Gerald Fenech has been a classical music enthusiast ever since hearing the Classics For Pleasure LP recording of Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks with the Virtuosi of England. In July 1995 he was at the First Night of the Proms in London when Mahler’s Eighth Symphony was played under the baton of Andrew Davis. The experience set him writing a review which was sent to The Sunday Times of Malta and he was then commissioned to write a bi-weekly page of CD reviews which continued until 2004 and featured hundreds of CDs from a myriad of labels.
In 1997, Gerald began a career in radio broadcasting which lasted until 2002 where he presented hundreds of programmes dealing with music for the state cultural radio in Malta - now sadly defunct. He also contributed many articles to other local and international publications, and wrote for several websites including Musicweb, Classical Net and Music and Vision Magazine, which he joined in 1999. For many years he was also the music critic for The Times of Malta as well as The Malta Independent. He also published reviews of selected Testament recordings in International Classical Record Collector.
Although currently a full time journalist, he still finds time to keep abreast with what’s happening in the world of classical music, not least through his regular writings for M&V. He specializes in orchestral repertoire with a historical tinge, and some of his favourite artists are Istvan Kertesz, Otto Klemperer, Sir Thomas Beecham and Herbert von Karajan.
He is also a tireless advocate for British music - particularly the works of Parry, Stanford, Vaughan Williams, Elgar and Bax, and has a lifelong dedication to the work of the great Danish composer Carl Nielsen, on which he has written extensively, particularly on the seminal Symphony No. 4, The Inextinguishable.
A dedicated sound enthusiast, he has a huge CD collection and is also the proud owner of a sizeable LP collection and an SME 3012/Garrard 401 combination which occasionally gives great pleasure when used to play his favourite Decca FFSS LPs.
Music & Vision articles by Gerald Fenech
The Usher Hall organ. 'John Kitchen oozes out every sound possible from this monster of an organ ...'
Works by Chopin written in 1846. 'A positive artistic experience ...'
John McCabe plays Nielsen. '... an exciting and forceful advocate ...'
Symphonies by Hoffmann and Witt. 'A winner in every department and an excellent introduction ...'
Agostino Steffani's 'Niobe, Regina di Tebe'. '... intense renditions full of dramatic power and feeling.'
Sokolov at Salzburg, strongly recommended. '... Sokolov's playing is mesmerizing throughout ...'
Organ music by William Faulkes. 'Duncan Ferguson's renditions are as enthralling as they are warmly expressive ...'
Early recordings by Nelson Freire impress Gerald Fenech. 'An ideal set for ... all who admire this truly great soloist.'
Music by Étienne Moulinié. 'The members of Ensemble Correspondances have these pieces under their skin ...'
Antonio Vivaldi flute concerti. 'Steger is a likeable exponent ...'
Choral music by Herbert Howells. '... glorious choral textures ...'
Orchestral works by the young Bartók. '... performances are consistently exciting ...'
Arias by Handel, Bononcini and Ariosti. 'Lawrence Zazzo has a bright and clear timbre ...'
Music inspired by the Virgin Mary. '... overflowing with a translucent beauty ...'
Gerald Fenech visits Slovenia's Festival Maribor
Passiontide music. 'An edifying programme in excellent sound and presentation ...'
The Dobson organ at Merton College
Harp music from early baroque Naples. 'Margret Köll's performances have an ethereal aura ...'
Sibelius tone poems enthrall Gerald Fenech. 'A magically enthralling foray into Finnish mythology.'
Cyprien Katsaris arranges Beethoven's 'Emperor' Concerto. '... unparalleled success ...'
Music by Marin Marais. 'Another triumph for Savall's seemingly inexhaustible musical genius.'
Purcell sonatas. '... irrepressibly elegant and restrained.'
Richard Strauss' 'Salome'. '... fine and emotionally sapping ...'
Orchestral music by Knecht and Philidor. 'Performances are consistently breezy and light-hearted ...'
Schubert symphonies. '... performances of unwavering focus ...'
Buxtehude from Magdalen College, Oxford. '... consistently refreshing and spontaneous ...'
Wagner's Götterdämmerung from La Scala Milan. 'The singing is at a constantly high level throughout ...'
Mary Costanza plays Bach. '... wholly impressive and full of lively ideas ...'
J S Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, impress Gerald Fenech. '... up there with the best.'
Tchaikovsky, known and unknown. '... a wondrous sense of joy ...'
René Jacobs' St Matthew Passion, strongly recommended. '... a power that almost sweeps you off your feet.'
Mark Padmore sings British vocal music. '... beautifully sung, recorded and presented ...'
Jacobean choral music. '... distinctive character and colour ...'
The Repast Baroque Ensemble. '... delectable performances ...'
Unknown music by Benjamin Britten
Shostakovich's Fourth Symphony. 'A strong competitor for the disc of the year ...'
Mahler arranged by Schoenberg. 'An unusual interpretation of "Das Lied" in excellent sound and presentation ...'
Orchestral music by Prokofiev. 'The São Paulo Symphony respond with great sensitivity ...'
Mendelssohn and Schumann violin concertos. '... Barton Pine's heartfelt response to both slow movements is full of tonal beauty ...'
