Presto News - 18th September 2015

Robin Ticciati conducts Haydn Symphonies

When my colleague David interviewed Robin Ticciati a year ago regarding his recording of Schumann's symphonies, his responses gave me the impression of a deeply thoughtful musician who takes time to ponder exactly what he wants from every bar. This quality is very much evident in a new disc of three Haydn symphonies with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

Robin Ticciati
Robin Ticciati

First up is Symphony No. 31, known as the Horn Signal. As you might expect from the nickname, the horns are fairly prominent! Although it wasn’t the first time Haydn had written for a quartet of horns (Symphony No. 13 also has four rather than the usual pair), they are very much in the spotlight here, not least their robust call to attention in the first bar. The use of natural horns adds a piquancy that you can’t really replicate with modern, valved horns. However, they're certainly not blasting all the way through, and Ticciati has clearly thought about when to let them dominate and when they should be more in the background.

He also varies their dynamics on repeats, so whereas a phrase might be played forte the first time round, on the repeat it is heard pianissimo. Speaking of repeats, I should note that Ticciati is fastidious about observing them: not only are first-movement exposition repeats included, but also those normally ignored such as the second halves of movements. The potential danger with this is sheer Haydn fatigue, but luckily this is completely avoided by the inventiveness of Ticciati's interpretation, aided by some tasteful ornamentation. Furthermore, Ticciati makes interesting choices of articulation; for instance, a flute phrase may be tongued the first time but slurred later on.

Although a modern-instrument ensemble, the players apply aspects of period performance practice, not least in the strings, where vibrato is kept to a minimum and used as an expressive device rather than a default position. This is most apparent in the slow movement, which includes a florid solo violin part, played mainly straight by leader Henja Semmler but with vibrato coming into play on long notes. There’s also some wonderful use of fortepiano continuo, subtly improvising along to the strings. It could easily have become annoying, but its sparing and sensitive use is just right, usually in the background but occasionally filling in some semiquavers to great effect: towards the end of the movement where a solo cello joins the violin, it's almost like a miniature piano trio has arrived, or perhaps a smaller-scale version of Beethoven's Triple Concerto. It's a delightful touch that raises this recording to another level of enjoyment.

I must also single out the penultimate, seventh variation of the last movement, which has an extended solo for violone (essentially a double bass viol), these days performed on a double bass. Principal bass Nikita Naumov does a phenomenal job of performing with a Baroque-like, ‘antique’ flavour to his sound.

I’ve spent a lot of time on this symphony, mainly because it displays everything I admire about this disc, but that’s not to imply that the other two symphonies are any less successful. In Symphony No. 70, the addition of trumpets makes for a blazing sound, and the timpani have a pleasing thwack to them. Ticciati’s attention to dynamics is still on display, with the extreme pianissimo of the symphony’s penultimate bars contrasting with the final fortissimo.

The disc concludes with a splendid reading of Symphony No. 101 (one of the London symphonies, also known as The Clock). There are some energetically springy rhythms on offer in the first movement, and some nicely fruity bassoons as they perform their ticking quavers that earn the symphony its nickname. As it happens, all three symphonies are in the same key, and I was worried that I would be a bit fed up with D major by the end of the disc, but luckily this never became an issue. I understand there will be a second release next year featuring some more of the London symphonies, and I can’t wait to hear them!

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Haydn: Symphonies Nos. 31, 70 & 101

Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Robin Ticciati

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Presto Interview – Harp Concertos from Anneleen Lenaerts

Belgian harpist Anneleen Lenaerts' latest disc comprises three broadly varied concertos for her instrument, ranging from the well-known - Gliere's melodious favourite - to the little-heard Joseph Jongen, via Rodrigo's own harp arrangement of his famous Concierto de Aranjuez.

David spoke to Anneleen about the challenges of approaching these very different works, and about the circumstances that gave rise to them.

Read the full article...

Gramophone Awards 2015 – Disc of the Year and Category Winners

The waiting is over – this year's Gramophone Award Winners have been announced!

The late Claudio Abbado's magisterial account of Bruckner's Ninth Symphony - recorded at what turned out to be his final concert - scooped Disc of the Year, while Estonian conductor Paavo Järvi is this year's Artist of the Year after producing several acclaimed recordings of Shostakovich, other Russian composers and Bruckner. Full details of the winners can be found here.

