Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

Yes we are selling
Acte Prealable again!
£11 post-free

we also sell Skarbo

and Oboe Classics


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

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

WYASTONE releases

The Birth of Rhapsody in Blue
A superlative recreation

such a success

An outstanding performance

make acquaintance without delay

Violin Concerto
This is an impressive disc

Strong advocacy
for a British composer

Piano Music - Martin Jones
agreeably crafted

Piano Music 5CDs

Consistently fine

Rare and interesting repertoire

An excellent introduction

A Celebration on Record

An issue of importance

A splendid disc

both enlightening and rewarding
additional review


CD: Crotchet


Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957)
Nightride and Sunrise Op. 55 (1907) [14:41]
Luonnotar Op. 70 (1913) [9:18]
Legends (Lemminkäinen Suite) Op. 22 (I. Lemminkäinen and the Maidens of the Island [17:08]; II. Swan of Tuonela [9:49]; III. Lemminkäinen in Tuonela [15:54]; IV. Lemminkäinen's Return [6:32]) (1895-6) [49:23]
Solveig Kringelborn (soprano); Elemér Lavotha (cello); Jesper Harryson (cor anglais)
Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra/Paavo Järvi
Jungfrun i tornet (The Maiden in the tower): one act in overture and eight scenes (1895-6) [36:39]
Pelléas et Mélisande- incidental music Op. 46 (At the Castle Gate [2:47]; Mélisande [3:49]; At the Sea [1:59]; By a spring in the park [2:12]; The three blind sisters [2:08]; Pastorale [1:52]; Mélisande at the spinning wheel [2:03]; Entr'acte [2:53]; The death of Mélisande [6:01]) (1905) [25:48]
Valse triste Op. 44 No. 1 (1903) [4:47]
Solveig Kringelborn (soprano) - Maiden; Lars-Erik Jonsson (tenor) - Lover; Lilli Paasikivi (mezzo) - Chatelaine; Garry Magee (baritone) - Bailiff; Ellerhein Girls’ Choir; Estonian National Male Choir; Estonian National Symphony Orchestra/Paavo Järvi
rec. CD1: Konserthus, Stockholm, Feb 1996; CD2: Estonia Concert Hall, Tallin, March 2001.
VIRGIN CLASSICS 5220552 [73:32 + 67:38]
Experience Classicsonline

This set is an amalgamation of two earlier separately issued Virgin CDs: CD 1 dating from 1996 -  twice issued by Virgin on VM5 45213-2 and VM5 61847-2. CD2 first appeared in 2002. These Sibelius works sport a generous number of recordings in the CD catalogue apart from the lesser known The Maiden in the Tower.
Nightride and Sunrise is a tone poem exhibiting energetic writing in a tripping measure. Perhaps I expected more believable light and shade in orchestral colour earlier in the piece. That element of romantic tranquillity is largely missed through the heavy orchestration of the score, which is no reflection on the interpretation. In his sunrise, Sibelius had the fire of the formidable atomic processes that take place on the Sun more in mind than any increasing sun-drenched warmth.

Luonnotar is a nine minute soprano piece set in folk-song idiom. Written, unusually, as a commission for a Finnish soprano (Aino Ackté) it was first performed at the Gloucester Festival, and here demonstrates the versatility and wide register of Kringelborn.
The Lemminkäinen Suite is a rich score with an elegant structure based on four Finnish legends. Järvi gets the best out of his orchestra who respond with agility and memorable emotional flow. The brass, horns particularly, carry the energy of the first part of the Suite and do so with verve. A crisp delicacy of treatment of the second part - that to me carries more than a hint of Liszt’s Les Préludes - is enchanting and adds to the success of the performance. I enjoyed the power and fervent playing of the strings in the fourth part of the Suite.

The Maiden in the Tower is set to a thin libretto by Rafael Hertzberg. Written for a charity event, this obscure work made little impact at its Helsinki first performance. Its slender melodramatic plot hinges on a young peasant girl, abducted by a Lord’s Bailiff and imprisoned in the castle tower until an attempt to rescue her by a Lover takes place. The role of the chorus (Soldiers and Villagers?) is unclear. Sibelius intended to revise its structure yet maintain its dark undercurrents, but never got round to doing so. Consequently, the work had little exposure following the Helsinki premiere. The short overture is charming and picturesque and provides a contrast with the stronger melodramatic themes that follow. To me, this is an impressive opening that I would have liked to have heard more of: Sibelius in one of his brightest moods. But then the clouds gather in the first vocal number. Plaintive cries for help by the Maiden come across in Kringelborn’s singing as she soars with effortless energy in minor key. The other singers and chorus give sterling complementary performances. For a ‘lover’, the tenor’s pieces are written far too heavily in the Wagnerian style and do not contrast sufficiently with the sombre weight of the Chatelaine and the Bailiff’s roles. Maybe it was here that Sibelius was considering his intended revision, but I don’t think his opinions were recorded.
Apart from the advancement of plot in the vocal numbers, a considerable amount of incidental music exists in the eight scenes that would have been synchronized to stage action at the time of performance. What a pity that the stage directions are missing from the CD booklet as an extra mental dimension to the experience of listening could have been added. Likewise, the scenes (as separate tracks) carry no description in either the booklet or the CD track descriptors, not even their location.
Pelléas et Mélisande needs no introduction and is here presented with clarity and dynamism. There are places where certain sections of the orchestra are not always in step with each other, however. In the Pastorale in particular, the bassoon/horn chords tend to be sluggish. The wind are ideally placed on the sound-stage and the cellos are particularly warm and rich in timbre. The only sections that tend to get lost are the violas and second violins. The Estonian Concert Hall gives a flattering acoustic that is not lost in this recording.
Compare with review notes of some of these pieces on the ‘Essential Sibelius’ (BIS) (see review).
Since this is a reissue, a little more effort could have been put into expanding the short CD notes which appear in English, French and German.
Raymond Walker

see also review by Rob Barnett  



We are currently offering in excess of 52,000 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

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

a vibrant slice of life

stylistically assured

About Every Hill and Valley
Swedish Songs

Hallberg and Dente
interesting and most welcome

An inspired partnership
additional review

A valuable document

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: 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
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger



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

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.