Showing posts from April, 2021

A long, thoughtful review of Confessions of a Music Critic An entertaining book, but it's something of a missed opportunity. Support MusicWeb-International financially by purchasing this from Amazon or Presto Classical Confessions of a Music Critic By Christopher Morley 148 pages, including index. With colour and black & white illustrations ISBN: 978-1-85858-726-4 First published 2021 Retail price £11.95 Paperback Brewin Books When I was growing up in Yorkshire in the 1960s and 1970s, critics employed by regional and local papers regularly reviewed concerts, both amateur and professional. Ernest Bradbury reigned at the Yorkshire Post while, at the local level, correspondents such as Malcom Cruise provided almost daily reviews in the Huddersfield Examiner. These men, and countless other journalists throughout the UK, provided an invaluable service. They gave their readers informed commentary and appraisal of

Christopher Morley's "Confessions" reviewed by Richard Bratby

CONFESSIONS OF A MUSIC CRITIC reviewed by Richard Bratby At every meeting of the Critics' Circle Music Section – when the nation's music scribblers gather behind an unmarked door in the West End to drink weak coffee and grumble about fees – there's a ritual. The Chair opens the meeting, moves to the first item on the agenda, and someone pipes up: "Apologies have been received from Christopher Morley". The old guard chuckles, and the newer members have it quietly explained to them that Mr Morley has never attended, and never will – until the Section agrees, even once in a decade, to hold a meeting somewhere other than London. So far, it never has. So far, Christopher has never attended. The secretary makes a note and the meeting moves on. For the Chief Music Critic of the Birmingham Post, it's a matter of principle. Some might call it quixotic. I call it magnificent, even while I hop

New CD reviews: Beethoven, Orchestra of the Swan Timelapse abd English Symphony Orchestra Visions of Childhood

NORMAN STINCHCOMBE LOVES A NEW "PERIOD" PERFORMANCE OF THE BEETHOVEN TRIPLE CONCERTO, NOT SO SURE ABOUT RELEASES FROM ORCHESTRA OF THE SWAN AND ENGLISH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA BEETHOVEN: Faust, Queyras, Melnikov / Freiburger Barockorchester / Heras-Casado ★★★★★ Beethoven's Triple Concerto is the Cinderella of his concerto works, disparaged as lightweight and merely aiming to please. Jean-Guihen Queyras, the cellist on this new recording from Harmonia Mundi, dismisses this, adding "the beauty and depth of it is overwhelming. There are moments which are just absolutely breathtaking." Those qualities are evident in this fine new recording where he teams up with Isabelle Faust on violin and Alexander Melnikov – her chamber music partner – on keyboard. It's a performance full of fantasy and with a delightfully humorous concluding "Polish" rondo crackling with energy. They use original instruments which helps clarity and balance. Melnikov can really