier's Glazunov cycle with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra comes to a conclusion with this double-CD set (for the price of one) of the first three and 'unfinished' ninth works in the Russian composer's symphonic crop. It's remarkable in many ways that such a project should have been... more>
MahlerCD Review: Tilson Thomas's San Fransisco Mahler Eight (SFS) As seems to have become customary, Michael Tilson Thomas brings his Mahler cycle with the San Francisco Symphony to a close with the mighty 'Symphony of a Thousand'. A couple of song-cycles are still to come but this release represents the culmination of an extremely impressive project, and a considerably... more> KautenCD Review: Andrea Kauten plays Schumann (Sony) This is the second disc of Schumann to be recorded by the Swiss/Hungarian pianist Andrea Kauten, but I missed the first one (which included Kreisleriana) and am hearing her in this slightly lesser-known Schumann for the first time. I have to say at the outset that I do not really like her style of playing. The blurb in the booklet... more>
MahlerCD Review: New recordings of Mahler's Ninth from Nott and Gilbert (Tudor/BIS) Jonathan Nott's ongoing survey of Mahler's symphonies for the small Swiss label, Tudor, has been building up quite a head of steam, garnering positive notices and bringing the British conductor to the attention of a wider audience. His appearances in the UK, two concerts at this year's Proms.... more> WestminsterCD Review: From the Vaults of Westminster Cathedral (Hyperion) This latest album from one of the world's most famous choirs is a collection of chant, polyphony and organ improvisations marking the start of the church year, Advent, and running through Christmas to Epiphany and the Presentation of our Lord. Chant and polyphony have formed the backbone of... more>
Verdi's RequiemCD Review: Antonio Pappano joins forces with Villazon and Harteros for Verdi's Requiem Even conductors who seldom if ever conduct Verdi's operas take on the challenge of interpreting his setting of the Requiem Mass for the Dead. That means that there are literally hundreds of recordings of the piece and any new addition to the catalogue... more> Don't Talk - Just Listen!CD Review: Don't talk - just listen! The Clerks/Wickham (Signum) The Clerks, like many early music ensembles, have a strong interest in contemporary music and regularly perform new works. This album is a collection of their specially commissioned pieces reaching back over a decade and as such it draws together a selection of music that finds common ground in the exploration... more>
DomesticaCD Review: A fine new Symphonia Domestica from the Staatskapelle Weimar (Naxos) The music of Richard Strauss has not fared so well in Naxos's catalogue as that of other composers and, historically, its recordings of the major tone poems have been something of a disappointment. Until, that is, they set about recording with the Staatskapelle Weimar... more> ScarlattiCD Review: Scarlatti's Davidis pugna et Victoria(from Alessandro De Marchi (Hyperion) When opera was banned during the season of lent, such was the demand for oratorio that Alessandro Scarlatti wrote 38 in his lifetime, most of which were for performance in the Roman church or private palaces. Davidis pugna et victoria was written for a company... more>
NorringtonCD Review: An original take on Bruckner 7 from Roger Norrington (Hänssler) The applause the greets this live recording of Bruckner's Seventh Symphony, as captured on this release from Hänsler Classics, sounds a little muted. It's an understandable reaction, since Norrington's approach seems even more bracing and revisionist in the Seventh, one of the composer's most popular ... more> SDGCD Reviews: Bach Brandenburgs, Cantatas and Brahms 3 from John Eliot Gardiner (SDG) I confess I can hardly keep up with the activities of Soli Deo Gloria. The independent record label was set up by Sir John Eliot Gardiner as a way of releasing the recordings made during his 'Bach Cantata Pilgrimage' during the year 2000 after the project was dropped by... more>
ZinmanCD Review: Mahler 7 from Zinman and the Tonhalle Orchestra (RCA) David Zinman and his Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich have been quietly plugging away at their Mahler cycle on RCA over the past couple of years, receiving respectful, if not always gushing notices in the music press. This latest release has all the virtues of earlier instalments in the series but these qualities often seem to... more> BarkerCD Review: Arias in English from Cheryl Barker (Chandos) Australian soprano Cheryl Barker has been responsible for some of the most exciting performances at English National Opera over the last few seasons, including the most impressive Madam Butterfly I have seen, as well as a searing Emilia Marty in Janacek's The Makropoulos Case, and a haunting Miss Jessel in The Turn of the Screw... more>
KoyaanisqatsiCD Review: Philip Glass's complete score for Koyaanisqatsi (OMM) Chances are that many people's first encounter with the music of Philip Glass came through the seminal film Koyaanisqatsi. Released in cinemas in 1983, and enjoying subsequently a healthy afterlife on video and DVD formats, Koyaanisqatsi was Glass's first foray into the world of film scoring and soundtracks. It is an area ... more> RihmCD Review: Rihm's La musique creuse le ciel (Neos) Wolfgang Rihm has emerged as one of the most respected German composers of his day, with credentials that appeal to avant-garde and not-so-avant-garde audiences alike. Though the music in his corpus can be brash, brooding and explosive by turns, as would be expected for 'serious' contemporary music, its range is encompassing enough... more>
ThaisDVD Review: Barbara Frittoli in a new Thaïs from Turin (Arthaus) Massenet's Thaďs, a rarity but for its ubiquitous Meditation, has been enjoying something of a resurgence in the last decade. Part of this must be down to Renée Fleming, whose luxurious studio recording on Decca was a vocal tour-de-force, and whose MET performance is, the rumour mill tells us, to appear on DVD... more> WagnerDVD Reviews: Siegfried and Götterdämmerung complete the 'Weimar Ring' (Arthaus) The final two instalments of the 'Weimar Ring', as released on these double-DVD sets from Arthaus, unfortunately do little to answer questions posed in the Rheingold and Die Walküre, reviewed here. At the same time, while the first two operas had the feeling... more>
KeenlysideCD Review: Simon Keenlyside's new Dichterliebe (Sony) As Simon Keenlyside flexes his vocal muscles reprising the role of Posa in the Royal Opera's Don Carlo, this disc serves as a timely reminder of his skills as an interpreter of lieder. Reunited with pianist Malcolm Martineau, with whom he recorded a pair of wonderful song discs for EMI Eminence – Schubert and Strauss ... more> StraussCD Review: Strauss Operatic Fantasies from the Buffalo Philharmonic (Naxos) On the face of it, this disc presents an attractive programme of three of Strauss's concert pieces cobbled together from scores for the theatre. They appear on the disc in descending order of popularity, starting with the Rosenkavalier Suite, followed by the Symphonic Fantasy on Die Frau ohne Schatten... more>
ArgerichCD Review: Concertos in the Martha Argerich Collection vol. 2 (DG) A year after volume one of Deutsche Grammophon's Martha Argerich collection, the release of volume two gathers together all her concerto recordings for the label. We're obviously missing some of her best-known recordings but this collection still includes one gem after another. Argerich's playing, of course... more> Flying HorseCD Review: Flying Horse: Elizabeth Kenny plays from the ML lutebook (Hyperion) Volumes of music that contain many different sources of handwriting as well as short pieces written in the left-over spaces at the bottom of pages often convey clues as to their owners and the history of their usage. MS 38539 in the British Library is just one such volume and it is from this interesting... more>
PurcellCD Review: Purcell's Ayres for the Theatre from the Parley of Instruments (Hyperion) One of the really wonderful things about the anniversary industry that consumes our current music programming are the re-releases that invariably accompany the celebration of a major composer. This generous 3-CD set makes a welcome reappearance almost fifteen years after it was recorded... more> BrucknerCD Review: Bruckner Symphonies Nos. 3 & 4 from Jansons and the Concertgebouw This year has already seen several significant additions to a burgeoning Bruckner catalogue, and this bargain two-for-one from the Concertgebouw Orchestra's own label is yet another welcome release. The dream-team of the great Dutch band... more>
Debussy and RavelCD Review: Debussy and Ravel from the Ashkenzys (Decca) For two composers, Debussy and Ravel, who were such masters of writing for both piano and orchestra, the two piano medium seemed in many ways a practical compromise, providing an expanded range of piano sonorities as well as a useful testing ground for later orchestral works. However, such were the slight... more> LamentationsCD Review: Nordic Voices' Lamentations (Chandos) The six-voice a cappella vocal ensemble, Nordic Voices, was formed a little over ten years ago to specialize in both Renaissance and Contemporary music. In this, their fifth album, they present a moving programme of renaissance Lamentations. These are settings of Old Testament verses written by Jeremiah... more>
