Hoffmeister’s Magic Flute

Franz Anton Hoffmeister was surprisingly absent from my Oxford Companion to Music when I tried to look him up for the purposes of this review. This is surprising as his musical output at the end of the 18th century – early 19th century showed him to be quite prolific. He produced a total of sixty-six…

Guitarist Jakob Bangsø and the soul of the troubadour

This month I was very keen to hear Danish guitarist, Jakob Bangsø, play three contemporary guitar concertos on a recording he made with Orchid Classics. First out on the album is Troubadours by composer John Corigliano, written in 1993. Corigliano has a long career behind him but was nervous about writing a guitar concerto. Concerns…

Promentum..!

Many of you reading this will be aware that the pandemically-adjusted 2020 Proms season has just shifted up a gear. Since mid-July, the BBC has raided its archives and broadcast selected performances from past years. Now, however, there is an all-too-brief fortnight of live performances from an audience-free Royal Albert Hall, available on various platforms…

Sarah Beth Briggs makes The Austrian Connection

‘The Austrian Connection’ traces the compositional links between four Austrian composers: Hans Gál (1890-1987) was perhaps the last great composer to uphold the tonal Austro-German tradition that began with Haydn and Mozart, and, arguably, reached its apogee in the music of Schubert

Venice with Turner

Like Canaletto before him, and Monet after him, J M W Turner (1775-1851) was intrigued and beguiled by Venice – the magical play of light and water, glimmering reflections of wedding cake palaces in the waters of the canals and the lagoon, the crumbling majesty of the buildings, the backstreets and alleys

Sensuous, Intimate and Evocative – Ravel: Le Langage des Fleurs

Ann Martin-Davis, piano (Guild Music) Maurice Ravel has been an enduring part of pianist Ann Martin-Davis’ musical life and in the liner notes to her new collection of his piano music, she relates an anecdote which gave her a special connection to the composer. Having played the middle movement of Ravel’s Sonatine to the renowned…

Clélia Iruzun Plays Camille Saint-Saëns and Henrique Oswald

Piano concertos are dramatic affairs performed live, with virtuoso pianist, conductor and orchestra all adding to the visual spectacle taking place on stage. Concertos are rarely run of the mill – too costly for that. Only the best performers will do. And at the moment, mid-pandemic, deprived of live performances of this nature, we have…

Striking a harpsichord: Mahan Esfahani, ‘Musique?’

It’s impossible to resist writing about this tour-de-force of an album, a CD I’ve lived with now for a few weeks and keep feeling drawn back to, certain in the knowledge there’s always more to hear, more to appreciate. I would be happy to recommend any of Mahan Esfahani’s recordings, but my true favourites are…

Window to the inner world: Heather Leigh, ‘Glory Days’

Heather Leigh’s previous release, ‘Throne’, was one of my favourite albums of 2018. Picking up the record unawares, you might expect country rock – Leigh sings, and her chief instrument is pedal steel guitar – but that would be a mistake. On first listen, you might wonder just what it is you’ve let yourself in…