One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

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

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 & 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
Early Romantic Overtures
Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826)
(1826) [9:00]
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
Die Hebriden
(The Hebrides), Op. 26 (1830) [9:55]
Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869)
Les Francs Juges
, Op. 3 (1826) [11:41]
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
, Op. 81 (1849) [8:28]
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Die Zauberharfe
(The Magic Harp) (1820) [9:49]
Richard WAGNER (1813-1883)
Der fliegende Holländer
(The Flying Dutchman), WWV63 (1841) [9:40]
London Classical Players/Roger Norrington
rec. Abbey Road Studio 1, London, UK, November 1988
VIRGIN CLASSICS 9282742 [58:36]

Amongst the popular overture titles found on this Norrington disc are two that are generally forgotten today yet are certainly worthy of a place amongst the chestnuts. These are Les Francs Juges (Berlioz) and Genoveva (Schumann).
Roger Norrington has conducted a wide repertoire on disc and in particular is at home with these composers for whom he has recorded a lot of overtures. He uses to good effect his knowledge of authentic 19th century instrumentation which is a hallmark of the London Classical Players. This budget price re-issue with fresh couplings is aimed at the newcomer more than the seasoned collector, and so meets its intention admirably.
The orchestra play well and Norrington provides good readings. There is lot of sensitivity shown in the Oberon, particularly where the clarinet passage is emotionally expressive. Les Francs Juges has a firm introduction and then three minutes in brings in an unusually gushing theme with Mozartean characteristics. Although Die Zauberharfe is unknown by name, think of Rosamunde with its haunting melodies and you won’t go far wrong. This again is a good performance, with mellow woodwind, good emphasis and taken at an energetic pace. Der fliegende Holländer comes from the early period of Wagner where his compositions are more accessible to a general audience than his later works.
Technically, the recording leaves a lot to be desired: the wide acoustic provides a certain amount of bloom which although it flatters the brass and wind at times, the distant strings lack detail and the sound does not always do justice to the energy expended in the playing. In Der fliegende Holländer it is disappointing to find that the piccolo is unusually obtrusive in places to complement the level of the rest of the orchestra.
No notes are provided despite the space occupied by copious adverts for other CDs in the Red Line series.  

Raymond J Walker