News » Reviews 2015

(UK) Opera Today Review: "Taverner and Tavener, Fretwork, London" (by Claire Seymour, 22 Dec 2015)

Contributed by admin on Jan 24, 2016

"‘Apt for voices or viols’: eager to maximise sales among the domestic market in Elizabethan England, publishers emphasised that the music contained in collections such as Thomas Morley’s First Book of Madrigals to Four Voices of 1594 was suitable for performance by any combination of singers and players. ...


(US) Vanguard Seattle Review: "Pacific MusicWorks Gives a Golden Performance of Handel’s “Messiah” (21 December 2015, by Claire Biringer)

Contributed by admin on Dec 24, 2015

"I’m going to come right out and say this: I don’t like Handel. The overly stuffy formal structures and frivolous ornamentation of the high Baroque will never top my list. I find the Messiah static and trite, and Handel’s operas no more exciting than the bassline of Pachelbel’s canon. I’ve only found glimpses of redemption in his output, like the moody D minor Sarabande and brief coloratura passages in Giulio Cesare.

If anyone were to sway my Handelian hatred, it is unsurprising that it would be Pacific MusicWorks, the ...


(CA) This is Classical Guitar Article: "Performing Baroque Music on Classical Guitar by Peter Croton" (by Bradford, 09 Dec 2015)

Contributed by admin on Dec 12, 2015

"There are many great books on the historical performance practices of Baroque music.  Although the books have nothing to do with guitar, they are valuable because they approach performance practice from a universal musical perspective. Much of performance practice, after all, should be the same on guitar as it will be on strings or keyboards. But there are differences too and there are many opportunities to learn from our earlier plucked ancestors. Peter Croton, early music performer on guitar and lute (and more), and teacher at the world-renowned Schola Cantorum Basiliensis as well as at the Conservatories of Basel and Bern has tackled the task of making a handbook that will bring the new and old worlds together. In his book, Croton has the best of both worlds: a wealth of period sources and universal musical knowledge as well as specific reference to lute, Baroque guitar, and other plucked instruments and composers of the era.  ...


(UK) Opera Today Review: "Florilegium at Wigmore Hall" (by Claire Seymour, 29 Nov 2015)

Contributed by admin on Dec 06, 2015

"During this exploration of music from the Austro-German Baroque, Florilegium were joined by the baritone Roderick Williams in a programme of music which placed the music and career of J.S. Bach in the context of three older contemporaries: Franz Tunder (1614-67), Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1701) and Heinrich Biber (1644-1704). ...


(UK) Opera Today Review: "Monteverdi by The Sixteen at Wigmore Hall" (by Claire Seymour, 12 Nov 2015)

Contributed by admin on Dec 05, 2015

"This was a concert where immense satisfaction was derived equally from the quality of musicianship displayed and the coherence and resourcefulness of the programme presented....


(UK) Opera Today Review: "Monteverdi by The Sixteen at Wigmore Hall" (by Claire Seymour, 12 Nov 2015)

Contributed by admin on Nov 15, 2015

"This was a concert where immense satisfaction was derived equally from the quality of musicianship displayed and the coherence and resourcefulness of the programme presented. In 1610, Claudio Monteverdi published his Vespro della Beata Vergine for soloists, chorus, and orchestra.  ...


(US) Philly.com Article: "Singers reinventing choral sounds with old techniques" (by David Patrick Stearns, 08 Nov 2015)

Contributed by admin on Nov 11, 2015

"Often called "just intonation," the ancient system of chord building has been readopted by some modern composers intent on getting to the heart of musical science, and it is an important tool for getting inside the masterpieces of the past. ...


(UK) Opera Today Review: "Monteverdi: Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria" (05 Oct 2015)

Contributed by admin on Oct 13, 2015

"The third and final instalment of the Academy of Ancient Music’s survey of Monteverdi’s operas at the Barbican began and ended in darkness; the red glow of the single candle was an apt visual frame for a performance which was dedicated to the memory of the late Andrew Porter, the music critic and writer whose learned, pertinent and eloquent words did so much to restore Monteverdi, Cavalli and other neglected music-dramatists to the operatic stage. ...