ByrdCD Review: Volume 12 of The Cardinall's Musick's Byrd (Hyperion) This is the twelfth volume of The Byrd Edition from The Cardinall's Musick and it covers three settings of Mass Propers celebrating the life of the Virgin Mary through her Nativity, the Annunciation and the Assumption as well as Four Hymns from the Little Office of the Virgin... more> Alpine SymphonyCD Review: Strauss's Alpine Symphony from Janowski (Pentatone) Few works lend themselves better to the expanded sonic possibilities of SACD than Richard Strauss's Alpine Symphony, the final and most technically magnificent of his tone poems. This new account from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra under Marek Janowski enters a highly competitive field... more>
JansonsCD Reviews: 8 CDs from BR-Klassik, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra's new label Hot on the heels of the launch of the Mariinsky Theatre's new CD label a couple of months ago the Bayerishe Rundfunk (Bavarian Radio) is launching its own label, devoted to making the performances of the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks... more> PergolesiCD Reviews: Recent releases from the Naive label Such is the quality of nearly every single release from the French Naïve label that one wonders how they manage it. The quantity of recordings emanating from the studios is almost more than one can keep up with, and much of it is of interesting and ambitious repertoire. The presentation quality is always great... more>
LopezCD Review: Francisco López: Through the Looking Glass (Kairos) In Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass, Alice ventures through the mirror to explore the space shown on its surface. It is the space of our own world in reflection; but this area she enters is not, as would be anticipated by reason, a direct representation of the world: rather, the looking glass, in the process of doubling... more> The Copenhagen RingDVD Review: The Copenhagen Ring on Decca Given the spread of feminist literature on opera, and of feminist opera productions, it was probably only a matter of time before someone tackled Wagner's Ring Cycle from a feminist point of view. And yet on second thoughts, Kasper Bech Holten's production of the Ring from the Royal Danish Operay... more>
PergolesiCD Review: a new Pergolesi Stabat Mater from Claudio Abbado (Archiv) Although we are currently occupied with Handel's anniversary performances it is worth taking time to reflect that 2010 brings a Pergolesi celebration; a composer who will surely benefit greatly from the reevaluation that inevitably accompanies such attention. This new album from Abbado and Orchestra Mozart... more> FisetCD Review: An exciting Russian recital from soprano Marianne Fiset (Analekta) This recital of Russian repertoire is Marianne Fiset's second solo disc, following on from a well-received recording of Ravel and Debussy songs, but the young soprano will be new to many, as her career so far appears to have been largely confined to Canada and other francophone countries... more>
CassandreCD Review: Michael Jarrell's Cassandra on Kairos One of the new works to be programmed at the Proms this year was Michael Jarrell's Sillages, which was performed in Prom 25 to a warm reception. Following this, a new release on Kairos presents a major vocal work by the Swiss composer, Cassandre, dating from 1994. The disc is the latest in Kairos's Sirčnes series ... more> KatsarisCD Review: Cyprien Katsaris at the 1970 Tchaikovsky Competition (Piano21) This is perhaps one of the most interesting recordings to have come out on Cyprien Katsaris's own Piano21 label so far, providing a document of the pianist's appearance at the 1970 Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. On its own, the disc is a rather piecemeal affair: the stringent repertoire... more>
BrahmsCD Review: Brahms's late piano works from Anna Gourari (Berlin Classics) Brahms's late piano pieces exude mystery. The surrounding biographical details are unclear: we don't know exactly when they were written, whether they were conceived as they are or developed into their final form over time, nor whether Brahms intended them to be played individually or grouped together... more> PoppeaDVD Review: Danielle De Niese stars in Robert Carsen's Glyndebourne Poppea (Decca) This smart and sexy production of L'incoronazione di Poppea is the second show from last year's Glyndebourne Festival to make it onto DVD. While it might share a few cast members with Laurent Pelly's updated Hansel and Gretel, it would be difficult to imagine a greater contrast. Robert Carsen's take on ... more>
LearCD Review: A new recording of Reimann's Lear from Frankfurt (Oehms) With its political power games, its double mad scene – taking place in a storm no less – and that horrific eye-gouging, Shakespeare's King Lear seems to have the perfect ingredients for an opera. But unlike the other three late great tragedies, Hamlet, Macbeth and Othello, which have all made their way successfully into... more> PhinotCD Review: Phinot from the Brabant Ensemble (Hyperion) This new album from The Brabant Ensemble is a powerful reminder that there are still considerable quantities of early sixteenth-century music to be explored. Much of it is of a very high quality indeed which suggests that we may have become too reliant on a core repertoire, an 'early music canon' that quenches our thirst for new... more>
BrucknerCD Reviews: Bruckner Symphonies from Luisi, Järvi and Nagano (Sony/BMG) With these three discs from Sony/BMG, one could easily be forgiven for thinking that 2009 was some sort of Bruckner anniversary. All recorded lavishly and released on SACD, they feature three German orchestras very much at the top of their games; the recordings from Dresden and Frankfurt are live... more> SchubertCD Review: The Ykeda Duo's debut disc of Schubert (Lontano) This all Schubert programme marks the debut on disc of the Ykeda Duo, made up of pianists Tamayo Ikeda and Patrick Zygamonowski. The booklet essay tells us nothing about the works in question but focuses on the story of the two musicians, she a Japanese who came to Paris in 1989 to be taken under the.... more>
HarveyCD Review: Jonathan Harvey's works for Piano and Flute (Neos) One might think Jonathan Harvey's age and stature would see him well represented in terms of CD releases. This is surprisingly not the case, however: there are relatively few recordings available of his major works, with some of those that were previously released having been deleted. This release on Neos, then, of Harvey's music... more> HarveyCD Review: Schumann Symphonies from Stanislaw Skrowaczewski (Oehms) Stanislaw Skrowaczewski has achieved remarkable acclaim in the recording studio over the past decade with laudatory complete cycles of the Bruckner and Beethoven symphonies. This was, perhaps, somewhat unexpected considering that these feats were accomplished not whilst at the helm of the... more>
DvorakCD Review: Yakov Kreizberg conducts Dvorák's Seventh Symphony (Pentatone) Dvořák's Seventh Symphony may not be considered the composer's most popular – the 'New World' will likely never relinquish that title – yet it is widely regarded as his finest example in the genre, a masterfully-constructed dark and turbulent work which ultimately ends in a blaze... more> ZefiroCD Review: A thrilling new Fireworks Musick from Zefiro (DHM) Only just over half way through the anniversary year, and the flood of new recordings and reissues of Handel – obscure and well-known – shows no sign of slowing down. However, I'm not complaining if we're going to get discs as thrilling and invigorating as this new release from Italian period instrument outfit Zefiro ... more>
HosokawaCD Review: Solo concertos by Toshio Hosokawa vol.1 (Neos) Toshio Hosokawa is a Japanese composer born in Hiroshima. For part of his studies he spent time in Berlin, and since the late eighties he has established himself as a prominent presence on the contemporary scene in Germany, teaching there regularly and being composer in residence with DSO Berlin in 2006-7... more> DvorakCD Review: Magdalena Kozena's Vivaldi CD (Archiv) I wonder why Vivaldi is the new flavour of the month? I admire his operatic output enormously, but with Naïve's impeccably performed and academically sound Complete Vivaldi Edition well underway, it seems to me that it really needs something special to justify recording another straightforward arias disc.... more>
JansonsCD Reviews: Haydn from Jansons, Szell and Weil (Sony) Three Haydn releases from three very different sources on Sony Classical show how valid different approaches to the symphonies can be, whilst remaining equally enjoyable and, in the best Haydnesque manner, life-affirming. First is a brand new disc of two 'London' symphonies from the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra... more> SalomeDVD Review: Peter Hall's 1992 Salome returns to DVD (Opus Arte) A routine reappearance of a favourite Salome on this Opus Arte DVD takes on a special poignancy given the recent death of Sir Edward Downes. And with a justly famous portrayal of the title role from Maria Ewing – her willingness to bare all in the Dance of the Seven Veils less admirable than the astonishing ... more>
