• Reber Piano Trios – Refined Elegance

    Napoléon-Henri Reber may be almost unknown today, but in the 1850s he was a well-respected pedagogue and composer (Jules Massenet studied with him at one time). Although he wrote four symphonies, and several comic operas, Reber had an affinity for chamber music, which constitutes the bulk of his catalog. Three of his seven piano trios […]

  • Horacio Gutiérrez – Chopin and Schumann

    Sometimes liner notes can make a difference. In the booklet for this release, Stephen Wigler suggested that Chopin’s Op. 28 Preludes might be considered a single cycle comprised of very short works, as opposed to a collection of 24 self-contained preludes. While they certainly work as the former, the idea that each prelude was part […]

  • Henry Cotter Nixon – Rescued from Obscurity

    Count on Toccata Classics to bring another obscure composer to light. And count on that composer’s music being worthy of our attention. Henry Cotter Nixon spent most of his career at the fringes of the British musical scene and was considered to be a provincial composer. Most of his compositions are melodies (simple songs), but […]

  • #ClassicsaDay Celebrates Women Composers

    If you’re on Twitter — and love classical music — you should know about the #ClassicsaDay hashtag. Every day classical music listeners (including yours truly) send out tweets with a link to a classical work and incorporating the hashtag. A world of music The #ClassicsaDay hashtag connects all the tweets that use it. So if you […]

  • Louis Spohr’s Singular Mass in C minor

    Louis Spohr’s Mass in C minor is something of a curiosity. Finished in 1821, it’s the only such work in Spohr’s catalog of over 230 compositions. And it’s also an a capella work, written for two choirs plus SATB soloists. Stylistically, the mass reminded me a little of Mendelssohn. There’s a clarity of line throughout […]

  • John Rutter – “Visions” shows growth

    If you like John Rutter, then you’ll enjoy his latest release. Although the two works featured are separated by three decades, there’s a stylistic consistency that’s pure Rutter. I found the newest work, “Visions,” (2016), more satisfying than 1985’s “Requiem,” which is paired with it here. Rutter’s music always seems to have a sunny, easy-going […]

  • Music for Henry Stuart, the Cardinal-King

    Henry Benedict Stuart, the younger brother of “Bonnie Prince Charlie,” was a lover of music and frequenter of the opera before taking his orders. After becoming a cardinal, Henry forsook the secular and became a strong patron of sacred music composers. This release presents a sampling of the Cardinal King’ patronage, with music ranging from […]

  • Ignaz von Beecke – an early Classical treasure

    [Ignaz von Beecke’s piano concertos], though not particularly difficult, are uncommonly lovely and ingratiating to the ear.” That was the opinion of music critic Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart writing in the 1780s. And I have to say I agree. Franz Ignaz von Beecke was a highly regarded composer and performer in the early Classical era (1780s-1800s). He […]

  • Aaron Tindall Transformative Tuba

    Serious classical music lovers know there’s more to the tuba than “Tubby.” Aaron Tindall’s new recital disc just shows how much more — and it may surprise more than a few classical cognoscenti. Tindall performs works of four contemporary composers with contrasting styles, in settings ranging from full orchestral accompaniment to unaccompanied solo. Virtually the […]