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







Plain text for smartphones
and printers

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


Support us financially by purchasing this disc from:

Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
The Sleeping Beauty Op. 66 - Ballet in a Prologue and Three Acts (1888) [155:10]
James Ehnes (violin); Robert DeMaine (cello); Johannes Wik (harp)
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra/Neeme Järvi
rec. 18-23 June 2012, Grieghallen, Bergen, Norway.
reviewed in SACD surround 5.0.
CHANDOS CHSA5113(2) [77:14 + 77:56] 

Experience Classicsonline

The Sleeping Beauty is frequently cut, but according to the excellent sleeve-notes, this recording is absolutely complete. It includes, for example, the aristocratic dances in the 1st Tableau of Act 2 and the dance of the Sapphire Fairy, the Pas Berrichon and the Sarabande in Act 3. Stravinsky declared The Sleeping Beauty to be Tchaikovsky's chef d'oeuvre and he was not far wrong, for it demonstrates many of the composer's best musical characteristics: it is tuneful, dramatic, skilfully orchestrated and never dull. The composer himself was 'charmed and delighted beyond all description' by the scenario. 'It suits me perfectly and I ask for nothing more than to set it to music.' When, after just a few weeks, he had finished the composition, he wrote to his patron, Nadezhda von Meck: 'I think, my dear friend, that the music of this ballet will comprise one of my best works'. He did have trouble with the scoring but that was because he wished to use new instrumental combinations. This splendid recording makes it obvious that he, for example, replaces the harp with the piano as an obbligato instrument in the final act. It is sad that his first audience was unimpressed, the Tsar apparently remarked that it was 'very nice' and then haughtily dismissed the composer from his presence! We can relax because this is far more than very nice - it is a superb rendering. Neeme Järvi seems never to put a foot wrong and the Bergen orchestra impresses as much, conducted by him, as it does under its principal conductor Andrew Litton in his many recordings for BIS. The producers have pulled out all the stops and engaged no less a violinist than James Ehnes to play the important violin solos, a strikingly indulgent decision which pays dividends because Ehnes' outstanding technique makes these sections truly memorable. The Grieghallen is obviously a lovely venue because the 5.0 MCH recording has a high degree of reality, not a description I often feel able to use.
Tchaikovsky's score is unusually coherent for a ballet. Of the huge number of compositions to which choreographers regularly work, Tchaikovsky's belong, along with those of Prokofiev and Stravinsky, in the group of musically important creations which succeed in the concert hall as much as in the theatre. For many years my personal reaction to The Sleeping Beauty was somewhat muted. I have a performance by the LSO and André Previn recorded by EMI in 1974 and I have never enjoyed it as much as Swan Lake or The Nutcracker. Spending time with this new Chandos set has quite revised my opinion. The sense of dramatic structure and urgent forward motion is captivating. One is even propelled through the rather anti-climactic final act, where there is really no significant action. On stage Act 3 is really just 47 minutes of balletic bravura, properly a Divertissement, but Järvi and the Bergen band continue to treat the score seriously. As Tchaikovsky himself believed, he composed some of his very best music for this ballet, worthy to stand with the Fantasy Overture - Romeo and Juliet, Manfred and the Fifth Symphony. David Nice's sleeve-notes are right to emphasise the importance of the complete score as a significant dramatic masterpiece. 

This is a great work in a very fine performance beautifully recorded.  

Dave Billinge

see also review by Nick Barnard 

Support us financially by purchasing this disc from:





























































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.