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







Reviews from the last 7 days
240 reviews completed so far this month.

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


Download News 2013/10 by Brian Wilson

Britten 100 on NMC - Retrospect and Horizon - a survey by Rob Barnett

Performing Mahler in Rotterdam 1954 - A letter from a reader

Being a collector in the digital era by David Barker

A discography of Dvorak's concertante works prepared by Mike Herman - a precursor to a full national discography of Eastern European concertos



Did you know we had ...?

A comprehensive survey of recordings of the Mahler symphonies and orchestral songs by the late Tony Duggan

The Cotswold Connection (English Music Festival - Autumn festival), September 20 & 21 - see press release

In order to persuade more of you to make a donation to MusicWeb International we are giving away CDs - click the Donate button top right for more details.

British Music Radio - a new online radio station dedicated to British music

British Light Music: A personal gallery of 20th-century composers
2013 2nd edition
by Philip L. Scowcroft

15.00 Soft Cover plus postage

Live performance reviews posted daily at Seen and Heard

Jazz reviews posted weekly

Latest Nostalgia reviews here

Shopping on-line? Help us by doing it through the MusicWeb sales page.



Wednesday 31st July

Mily BALAKIREV (1837-1910) Complete Piano Works Vol. 1 - Nicholas Walker (piano) rec. 2012 GRAND PIANO GP 636 [76:23] Variations on Themes from A Life for the Tsar, Piano Sonata in B flat minor, L'Alouette, Islamey - Etsuko Hirose (piano) rec. 2012 MIRARE MIR181 [61:04] [Byz] Balakirev's delightful, outstanding piano music. 

In the Shadow of War Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959) Schelomo FRANK BRIDGE (1879-1941) The Loneliest Wilderness Stephen HOUGH (b. 1961) The Loneliest Wilderness Steven Isserlis (cello) Deutsches SO Berlin/Hugo Wolff; Tapiola Sinfonietta/Gabor Takacs-Nagy (piano) rec. 2009/12 BIS BIS-SACD-1992 [67:40] [DJ] An outstanding disc of glorious music, superbly played and recorded. 

Albert LORTZING (1801-1851) Der Waffenschmied Kurt Böhme (bass) Lotte Schädle (soprano) Hermann Prey (baritone) Bavarian State Opera Ch & O/Fritz Lehan rec. 1964 EMI CLASSICS 9123102 [45.20 + 61.07] [PCG] Be grateful for this recording which, with the exception of a libretto and translation, presents the score in an approachable manner.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 2 - Anja Harteros (soprano) Bernarda Fink (mezzo) Bavarian RSO & Ch/Mariss Jansons rec. 2011 ARTHAUS MUSIK 101 685 [96:00] [MC] I couldn’t currently name a finer orchestra. Bravo!

François André Danican PHILIDOR (1726 - 1795) L'Art de la Modulation Quartets I-VI - Camerata Köln rec. 2007 CPO 777 439-2 [56:56] [JV] Almost an hour of pure delight.  

Franz SCHUBERT (1797 - 1828) Winterreise - Alice Coote (mezzo) Julius Drake (piano) rec. 2012 WIGMORE HALL LIVE WHLIVE0057 [78:47] [GF] Coote will be added in this repertoire to Fassbaender and Stutzmann in my affection. 

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) La Traviata - Svetla Vassileva, Massimo Giordano, Vladimir StoCh & O of the Teatro Regio di Parma/Yuri Temirkanov rec. 2007 C MAJOR 723608 [DBi] An excellent performance of Verdi's most popular opera with fine singers and a staging that Verdi would have approved. But buy the Blu-Ray if you can. 

Cuillin Sound Lynda Coffin (flute) Sarah Watts (bass clarinet) Laurence Perkins (bassoon) rec. 2011 CUILLIN SOUND CUILL1001 [77:42] [RB] A nicely calculated wind trio confectionery selection.

Ossy Renardy (violin) The Complete Columbia Recordings rec. 1938/39 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 383 [73:53] [JW] A valuable and astutely selected Renardy slice of real interest to violin collectors.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Waiting for Benny A Tribute to Benny Goodman Works by Gould, Bartok & Poulenc - Julien Hervé (clarinet) Maud Lovett (violin) Jean-Hisanori Sugitani (piano) Ying Lai Green (double bass) rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.573032 [67:17] [SA] It is difficult to praise this disc highly enough. 