RichterCD Review: A lavish reissue of Sviatoslav Richter's complete DG Recordings One of the few advantages of pianists such as Sviatoslav Richter and, more recently, Martha Argerich having been difficult to lure into recording studio is that Deutsche Grammophon are able to produce beautifully packaged complete retrospectives that give a wonderful glimpse of their work for the label without... more> BenedictCD Review: Concertos by Benedict & Macfarren (Hyperion) As we near the fiftieth release in Hyperion's Romantic Piano Concerto series, the enterprise looks determined as ever. And this disc, Vol.48, embodies what's so admirable about the idea while posing an important question: is there really enough decent music out there still to carry on? Of course, piano concertos were churned... more>
HanselDVD Reviews: Modern twists on Hansel and Gretel from Leiser & Caurier and Pelly Engelbert Humperdinck's Hänsel und Gretel shows no signs of losing its popularity. Produced this summer for London's Opera Holland Park, these two DVDs capture a couple more high profile productions staged within the last year in the UK. Both attempt to emphasise the work's relevance ... more> DellerDVD Review: Alfred Deller: Portrait d'une Voix (Harmonia Mundi) This fascinating documentary from 1976 is, somewhat surprisingly, one of the few filmed interviews with Alfred Deller. Surprising because Deller is really the first countertenor of the modern era, a countertenor as we know them today, and even though we are all aware of his legacy and many bons mots, it seems ... more>
MariinskyCD Review: Mariinsky Label launches with Shostakovich's Nose and Symphonies 1 and 15 These two new releases represent the birth of what could be the most exciting new record label since the inception of LSO Live – and it's perhaps no surprise that the LSO team is behind it. Mariinsky, as the new label is simply called, is the latest project of Valery Gergiev, who... more> CorradoCD Review: Ricci's Corrado d'Altamura on Opera Rara Anticipation is always great for new Opera Rara releases, because the mixture of excellent studio conditions and superb packaging always makes for a luxury product. On top of that, we get to know interesting works from a fascinating period of music history – ones which have fallen by the wayside, either because of poor... more>
NaganoCD Review: Nagano conducts Vogt and Gerhaher in Das Lied von der Erde (Sony)Whereas recordings of baritones in Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde used to be very much the exception, they now seem to be appearing every bit as frequently as those with mezzo. Inevitably, it's the lieder specialists that crop up and after Michael Tilson Thomas's recording with Thomas Hampson... more> LemieuxCD Review: Schumann from Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Naive) It's difficult when presented with a disc of Schumann, sung by a francophone contralto, not to think immediately of Natalie Stutzmann. Luckily, Marie-Nocole Lemieux, rather than suffering by the comparison, has presented a passionate and fresh view of these two great cycles that only makes me want to hear her in... more>
TempestCD Review: Thomas Adčs' The Tempest live from Covent Garden I was disappointed when I saw Thomas Adčs' much-admired Tempest on its second run at Covent Garden in 2007. A live recording (presumably a portmanteau made of excerpts from various dates on the run) has been released on EMI to more acclaim, yet I remain disappointed, The piece fundamentally.... more> IdomeneoCD Review: René Jacobs' new recording of Idomeneo (HM) As an opera seria on a Greek subject, there's a certain unfortunate irony in the fact that a great deal of good work on René Jacobs's new Idomeneo is largely undone by a kind of musical hubris. As several critics have noted – with varying degrees of tolerance – the lively and witty continuo playing that brought so much of the... more>
VictoriaCD Review: Victoria from the Westminster Cathedral Lay Clerks (Hyperion) Tomás Luis de Victoria is often described as one of the great composers of the mature polyphonic style and although his music is, broadly speaking, from the 'Palestrina School' he infused it with a uniquely Spanish atmosphere. Westminster Cathedral Choir are, of course, specialists in this area and have ... more> Weimar RingDVD Reviews: The first two instalments of a new Ring from Weimar (Arthaus) Home to both Goethe and Liszt – who conducted the premiere of Lohengrin there in 1851 – Weimar has an impressive cultural heritige, yet doesn't occupy the kind of position on the musical map one might expect. However, the Staatskapelle Weimar has recently been gathering an excellent reputation ... more>
TristanDVD Review: Gwyneth Jones and Rene Kollo star in the Deutsche Oper's Tristan (TDK) Wagner's Tristan und Isolde is relatively well represented on DVD, but this release is notable for being the only commercial account of the Isolde of the legendary dramatic soprano Dame Gwyneth Jones which is currently readily available. Jones first performed Isolde in 1978, but this performance... more> Maria Joao PiresCD Review: Late Chopin piano and cello works with Maria João Pires When the Portuguese pianist Maria João Pires refers to her new two-disc Chopin recording project as 'a stroll through [his] late period', I know she's talking about an exploration of a certain period of his output that does not adhere too academically to the exact order in which they were written, to an exhaustive account of every... more>
HakolaCD Review: Hakola's Piano Concerto and Sinfonietta (Ondine) With the new Ondine release of Kimmo Hakola's Piano Concerto and Sinfonietta, we are presented with a puzzling mixed bag. While the Sinfonietta is a modernist single movement whose ambition to raw power is a little stereotypical, though effective in places; the Piano Concerto is the sort of piece that demands attention... more> LeonskajaCD Review: A new Chopin recital from Elisabeth Leonskaja (MDG) Having recorded a great deal for Teldec in the 1980s and 90s, Vienna-based pianist Elisabeth Leonskaja is working her way leisurely through more modest selections from of the repertoire for the innovative German label, MDG. This Chopin recital follows solo discs of Schubert and Brahms, as well as a recording of ... more>
ManouryCD Review: Ensemble Intercontemporain shine in Philippe Manoury In this case the focus is on the music of French composer Philippe Manoury (b.52). Manoury is a figure who takes gestural and poetic elements from the German tradition, particularly from Wagner and Stockhausen, and unites them with computer music technologies and with inimitable touches of... more> RavelCD Review: Gerald Finley's new recital of Ravel Songs (Hyperion) Having already tackled Ives, Barber and Schumann for Hyperion – to great acclaim – Gerald Finley now puts his burnished baritone to the service of Ravel and his enigmatic song output. If anything, the stylistic and emotional range of Ravel's songs brings him close to Ives, but for all their beauty and mastery, Ravel still ... more>
FagioliniCD Review: I fagiolini's Monteverdi continues with Sweet Torment (Chaconne) This is I Fagiolini's third release in their Monteverdi Series and, as always, the album is cleverly devised, well recorded and beautifully presented. The programme opens with two madrigals from book five, the first of which, Questi vaghi concenti uses almost the whole I fagiolini ensemble in conjunction with... more> MessiahCD Review: A new Messiah from Stuttgart with Carolyn Sampson (Carus) Handel's anniversary year is proving to offer many a rich feast on his larger-scale works with his oratorios and operas featuring in many of the major festivals around the world. Of course Messiah has always been famous for its enduring appeal, but even performances of this work seem to have increased as a ... more>
Rodrigo SonyCD Review: Al Ayre Español and Eduardo López Banzo play Handel's Rodrigo (Ambroisie) Vincer se stesso è la maggior vittoria or Rodrigo was Handel's first opera written in and for Italy. Given its first performance sometime in the autumn of 1707, Rodrigo predates the great operas of 1724 (Tamerlano, Giulio Cesare, Rodelinda) by almost two decades, and in... more> St-LaurentCD Review: Eric St-Laurent's Dimensions d'Istanbul (Katzenmusik) Eric St-Laurent is a Montreal-born composer and guitarist. He has previously spent some years living in Berlin recording and performing with a number of different artists, and is currently based in Toronto. Dimensions d'Istanbul sees him team up with percussionist Bikem Küçük and clarinettist/keyboardist... more>
LSOCD Review: Colin Davis conducts Sally Matthews and Ian Bostridge in the LSO's Creation Continuing his series of choral works on LSO Live – which has so far featured Handel's Messiah and Mozart's Requiem, with Verd's Requiem to follow in September – Sir Colin Davis has turned his attention to Haydn's Creation. Surprisingly, it's the octogenarian conductor's... more> GoerneCD/DVD Review: Goerne and Prégardien give us new Schöne Müllerins (HM & Medici DVD) The difference often felt between baritone and tenor performances of Schubert's Die schöne Müllerin are demonstrated in these two outstanding new accounts from Christoph Prégardien (on DVD) and Matthias Goerne. The tendency for a tenor to sound a bit jollier and, simply through the higher register... more>