Our special offer on all the category winners is still running - so there's still time to pick up some bargains on these great recordings.

And Channel Classics is this year's Label of the Year - so we're offering up to 30% off the whole label until 23rd November, too!

Bruckner: Symphony No. 9 in D Minor

Lucerne Festival Orchestra, Claudio Abbado

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David Willcocks (1919-2015)

Sir David Willcocks, former Director of Music at King's College Cambridge, has died at the age of 95. An accomplished conductor, organist and composer, he held several positions at English cathedrals and choirs - but it is for his ever-popular arrangements and harmonisations of Christmas carols, immortalised in the Carols for Choirs series, that he will mostly be remembered.

A full obituary can be found here.

James Longstaffe - james@prestoclassical.co.uk

New Releases

18th September 2015

Jos van Immerseel conducts Dvorak & Janacek

Anima Eterna Brugge, Jos van Immerseel

This is the first of three releases celebrating the seventieth birthday of Jos Van Immerseel, featuring a progamme of music by Antonín Dvořák and Leoš Janáček. With Anima Eterna, Immerseel has created a veritable musical troupe, who together carefully select the most appropriate instrument to interpret a given piece, prepared to wait several months if necessary for the instrument to be ready before programming it.

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Imogen Cooper plays Schumann

Imogen Cooper (piano)

This third recording by Imogen Cooper on Chandos features some of Schumann's most characteristic and complex works for solo piano, including the Davidsbündlertänze which she describes as a 'work of stirring beauty and humour that make it one of the great romantic masterpieces for the piano'.

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Dvorak & Lalo: Cello Concertos

Johannes Moser (cello), PKF-Prague Philharmonia, Jakub Hrůša

German-Canadian cellist Johannes Moser performs the pinnacle of the repertoire for cello and orchestra, the concerto by Antonín Dvořák. Moser and conductor Jakub Hrůša had Dvořák's own manuscript to hand in order to come closer to the composer's intention. Moser completes the album with the Cello Concerto by Édouard Lalo, a work of great verve which fully embodies Spanish flair combined with romantic spirit.

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Beethoven: String Quartets, Op. 18

Jerusalem Quartet

Beethoven's six Quartets Op.18 display much boldness and originality, from the dramatic echoes of 'Romeo and Juliet' in No.1 to the astonishing programmatic finale of No.6, ‘La Malinconia’. The Jerusalem Quartet was founded in 1993, and is now a regular guest in the world’s leading concert halls.

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Leo Ornstein: Piano Quintet & String Quartet No. 2

Marc-André Hamelin (piano), Pacifica Quartet

The young pianist-composer Leo Ornstein went from wowing the ladies with his virtuosity to writing a Violin Sonata in 1915 of such atonal violence that it frightened even him. By the time of the two works recorded here his style was more rounded. The mix of enfant terrible and Lisztian piano-slayer is now tempered by an intense lyricism. In the hands of Marc-André Hamelin and the Pacifica Quartet these performances fizz with exuberance.

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Tchaikovsky: The Symphonies and Manfred

Russian National Orchestra, Mikhail Pletnev

Between February 2011 and March 2014, Pentatone released an acclaimed cycle of the complete symphonies by Tchaikovsky, performed by the Russian National Orchestra under the direction of Mikhail Pletnev. This majestic cycle is now presented in a magnificent 7 SACD set.

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Ian Bostridge - Autograph (7 CDs)

Ian Bostridge (tenor)

Creating a biographical panorama of his career, British tenor Ian Bostridge has personally selected each track in this collection. With a focus on both song (in German and English) and opera (from Monteverdi to Adès by way of Handel, Mozart and Britten), it demonstrates why he is recognised as one of today’s most distinctive, intelligent and compelling singers. The tenor also complements his performances with an exclusive and illuminating audio interview.

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Wagner: The Bayreuth Edition Box Set (DVD)

The six operas featured here showcase the creative productions and outstanding singing that Bayreuth is famous for. Jan Philipp Gloger’s controversial production of Der fliegende Holländer is conducted by Christian Thielemann, while Axel Kober takes the helm in Sebastian Baumgarten’s thought-provoking production of Tannhäuser, which casts the opera as one giant experiment. The radical Tristan und Isolde sees Christoph Marthaler setting the opera in a Communist-era reception room, like a psychodrama of the 1950s.

