The Festive season is upon us, and we thought we would compile a list of some of the highlights of 2013.
Wigmore Hall Live issued the first of four volumes of Christian Blackshaw’s complete Mozart sonatas recording. Critics have been unanimous in their praise, describing the “landmark” recording as “captivating” and “magical” (Financial Times 5*****, Sunday Times, The Guardian).
Matthew Brook’s recording for Hyperion of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment was Classic FM’s “Album of the Week” with Matthew being described as “resplendent” (BBC Music Magazine), singing with “most enjoyable vigour” (International Record Review).
Discover “artistry of the highest order” in the Dumay Lortie Duo’s sumptuous CD of Frank & Strauss Violin Sonatas for Onyx Classics, which was Gramophone Magazine “Editor’s Choice” and described by the critics as an “outstanding disc” (The Strad), “a splendid, thrilling performance” (Gramophone), “Just gorgeous […] an impressive partnership.” (BBC 3 Radio)
Gaynor Keeble’s Auntie for Aldeburgh’s production of Peter Grimes performed on Aldeburgh beach itself (dubbed ‘Grimes on the Beach’) was seen as one of the operatic highlights of 2013, with critics describing Keeble’s performance as “sung forcefully with rich tone and feisty spirit” (Opera Today) and a “plush-toned Auntie, a far cry from the raddled old character mezzo usually cast in the role” (Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times). The production is available to buy on DVD from Grimes on the Beach Film Ltd.
The Dunedin Consort’s recording of Bach’s St John Passion for Linn Records was named Gramophone’s “Recording of the Month” in March 2013. The recording features tenor Nicholas Mulroy (Evangelist & Tenor soloist) and bass-baritone Matthew Brook (Jesus & Bass soloist): “Tenor Nicholas Mulroy’s firmly-contoured Evangelist balances the musical and narrative imperatives of the recitatives with judicious sensitivity, and bass-baritone Matthew Brook’s Christus stands up to the crowd with a dignified yet firm resolve and hallowed charisma. He also shapes ‘Mein teurer Heiland’ with easeful repose.” (Paul Riley, BBC Music Magazine)
Featuring Jay Hunter Morris, Morgan Smith and Talise Trevigne, the exciting co-production of Jake Heggie’s Moby Dick is finally available on DVD and Blu-Ray here. Jay Hunter Morris “is the very incarnation of the captain’s desperate obsession. Morgan Smith is the sturdy first mate Starbuck, with a baritone to match […] and Talise Trevigne is irresistible in the trousers role of the young cabin boy Pip.” (Dallas News) “With its infectious melodic beauty and unerring formal command, Moby-Dick seems bound to become an operatic repertory staple.” (SFGate)
Andrew Parrott’s recording for Avie of Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo with the Taverner Consort which was described by Richard Morrison in The Times as “the most beguiling Monteverdi opera recording for years.” (5*****)
Gennady Rozhdestvensky’s 1994 recording of John Tavener’s The Protecting Veil with Steven Isserlis has been released once more on the BBC Music label. The performance was recorded live at the Barbican Hall and “remains a classic” (BBC Music Magazine).
Jessica Walker’s recording of her hit show The Girl I Left Behind Me, made during her sold-out run at the Brits Off Broadway Festival in New York during summer 2013 and recently released on Original Cast Recordings.