SukCD Review: Josef Suk plays Dvorak and Beethoven under Sargent (BBC Legends) The latest release in the BBC Legends series is fascinating from both a musical and a historical standpoint. Two live recordings of concerto performances by one of the twentieth century's outstanding violin virtuosos are, without question, an exciting prospect in their own right. Add to this the momentous... more> BerkeleyCD Review: Lennox Berkeley's Songs from James Gilchrist (Chandos) Sir Lennox Berkeley (1903 – 1989) is one of those composers whose life spans much of the twentieth century and many singers will know him through his much-loved choral pieces; the beautiful setting of The Lord is my Shepherd or maybe his Missa Brevis or even the Mass for 5 voices. But how many of us have had the... more>
Bizarre BazaarCD Review: Kari Kriikku's Bizaare Bazaar(Ondine) If you have been to any of Kari Kriikku's live performances around the world, you'll know that he is not only brave (he showcases almost exclusively music of living Finnish composers that is often utterly obscure to his audiences); he is also God's own gift to clarinet playing. He's impossibly agile, with a flair for sensuous phrasing... more> Jack LiebeckCD Review: Jack Liebeck plays Dvorák (Sony) Highly-touted young British violinist Jack Liebeck has already made quite a splash on the classical music scene. He has had numerous collaborations with musicians and ensembles of international repute, and his Oxford May Music Festival, in only its second year, attracted such acclaimed artists as pianist Yevgeny Sudbin and violist Lawrence... more>
Brilliant Opera CollectionCD Review: No Faceless Angel: Choral music by Gabriel Jackson (Hyperion) Stephen Layton and his choir Polyphony have been performing and recording new choral works for several years now and this latest album of music by Gabriel Jackson can be seen as another installment in an inspired series which has included composers such as Thomas Adčs, James MacMillan, Morten Lauridsen... more> A New HeavenCD Review: The Sixteen's A New Heaven (Decca) Throughout their first thirty years The Sixteen have remained faithful to a core repertoire of early music with various other explorations along the way and this new album is another one of their delightful excursions, this time focusing on the music of the Anglican church from Victorian times to the present day. The programme itself is... more>
Brilliant Opera CollectionCD Reviews: Brilliant Classics' new Brilliant Opera Collection As we all know, the world of classical music recording is in a state of crisis, with a recent major reorganisation at Decca and Deutsche Grammophon being another sign that things aren't as stable as they should be. But at the budget-priced label Brilliant Classics, business continues to thrive. The latest initiative is... more> FidelioCD Review: Sir Mark Elder's Fidelio with Kampe and Kerl (Glyndebourne) The fourth release on Glyndebourne's in-house label, this performance of Fidelio dates from 2006. Deborah Warner's production was praised at the time but in this aural record, all we have are a few production shots to illustrate it. There's no description of Warner's concept or her staging, nor an explanation... more>
Ondes MartenotCD Review: Messiaen's music for Ondes Martenot (Atma) We often think of lesser-known works by celebrated authors as unloved manuscripts, collecting dust in archives—the province of specialists. All the more so if the work is scored for a now obsolete instrument or—worse—several of them. Messiaen’s haunting Fęte des belles eaux, for example, has undoubtedly fallen by the... more> NancarrowCD Review: Nancarrow from the Calefax Reed Quintet (MDG) Take a look at the track listing on any recording of Conlon Nancarrow's Player Piano Studies and you’ll instantly notice that something's wrong: the order of the tracks seems to have gone awry. Study number 2 plays, say, 10 tracks after study number 3, and study 3b follows study 3c. This may seem like mere pretence, but if you listen.... more>
HandelCD Review: Handel's Chandos Anthems from King's College Cambridge (Hyperion) These three Anthems for Cannons or Chandos Anthems as they are more widely known, make for a glorious programme from the choir of Trinity Choir Cambridge and their musical director Stephen Layton and at over 20 minutes each they deliver generous recording of Handel's music which maintains... more> RachmaninovCD Review: Steven Osborne plays Rachmaninov Preludes (Hyperion) Rachmaninov still has his detractors and one might easily imagine admirers of some of the composers which Steven Osborne has so brilliantly championed in his recording career so far – Messiaen, Tippett and Britten, for example – are exactly the doubters who Osborne addresses in his... more>
HaydnCD Review: Haydn Symphonies 41, 44 & 49 from Arion and Gary Cooper ( Among the Haydn recordings released in the composer's anniversary year, there's a danger that some more modest offerings might get lost beneath the tide of commemorative box sets and reissues. There's definitely such a danger with this invigorating disc of three symphonies performed... more> MathiasCD Review: Mathias choral works from Wells Cathedral (Hyperion) William Mathias (1934-1992) is one of just a few twentieth century Welsh composers to enjoy a truly international reputation largely due to choral and organ works which cathedral choirs and larger choral communities perform regularly. It is particularly fitting therefore to have a disc of his music from Wells Cathedral Choir... more>
BoeschCD Review: Schumann Heine Lieder from Florian Boesch & Malcolm Martineau (Onyx) Some nine months after Gerald Finley released his extremely well received disc of Schumann's Heine settings on Hyperion, we have this excellent recital from Austrian baritone Florian Boesch. While Finley based his disc around Dichterliebe, Boesch chooses the Op.24 Liederkreis; the rest of the... more> FormentiCD Review: Marino Formenti: Kurtag's Ghosts (Kairos) This idiosyncratic double CD release sees the music of György Kurtag performed alongside that of some of the major composers from the past seven centuries. It stems from the fertile imagination of Marino Formenti, a member of Klangforum Vienna who has been drawing comparisons with Glenn Gould in recent years as... more>>
EzioCD Review: Handel's Ezio from Il Complesso Barocco and Alan Curtis (Archiv) With an initial run totalling just five performances, Ezio was as close to a flop as operatic hit-maker Handel ever produced. Following its less than warm reception the opera languished unperformed in the archives until a 1977 staging at Covent Garden, but has never really gained popular traction. While it's no Alcina or Orlando... more> BachCD Review: Volume 20 of John Eliot Gardiner's Bach cantatas (SDG) For the latest release of the 'Bach Pilgrimage' series, Sir John Eliot Gardiner and his musicians offer their interpretation of the cantatas for the second and third Sunday before Lent, recorded live in February 2000. The first three works, BWV 144, 84 and 92, are filled with a sense of combative acceptance of the adversities that... more>
Intimate StudiesCD Review: Intimate Studies: Czech piano music from Lada Valešová (Avie) This disc of twentieth-century Czech piano repertoire features the music of four composers, namely Janácek, Haas, Martinu and Suk. But it is much more than a survey of the remarkable invention in piano composition to have come out of one small country in the last century. It has been thoughtfully programmed... more> JanacekCD Review: Janácek quartets from the Emersons (DG) 'You stand behind every note, you, living, forceful, loving. The fragrance of your body, the glow of your kisses – no, really of mine. Those notes of mine kiss all of you. They call for you passionately...' This is how Janácek described his confessional second string quartet to Kamila Stösslová, the woman thirty-five years his junior. more>
ConsortiumCD Review: Brahms' secular choral music from Consortium (Hyperion) Secular German choral music is not exactly box office gold. A large amount of Brahms' work in that area, then, remains barely known by a concert-going and CD-buying audience that knows the fourth symphony or second piano concerto backwards. John Eliot Gardiner's revelatory series of concerts and recordings... more> AlcinaCD Review: Joyce DiDonato stars in Handel's Alcina on Archiv Even as the CD companies are facing their demise, they continue to churn out recordings with astonishing frequency. Since it's the Handel anniversary year, we're being inundated with all kinds of operas that most of us have barely heard of – we plan to publish reviews of Ezio and Faramondo over the next few days... more>