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30-Apr-2012 -Hamilton Harty’s Chamber Music
23-Apr-2012 -Kathleen Ferrier
16-Apr-2012 -Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique from Ticciati and the SCO
09-Apr-2012 -New and forthcoming Opera DVDs
02-Apr-2012 -Claude Debussy
26-Mar-2012 -Wagner - Klaus Florian Vogt and a new Parsifal
19-Mar-2012 -Haydn from Thomas Fey and the Heidelberger Sinfoniker
12-Mar-2012 -Jules Massenet - Werther & Don Quichotte
05-Mar-2012 -Brahms choral discs from Gardiner and Herreweghe
27-Feb-2012 -Vivaldi: Sacred vocal works and concertos
20-Feb-2012 -Aleksandra Kurzak and Renée Fleming
13-Feb-2012 -Schoenberg and Berg
06-Feb-2012 -Alison Balsom
30-Jan-2012 -Britten Violin Concerto
23-Jan-2012 -Beethoven Symphonies from Thielemann and Chailly
16-Jan-2012 -New Year’s Concert from Vienna
09-Jan-2012 -Mariusz Kwiecień
02-Jan-2012 -Fritz Kreisler
26-Dec-2011 -The year ahead and our latest new development
19-Dec-2011 -Two legendary performances
12-Dec-2011 -Maurizio Pollini plays Chopin
05-Dec-2011 -Christmas roundup
28-Nov-2011 -Havergal Brian’s Gothic Symphony
21-Nov-2011 -Duetti da Camera: Philippe Jaroussky & Max Emanuel Cencic
14-Nov-2011 -Bruckner and Mahler from Haitink and Pappano
07-Nov-2011 -Haydn from the Takács Quartet
31-Oct-2011 -Sublime Schubert from Paul Lewis
24-Oct-2011 -Franz Liszt
17-Oct-2011 -The Decca Sound
10-Oct-2011 -Pavel Haas Quartet the big winners at the Gramophone Awards
03-Oct-2011 -Berlioz's Grande Messe des Morts from Paul McCreesh
26-Sep-2011 -Handel – Agrippina & Germanico
19-Sep-2011 -Wagner’s Flying Dutchman starts PentaTone’s 10th anniversary celebrations
12-Sep-2011 -Schubert's Schwanengesang from Padmore and Lewis
05-Sep-2011 -Gergiev and the LSO conclude their Mahler cycle
29-Aug-2011 -BIS - Maxim Rysanov, Sibelius and a special offer
22-Aug-2011 -Sublime Ravel from Ibragimova and Tiberghien
15-Aug-2011 -Gustavo Dudamel
08-Aug-2011 -Brahms/Schoenberg from Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker
01-Aug-2011 -Lucia from the Mariinsky
25-Jul-2011 -Bayreuther Festspiele
18-Jul-2011 -Benjamin Grosvenor
11-Jul-2011 -Rossini’s William Tell
04-Jul-2011 -Bach Motets from Herreweghe
27-Jun-2011 -Sublime Vivaldi from Nathalie Stutzmann
20-Jun-2011 -Beethoven’s Fidelio from Abbado and Kaufmann
13-Jun-2011 -Byrd’s Complete Consort Music
06-Jun-2011 -Vaughan Williams’s The Garden of Proserpine
30-May-2011 -Beethoven's Diabelli Variations from Paul Lewis
23-May-2011 -New DVDs from Glyndebourne
16-May-2011 -Martha Argerich
09-May-2011 -Handel's Ariodante
02-May-2011 -Daniel Barenboim plays Chopin and conducts Tchaikovsky
25-Apr-2011 -Fliter and Ibragimova excel in Beethoven
18-Apr-2011 -Julia Lezhneva sings Rossini
11-Apr-2011 -Lully’s Bellérophon
04-Apr-2011 -Mining the archives
28-Mar-2011 -Rachmaninov's Second Symphony
21-Mar-2011 -Suk's Asrael Symphony
14-Mar-2011 -Pergolesi's Stabat Mater
07-Mar-2011 -Striggio: Mass in 40 Parts
28-Feb-2011 -Tomás Luis de Victoria
21-Feb-2011 -Lisa Batiashvili - Echoes of Time