Tuesday July 30th

The Bach Family Organ Music - Sergio Militello (organ) rec. 2012 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94483 [47:04] [JV] One of the less brilliant products of Brilliant Classics. 

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Sinfonia da Requiem, Peter Grimes: Four Sea Interludes and Passacaglia, Young person's guide to the orchestra - Royal Liverpool PO/Libor Pešek rec. 1989 VIRGIN CLASSICS REDLINE 7353012 [63:00] [RB] A sturdy entry in the Britten100 lists. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Gustav MAHLER (1860 - 1911) Symphony 1 - London PO/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2010 LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA LPO0070 [RMo] A triumph.

Peter MAXWELL DAVIES (b.1934) Piano Concerto, Worldes Blis - Kathryn Stott (piano) Royal PO/Peter Maxwell Davies rec. 1993-1997 NAXOS 8.572357 [78:25] [Byz] Tremendously impassioned accounts of these extraordinarily demanding works.   

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Serenades 10 & 12 - Harmonie O Champs-Èlysées/Philippe Herreweghe rec. 1995 HARMONIA MUNDI HMG501570 [70:26] [RMo] Sensitive, civilised music-making of the highest order. 

Arnold SCHÖNBERG (1874-1951) Pelléas and Mélisande Alban BERG (1885-1935) Three Pieces for Orchestra - Dortmund PO/Jac van Steen rec. 2009-2013 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM 901 1807-6 [61:18] [GPJ] Superb performances from van Steen and the Dortmunders in these two searing early twentieth century masterpieces. 

Erwin SCHULHOFF (1894-1942) Concertino, Flute Sonata Leo SMIT (1900-1943) Flute & harp quintet, Flute Sonata - Virginie Reibel-Escoffier (flute) rec. 2011 SAPHIR LVC 1128 [75:14] [JW] With sympathetic and sensitive performances, and a well-judged church acoustic, this disc presents both composers’ works in highly recommendable fashion. 

Fancy that! Alan Vivian (clarinet), Susanne Powell (piano) rec. 1988 REVOLVE AJM 1314 [64.50] [PCG] If the programme appeals, this is well worth a listen. 

Mirella Freni- The Opera Album Excerpts from Puccini, Verdi & Bizet operas rec. 1959-74 ACANTA 233707 [3 CDs: 142:59] [MC] I greatly enjoyed this fine collection.

Mengelberg in New York New York P-SO rec. 1928-30 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 378 [72:54] [RMay] Of interest primarily to Mengelberg devotees. 


Monday July 29th

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Adolphe ADAM (1803-1856) Giselle (excerpts) Paris Conservatoire O/Jean Martinon rec. 1958 HIGH DEFINITION TAPE TRANSFERS HDCD204 [47:30] [DM] Spell-binding from start to finish.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) St Matthew Passion - Guy de Mey, Christoph Prégardie (tenors) Peter Kooy, Klaus Mertens (basses) Barbara Schlick (soprano) Kai Wessel (counter-tenor) Cappella Breda; Netherlands Bach Boys' Ch, Amsterdam Baroque O/Ton Koopman rec. 1992 WARNER APEX 2564 646751 [3 CDs: 164:43] [MS] The reissue of a respectable and well-conceived and performed Matthew Passion. 

Jules MASSENET (1842-1912) Thérèse - Nora Gubisch (mezzo) Charles Castronovo (tenor) Étienne Dupuis (bass) François Lis (baritone) Ch & O Opéra National, Montpellier Languedoc-Roussillon/Alain Altinoglu rec.2012 EDICIONES SINGULARES ES1011 [69:46 & book] [IL] Dedication, commitment and enthusiasm show this short opera to its best advantage. An enterprising issue. 

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Violin Concerto Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Violin Concerto Pablo de SARASATE (1844-1908) Zigeunerweisen Gerhard Taschner (violin) Michael Raucheisen (piano) Bamberg SO/Fritz Lehmann, Berlin PO/Artur Rother rec. August 1943-53 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM 642 1797-2 [67:30] [JW] Though he became the leading German violinist after the deaths of Kulenkampff and Busch his career didn’t last long. 

