The House of Life: David Butt Philip and James Baillieu at Leighton House

The Rossetti family, according to William Michael, in Some Reminiscences (1906), ‘were not a musical family; they had no gift in that direction … no craving to be constantly hearing…

A First-Rate Serious Opera by Rossini with Pre-Echoes of The Barber of Seville

Another good-to-superb recording of a little-known Rossini opera, thanks to the Rossini in Wildbad festival. The recording blends three concert performances from July 2017 and features Silvia Dalla Benetta as…

An absorbing, imaginative ‘enactment’ of the St John Passion from Oxford Bach Soloists

Last April, writing in the Observer, Fiona Maddocks lamented her first Easter without the mysteries and joys of Bach.  ‘This year all performances have been cancelled.  Our lives have already…

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…

A Third Catarina Cornaro Opera: Not Halévy or Donizetti but Franz Lachner, and It’s Good!

Opera lovers may think they have never heard any music by Franz (or Franz Paul) Lachner. But, if they’ve enjoyed Cherubini’s Medea, they almost surely have heard – and been…

Bach’s B Minor Mass: VOCES8 and the AAM on Easter Sunday

In 1818, the Swiss musician, writer and publisher Hans Georg Nägeli (1773–1836) issued a public advertisement announcing an ambitious publishing project, which would make a new Mass, that he had…

VOCES8 and the English Chamber Orchestra join forces on Good Friday to perform Bach and Fauré

For their Good Friday Live from London performance, VOCES8 joined forces with members of the English Chamber Orchestra at Cadogan Hall.  Barnaby Smith had moved from his countertenor’s perch to…

A new recording of Buxtehude and Schütz from Ensemble Correspondances

More often associated with the French Baroque, Ensemble Correspondances shifts its gaze to 17th-century German music to focus on contrasting Passion settings by Dietrich Buxtehude and Heinrich Schütz.  Through its…

Lyric soprano Sandrine Piau takes flight in late-Romantic repertoire

The premise for this new issue from Alpha is supposedly the tension between light and dark, suggested in the French term ‘clair-obscur’, and explored through orchestral songs inclined towards a…

Three Engaging New Song Cycles, Sung to Perfection on an Award-Winning CD by Soprano Deborah Sternberg

The general level of musical performance nowadays has risen around the world. Well-tuned orchestras pop up everywhere, and highly capable fiddlers, keyboard-ticklers, and singers (I’m tempted to write, in the…