14-Feb-2011 -Kate Royal: A Lesson in Love
07-Feb-2011 -Simon Rattle's new Mahler 2
31-Jan-2011 -Percy Grainger
24-Jan-2011 -Arne: Artaxerxes
17-Jan-2011 -Handel and Strauss from Dessay and Damrau
10-Jan-2011 -Nielsen Symphonies from Colin Davis and the LSO
03-Jan-2011 -The Genius of Mozart
27-Dec-2010 -The year ahead
20-Dec-2010 -Sheet Music now online, and other recent developments
13-Dec-2010 -Robert Schumann
06-Dec-2010 -Vivaldi Operas - Ottone in Villa and Ercole
29-Nov-2010 -Christmas Releases
22-Nov-2010 -Bach Cantatas - the Gardiner pilgrimage
15-Nov-2010 -Henryk Mikolaj Górecki
08-Nov-2010 -Schubert: Piano Duets
01-Nov-2010 -Verdi's Otello from the LSO and Colin Davis
25-Oct-2010 -The Three Baroque Tenors
18-Oct-2010 -Dame Joan Sutherland
11-Oct-2010 -Bach's Violin Concertos from Rachel Podger and Brecon Baroque
04-Oct-2010 -Gramophone Awards announced last Friday
27-Sep-2010 -Jonas Kaufmann: Verismo Arias
20-Sep-2010 -Wagner's Parsifal from the Mariinsky and Gergiev
13-Sep-2010 -Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte from René Jacobs
06-Sep-2010 -Puccini's forgotten masterpiece - La Rondine
30-Aug-2010 -Santiago a cappella
23-Aug-2010 -Elīna Garanča goes Spanish
16-Aug-2010 -Rued Langgaard - Music of the Spheres
09-Aug-2010 -Gramophone Awards - The Finalists
02-Aug-2010 -50 Years of the Grosses Festspielhaus Salzburg
26-Jul-2010 -Gustav Mahler
19-Jul-2010 -Sir Charles Mackerras
12-Jul-2010 -Beethoven - Paul Lewis and the BBC Proms
05-Jul-2010 -A Russian Sibelius cycle
28-Jun-2010 -Ronald Brautigam's Beethoven
21-Jun-2010 -Carlos Kleiber
14-Jun-2010 -Handel's Berenice
07-Jun-2010 -Channel Classics
31-May-2010 -Alfredo Casella
24-May-2010 -Shostakovich Preludes & Fugues from Melnikov
17-May-2010 -The multi-talented Julia Fischer
10-May-2010 -Nimbus
03-May-2010 -Leonard Bernstein's Omnibus Broadcasts
26-Apr-2010 -Frédéric Chopin
19-Apr-2010 -Wagner Lohengrin - BBC Awards
12-Apr-2010 -Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique
05-Apr-2010 -Rossini: Il barbiere di Siviglia and Joyce DiDonato
29-Mar-2010 -Romantic Piano Concertos
22-Mar-2010 -Robin Ticciati and Brahms' Choral Works
15-Mar-2010 -Mozart Symphonies from Mackerras - Volume 2
08-Mar-2010 -Bernard Coutaz and Harmonia Mundi
01-Mar-2010 -Thomas Adès
22-Feb-2010 -Strauss: Alpine Symphony
15-Feb-2010 -Handel: Giulio Cesare and the Brockes Passion
08-Feb-2010 -Debussy and the Prix de Rome
01-Feb-2010 -Testament
25-Jan-2010 -BBC Music Magazine Awards Shortlist
18-Jan-2010 -Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet
11-Jan-2010 -Bach for Violin and Voice
04-Jan-2010 -A Ring cycle for the 21st Century
28-Dec-2009 -Anniversaries - 2009 and 2010
21-Dec-2009 -Richard Farrell
14-Dec-2009 -Thomas Tallis's Secret Garden
07-Dec-2009 -El Sistema
30-Nov-2009 -Christmas Releases
23-Nov-2009 -Kirsten Flagstad
16-Nov-2009 -Nikolaus Harnoncourt
09-Nov-2009 -Two important Elgar rarities
02-Nov-2009 -Felix Mendelssohn
26-Oct-2009 -Cecilia Bartoli and the world of Castratos