BrittenCD Review: Gergiev's Mahler cycle concludes with the Eighth (LSO Live) Mahler's Eighth Symphony was referred to rather scathingly by Theodor Adorno as his 'official masterpiece'; famous for the vast forces it requires it can sometimes seem like a work calculated to convince simply by dint of its sheer vastness. For Valery Gergiev, then, to have chosen to complete his Mahler cycle... more> FaramondoCD Review: Handel's Faramondo from I Barocchisti (Virgin) Each time a piece of music is rescued from obscurity and recorded or performed for a modern audience, one of the very first questions which springs to mind is whether it was worth the trouble. The answer in the present case of Handel's opera Faramondo is an unequivocal and enthusiastic 'yes'. Handel's operatic output is vast... more>
BrittenCD Review: Britten's Folksong Arrangements from Steve Davislim and Simone Young (Melba) It was between 1939 and 1942 – during his time in America – that Benjamin Britten first turned his attention to the folksong. Having left England at the outbreak of war along with other notorious Pacifists W.H. Auden and Peter Pears, Britten publicly espoused the view that England was... more> ChapmanCD Review: Jane Chapman's Wired (NMC) Jane Chapman is at the forefront of contemporary harpsichord practice, both in terms of the performance of older repertoire, and in the reinvigoration of the instrument, which she makes possible through extensive commissioning and performance of new works. Following her recent appearance as accompanist on NMC's Songbook... more>
WellerCD Review: Rossini's The Italian Girl in Algiers (Chandos) It's debatable whether Rossini, of all composers, benefits from being performed in English translation. Of course, he's been one of the mainstays of English National Opera's repertoire for many years, not least because of the popularity of Jonathan Miller's production of The Barber of Seville, and the Chandos Opera in English series includes both Barber... more> GubaidulinaCD Review: Marcela Roggeri plays Gubaidulina piano works (Transit) The works on this disc comprise Sofia Gubaďdulina's complete solo piano output. They come from her early mature period in the sixties and seventies, yet they pre-date her international rise to prominence that occurred in the eighties and nineties. Though they lack the unusual instrumental disposition Gubaïdulina... more>
IdomeneoDVD Reviews: John Mark Ainsley stars in a new Idomeneo from Munich (Medici) Directed by Dieter Dorn, this Munich Opera production of Idomeneo is the latest in a series of provocative stagings of the young Mozart's first mature opera seria. There is something about this youthful work, with its unprecedentedly high dramatic stakes and scope, that seems to incite extreme responses... more> ButterflyCD Review: Angela Gheorghiu's new Butterfly with Kaufmann & Pappano (EMI) In an age where so few studio recordings of operas are made compared to the decades of the second half of the twentieth century, it is rather refreshing to be presented with a lavishly produced account of one of the most popular works in the repertoire featuring some of the current age's strongest... more>
Haydn: Life is a DreamCD Reviews: Haydn Songs and Arias sung by Ameling (Brilliant Classics), Quasthoff (DG) and Leese/Lodahl (MSM) It's instructive that of the three recordings of Haydn songs or arias under consideration here, the most successful is a reissue of a recital from 1980. Brilliant Classics seems to be sweeping the board at the moment with reissues of artistically remarkable and expensive... more> La fida ninfaCD Review: Vivaldi's La fida ninfa starring Sandrine Piau (Naïve Vivaldi Edition Vol. 39) I don't think nearly enough praise has been lavished upon Naïve's exemplary Vivaldi Edition, now reaching its thirty-ninth volume with La fida ninfa. This extraordinary enterprise was set up in the year 2000 by the Italian musicologist Alberto Basso and the independent label Naïve, with the aim... more>
BellucciCD Reviews: Vols. 1-3 of Giovanni Bellucci's Beethoven sonatas and Symphonies (Lontano) Italian pianist Giovanni Bellucci's not one to shy away from the grandest challenges of the Romantic piano repertoire. His debut recording coupled Busoni's transcription of Liszt's Fantasy and Fugue on 'Ad nos, ad salutarem undam' and Beethoven's 'Hammerklavier', followed up by a disc of Liszt's Verdi and Bellini... more> RubinsteinCD Review: Rubinstein Cello Sonatas from Bárta and Milne (Hyperion) The Rubinstein name is one that can cause a little confusion. Not only was ther Arthur, one of the twentieth century's greatest pianists and a Pole, but the unrelated, Russian Anton Rubinstein's (1829-1894) younger brother, Nikolaj, was the friend of Tchaikovsky who was famously critical of that composer's... more>
MessiahCD Reissue Round-up: Warner's Messiah Edition The continued growth of the re-release market brings to light performances, some well-known, some less so, that not only give a glimpse of performance practice of their time but, as in this case, show quite how willing, in the hey-day of the LP and CD, labels were to record and re-record particular pillars of the repertory. It's a measure of Handel's... more> WellerCD Review: Strauss's Ein Heldenleben and Burleske from Walter Weller (Fuga Libera) Walter Weller is a musician steeped in the grand Austro-German tradition. He joined the Vienna Philharmonic, in which his father played violin, aged 17, and became its leader only a handful of years later, in 1961. A couple of Strauss autographs reprinted in this handsome release from Fuga Libera show his ... more>
PregardienCD Review: New recordings of Schwanengesang from Pregardien and Henschel (Challenge; Ambroisie) It's a boon to lovers of Lieder when, bus-like, not one but two fine recordings of Schubert's final 'cycle', Schwanengesang, enter the catalogue in quick succession, albeit with various delays due to distribution problems in the UK. From two of the finest interpreters of... more> TillingCD Reviews: Strauss song recitals from Camilla Tilling and Inger Dam-Jensen (BIS & Altara) With Hyperion's complete set of Strauss Lieder past the half-way mark, these two recitals, from Inger Dam-Jensen and Camilla Tilling, further reflect today's welcome view that there's more to Strauss as song composer than just the usual dozen favourites. Of course, between the two discs... more>
Sacred FlameCD Review: John Rutter and the Cambridge Singers: Sacred Flame (Collegium) The Cambridge Singers have been recording steadily since 1982 and although their line-up changes for each project their standard has always remained very high. This is partly because John Rutter tends to source his singers from a pool of recently graduated Oxbridge choral scholars which... more> TamerlanoDVD Review: Placido Domingo stars in Handel's Tamerlano (Opus Arte) More than four decades into his career, Plácido Domingo has nothing left to prove. But the Spanish tenor can't resist setting himself new challenges. At a time when he might easily rest on his laurels and sing the high Romantic repertoire for which he's always been famous, he has instead moved to... more>
ParisCD Review: Eccles' The Judgement of Paris from EOC and Christian Curnyn (Chandos) The Early Opera Company was founded by Christian Curnyn in 1994 and has steadily established itself as an important interpreter of Handel's Opera ever since and their productions are noted for their visual and musical style melded by Curnyn's keen musicality. This is their third album with Chandos... more> Macmillan/SchubertCD Review: The Gould Trio in MacMillan and Schubert (Wigmore Hall Live) MacMillan's Fourteen Little Pictures is going to be the main, if not the only, reason for purchasing this disc. They are consummately crafted miniatures, each with its own distinctive atmosphere and instrumental texture. Part of the pleasure here is in watching how the transitionary passages that bind... more>
BergCD Review: Complete Berg Orchestral Works (Chandos) Berg was notoriously lazy. His wife would lock him up to try and force him to do some work, but the wily composer kept a bottle of brandy secreted away in his study for just such occasions. That's why his complete orchestral works, even when generously supplemented by arrangements and orchestrations as they are here.... more> JosquinCD Review: Josquin Masses from the Tallis Scholars and Peter Phillips (Gimell) The Tallis Scholars have made an enormous impact on our modern understanding of Josquin des Prés (c. 1440-1521) and without their contribution it is very likely that he might still be considered as a minor composer. In 1987 The Tallis Scholars (Gimell Records) became the first independent label and... more>
Being DufayCD Review: Ambrose Field's Being Dufay (ECM) ECM records prove that time and time again they have some really creative artists in their catalogue and as a result, their albums are always intriguing and seldom, if ever, disappointing. This new release from Ambrose Field and John Potter is no exception; it is part of a fascinating project which takes fragments of late mediaeval music and... more> English JigCD Review: Peter Ablinger: 33-127 (Mode) Peter Ablinger's 33-127, for electric guitar and CD, is an infuriating work. Maybe that's half the intention, if intention there is – for we are in post-Cage territory here. Then again, isn't all current day experimental music post-Cage? Cage in this respect is the blank canvas, the absence of music, upon which all experimental composition might wend its way... more>