(UK) Early Music Review -- Newly Posted Reviews

Contributed by admin on Aug 02, 2015

(From a recent Early Music Review newsletter)

From Early Music Review, news of fresh reviews that are now posted on their website.

"Brian Robins writes about The Gabrieli Consort and Players at the event formerly known as the Beaune Festival, Clifford Bartlett and Barbara Sachs comment on new editions, and a wide range of new HIP recordings is put under scrutiny by our team of regular contributors." ...


(UK) Opera Today Review: "BBC Proms: The Cardinall’s Musick" (by Claire Seymour) (23 Jul 2015)

Contributed by admin on Aug 01, 2015

"When he was skilfully negotiating the not inconsiderable complexities, upheavals and strife of musical and religious life at the English royal court during the Reformation, Thomas Tallis (c.1505-85) could hardly have imagined that more than 450 years later people would be queuing round the block for the opportunity spend their lunch-hour listening to the music that he composed in service of his God and his monarch. ...


(UK) Opera Today Review: "Saul, Glyndebourne" (by Robert Hugill) (24 Jul 2015)

Contributed by admin on Jul 27, 2015

"A brilliant theatrical event, bringing Handel’s theatre of the mind to life on stage ...

Though not an opera and never intended for the stage, Handel’s oratorio Saul is one of his most dramatic works and Kosky created from it a remarkable piece of theatre. ...


(US) Opera Today Article: "The ‘Other’ Così" By Claire Seymour (9 Jul 2015)

Contributed by admin on Jul 20, 2015

"However, this is not Così fan tutte, the third of the Mozart-Da Ponte collaborations, but Antonio Salieri’s La Grotta di Trofonio, which had its first public performance at the Burgtheater in Vienna in October 1785 and became a huge popular success. ...


(US) The Boston Musical Intelligencier Review: “Musica Pacifica: "Dancing in the Isles”" by Steven Ledbetter (13 Jun 2015)

Contributed by admin on Jul 20, 2015

"It is likely that a good part of the crowd surging toward Jordan Hall late in the evening on Friday night to hear an 11 o’clock BEMF performance by Musica Pacifica had a good idea of what to expect. I did not. This San Francisco-based ensemble consisted of seven superb players who presented a delightful program largely made up of dance tunes from the British Isles: Ireland, Scotland, and England. Any performance of some two dozen tunes simply played one after another runs the risk of monotony. But ...


(US) Opera Today Review: "Donizetti: Les Martyrs" (by Claire Seymour, 30 May 2015)

Contributed by admin on May 31, 2015

(From a recent Opera Today newsletter)

"As the editor of Opera magazine, John Allison, notes in his editorial in the June issue, Donizetti fans are currently spoilt for choice, enjoying a ‘Donizetti revival’ with productions of several of the composer’s lesser known works cropping up in houses around the world. ...


(UK) Opera Today Review: ‘Where’er You Walk’: Handel’s Favourite Tenor (by Claire Seymour)

Contributed by admin on May 17, 2015

"I have sometimes lamented the preference of Ian Page’s Classical Opera for concert performances and recordings over staged productions, albeit that their renditions of eighteenth-century operas and vocal works are unfailingly stylish, illuminating and supported by worthy research. ...


(UK) Opera Today: "The Hilliard Ensemble: Farewell Concert at Wigmore Hall" (Review by Claire Seymour)

Contributed by admin on Mar 09, 2015

"Forty-one years is a long time for any partnership to be sustained and to flourish — be it musical, commercial or marital! And, given The Hilliard Ensemble’s ongoing reputation as one of the world’s finest a cappella groups,  ...


(US) San Francisco Classical Voice Concert Review: "Philharmonia Baroque Explores Music of Bach's Cousins" (By Niels Swinkels, February 10, 2015)

Contributed by admin on Feb 15, 2015

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

"... Two illustrious contemporary relatives of the ‘Great J.S.’ were featured in Philharmonia Baroque’s latest concerts. Both were J.S.’s distant cousins: Johann Christoph (1642-1703) and Johann Ludwig (1677-1731). ...