Russian pessimism, potently performed by countertenor Hamish McLaren

There was no musical equivalent in Russia of the outpouring of Romantic lieder which occurred in Western Europe, as, inspired by the greatest poets of the day, song after song…

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…

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…

Rossini’s Maometto II, in its Full Original Naples Version, Comes to Life Thanks to Flexible Young Singers at the “Rossini in Wildbad” Festival

I have written with enthusiasm about numerous recordings from the Rossini festival that is held each summer – well, except 2020 – in Wildbad (in Germany’s Black Forest region). One…

Handelian Pyrotechnics from William Towers

‘Pyrotechnics’, noun (plural): a public show of fireworks; a show of great skill, especially by a musician or someone giving a speech. William Towers’ recent recording of Handel arias, with…

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…