Personal memories of Liverpool's Playhouse Theatre
Gerald Fenech enjoys his visit to Festival Maribor in Slovenia
Janáček's Cunning Little Vixen
A Joan Sutherland portrait. '... a fitting tribute to the singing legend from Australia ...'
Spanish early music in the new world. 'All thirty tracks have a charm of their own ...'
Jean Richafort's Requiem. '... worthy of the most scrupulous investigation.'
Choral works by Samuel Sebastian Wesley. 'Soloists and choral singing are of the utmost quality ...'
Pergolesi's 'L'Olimpiade'. '... sound and visuals are top-drawer stuff.'
Music from eighteenth century Mexico. 'A peach of a disc ...'
Couperin's Lamentations. 'Robert King and his superb forces give absorbingly committed performances ...'
Orchestral music by Joachim Raff. '... very well portrayed by Järvi ... and the Suisse Romande Orchestra ...'
Hymn tunes played by William Neil. '... spectacular and life enhancing ...'
Sacred music by Antonio Maria Bononcini. '... an issue that oozes beauty ...'
Magdalena Kozená's Carmen. '... sheer and utter brilliance in every department.'
Music for Advent intrigues Gerald Fenech. '... one of the discs of the year as far as choral music is concerned ...'
Carl Orff's 'Gisei'. 'An exciting discovery ...'
Rossini's 'Le Comte Ory'. 'Joyce DiDonato, as Ory's promiscuous young page Isolier, is absolutely irrepressible ...'
Christine Brewer and Roger Vignoles. '... a gamut of emotions which are superbly handled ...'
A recital by Alice Coote and Graham Johnson. '... interpreted with great zest and passion ...'
Karl Jenkins' 'The Peacemakers'. '... some rather inspired music.'
Simon Rattle's new Bruckner 9. '... polished and vigorous performances ...'
Michala Petri plays English recorder concertos. '... nimble fingering and miraculous breath control ...'
Choral music by Bob Chilcott. '... the singing has a transcendent quality ...'
Lukaszewski's 'Via Crucis'. '... palpable nobility ...'
Music by Vittorio Giannini. '... dispatched with a technical brilliance ...'
Verdi's 'Macbeth' from Covent Garden. '... almost unbearable intensity and shimmering sonority.'
Symphonies by Howard Hanson. 'The recordings are excellent on all counts ...'
Music for flute and organ. '... mastery, panache and a sense of balance that is almost uncanny.'
New dance to Tchaikovsky. 'Sound and visuals are first-rate.'
German Baroque from the Hanoverian Ensemble. '... another treasure trove of wonderful music ...'
A recital on Exeter Cathedral's organ. '... Millington on fine form ...'
The Vienna Boys Choir in the Far East. '... a refreshingly different portrait of this hugely versatile group ...'
Rimsky-Korsakov orchestral suites. '... the music is dear to the heart of these players ...'
Arrangements of Dvorák songs recommended. 'The intense rapport between both artists can immediately be felt ...'
Spirituals, hymns and folk music. '... I have nothing but praise for the whole enterprise.'
Minkus' 'Don Quijote' from the Ballet Nacional de Cuba. '... gorgeous sound and visuals.'
Ravel songs. '... utter conviction ...'
CD Spotlight. Spiritual Outpourings. Alexander Romanovsky plays Rachmaninov. '... passion and elegance.'
Gerald Fenech visits Slovenia for Festival Maribor
An organ recital by SooHwang Choi. '... expressive beauty.'
Petrenko conducts Shostakovich. '... very much on the ball ...'
Baroque music in Poland. '... very fine interpretations ...'
Eniko Magyar plays English viola music. '... beautifully executed and superbly recorded ...'
Ruthanne Schempf plays American piano music. '... her performances are fresh and immediate ...'
Orchestral music by Richard Strauss. '... highly recommended ...'
Vaughan Williams' piano concerto. 'Highly recommended ...'
Friedrich Klose's 'Ilsebill'. '... a risky yet rewarding adventure ...'
A documentary on Puccini's 'Madame Butterfly'. '... riveting stuff ...'
Vocal music by Jacobus Vaet. '... a gorgeous disc on all counts ...'
Donizetti's 'Lucrezia Borgia'. 'Dimitra Theodossiou's Lucrezia rivals that of many of her illustrious predecessors ...'
Harpsichord music by Israeli composers. '... admirably played ...'
String Quartets by Szymanowski and Rózycki
Orchestral music by Debussy
Music by Guillaume Dufay
String chamber music by Imogen Holst
Violin concertos by Nikolay Roslavets impress Gerald Fenech
Music by Julius Röntgen
Solo sonatas by Benedetto Marcello
John Bell Young's survey of the Beethoven symphonies
Marin Alsop conducts Dvorák
Gerald Fenech enjoyed the revival of a forgotten Haydn opera
Outstanding Slav Passion
Old-fashioned Mozart - another Karajan review from Gerald Fenech
Gerald Fenech reviews Richard Osborne's HERBERT VON KARAJAN: A Life in Music
Gerald Fenech reviews Karajan's recording of Balakirev and Roussel symphonies
Gerald Fenech reviews Thomas Kalb's Vanhal symphonies
Gerald Fenech reviews Symposium Records' CD transfer of 1940s Toscanini recordings