MusicWeb International reviews more Classical recordings than any one else.

2020
53,555 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider



£11 post-free anywhere
Normal service resumed


TROUBADISC

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas


 

Recordings of the Month

June


Beethoven String Quartets


Produzioni Armoniche


Seven Symphonic Poems


Shostakovich VC1 Baiba Skride
Tchaikovsky Symph 5 Nelsons


Vivaldi Violin Concertos

 

May


Beethoven Piano Concertos


Stradal Transcriptions


LOSY Note d’oro


Scarlatti Sonatas Vol 2


Barnaby Rayfield was born in Hampshire and studied German at Bristol university. Although not formally trained musically he grew up collecting recordings long before he could attend live concerts and discovered repertoire through favourite artists, like Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Martha Argerich. He specialises predominantly in vocal music from the Baroque to contemporary periods but also has a wide knowledge of orchestral music and the history of recording since 1945.

His language skills and experience and knowledge of opera were invaluable to his time as an opera director. After a successful period with London Opera Players, he later was Staff Director for English Touring Opera for two seasons before producing his own show for the fringe opera festival, Grimeborn. More recently he has turned to writing both programme notes and as a critic. “Of course musicians are superior to critics and non-performing ones like me are scum. But the one thing I have on most musicians is that I listen. A lot. More than most musicians. You do not know what a concert sounds like sitting in the orchestra and it surprises me how many singers barely have a CD in the house, let alone show any curiosity about their predecessors on record. You wouldn't trust a rock star who didn't know their Bowie or Beatles but so many classical musicians have barely heard of Kathleen Ferrier or Fritz Wunderlich. The image of a critic as being a bitter, failed musician is wrong in my case. I never attempted to be one and I absolutely still adore what I write about thirty years after I started taking out multiple recordings of Don Giovanni from the library. So critics have our uses and can bring context, if nothing else.”

Although an avid concert goer, he still sees recordings as an important part of the music industry and is equally engaged with the present recording scene as with the 'golden age' of records. He still buys CDs and has a good quality system but is wary of obsessive HiFi pedantry and believes well engineered albums should sound good as an mp3 on cheap headphones. “Today's microphone technology is extraordinary yet I often think classical albums often sound worse than they used to. It is partly this recent fetish for conveying opulence or replicating the feel of a spacious concert hall in your armchair. I miss the pop-like punch of the Decca and Mercury stereo albums from the 1960s. Those engineers understood that a record is not a concert and one shouldn't pretend to be the other.”

After initial pieces for Concertonet and Muso magazine, Rayfield contributed to the American publication, Fanfare for ten years. He also lectures on music, including on cultural tours to opera festivals. He lives in London with his two cats and sings in a choir.


 

 



Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage



Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger