One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
Google seem to have closed down local search engines. You can use this FreeFind engine but it is not so comprehensive
You can go to Google itself and enter the search term followed by the search term.


International mailing

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

Some items
to consider

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




simply marvellous

Outstanding music

Elite treatment

some joyous Gershwin

Bartok String Quartets
uniquely sensitive

Cantatas for Soprano


Plain text for smartphones & printers

Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD


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

Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937)
Gaspard de la Nuit [19:54]
Piano Concerto in G [21:55]
Valses Nobles et Sentimentales [17:00]
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
Children’s Corner [14:06]
Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli (piano)
Philharmonia Orchestra/Ettore Gracis
rec. live: February 12, 1952, location unknown (Valses), London 1958 (concerto), May 22, 1960, location unknown (Gaspard), June 3, 1960, Prague (Debussy)
PRAGA PRD/DSD 350 091 [72:54]

Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli at his best can be unmistakable: the opening bars of “Ondine,” in this 1960 recording of Gaspard de la Nuit, are a great example. Such speed but such accuracy! More or less any pianist who plays this movement in less than six minutes today will fudge or smear or simplify the insanely tricky accompaniment in these first bars. They’re a pianist’s hell; one can hear virtuosos like Freddy Kempf (BIS) utterly humiliated by them. And yet Michelangeli speeds through them with a precision and casualness that, taken together, explain his legend.
It’s a great Gaspard all the way. Le Gibet’s tolling bells are suitably gloomy and terrifying, and Scarbo, with a teasing pause here, an extra emphasis there, and laser precision throughout, is outstanding too. This is great playing. It’s his fastest Gaspard that I’ve heard or heard about and it’s live.
Not everything on the CD can rise to that level, but it can come close. Debussy’s Children’s Corner is just a little messy in comparison, and “Golliwog’s Cakewalk” very matter-of-fact, but the Ravel concerto is a harmonious union with a conductor, Ettore Gracis, who shares Michelangeli’s attention for detail. It’s an exquisite performance of the concerto, but you probably know that already: it has long been a staple on its original record label, EMI Classics.
Recording quality varies. Obviously EMI was doing pretty well with the concerto, given that this was 1958, but the Debussy in 1960 is rather muffled - partly because of sound reduction software, I suspect. The Ravel Valses are a bit distant and echo-y, but Gaspard’s soft fog of tape hiss and glowingly bright piano sound rather suit its moonlit landscape.
I’m keeping this for the Gaspard. It’s worth it for that, but the rare Ravel Valses and Debussy may add to the appeal, even if you already have this legendary reading of the concerto. You should only hesitate if you have issues with the noise-reduction technology in fashion with re-mastering engineers these days.
Brian Reinhart