19-Oct-2009 -Winterreise from Padmore and Lewis
12-Oct-2009 -Tchaikovsky's Moscow Cantata
05-Oct-2009 -The Quatuor Ebène and the Gramophone Awards
28-Sep-2009 -Unknown Britten
21-Sep-2009 -Australian Eloquence
14-Sep-2009 -Julia Fischer plays Schubert
07-Sep-2009 -Bach Cantata bargain of the year
31-Aug-2009 -Rattle conducts Brahms
24-Aug-2009 -Bruckner from the Concertgebouw
17-Aug-2009 -Gramophone Awards 2009 - Finalists
10-Aug-2009 -Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle
03-Aug-2009 -The Vivaldi Edition
27-Jul-2009 -Diaghilev and The Ballets Russes
20-Jul-2009 -Sir Edward Downes
13-Jul-2009 -Brilliant Classics
06-Jul-2009 -Tomás Luis de Victoria
29-Jun-2009 -Britten's homage to Purcell
22-Jun-2009 -The Three Tenors
15-Jun-2009 -Penguin Rosettes and Building a Library
08-Jun-2009 -Masterclasses
01-Jun-2009 -Gergiev at the Mariinsky
25-May-2009 -Two recent re-discoveries light up Martinu year
18-May-2009 -Idomeneo from René Jacobs
11-May-2009 -A&R and Kate Royal's Midsummer Night
04-May-2009 -Chandos Records - 30 years young
27-Apr-2009 -Rachmaninov Preludes
20-Apr-2009 -20 Years of NMC
13-Apr-2009 -BBC Music Magazine Awards
06-Apr-2009 -Shostakovich 11 from the RLPO
30-Mar-2009 -BIS and the Sibelius Edition
23-Mar-2009 -Haydn - 'The Father of the Symphony'
16-Mar-2009 -George Frederic Handel
09-Mar-2009 -Bach's Brandenburg Concertos
02-Mar-2009 -Angela Gheorghiu in Puccini's Madama Butterfly
23-Feb-2009 -The world's most celebrated violins
16-Feb-2009 -Copyright to be extended
09-Feb-2009 -A feast of Early Music
02-Feb-2009 -Sarah Connolly gets Purcell year off to a flier
26-Jan-2009 -Monteverdi as you've never heard it before!
19-Jan-2009 -Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin put Platti firmly on the map
12-Jan-2009 -Hamelin proves his real class with Chopin
05-Jan-2009 -Lindsays lead the bargains
29-Dec-2008 -Jerusalem - in search of peace
22-Dec-2008 -Looking ahead - Handel, Haydn and more
15-Dec-2008 -2008 - A great year for DVDs
08-Dec-2008 -Top new Christmas recommendations
01-Dec-2008 -Richard Hickox
24-Nov-2008 -The World's Great Orchestras, and Euros and US Dollars now accepted
17-Nov-2008 -Lost manuscripts continue to be found
10-Nov-2008 -Haydn's String Quartets
03-Nov-2008 -Tchaikovsky's Manfred Symphony
27-Oct-2008 -Contemporary Music
20-Oct-2008 -Sir Peter Moores
13-Oct-2008 -Vivaldi in a new light
06-Oct-2008 -Americans in Pyongyang
29-Sep-2008 -Paul Lewis and the Gramophone Awards 2008
22-Sep-2008 -Songs her mother taught her
15-Sep-2008 -Vernon Handley
08-Sep-2008 -Zig Zag and the Atrium Quartet
01-Sep-2008 -Gramophone Awards nominations
25-Aug-2008 -Beautiful Messiah and Exquisite Morales
18-Aug-2008 -Great Pianists of the Past
11-Aug-2008 -Classical Television Broadcasts on the Internet
04-Aug-2008 -Chloë Hanslip and the unfamiliar
28-Jul-2008 -Leopold Godowsky and the virtuoso pianist
21-Jul-2008 -Linn Records
14-Jul-2008 -Vaughan Williams
07-Jul-2008 -Olivier Messiaen
30-Jun-2008 -Reginald Goodall's revelatory 'Mastersingers'
