£16 post free World-wide


555 sonatas 9Cds mp3 files
Only £22


Benjamin: Written on Skin £16

What's New
Previous CDs
Labels index

Every Day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor: Rob Barnett  
Founder Len Mullenger   


Some items
to consider


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android

Tudor 1620 4CDs

Mahler 9 Elder

New Lyrita Release

British Violin and Cello Concertos

Lyrita New Recording

Ritchie Symphony 4

Dvorak Opera Premiere

Mozart concertos





Buy through MusicWeb from £12.00 postage paid World-wide.
You may prefer to pay by Sterling cheque or Euro notes to avoid PayPal. Contact for details

Musicweb Purchase button

Anton ARENSKY (1861-1906)
Suite No. 1 in G minor (1885) [32:52]
Suite No. 3 (Variations) in C major [29:51]
Introduction to the opera Nal and Damajanti (1903) [6:44]
USSR Symphony Orchestra/Evgeny Svetlanov
rec. 1987. ADD
MELODIYA MEL CD 10 00148 [69:27]


Judging by the recording data in the heading above this album appears to be a reissue. The four-page sleeve-note has only one page in English with minimal information. I suspect it was first released on the Russian Melodiya label at that time for the Melody logo on this recording appears the same, to my memory.

Arensky’s melodious Suite No. 1 was written in 1885. Svetlanov delivers a performance that beguiles and excites. The opening movement ‘Variations on a Russian Theme’ (a song entitled ‘Having Waved With A Broom’) passes through introspective musings on folk-like material to martial elements à la Tchaikovsky to a stirring fugue. Svetlanov’s ‘Dance’, second movement, charms; it is a waltz - more Russian than Viennese - with a whimsical, rustic central section. The jolly ‘Scherzo’ is all headlong abandon, the woodwinds chuckle away and the strings gambol along merrily before a tender calm slows the merrymakers. The ‘Basso ostinato’ has a warm nostalgic glow while ‘March’ is a glorification delivered one imagines with tongue-in-cheek pomposity, certainly the woodwinds respond cheekily. The whole is quite delightful.

Arensky’s Suite No. 3’s nine variations are based on a meditative consolatory theme. The theme is first discussed between woodwinds and strings before progressing through variations characterised by; a light-hearted waltz - reminding me of the style of the English light music composer Eric Coates, then a sterner triumphal march, softening as it progresses towards old soldiers’ nostalgia (?), a quite enchanting music-box-like 18th century minuet, sparkling with celesta and pizzicato strings, a stately gavotte, a tripping, chattering, busy scherzo, a solemn and most dignified funeral march, a lovely dreamy nocturne with solo piano - somewhere between Chopin and Rachmaninov - and, finally, a colourful and celebratory polonaise.

Arensky’s opera, Nal and Damajanti was written in 1903 and staged at the Bolshoi Theatre one year later. The notes reveal nothing further. I suspect this was an opera that would appeal to families. The music glistens as it opens as though suggesting a world of magic, perhaps a wintry one. Soon a romantic melody surfaces sounding like the Suite No. 3 waltz and, strangely, something Eric Coates might have written. As the pace develops the fantasy continues and the Eric Coates similarities persist for a while - Coates’ Cinderella music, for instance - before the music becomes charged with foreboding, wild and cataclysmic. Arensky’s orchestration is interesting including glittering piano arpeggios.

Enchanting, exciting, tuneful music delivered in style.

Ian Lace


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Cameo Classics
Northern Flowers
Toccata Classics

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Return to Review 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.