Hérold’s Le pré aux clercs (1832), a Missing Link between Rossini and Offenbach, Done to Perfection

Good rule of thumb: if one or two arias from a forgotten opera have continued to be performed and recorded, and the overture as well, then the whole work is…

Gounod’s Early Mastery in Opera and Sacred Music: World-premiere recordings of scenes and choral works

This is the sixth volume in the “Prix de Rome” series of CD sets produced by the admirable Center for French Romantic Music, a research organization located in the Palazzetto…

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…

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…

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…

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…