23-Jun-2008 -The French Baroque - 200 Years of Versailles
16-Jun-2008 -Bach Fugues from Onyx and the Emersons
09-Jun-2008 -New DVD page and Special Offer
02-Jun-2008 -Time to re-evaluate Miaskovsky
26-May-2008 -Superb Scholl sings Dowland and his circle
19-May-2008 -Fiesta! - Dudamel and the Venezuelans
12-May-2008 -The Guarneri Piano Trio and the label Praga
05-May-2008 -A La Bohème for all
28-Apr-2008 -Beethoven and Period Instruments
21-Apr-2008 -The Jerusalem Quartet
14-Apr-2008 -Nigel Kennedy
07-Apr-2008 -Paul Lewis's Beethoven
31-Mar-2008 -Ingrid Fliter
24-Mar-2008 -Mel Bonis
17-Mar-2008 -Stunning new Haydn Creation from Paul McCreesh
10-Mar-2008 -Hilary Hahn plays Schoenberg and Sibelius
03-Mar-2008 -Rattle and Gergiev on Mahler
25-Feb-2008 -Handel Organ Concertos
18-Feb-2008 -Late Mozart Symphonies
11-Feb-2008 -Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Project
04-Feb-2008 -Arvo Pärt's Spiegel im Spiegel
28-Jan-2008 -Undeservedly neglected music - John Marsh and Juan de Araujo
21-Jan-2008 -New Bach Cantatas page
14-Jan-2008 -Composers' Own Recordings
07-Jan-2008 -Francis Xavier and Jordi Savall
31-Dec-2007 -50 Years of Harmonia Mundi
24-Dec-2007 -Last thoughts on 2007, first on 2008
17-Dec-2007 -Discs of the Year
10-Dec-2007 -Stockhausen
03-Dec-2007 -25 Years of the Compact Disc
26-Nov-2007 -Pacini and the importance of first performances
19-Nov-2007 -Christmas music worth hearing
12-Nov-2007 -The forgotten Maria
05-Nov-2007 -Why composers marked repeats
29-Oct-2007 -Bach B minor Mass from Suzuki
22-Oct-2007 -New Mahler 8 from Pierre Boulez
15-Oct-2007 -Lucerne Festival Orchestra
08-Oct-2007 -Julia Fischer and the Gramophone Awards
01-Oct-2007 -Mozart - Don Giovanni from René Jacobs
24-Sep-2007 -Natalie Clein and the Elgar Cello Concerto
17-Sep-2007 -Joshua Bell
10-Sep-2007 -Luciano Pavarotti
03-Sep-2007 -Kate Royal
27-Aug-2007 -Gramophone Awards - finalists revealed
20-Aug-2007 -Exciting new baroque rediscovery - Conti's David
13-Aug-2007 -Venezuelan Youth Orchestra the envy of the world
06-Aug-2007 -Music's Best-kept Secrets
30-Jul-2007 -Haydn - the most underrated great composer
23-Jul-2007 -Beethoven Piano Sonatas
16-Jul-2007 -BBC Proms 2007
09-Jul-2007 -Elin Manahan Thomas
02-Jul-2007 -Open minds and superb Bernarda Fink
25-Jun-2007 -Excited by another batch of re-issues?
18-Jun-2007 -Composer Works lists now published
11-Jun-2007 -Padmore and Bostridge sing Handel
04-Jun-2007 -Elgar's Enigma Variations
28-May-2007 -Still suffering some seventy years on?
21-May-2007 -Buying Opera on CD or DVD
14-May-2007 -Debussy's new champion
07-May-2007 -Schütz's Legacy
30-Apr-2007 -Mstislav Rostropovich
23-Apr-2007 -Missed Opportunities
16-Apr-2007 -BBC Music Magazine Awards
09-Apr-2007 -The way we listen
02-Apr-2007 -Too much Mozart?
26-Mar-2007 -Harpsichord or Piano?
19-Mar-2007 -Strauss's Four Last Songs
12-Mar-2007 -The importance of government support
05-Mar-2007 -Do today's musicians all sound the same?

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