GRAMOPHONE: From Where I Sit – January 2018

Reviewing Daniele Gatti’s new recording of Mahler’s Second Symphony (see the December issue) I found myself questioning yet again how it is possible to keep this now familiar music sounding startling and fresh and at the very edge of possibility when great orchestras have the facility, the virtuosity, to make light of its super-challenging demands. … [Read More]

GRAMOPHONE Review: Richard Rodney Bennett Orchestral Works Vol. 1 – BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/Wilson

Richard Rodney Bennett wore his prodigious talent lightly – but he dispensed it generously. From hardcore Darmstadt beginnings to friendlier tonalities; from movies and TV to his passion for the American Songbook where his pianistic gifts shone so inventively. Was there anything he couldn’t say musically? No need to answer that – but rather to … [Read More]

GRAMOPHONE Review: Mahler Symphony No. 4 – Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra/Fischer

Adam Fischer launched his Düsseldorf Mahler cycle with an accomplished and individual account of the nighthawkish Seventh Symphony. I commented at the time that his brother Ivan should be looking over his shoulder. More so now. This Fourth is even better. Its Wunderhorn playfulness offsets a knowing old-world charm where phrases turn on a sixpence … [Read More]

GRAMOPHONE Review: Mahler Symphony No. 2 ‘Resurrection’ – Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra/Daniele Gatti

As Mahler symphonies have become better and better known over the years so too has the pressure grown on his interpreters to rekindle their “newness”, their ability to surprise and shock. I have nothing but the highest regard for Daniele Gatti and his magnificent Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, steeped as they are in a long and … [Read More]

GRAMOPHONE Review: Heggie – It’s A Wonderful Life

It’s interesting – and revealing – that Pentatone has a designated “American Operas” series. It’s an acknowledgement, if you like, that there is something very particular, very recognisably “American”, about the USA’s contribution to the genre, something that separates them from the world of international contemporary opera. It’s in their traditions, their songs, and most … [Read More]

GRAMOPHONE: From Where I Sit – November 2017

Finishing the unfinished. With this month’s cover feature on the mysteries and machinations surrounding Mozart’s musical last will and testament the debate on whether or not, how or if, or to what extent we should be second guessing the greats is rekindled. Of course, the musically inquisitive will always want to venture into the realms … [Read More]

GRAMOPHONE Review: Mahler Symphony No. 4 – Munich Philharmonic/Valery Gergiev

This is a trickiest of discs to write about – unremarkable performances often are. For the first few pages that’s how it felt: a sound tempo, fluent, elegant enough playing, but also a sense of a reading on “automatic pilot”. Even the well-mannered Viennese rubatos sound prescribed, applied more than they are felt. But now … [Read More]

GRAMOPHONE Review: Dear Evan Hansen – Original Broadway Cast Recording/Pasek & Paul

Benj Pasek and Justin Paul are perhaps best known as collaborators on the phenomenon that was La La Land and amongst other things an insidiously memorable little ditty called “City of Stars” (with composer Justin Hurwitz). But despite the best efforts of the media and a string of misinformed critics La La Land was in … [Read More]

GRAMOPHONE: From Where I Sit – October 2017

The dust may finally have settled on the 2017 Proms season but one strand of programming continues to resonate with me. In commemorating the 1917 Russian Revolution Vasily Petrenko and Vladimir Jurowski stepped up with stonking performances of both Shostakovich’s revolutionary symphonies. Jurowski reaffirmed the 11th ‘The Year 1905’ as the most underrated of the … [Read More]

GRAMOPHONE: From Where I Sit – Awards Issue 2017

In this age of rampant genre-hopping it’s actually hard to know what to call Joyce DiDonato’s cracking Gramophone Award winning confection In War and Peace. In performance it was neither a recital (the category in which it scooped its award) nor a concert but rather an indefinable hybrid whose subtly themed narrative of baroque arias … [Read More]


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