BourneCD Review: Frances Bourne: The Truth about Love (Sony) It was Kurt Weill who famously declared that 'music is not bad simply because it is popular' – an observation which would serve well as the motto for mezzo-soprano Frances Bourne's debut CD Tell Me The Truth About Love. The collection sees Weill himself, together with Britten and Martinu, amply proving this point in their forays into ... more> English JigCD Review: The English Stage Jig: The City Waites/Skeaping (Hyperion) Lucie Skeaping and The City Waites deliver imaginative and interesting programmes that shed light on otherwise little-known English music-making practices from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; this one is no exception. Many people, myself included, would immediately associate Jigs with dances but... more>
ChirkCD Review: Music from The Chirk Castle Part-Books: Brabant Ensemble/Rice (Hyperion) The Brabant Ensemble have become something of a hot-ticket over the past few years and have been steadily demanding more and more attention within the early-music community since they started in 1998. It was in 2006 that they firmly staked themselves out on the map when... more> BrahmsCD Review: Gardiner's Brahms 2 and Alto Rhapsody with the ORR (SDG) John Eliot Gardiner's revelatory Brahms cycle moves onto the Second Symphony with this latest release. With couplings designed to show each of the main works (the four symphonies as well as the German Requiem) in a broader context, each disc in the series also represents a fascinating programme in its own... more>
WolkensteinCD Review: The music of Oswalk von Wolkenstein (Christophorus) History has bequeathed us a colourful view of medieval times aided, in part, by influential studies such as Huizinga's ever popular The Waning of The Middle Ages. As a result, characters like Oswald von Wolkenstein catch our attention not only because their lives are so comparatively well documented but because they... more> Tempus est IocundumCD Review: Arte Factum: Tempus est Iocundum (Lindoro) This latest re-release from Arte Factum and Francisco Orozco offers a selection of music from a vast expanse of time spanning from the 12th to the 15th centuries. It also surveys a number of different forms from dances and troubadour songs and selections from Carmina Burana and the Cantigas de Santa Maria... more>
PodlesCD Review: Ewa Podleś and Garrick Ohlsson live at Wigmore Hall (WHL) The great Polish contralto, Ewa Podles, is not only something of a unique artistic phenomenon, but also a remarkably elusive performer. As far as one can tell from online performance archives, her sole appearance at the Royal Opera was as Hedwige in Rossini's Guillaume Tell in June 1990. Her appearances at... more> DebussyCD Review: Debussy Jeux & Préludes: Hallé/Elder (Hallé) Colin Matthews's orchestrations of Debussy's 24 piano preludes have quite rightly been praised by critics and I certainly won't be contradicting their positive assessment here. However, I would like to question the implicit criteria that has guided their judgement since I think it has blinded them to many of the qualities that... more>
MendozaCD Review: Elena Mendoza: Nebelsplitter, Diptico etc. (Kairos) Elena Mendoza (b. 1973) is a young Spanish composer currently garnering great acclaim on the continent for her music theatre piece Niebla, which is based upon the homonymous novel by Miguel de Unamuno. This Kairos disc is the first dedicated exclusively to Mendoza's work. It is a portrait which features six equally... more> VirginiaCD Review: Mercadante: Virginia; Wekerlin: La Laitičre de Trianon (Opera Rara) With the Donizetti revival now firmly established – his works receive regular revival all over the world now, and at least three of them will be heard in London this year – it's surely time that more attention be given to his fellow Italian opera composer, Saverio Mercadante. His oeuvre is full of distinguished pieces... more>
Morton FeldmanCD Review: Morton Feldman: For Bunita Marcus (MDG) Following Steffen Schleiermacher's well-received recording of Morton Feldman's Triadic Memories in September, comes this, another brave leap from the pianist into the aether of time, silence, and memory unique to that composer's music, particularly his late works. (For Bunita Marcus was written in 1985... more> Villazon HandelCD Review: Rolando Villazon sings Handel Arias (Deutsche Grammophon) Rolando Villazón singing a disc of Handel arias? On paper, the idea seemed ridiculous, to me anyway. The Mexican tenor has had enormous international success in recent years, but it's all been in Romantic, nineteenth-century repertoire: Verdi, Puccini, Massenet, Gounod, even Tchaikovsky. According to the... more>
I Capuleti e i MontecchiOpera CD Review: Anna Netrebko and Elina Garanca in I Capuleti e i Montecchi (DG) Next week, Anna Netrebko and Elina Garanca take to the stage at Covent Garden to play Juliet and Romeo in a high-profile production of Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi; it promises to be one of the highlights of the season. Deutsche Grammophon have been quick off the mark to release a... more> NMCCD Review: Iain Burnside accompanies the NMC Songbook (NMC) The British label for new notated music NMC celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. In honour of this, the label invited a vast array of British, British-based, and Irish composers to compose songs to be recorded by a select group of musicians, and drawn together for release as The NMC Songbook.... more>
HandelCD Review: Handel's Op. 6 Concerti Grossi from Il giardino armonico (L'oiseau lyre) Inevitably the Handel anniversary year is bringing a glut of boxed sets from the record companies, restrospectives pulled together – with varying degrees of artistic acumen – from large back catalogues. The now revived L'oiseau lyre label has a pretty distinguished back catalogue... more> AsraelCD Review: Schumann, Grieg and Saint-Saëns concertos from Howard Shelley (Chandos) It takes a brave pianist to produce a revisionist recording of such a ubiquitous coupling as the Grieg and Schumann piano concertos. Howard Shelley calls upon the authority of the metronome markings in Schumann's score which have, he tells us, been routinely ignored in the performing ... more>
WarnerCD Reviews: A Roundup of recent Warner Reissues A recent clutch of releases on from Warner Classics and Jazz sees more riches from the joint Erato and Teldec catalogues returned into circulation at credit-crunch friendly prices. Warner's anniversary Handel and Haydn editions are well under way but the first two volumes of a Mendelssohn edition, set to run to five sets of four or five CDs each... more> SalminenCD Review: Sibelius 1 & 3 from Mark Elder and the Hallé (Hallé) Sir Mark Elder's tenure at the helm of the Hallé Orchestra has been hailed as one of the cultural success stories of the last decade. And anyone seeking proof of what a great orchestra the Hallé have undoubtedly become could do a lot worse than hearing this new disc of Sibelius, released on the orchestra's own label... more>
SalminenCD Review: Matti Salminen's Finnish Songbook (Ondine) Matti Salminen is one of the most respected operatic basses performing in the world today. He sings the major bass roles at the world's great opera houses (although he has been curiously absent from Covent Garden since 1980) and has a particular reputation for Wagner, the heavier Verdi roles, Mozart's Sarastro and Mussorgsky's Boris ... more> AsraelCD Review: Ashkenazy conducts Suk's Asrael (Ondine) As a work named after the angel of death, Joseph Suk's Asrael cannot really be expected to make for comfortable listening. Originally conceived after the death of Dvořák, Suk's father-in-law, the already tragic tone of the piece was compounded and intensified by the subsequent death of his wife, Otylka. As Jan Smaczny's brief liner-note tells... more>
Romeo et JulietteOpera DVD Review: Rolando Villazon in Romeo et Juliette from the Salzburg Festival (DG) This new DVD should have marked the return of Rolando Villazón and Anna Netrebko to the Salzburg Festival following on from their acclaimed La traviata together, which was also filmed by Deutsche Grammophon. It was also intended to reteam them with Bartlett Sher, director of the production... more> Christine BrewerCD Review: Christine Brewer sings Great Operatic Arias Volume 2 (Chandos) Top marks for variety, at least, on this new disc of 'Great Operatic Arias' from American soprano Christine Brewer. Following on from her acclaimed first recital disc for Chandos' Opera in English series, Brewer now offers an even greater mix of music in the second volume. Handel, Gluck and Mozart rub... more>
MorgenCD Review: Morgen: Mischa Maisky's new disc of Strauss & Dvořák (DG) It's strange to have a CD ostensibly offering a tribute to the great Czech cellist, Hanuš Wihan, that is not only named after a song with a famous violin solo but includes several pieces by Dvorák that are originally for violin as well. It's a reflection of Mischa Maisky's performances, though, that he largely... more> Hansel and GretelCD Review: Recent releases from Sepia Records Continuing their high reputation for high-quality releases from the golden age of popular song and classic musicals, Sepia Records' seven latest releases offer an enticing blend of performers and titles. As ever, they're selected for a mixture of historical importance, neglect by other labels and the inherent quality of the source... more>
