A masterly traversal of Duparc songs

The habit among composers of almost excessive self-criticism has been a curiously French phenomenon over the last century, typified by Dukas, Duruflé and his younger, more progressive contemporary Henri Dutilleux.…

Fine collaborations between Claude Debussy & Mikko Franck

Some twenty years ago Finnish conductor Mikko Franck, then in his early 20s, was considered classical music’s Next Best Thing: his debut conducting disc with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra…

Stanford: Children’s Songs – a generous, involving recital by Kitty Whately and Gareth Brynmor John

In 1906, Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924) published The National Song Book, a collection of folk-songs, carols and rounds. In an address to a musical society in 1917, Arthur Somervell –…

Characterful Mahler from Les Siècles, François-Xavier Roth and Sabine Devieilhe

Harmonia mundi’s recent disc of Mahler’s 4th Symphony provides a remarkably flowing and vivid account, fashioning a new perspective on a much-recorded work.  Inner detail is heard afresh with instruments…

Three Britten cycles – manicured performances from Andrew Staples

Poets from W.H. Auden to Shakespeare and Goethe to Racine fired Benjamin Britten’s musical imagination and kindled an artistic response that had little equal among 20th-century British composers. Nowhere do…

Mozart’s Lucio Silla: a live recording from Laurence Equilbey and the Insula orchestra

In Mozart’s Operas: a critical study (1913), Edward J. Dent pronounced Lucio Silla to be ‘a frigid piece of formality’ and ‘a mediocre opera, not even as good as Mitridate’. …

Alice Coote & Julius Drake present a collection of popular Schubert lieder

Alice Coote’s recent disc, Schubert 21 Songs, joins an already well-filled and distinguished discography. She and her long-term collaborator Julius Drake curate a wide-ranging selection bookended by two versions each…

A sonically stirring ‘Song of the Earth’ from Le balcon and Maxime Pascal

Performances and recordings of Rainer Riehn’s 1983 chamber-ensemble arrangement of Mahler’s symphony-cum-song-cycle, Das Lied von der Erde, seem quite common these days – perhaps even more so than the original…

Colourise: a superb new disc by London Choral Sinfonia

In 1951, the English Opera Group commissioned a work from Lennox Berkeley, to be performed at the fifth Aldeburgh Festival the following year.  That work, the Variations on a Hymn…

Michel-Richard de Lalande: Grands Motets

During the 17th century, daily religious observance was a regular feature at the French court.  In the royal chapel Louis XIV was a habitual presence for Low Mass where custom…