Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools



  AmazonUK   AmazonUS

Reinhold GLIÈRE (1875-1956)
Symphony no. 1 in E flat Op. 8, (1900)
Symphonic Poem: The Sirens Op 33.(1908)
Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra/Stephen Gunzenhauser
NAXOS 8.550898
(DDD) [48:46]

What a lovely, melodious, sunny and cheerful symphony.

For those who like comparisons, Rimsky-Korsakov comes to mind. Glière is not a Tchaikovsky ... thank goodness. Glière's music is unpretentious, colourful, happy but not superficial. Themes abound and what good tunes they are ... memorable, catchy and evocative..., but never silly or trite. The orchestration is magical, never extreme or overpowering. His music is essentially Russian but not in the bombastic Tchaikovskian style. What a relief that is! As someone once said, "Tchaikovsky was the composer of grand, grand light music.' But that is not intended to "knock" him. Laying aside the ballet scores, he was often a fine orchestrator.

But Glière is not into anything excessive. He is concerned with good music and is an exemplar of the truth that simplicity makes the best effects in music and not the grand empty gestures that Tchaikovsky, Mahler and Elgar often displayed.

Glière was of Belgian descent and born in Kiev in 1875. His father made wind instruments and young Reinhold learned the violin. He went to the Kiev University from 1891 to 1894 before going up to the Moscow Conservatory where, among his teachers were Taneyev, Arensky and Ippolitov-Ivanov. Between 1902-3 he taught Prokofiev and then went to Berlin to study conducting. Prokofiev's Piano Concerto no.1 was premiered by the composer under Glière in 1916. For twenty years (1920-41) Glière taught at the Moscow Conservatory and took a great interest in folk music of various parts of Russia. He died in 1956.

Unlike Prokofiev, Shostakovich and the admirable Myaskovsky, Glière did not have any "run-ins' with the Soviet authorities and was not denounced. His music owes more to the romantic tradition rather than the advanced or non-nationalistic styles which the Soviet regime rejected.

His ballet scores, The Red Poppy and The Bronze Horseman are decidedly popular and do not suffer from that rather disconcerting effeminacy that you sometimes encounter in the ballets of Tchaikovsky. Again this is not a swipe at Tchaikovsky, merely a comparison. Glière's ballets while extensive, do not linger or indulge. Tchaikovskv is more dramatic as seen in his best scores such as the Piano Concerto no. 2 (1880) the Fantasy Overture Hamlet (1888), Voyevoda (1891) and the earlier String Quartet no. 3 in E flat minor (1876), superb scores, all of them. His operas, particularly Eugene Onegin are probably his best work and his songs are exquisite. I wish someone would undertake to record them all.

But Glière is far more impressive than Tchaikovsky.

As with Mozart, Glière knew that to express something most effectively was in simplicity and not by repetitiveness or with the use of a sledge-hammer.

His Symphony No 1 was begun in 1899 while he was still a student at the Moscow Conservatory and completed the following year when he graduated. The first movement begins with an andante before entering the allegro. It is warm, encouraging, tuneful music beautifully written and scored. The colours are simply magical. There is a joyful old-fashioned scherzo which is also hugely enjoyable. The slow movement is lyrical and extremely lovely. Yes, it is old-fashioned but none the worst for that. The finale heads towards a stirring conclusion. The whole symphony is soul-satisfying.
Gorgeous music. That type of music that makes you feel really good! Evocative, too. The sort of music you associate with a sunny but not hot day when you can walk or sit quietly in the country and enjoy the peace and solitude and those things that money cannot buy. The same feelings that Chausson's Piano Quartet in A summed up for me in a recent review.

While I love modern and innovative music (I was sorry that a reviewer tore Wolfgang Rihm to shreds recently) this music has a quality one cannot quite describe.

Eight years after the symphony came the Symphonic Poem: The Sirens, a picture of those seductive women that lured sailors to their doom. This symphonic portrait is very good with an eventual climax. There is no excess, no musical madness, just honest and gratifying music.

I have, however, heard both works in better performances. But these are good and have no awful blots. The sound is quite good too.

A bargain for a really choice symphony. This is one to buy!

David Wright



Return to Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.