One of the most grown-up review sites around

52,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

Yes we are selling
Acte Préalable 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


Plain text for smartphones & printers

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

Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
A Ceremony of Carols
Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976)
A Ceremony of Carols
Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896)
Locus Iste
Virga Jesse floruit [4:00]
Os justi [4:32]
Christus factus est [5:09]
Ave Maria [3:27]
Jacobus GALLUS (1550-1591)
Missa Ad Imitationem Pater Noster, 8 Voceum
Puer Concinite [1:29]
Repleti sunt [2:09]
Tomas Ludovico da VICTORIA (1540-1611)
Una hora
O regem coeli [2:42]
Giovanni Pierluigi da PALESTRINA (1525-1594)
Hodie Christus natus est
Giovanni NASCUS (1510-1561)
Incipit lamentation
Jacobus de KERLE (1531-1591)
Missa Regina Coeli
Elisabeth Bayer (harp)
Chorus Viennensis, Wiener Sangerknaben/Anton Neyder; Hans Gillesberger
rec. September-December 1971, Vienna, Austria
ACANTA 233602 [41:12 + 47:53]

The Vienna Boys Choir, whose previous members include Haydn, Schubert and Hans Richter, has been through some tough times since their inception in the 15th century. After the collapse of the Austrian monarchy in the early 20th century they entered mainstream consciousness in the 1960s after a Walt Disney film about and starring the choir. The 21st century has seen a rival choir set up amidst allegations of falling standards as well as child-abuse accusations from former members. This CD set is a re-release of recordings made in the 1970s, perhaps the golden-age of the choir.
The age of the recordings is instantly heard in the performance style of the early music on the second disc. During the 1970s opinion changed regarding “historical performance practice” and you would be unlikely to hear a performance like this nowadays. The trebles dominate the contrapuntal texture in the Missa ad imitationem by Gallus. The warmth of the boys’ sound is achieved through liberal use of vibrato which is lacking in the lower parts, provided by Chorus Viennensis. The sound is more unified in the works which the boys perform by themselves. Both pieces by Victoria display the unique sound of trebles using their very low register which continues throughout the early pieces. These performances are very much of their time; a more recent interpretation would have more lightness to the articulation and a faster tempo. However, the most enjoyable aspect of these early works is the ability of the boys to shape their melodic lines independently.
The title track of the CD Britten’s Ceremony of Carols was performed under Anton Neyder. It has the same full, vibrato-rich sound as the other works which becomes a bit overwhelming in the loudest movements. All the soloists sing with incredible expression making these movements the most enjoyable. For those seeking a different interpretation, try the recording of women’s voices by The Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge and Stephen Layton on Hyperion CDA67946.
The Bruckner motets are all very slow. However, this does allow for a lot of detail to be included. For example, Christus Factus est is full of dynamics and subtle shadings. The full sonorities of Bruckner’s choral writing are well suited to the rich sounds produced by these forces but occasionally lack rhythmic intensity and direction.
These two CDs are a real snapshot of a former age. This is a great souvenir of a world-famous choir as they were at their prime and is an interesting comment on 1970s performance practice. It is worth a listen but there are more enjoyable recordings out there.
Hannah Parry-Ridout 

Review index and discography: Britten's A ceremony of carols