Norman Stinchcombe reviews new SOMM-Recordings

NORMAN STINCHCOMBE REVIEWS THREE NEW SOMM CDs 'On This Shining Night': Bevan, Gilchrist, Williams, Coull Quartet (Somm Recordings) ★★★★ A rare collection of 'Music for Voice and String Quartet'. So rare in fact that only two of the four composers' works here were originally in that form; a collection of Peter Warlock's songs and Sally Beamish's 'Tree Carols'. The three songs by Delius and two of the three Samuel Barber's songs were arranged by the multi-talented baritone Roderick Williams. The eleven Warlock songs are gorgeous, with Williams' baritone, soprano Sophie Bevan and tenor James Gilchrist all fitting hand-in-glove in their particular songs. Try to resist smiling at the zestful Gilchrist in the opening 'Chopcherry'. Barber's dark and pensive 'Dover Beach' is here but Williams' arrangement of 'Sure on this Shining Night', and of course his expressive singing, make this is the stand-out track. Be

Longborough double bill

LOVE ISLAND AT LONGBOROUGH The Spell Book / La Liberazione di Ruggiero Longborough Festival Opera,**** In the deathless words of Nigel Tufnell, what's wrong with being sexy? Jennie Ogilvie's Longborough production of Francesca Caccini's La Liberazione di Ruggiero (1625) places the sorceress Alcina (Lauren Joyanne Morris) and her toyboy Ruggiero (Oskar McCarthy) on a pink, high-kitsch Love Island. And once you overlook Alcina's penchant for transforming people into rubber plants, they're clearly having the time of their lives - lolling around in their candy-coloured smalls, attended by sexually-ambiguous trolley-dollies with Michael Fabricant hairpieces. Ruggiero's wife Bradamante (Simone Ibbett-Brown) is having none of it, and the plot of the opera concerns her grim-faced mission to slap Alcina down, and force Ruggiero to put his kecks back on and get back to killing people, like a proper man. And there you have it: the first known opera in th

Christopher Morley reviews the Three Choirs Festival

GERONTIUS ENDS A BRILLIANT THREE CHOIRS THREE CHOIRS FESTIVAL Hereford Cathedral ***** What was a very successful Three Choirs Festival week concluded with packed houses for the two concluding evening concerts in Hereford Cathedral, and there was a subtle link between the two events. Friday's concert indeed lived up to its "Transformations" title, opening with Stravinsky's arrangement of Bach's "Vom Himmel Hoch" Canonic Variations. Conductor Adrian Partington did his best with this clumsy work, low-lying for the reduced Festival Chorus, and scratchy for the upper stringless Philharmonia Orchestra. Amazing how much of the woodwind filigree sounded like Walton's Wise Virgins Bach Transcriptions. A full string complement provided a wonderfully buoyant, sonorous backdrop to Gerald Finzi's Dies Natalis. We normally hear a tenor in these Thomas Traherne settings, always feeling that these are the musings of a boy child just delivered fr


Apologies to all  In my excitement over the piece my fingers ran away with me, and I forgot to credit Ethyl Smyth as composer of the Concerto for Violin, Horn and Orchestra. Christopher Morley

CBSO Prom review

Sent from the all-new AOL app for Android ----- Forwarded message ----- From: "Christopher Morley" <> To: "Christopher Morley" <> CBSO fill the Royal Albert Hall  CBSO Prom Royal Albert Hall **** Rumour has it that ticket sales are down for the current season of BBC Promenade concerts. Not so last Monday, when an all-but-packed Albert Hall marvelled at a CBSO on the superlative form we regulars have long come to expect from them but should never take for granted. This was Chief Conductor-designate Kazuki Yamada's first-ever Prom, fulfilling a long-cherished ambition which he had never expected to achieve so quickly. With his wife and two tiny children present, this was creating a memory to savour, and the joy emanating from Yamada's platform presence glowed throughout this vast building. It was obvious from the orchestra, too. Glinka's Russian und Ludmila Overture kicked off at a fizz surely too t

CBSO Youth Orchestra review

BLAZING BEETHOVEN FROM THESE YOUNGSTERS CBSO YOUTH ORCHESTRA Royal Birmingham Conservatoire **** You can always be assured of quality with the CBSO Youth Orchestra, expertly coached by some of the country's finest professional orchestral musicians, and performing under great conductors. And the CBSO Youth Orchestra Academy brings us the whittled-down crème de la crème, under the shrewd, understanding and joyously expressive baton of Michael Seal, onetime sub-principal violinist in the CBSO and now a giant on the podium in his own right. Saturday afternoon's concert deserved a bigger audience than we found in the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire's Bradshaw Hall. I guess they were mainly family fans, with no Town Hall or Symphony Hall usual suspects, perhaps daunted at the prospect of making the trek out to Eastside. "A Fist Full of Fives" was the title of the programme, beginning indeed with Adrian Sutton's busy, eclectic showpiece bearing that

Kazuki Yamada and the CBSO

KAZUKI YAMADA AND THE CBSO PROM Christopher Morley As a 24-year-old student a young Japanese music student based in Germany decided to take himself over to London for a few days' sight-seeing. "I arrived at the Royal Albert Hall, this magnificent building, and I was just gripped! I saw there was a BBC Henry Wood Promenade Concert happening there that evening, so I queued for hours and finally got into the arena, second row from the front, and all for five pounds! "It was then that I realised my ambition was to conduct a Prom, and now it's about to happen! What an amazing thrill! Wow!" This is Kazuki Yamada, incoming Principal Conductor of the CBSO in succession to Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla, who is about to take the podium in front of the orchestra for the BBC Prom on Monday July 25. "It's like a dream come true," he tells me during a post-concert reception in Symphony Hall's welcoming new Jane How room. He has just conducted the CBS