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              Founding Editor: Rob Barnett              Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and we have not even reviewed it yet. Multiple copies sold.

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

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
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

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)
Piano Quartet in B flat major (1875) [31.45] *
Piano Quintet in A minor (1854-55) [30.08] +
Barcarolle in F major (1897) [9.09] ~
Cristina Ortiz (piano)
Fine Arts Quartet (Ralph Evans (violin 1)*+; Efim Boico (violin 2)+~; Nicolò Eugelmi (viola); Robert Cohen (cello))
rec. Concert Hall, Performing Arts Centre, Purchase College, State University of New York, Purchase NY, 26-29 March 2012
NAXOS 8.572904 [71.12]

Surprisingly, recordings of Saint-Saëns smaller scale works - songs, chamber music and instrumental works - are still not exactly thick on the ground. That’s surprising considering their charm and accessibility. This new Naxos release is therefore most welcome.
The real gem here is Saint-Saëns’ gorgeously evocative Barcarolle - worth the cost of this CD alone. The opening cello material suggests the movement of the gondola’s oars while the piano emulates rippling waters before it breaks into romantic lyricism embroidered by the upper strings. More intense and more passionate material ensues and the waters become a little turbulent for a while; a lovers tiff, perhaps. Tensions soon ease, as the waters calm and the gondola passes peacefully by.
The equally accessible and charming Piano Quartet in B flat minor, considered to be a masterpiece of the chamber music repertory, is a sunny work. It is not far removed from the delicate, relaxed sound-world of Fauré. Its opening movement is beautifully lyrical, intimate but also outwardly optimistic. The second movement is, in contrast, more aggressive in tone with the piano’s opening chords pompous and assertive. The strings echo the mood but more mildly, then cheekily mock the imperious piano with mischievous chatter. The piano relaxes and there is fun for a little while before contrapuntal seriousness overtakes all. The quirky third movement starts merrily, all skipping and hopping with cadenzas for violin and piano. The finale is substantial and, unusually, significantly longer than any other movement. It contains material from the first and second movements and is optimistic and joyous. It has some extraordinary glissandi that are quite dizzying. The Fine Arts Quartet and the always reliable Cristina Ortiz deliver winning performances that are a joy to the ear.
The Piano Quintet was composed when Saint-Saëns was not yet twenty years old. It is a confident and assertive work presenting a big challenge to the pianist. The piano part is often cast in the role of a concerto solo instrument. The opening movement feels epic. It opens very affirmatively with strident piano chords. The strings’ contribution is more lyrical. The second movement moves from self-assertion to self-abnegation. It has a lovely hymn-like theme and, moves forward in reverent and quivering contemplation and supplication. The Third Presto movement carries straight on without a break. The mood now is one of merriment. Judging by the piano’s devilish runs and the strings’ shrieks something much less hallowed is being hinted at. The Allegro finale is led by a solemn cello into a long fugal theme that echoes the hymn-like material of the Andante.
A gorgeous programme of Saint-Saëns’ beguiling chamber music played with great authority and flair.
Ian Lace