Haydn Symphonies Nos. 57, 67, 68

A colleague once said that the best Haydn symphony was the one that he had heard last. This has worked for me over the years, with very few exceptions, and certainly I found this dictum true again in Nicholas McGegan’s selection of these three symphonies. [...]

Pedro de Escobar: Missa in Granada (c.1520)

This fine recording, made in 2000, was first issued on the Christophorus label in 2003. Escobar was originally from Porto; in the early 16th century he was music director and Magister Puerorum at Seville Cathedral, where he may have taught the young Morales. [...]

J. S. Bach| Motets

This recording of the complete motets by eight singers, cello, double bass and organ continuo is one of the most moving discs I have encountered in a long time. [...]

Bach: Musical Offering

This recording – despite its relative brevity – left me exhausted; there is nothing tiring about the playing, which is absolutely first rate, but the music is just so intellectually demanding, or at least I allowed it to be so, teasing my brain with all its ingenuity! [...]

The Hunt is Up

Ross Duffin's Shakespeare's Songbook is quoted as the main source, though the scorings and adaptations are occasionally a bit odd. The main singer has an English accent that is a bit variable [...]

Bach: Violin Concertos BWV 1041–1043 & 1050R

If your initial reaction (like mine, I confess) was, "oh no, not another recording of these concertos!", time to dispel fears of being anything other than captivated by a series of interpretations that are as finely nuanced without the slightest hint of micro-management as you are ever likely to hear. [...]

Rolle: Jauchzet dem Herrn alle Welt – 31 motets

Though nowadays considered a secondary figure in the history of music, Johann Heinrich Rolle was actually much more so in his own day. His oratorios were very widely disseminated and performed (even enjoying the relative luxury of being printed in vocal score format) and it is not difficult to see why [...]

Vivaldi: L’Estro Armonico

Any new recording of L'Estro Armonico is most welcome! There simply is not a weak piece among the 12 concertos for one, two or four violins, with or without obbligato cello and continuo – truly, it is a virtuosic display of Vivaldi's talent, both as composer and as performer; [...]

Coronation Music for Charles II

This is a triumph of style over substance. It must have seemed a good idea to put together a programme reconstructing the coronation of Charles II in Westminster Abbey on 23 April 1661, packaging it with the glamorous painting of the enthroned king in his coronation robes. But someone needs to have done their homework properly [...]
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