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos 20, 23, 24 & 27 - Walter Klien (piano) NHK SO/Horst Stein, Hiroshi Wakasugi rec. 1977/89 KING INTERNATIONAL KKC 2047/8 [63:11 + 58:20] [SG] With one reservation these are inspired readings by a pianist whose Mozart stands there with the best.

Benedetto PALLAVICINO (1551-1601) Madrigali su testi del Guarini Felice che vi mira [2:03] Dario Tabbia, Ugo Nastrucci (lute) Daltrocanto rec. 2005 PAN CLASSICS PC 10280 [56:20] [JV] Even without fully understanding the text one can enjoy these madrigals.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Manon Lescaut - Montserrat Caballé (soprano) Plácido Domingo (tenor) Robert Tear (tenor) Ambrosian Opera Ch, New PO/Bruno Bartoletti rec. 1971 EMI CLASSICS 7359822 [57:28 + 58:38] [GF] Bartoletti at white heat and Caballé and Domingo in superb shape - a set worth anyone’s money. 

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1945) Also sprach Zarathustra Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) The Wonderful Mandarin suite - RSO Stuttgart des SWR/Rudolf Kempe rec. 1961 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC CD 94.220 [50.27] [IL] A quite frightening Mandarin and a Zarathustra to treasure.

Between The Bliss And Me Songs to poems of Emily Dickinson - Julia Faulkner (soprano) Martha Fischer, Lee Hoiby (piano) rec. 2007/12 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559731 [58.37] [PCG] Throws a valuable sidelight onto the approach of composers to the poetry of Emily Dickinson.

Hommage à Debussy Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Images Books I & II, Estampes & works by Dukas, Casella, Grante & Piania - Carlo Grante (piano) rec. 2012 MUSIC & ARTS CD-1267 [67:02] [JW] Grante plays with richly engaged intelligence and variegated tonal response.

Other reviews

Adventures in the Scream Trade - Scenes from an operatic life by Charles Long Mountain Lake Press, 2012 [RJF] Can be gainfully read by opera-lovers and would-be singers alike. It is well written and contains much wisdom alongside anecdotes and stories. 

William Alwyn: A Research and Information Guide John C. Dressler Routledge Musical Bibliographies [JF] Required reading for all enthusiasts of William Alwyn.


Friday July 26th

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Complete Flute Sonatas and Partita - Jennifer Stinton (flute) Guy Johnston (cello) David Wright (harpsichord) rec. 2012 ALTO ALC 2022 [51:42 + 57:56] [DC] Excellent set, well up with the best.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas 30-32 - Beth Levin (piano) rec. 2012 NAVONA RECORDS NV5908 [65:59] [BR] One of those albums that need not have been made.

Georges BIZET (1838 - 1875) Carmen (sung in German) - Christa Ludwig, Rudolf Schock, Hermann Prey, Berlin SO/Horst Stein rec. 1961 EMI CLASSICS 9123002 [71:44 + 75:02] [GF] Hardly a first choice except for the German-speaking world but an enjoyable set and admirers of Christa Ludwig should certainly seek it out.

Ferruccio BUSONI (1866-1924) Arlecchino Kurt Gester, Elaine Malbin, Ian Wallace, Geraint Evans, Glyndebourne Festival O/John Pritchard rec. 1954 ANDROMEDA ANDRCD 5152 [53.35] [PCG] Pritchard is really rather too fast but this performance has plenty of spark and dramatic life.

Søren Nils EICHBERG (b.1973) Symphonies 1 & 2 - Danish NSO/Christoph Poppen rec. 2011/2012 DACAPO 8.226109 [57:40] [Byz] A compelling disc for every bold-leaning lover of big-sounding symphonies.

