El Nour: impressive debut CD by Fatma Said

There cannot be many sopranos whose debut CD takes the listener on a cultural tour around the Mediterranean.  And what a fascinating exploration this is by a rising star who…

The Sixteen release their fourth volume of Purcell’s Welcome Songs for King Charles II

Harry Christophers and The Sixteen have now reached volume 4 in their ongoing exploration of Henry Purcell’s Welcome Songs for Charles II.  Like the previous discs in the series, evolving…

Musically, a first-rate Midsummer Night’s Dream from The Grange Festival

Thank goodness for modern technology and sophisticated recording techniques, without which this production of Pears’s and Britten’s cherry-picked edit of Shakespeare’s play might have been scuppered.  A month before curtain-up…

Mixed performances in a recent St Matthew Passion from Accentus

Claims to create ‘a new and fresh perspective’ in the pre-release publicity for this St Matthew Passion are bold.  We are led to expect ‘raging choirs, intimate chorales and emotionally…

Rewarding performances from Philippe Herreweghe in three of J.S. Bach’s choral works

Every freshly minted disc from Philippe Herreweghe’s Collegium Vocale Gent prompts a rapturous fanfare.  We take for granted the quality of each recording venture from this 74-year-old Belgian, but how…

Lucile Richardot – a class act in Berio To Sing

This recent disc of Luciano Berio’s vocal music showcases the talents of the French mezzo-soprano Lucile Richardot and the vocal and instrumental ensemble Le Cris de Paris.  It begins with…

The music of celebrated American organist/choirmaster Gerre Hancock

This recent recording from New York’s Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys is an affectionate tribute to the work of Dr. Gerre Hancock (1934-2012).  The Texas-born musician was a…

Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle, impressively shaped by Susanna Mälkki

According to Oscar Wilde’s 1891 essay The Decay of Lying, ‘Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life’.  While this is not the occasion to argue with that proposition,…

First class performances from the Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge

This new disc is the second volume of Evening Canticles from the Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge under Andrew Nethsingha. It presents nine settings of the Magnificat and Nunc…

Atmospheric performances from the choir of Trinity College Cambridge enhance the music of Cecilia McDowall

Coinciding with Cecilia McDowall’s 70th year, this recent Hyperion disc crowns an already impressive series of recordings from Dutton Epoch that, with her keen sensitivity to text and grateful melodic…