AdrianaDVD Review: Daniella Dessì in Adriana Lecouvreur from La Scala (Medici Arts) This re-release on Medici Arts of La Scala's Adriana Lecouvreur from the 1999-2000 season – it appeared originally on Euroarts – is indicative of a renewed interest in Francesco Cilea's most famous opera. The recently acclaimed performances by the Chelsea Opera Group, together with the... more> FarnabyCD Review: Farnaby's Dream: Timothy Roberts, Harpsichord (Early Music) We are indeed fortunate that The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book survives since it contains a host of musical treasures, a substantial amount of which have yet to be found elsewhere. This manuscript was thought for a long time to be the work of Francis Tregian, an imprisoned recusant Catholic, however, recent... more>
DefianceCD Review: Defiance OST with Joshua Bell (Sony/BMG) The original soundtrack for Edward Zwick's Defiance (2008) won Hollywood composer James Newton Howard his eighth Academy Award nomination. An honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music from 2008, Howard has been involved in the film industry since the beginning of his career. He became a loyal partner... more> Bel cantoCD Review: Elina Garanca: Bel Canto (Deutsche Grammophon) This imaginatively programmed disc is the ideal showcase for glamorous young mezzo-soprano Elina Garanca, soon to be seen at Covent Garden in Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi. The latter is due for a complete release next month on Deutsche Grammophon with Garanca and Anna Netrebko... more>
Boston CamerataCD Reviews: American Choral Music from the Boston Camerata and Joel Cohen (Erato) The rich cultural past of America is often brushed aside by music histories which prefer to dwell on twentieth-century developments whilst leaving the earlier periods to be eclipsed by European models. But America does have some records of its own early music traditions and Joel Cohen has... more> BingenCD Review: Les Flamboyants: Hildegard von Bingen & Brigitta von Schweden (Raumklang) The multi-talented 12th-century Abbess Hildegard von Bingen was, amongst other things, a naturalist, scientist and visionary and one of the most prolific writers of her times. Amazingly over 70 compositions of hers survive and here the Scandinavian ensemble Les Flamboyants present a selection... more>
TennstedtCD Reviews: Contrasting Beethoven from Klaus Tennstedt and Bruno Weil (LPO Live/Anelekta) The American musicologist Susan McClary once got herself in a bit of trouble for characterizing the recapitulation of the first movement of Beethoven's Ninth as exploding 'in the throttling murderous rage of a rapist incapable of attaining release.' In the end she withdrew this remark... more> StraussCD Review: Dohnányi conducts the Philharmonia in Strauss (Signum) In the heyday of CD recording, Christoph von Dohnányi and his orchestra at the time – The Cleveland Orchestra – recorded this exact same coupling of Strauss tone poems in the studio for Decca, although as far as I can tell, it didn't last long in the catalogue. Some fifteen years later, Dohnányi reminds... more>
A Spotless RoseCD Review: The Gabrieli Consort: A Spotless Rose (DG) This new album from the Gabrieli Consort follows the successful design of their previous release Road to Paradise which took listeners on a musical pilgrimage from Medieval to present times. Similarly, A Spotless Rose draws on works by European composers from Josquin to Adès to explore music which honours the Virgin Mary... more> A Spotless RoseCD Review: Christianne Stotijn sings Tchaikovsky Romances (Onyx) Christianne Stotijn's new disc for Onyx sees her leave behind the German lieder that she sang, to great acclaim, on her first two discs for the label to tackle a programme of Tchaikovsky. And with her now regular accompanist, Julius Drake, the results are no less persuasive. Richard Sylvester's liner note... more>
MacmillanCD Review: James Macmillan's St John Passion (LSO Live) James MacMillan's compositions must be among the most frequently performed works of all living composers and with the release of this live recording of his new St John Passion, it is not hard to see why. Sir Colin Davis, who has recently recorded other Macmillan works, chose him when he was offered the opportunity of a... more> MahlerCD Review: Mahler's 'Resurrection' from Eschenbach and the Philadelphia Orchestra (Ondine) Hot on the heels of Gergiev's LSO Live 'Resurrection' comes this release on Ondine from Christoph Eschenbach and the Philadelphia Orchestra, similarly taped live. Audiophiles will be disappointed that unlike the first instalment of their cycle, a very well received sixth symphony... more>
DarknessCD Review: Dorothee Mields sings Dowland: In Darkness let me dwell (DHM) Possibly one of the most attractively packaged early music issues in recent months, this new CD of music by John Dowland is, according to the rather quirky liner-notes, a response to Sting's recent album of the same composer.  It's actually rather a clever ruse; first they thank Sting for bringing the the repertoire to... more> VinocourCD Review: Lev Vinocour plays piano arrangements of The Sleeping Beauty (RCA/BMG) Russian virtuoso Lev Vinocour tells us in his own liner note that received tuition from Mikhail Pletnev while a pupil of Lev Vlassenko at the Moscow Conservatoire. Having heard Pletnev perform some of his arrangements of numbers from The Sleeping Beauty, Vinocour records the whole... more>
StraussCD Review: Maltman and Miles in Vol. 4 of Hyperion's Strauss Song edition Hyperion's ongoing series of Lieder by Richard Strauss may be a little more modest in scope than the label's legendary Schubert edition, or even the Schumann that came to its final, eleventh volume just last month. However, it's no doubt just as fascinating, if not more so, given the fact that a handful of hit songs have... more> MahlerCD Review: Mahler's 'Resurrection' from Gergiev (LSO Live) This disc is part of the series of live recordings of Valery Gergiev's Mahler cycle made with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican last season. The reputation of the conductor ensured that these concerts were buzzing with expectation, but in the end critics were divided over whether Mahler really was Gergiev's metier... more>
FreireCD Review: Nelson Freire plays Debussy (Decca) A sticker on this new release from Nelson Freire quotes the words of a review that 'any new Freire recording is virtually self-recommending'. It's difficult to disagree and there's never any doubt in this Debussy recital that this is a master pianist at work, captured beautifully by Decca's engineers. It is another excellent addition to a... more> Vie parisienneDVD Review: Offenbach's La vie parisienne from Lyon (Virgin) La Vie Parisienne was one of Offenbach's most successful operettas during his lifetime. It was premiered in 1866 and, amongst other things, seeks to parody Parisian society of the period, something many of Offenbach's works do, which contributed both to his popularity and also to his demise during his lifetime... more>
ByrdCD Review : Volume Eleven of the Cardinall's Musick's Byrd (Hyperion) It may have been quite a long time coming but this eleventh disc from The Cardinall's Musick in their monumental exploration of William Byrd has certainly been worth the wait. The programme is built from the Cantiones Sacrae of 1591 and the Gradualia of 1607 and focuses on Byrd's recusant music. Throughout their... more> Diana DamrauCD Review: Diana Damrau's new Mozart album, Donna (Virgin) Following on from her first solo disc for Virgin Classics – in which she sang late-eighteenth-century bravura arias by various composers including Mozart and Salieri – the German soprano Diana Damrau has devoted her second CD entirely to the Austrian master. In the theatre she has already sung an extraordinary array of Mozart... more>
RheingoldCD Review: The Hamburg State Opera's Rheingold (Oehms) This Rheingold rather bucks the trend of recent Ring recordings. The first instalment of a new cycle, it was taped in March 2008 at the Staatsoper Hamburg; Die Walküre was unveiled in October and will, along with the subsequent operas, be released on Oehms in due course. Whereas most recent Rings have appeared on DVD or SACD... more> MakhtinCD Review: Bach's Sonatas and Partitas from Dmitri Makhtin (Lontano) So the story goes that the score of Bach's violin Sonatas and Partitas almost became the meat-wrapping material of choice for a butcher in Koethen. Dmitri Makhtin is the latest to join a long line of violinists eager to pick up their violin and show us an alternative use of the manuscript. Indeed, this particular score... more>
SchumannCD Review: Hanno Müller-Brachmann in Vol.11 of Hyperion's Schumann Songs Another complete edition on Hyperion reaches its close with this release: volume eleven of the songs of Robert Schumann. Having recorded all the great cycles in earlier installments, we're left with a selection that dates largely from the composer's problematic final years. We do have a cycle of sorts from... more> ApexCD Reissues: We survey a new batch of re-releases from Warner's Apex label The latest batch of re-releases on Warner's budget Apex label covers a bewildering variety of recordings from the Teldec and Erato labels. Turn-around times for reissues seem to be getting shorter and shorter, since of the five in this roundup, three were recorded less than ten years ago. Let's start with the... more>
