One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here


International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger

Some items
to consider


Reger Violin Sonatas
Renate Eggebrecht violin

Brahms Symphony 3
Dvorak Symphony 8
9 cello sonatas
Piano Music

Clara Schumann
piano concerto

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

Vraiment magnifique!

Quite splendid

Winning performances

Mahler Symphony 8
a magnificent disc

a huge talent

A wonderful disc

Weinberg Symphonies 2 & 21
A handsome tribute!

Roth’s finest Mahler yet

Mahler 9 Blomstedt
Distinguished performance



We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 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

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


CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS
Download: Classicsonline

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992)
Trois Mélodies (1930) [7:31]
Harawi (1945) [57:48]
Hetna Regitze Bruun (soprano)
Kristoffer Hyldig (piano)
rec. 5, 7, 8, 10 and 11 June 2009, Mantziusgården, Birkerød, Denmark.
NAXOS 8.572189 [65:19]

Experience Classicsonline

The Naxos roster of fine discs with vocal and other music by Olivier Messiaen is now graced with Harawi, one of the composer’s central works for voice, and the earlier Trois Mélodies, written when the composer was only 22.

Trois Mélodies is Messiaen’s musical response to the death of his mother three years previously, and is full of tender melodic expression and, aside from a passionate climax in the first Pourquoi? and the opening of the last La fiancée perdue, restrained tonalities and dynamics in the piano. The texts of the outer songs were written by Messiaen himself, and the central song is on a poem by his mother. In the booklet notes David McCleery points out the influence of Debussy in Messiaen’s earlier pieces. The pianistic techniques indeed resonate with a longer tradition of French song which also includes composers such as Fauré. Messiaen’s own compositional language is by no means fully formed here, but these beautiful songs are a perfect precursor to one of the most potent song-cycles of the 20th century.

My experiences with Harawi began on the 10th of May 1990, when I had the privilege of seeing it performed live at the IJsbreker in Amsterdam by Yumi Nara and Jay Gottlieb. Their recording appears on the Deutsche Grammophon ‘Complete Edition’, though I am not sure if this is the same version as that with the Accord label, on which I turned out to be less keen than the live performance. Hetna Regitze Bruun and Kristoffer Hyldig are a powerful duo, and Hyldig certainly pulls no punches. Bruun’s voice is recorded if anything with marginally less presence than the piano, but isn’t swamped even through some of the richer textures in the accompaniment, and the balance leaves room for her own dynamic range to reach its full potential without pushing the recording equipment beyond its limits. Listen to the demanding Adieu on track 10 to hear the soprano voice arc over the resonance of the piano in hair-raising style. 
Harawi is a strange mixture of Messiaen’s extravagantly perfumed tonalities, and the Peruvian traditional music which has its visual expression in the striking cover to the published songs. The cycle is part of Messiaen’s ‘Tristan trilogy’, whose members further include the Turangalila-symphonie and Cinq Rechants. The vocal writing occasionally forays into regions unfamiliar to the generally romantic feel of these ‘songs of love and death’, with repetitious, almost instrumental statements such as the Doundou tchil of the fourth song, intended to represent the ankle-bells worn by Peruvian dancers. Messiaen doesn’t stray too far beyond his own more usual idiom however, and gems such as Amour oiseu d’étoile always bring us back to the composer’s familiar sublime magic. The composer’s own texts are not given in the booklet, but almost more usefully, Erik Christensen provides a description and narrative context for each song.

This is a mighty song-cycle, and requires commanding performances from the musicians. The duo in this recording not only rise to the challenge, but excel in communicating its extremes of content, from vast landscape and fauna to folkloristic legend, and more importantly of human emotion. Hetna Regitze Bruun’s range and expressive power is remarkable, and only the coloratura turns which occur in the Répétition planétaire seemed as if they might have been a little less stiff. Harawi is a confrontation, an assault on the senses - involving and rewarding in equal measure, but an exhausting labyrinth nonetheless. Naxos has brought us a world class recording of this seminal vocal repertoire, and at bargain price this is a release not to be missed by Messiaen collectors.

Dominy Clements 
















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

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.