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

in the first division

extraordinary by any standards

An excellent disc

a new benchmark

summation of a lifetime’s experience.

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now

A Garland for John McCabe


DIETHELM Symphonies

The best Rite of Spring in Years

BACH Magnificat

Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26

Just enjoy it!

La Mer Ticciati








Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
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
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Classical Music and Cold War : Musicians in the GDR
A film by Thomas Zintl
Featuring artists and contemporary witnesses including Peter Schreier, Kurt Masur, Jochen Kowalski and Siegfried Lorenz
German language (subtitles in Italian, English, French and Spanish)
Region Code: 0; Aspect Ratio: 16:9; PCM Stereo
ARTHAUS 101655 [52:00]

Experience Classicsonline

The documentary is fascinating and frustrating in roughly equal terms. In some ways it’s a history of classical music in the GDR (East Germany) between 1945 and 1989, but it tells that story with the lightest of touches. It mentions issues such as the value the Russian occupiers put on culture and how quickly the cultural institutions of East Germany were built up after 1945 - and to what end - as well as the cultural consequences of the building of the Berlin Wall. However, it touches on all of these things only very lightly, and it often left me with more questions than answers. We are introduced to fascinating characters such as Walter Felsenstein, the intendant of the Deutsche Oper Berlin after it was rebuilt on Unter den Linden, but no sooner are their stories introduced than they are snatched away. I wanted to know, for example, about the extent of state intervention in programming and repertoire, but beyond a brief discussion on formalism there was very little about that at all.
The other main focus is on what it was like to be an artist during this period, and it explores a little of what it was like to be an internationally respected artistic institution in the GDR, such as the Staatskapelle Dresden or the Thomanenchor, and the issues that followed them on international tours. The highest profile individual featured is tenor Peter Schreier, who speaks of what it was like to be a soloist working in both east and west. Various musicians speak of the difficulties of getting permission to travel to the west, as well as the dilemmas surrounding defection. Most intriguingly of all, some spoke of being recruited by the Stasi as collaborators, but again this thread disappeared before it was properly explored.
The most interesting section, for me, dealt with the state recording company, Eterna/Deutsche Schallplatten. Its history and success makes for an interesting story, as is the tale of the company’s cooperation with Deutsche Grammophon - the companies would often reach an agreement where Eterna would release a recording in the Comecon countries and DG would license it everywhere else. One man who worked for Deutsche Schallplatten says, tellingly, that “in the GDR records were as important as food: people needed them to escape from their everyday problems.” They also talk briefly about Karajan’s Meistersinger recording in Dresden and the issues that surrounded that but, again, as soon as I was getting into the story I found them moving on to something else. The Wende and the collapse of the GDR are barely mentioned at all before the film ends. If this story is worth telling - and it surely is - then isn’t it worth taking more time to tell it properly?
Simon Thompson





































































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.