Stiles and DreweCD Review: A Spoonful of Stiles and Drewe (Speckulation) This undeniably enjoyable disc presents live highlights of a concert held in honour of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the songwriters George Stiles and Anthony Drewe at Her Majesty's Theatre on 6 July 2008. One of the most successful partnerships in recent musical theatre history, Stiles and Drewe are perhaps best known for writing... more> Johan ReuterCD Review: Johan Reuter sings Lieder by Strauss and Nielsen The latest release from the boutique music label Michael Storrs Music is this new disc of songs by Strauss, Nielsen and Břrresen sung by the Danish bass-baritone, Johan Reuter. Recently seen at Covent Garden in The Minotaur and Elektra, Reuter is fast making a name for himself in the opera world as a singer... more>
ROH HeritageCD Reviews: Goodall's Parsifal and Giulini's Il trovatore on ROH Heritage George Bernard Shaw said of Verdi's Il Trovatore 'He who thinks that Il Trovatore can be performed without taking it with the most tragic solemnity is, for all the purposes of romantic art, a fool…'. The opera is frequently and freely criticized, mostly for the libretto which many find risible, but also for some musical moments which... more> BlasselCD Review: Harpist Sylvain Blassel plays Bach's Goldberg Variations (Lontano) Harpists regularly perform works by Bach but this recording of the Goldberg Variations by Sylvain Blassel is not only a first but also a very persuasive demonstration of just how well this instrument is suited to his music. The harp, and in particular this 1904 Erard harp that Blassel plays, creates an intimate... more>
BinghamCD Review: Remoter Worlds: Choral Music by Judith Bingham (Signum) Judith Bingham is one of the many distinguished alumni of The BBC Singers and her collaboration with them over the past few years as associate composer was, in my opinion, an inspired choice and one which this recording clearly justifies. Following on from the success of her Mass for Westminster Cathedral Choir... more> Pan and SyrinxCD Review: John Galliard's Pan and Syrinx on Brilliant Classics This recording contains two compositions that come at the twilight of English Theatre music, at the point in the eighteenth century when the popularity of Italian opera became all-consuming. In many ways, the release of this lesser-known work by John Galliard makes this demise all the more lamentable. This one-act opera... more>
HowellsCD Review: Choral and Organ Music by Herbert Howells (Signum) In his sleeve-notes to this disc, Dr Paul Andrews points out that the continuing good reputation of the composer Herbert Howells rests on far too few works and, judging by this new album, he is absolutely right. It seems that there are quite a few more of Howell's choral pieces out there than one might hear on a regular basis... more> ZimmermannCD Review: Bernd Alois Zimmermann's Requiem for a Young Poet (Cybele) Considerations on the violence of history are pretty unavoidable if you're watching the news at the moment. This new release on Cybele highlights a composition of huge ambition and forces that broods under the shadow of that violence, considering its significance in light of the possibility, or otherwise, of... more>
Tristan und IsoldeDVD Review: Waltraud Meier stars in Tristan und Isolde at La Scala (Virgin Classics) Turning for the fourth time on record to Wagner's Tristan - a work he is currently conducting at the Met - Daniel Barenboim shows how much his understanding of the piece has grown over the decades on this new DVD from La Scala. As much as his reading from Bayreuth in the early 1980s... more> Anna BolenaCD Review: Leyla Gencer in Anna Bolena (Andromeda) Donizetti’s Anna Bolena, which enjoyed a successful premiere in 1830, appears to have vanished into obscurity some time during the second half of the nineteenth century. It was performed at the Gran Teatre Del Liceu in December 1947 to celebrate the centennial of the theatre, which had opened in 1847 with the same opera... more>
PickerCD Review: Keys to the City: piano works by Tobias Picker (Wergo) A recent release on the Wergo label saw American pianist Ursula Oppens performing the solo piano music of Elliott Carter. This has now been followed by another release featuring the same pianist, this time playing the complete piano works of fellow American, composer Tobias Picker. Picker, a prolific New York based... more> SciarrinoCD Review: Kairos's new box set of Sciarrino's Orchestral Works Sciarrino's sound world has become a familiar, distinctive one, gaining for its composer a reputation that precedes him. Its style is located within a play of shadow and light in sound tone, an inventive perspicuity of timbre. When the listener thinks of Sciarrino's rigorous and minute method, which manipulates extended... more>
KokkonenCD Reviews: Sakari Oramo conducts Kokkonen Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2 (Ondine) 'Finnish composer Joonas Kokkonen (1921-1996) is unsurprisingly being marketed as the one who stepped into Sibelius' shoes. Had Sibelius been an outright innovator of musical language, this would have been a smooth marketing strategy. But Sibelius has always stuck out among his European... more> MarxCD Review: Orchestral Songs and Choral works by Joseph Marx (Chandos) Joseph Marx (1882-1964) has, despite the best efforts of first ASV and now Chandos, remained obstinately on the periphery of concert life. And this selection of Orchestral Songs and Choral Works provides a convenient summary of the Austrian composer's strengths and weaknesses. At its best, his music is an intoxicating mix... more>
KovacevichCD Reviews: Stephen Kovacevich's new recording of the Diabelli Variations (Onyx) 'The "Diabelli" was the piece that made me love Beethoven… It has all the wild, tender, brusque, and introspective qualities of late Beethoven and then of course parody and comic energy too.' It is with unequivocal clarity that Stephen Kovacevich discloses how vitally significant Beethoven's monumental... more> HaydnCD Review: L'infedelta costante: Anna Bonitatibus sings Haydn arias One of the most distinctive role assumptions of the last Covent Garden season was the Italian mezzo-soprano Anna Bonitatibus' appearance as Cherubino in a revival of Le nozze di Figaro, described on this site as 'a particular revelation with her scale of dynamics and tone colour'. It's fitting, therefore, that she should... more>
ChopinCD Reviews: Chopin Sonatas from Marc-André Hamelin and Nikolai Demidenko (Hyperion/Onyx) Chopin's Piano Sonata No. 3 in B minor, Op. 58 represents, quite possibly, the crown jewel of the composer's innovative and much-debated achievements in large-scale musical structures. A sweeping, tumultuous and, ultimately, uplifting grand pianistic gesture, the work is... more> NeuwirthDVD Review: Music for Films by Olga Neuwirth (Kairos) Olga Neuwirth's name knows general circulation on these shores through the successful staging of her opera Lost Highway in 2008 by ENO at the Young Vic. That work, featuring libretto by Elfriede Jelinek, gained her publicity on the international circuit as a burgeoning and provocative talent active in the field of contemporary... more>
BohemeCD Review: La bohème from Atlanta with Ansellem & Haddock (Telarc) Christmas is a good time of year for Puccini's ever popular – perhaps his best-loved – opera, composed in 1896. Parisian garrets, snow-covered street scenes, the infectious gaiety of Cafe Momus in the Latin Quarter on Christmas Eve, each of Puccini's four acts genuinely provide us with a slice of Bohemian life... more> DidoCD Review: Connolly and Finley in Dido and Aeneas (Chaconne) Music history isn't all about progression: Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, amongst the earliest operas to remain in the repertoire, remains as potent, seductive and immediate today as it must have felt at its premiere. It may not be of epic Wagnerian dimensions, either in length or the number of people required to perform it... more>
King's SingersDVD Review: The King's Singers at the BBC Proms (Signum Vision) There is no escaping that the Press are currently preoccupied with branding almost everything and anyone a 'national treasure' but The King's Singers firmly established themselves as such long before this recent craze began. Their fortieth anniversary year has turned out to be a timely reminder of just how good they are... more> LindbergCD Review: Orchestral Works by Magnus Lindberg: FRSO/Oramo (Ondine) Magnus Lindberg's music is muscular, texturally dense, and gesturally driven. It hovers through chromatic pitch centres in quite vibrant colours, and busies itself with tough yet varied dialectical workings of the material. Sakari Oramo and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra proved themselves... more>

Recordings Review Archive:
July-December 2008
January-June 2008