César Franck’s Cello Sonata

  After the Paris Commune came to an end in 1871 and right up to the First World War, Paris enjoyed a period of frenzied reconstruction and renewal. Paris’s renaissance is referred to today as la Belle Epoque (The Beautiful Era). Most memorable were the universal exhibitions that took place during this period of great optimism,…

Divine Debussy and Messiaen

Photograph by Jasper Grijpink Regards Sur L’Infini was recorded by soprano, Katharine Dain, and pianist, Sam Armstrong, during the first lockdown of this year and is a remarkable tribute to Claude Debussy and Olivier Messiaen. In many respects this musical project is a quite a feat for Dain. Both Debussy’s and Messiaen’s vocal work is…

Tenor Dmytro Popov hitting high notes of his career

The Ukranian opera tenor Dmytro Popov might not be someone you will have heard of. Now entering his forth decade and therefore relatively young in opera years, he has spent much of his time outside the UK, singing lead roles in the world’s most prestigious opera houses. His stupendous vocal abilities were noticed very early…

Spired and emotional: the Oxford Lieder Festival 2020

On paper, the Oxford Lieder festival (wholly online this year, for contagious reasons) ended about a month ago. But not for me. Right up to the last minute, I’ve been extracting the maximum value I possibly can from my catch-up pass, viewing as many concerts as possible before the on-demand video archive finally vanishes from…

Turner’s Modern World at War

Tate Britain is home to the majority of J.M.Turner’s total output due to his bequest to the institution in 1851 .  Three hundred oil paintings and many thousands of watercolours and sketches, have, over the years,  either travelled to other galleries, been archived, or have featured in the Clore Gallery’s ever-changing displays. Turner’s Modern World is Tate Britain’s…

Mezzo soprano Paula Murrihy takes a walk on the wild side

On her new recording I Will Walk With Love, Irish mezzo-soprano Paula Murrihy demonstrates a natural talent for singing German lieder, having honed her linguistic skills at the Frankfurt Opera house. She also sensibly combines Brahms, Mahler and Grieg songs with some Debussy. Les chansons de Bilitis  adds a welcome French frisson to the Germanic…

London Bridge Trio Records Leipzig Circle Volume Two

  I love piano trios. For me, piano, cello and violin is a holy trinity of instruments which magically creates that big sound I seek. I was therefore delighted to listen to the CD of The Leipzig Circle Vol 11, recorded by the London Bridge Trio on Somm Recordings. Formed in 2002, the London Bridge…

Blistering Performance by Stuart Jackson on ‘Flax and Fire’

  On Flax and Fire, operatic tenor Stuart Jackson offers a recording of love songs from the romantic repertoire of Robert Schumann, Franz Liszt and Hugo Wolf, with more contemporary works by William Denis Browne and Benjamin Britten. Britten opens the album with homages to Purcell but I really started to listen from track three. Um Mitternacht…

French Impressions at the British Museum

  The British Museum’s new French Impressions show was several floors up in room 90, around the back of the museum. I’ve become quite accustomed to coming here for the BM’s print shows, for, for one thing, the BM benefits from an impressive print archive – admired the world over. The last exhibition I attended here,…