Zipangu and Lonely Child: Two Claude Vivier masterpieces in magnificent performances by the London Sinfonietta

The Quebquois-born composer Claude Vivier – still largely neglected, despite many of his works having an almost fearless intensity entirely relevant for today – was the subject of a rare…

Baroque pornography in Alexis Piron’s Vasta, Reine de Bordélie

One of the more enduring pleasures of having had a classical education – at least if you still remember it – is reading the richness of its literature: from Homer…

Barbican Centre at 40: shortcomings and memorable moments

London’s Barbican Centre is 40 years old. Its inaugural concert back then for the official opening of the Barbican Centre – given on the 3rd March – had been played…

Exile and Isolation: Julian Anderson’s Suite from Exiles, the LSO and Simon Rattle

Often you go to concerts and the programming isn’t especially obvious – why are these works being played besides each other?  This is particularly the case with concertos and symphonies.…

A formidable Dame Patricia Routledge as the formidable Dame Myra Hess

It came as something of a shock to me to discover that Dame Patricia Routledge is now 92 years old. She is much shorter than one imagines, given the massive…

ENO’s Valkyrie fails to catch fire: an under-ambitious start to Richard Jones’s Ring Cycle

Very little exists in a visual way of Wieland Wagner’s Bayreuth Die Walküre from the mid-to-late 1960s. What does, largely requires us to use our imagination. It is something which…

Simon Keenlyside and Anna Pirozzi: chilling psychopaths in Covent Garden’s impressive revival of Macbeth

Macbeth is the first great fusion of music and drama in Verdi’s operas. It needs a great production, however, to bring those elements together and this is largely what Phyllida…

Transfigured Strauss and breathtaking Wagner: Miah Persson sings Vier letze Lieder and Rouvali conducts The Ring Without Words

It’s not often that I review a concert back to front, but this Philharmonia pairing of Strauss and Wagner is in part better understood that way. Both composers used huge…

Thomas Schippers and the NHKSO: beauty, opulence and power – the legendary Osaka Die Walküre debuts on CD

The American conductor Thomas Schippers is a name largely unknown to many people. There may be several reasons for this. He died relatively young – at 47 – from lung…

An Akhnaten for our times from the Metropolitan Opera

Philip Glass’s major operas are hardly well represented on CD. Indeed, until recently only a single recording of each of Satyagraha and Akhnaten was available – and in the case…