Iwan MÜLLER (1786-1854) Clarinet Quartets 1 & 2 and works for clarinet & piano - Friederike Roth, Wenzel Fuchs (clarinet) Erika le Roux (piano) Berolina Ens rec. 2010 NAXOS 8.572885 [73:00] [Byz] Relatively low-key but appealing and Roth’s playing is silkily expressive, exuding confidence and warmth.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681 - 1767) Cantatas and chamber music with recorder - Gemma Bertagnolli (soprano) Collegium Pro Musica rec. 2012 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94334 [56:37] [JV] The poor diction and pronunciation of the singer are unacceptable.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) I Vespri Siciliani Leo Nucci, Andrea Mastroni, Fabio Armiliato, Daniela Dessì, Teatro Regio Di Parma/Massimo Zanetti rec. 2010 C MAJOR 723808 [170:00] [RW] Singing and musicianship here is of a high standard and Zanetti conducts with verve. Sadly there are some miscalculation in the production.

Hymnus an das Leben - Transcriptions by Clytus Gottwald of songs by Schumann, Franz, Liszt, Brahms and others - KammerChor Saarbrücken/Georg Grün rec. 2012 CARUS 83.458 [61:58] [JW] Reminds me of a pleasant afternoon nap.

Laugh With Classical Music DELOS DE 1627 [33.20] [IL] A tonic.


Thursday July 25th

Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835) Norma Cecilia Bartoli (mezzo) Sumi Jo (soprano) John Osborn (tenor) Michele Pertusi (bass) International Chamber Vocalista, O La Scintilla/Giovanni Antonini rec. 2011/13 DECCA 4783517 [81:34 + 61:37] [ST] The climactic duet brings out the best in both main characters, their antipathy finally turning to love and a recognition of what they have lost in one another. Qual cor tradisti is fantastic. 

Havergal BRIAN (1876-1972) Symphonies 10, 21 & 22, Psalm 23, English Suite 5 - Paul Taylor (tenor) Brighton Festival Ch, Leicestershire Schools SO/James Loughran, Laszlo Heltay, Eric Pinkett rec. 1972-1974 HERITAGE HTGCD 256/7 [47:15 + 47:25] [JWh] An ideal introduction to Havergal Brian’s art.

Giovanni GABRIELI (c.1554/57-1612) Sacred Symphonies - Ex Cathedra, His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts, Concerto Palatino/Jeffrey Skidmore rec. 2012 HYPERION CDA67957 [66:16] [JV] A good survey of Gabrieli's sacred music. 

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphonies, Overtures, Serenades - Philharmonia O, New PO/Otto Klemperer rec. 1956-71 EMI CLASSICS 4043612 [8 CDs: 9:55:41] [CH] Klemperer’s finest Mozart performances are a match for any, and actually stand up better today than some that were more fêted in their own time. 

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures at an Exhibition (transcribed for organ by Calvin Hampton) Calvin Hampton (organ) rec. 1982 HIGH DEFINITION TAPE TRANSFERS HDCD281 [33:00] [DM] Technically superb but musically much less interesting.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Piano Trio Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Cello Sonata, Violin Sonata Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Piano Trio - Hagai Shaham (vioin); Raphael Wallfisch (cello); Amon Erez (piano) rec. 2013 NIMBUS NI5905 [72:38] [TB] Consummate skill and splendidly balanced textures.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Le Siège de Corinthe - Lorenzo Regazzo (bass) Marc Sala (tenor) Majella Cullagh (soprano) Camerata Bach Ch, Poznan, Virtuosi Brunensis/Jean-Luc Tingaud rec. 2010 NAXOS 8.660329-30 [75.41 + 75.38] [RJF] This excellent performance fills a significant gap. At bargain price no enthusiast should hesitate.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony 10 - Royal Concertgebouw O, Amsterdam/Mariss Jansons rec. 2009 RCO LIVE RCO13001 [53:17] [JQ] A very fine performance of one of Shostakovich’s greatest symphonic achievements.

Royal Lullabies - Soothing Music for a Royal Baby - MEMORY LANE GLM/Y-69 [73:52] [JE] A reminder of 2013 and the Royal birth.

Alain Vanzo - Airs français rec. 1954/62 MALIBRAN CDRG 201 [80:20] [RMo] Everything Vanzo sings is worth hearing for the intrinsic charm and beauty of his very Gallic lyric tenor. 


ArkivMusic has more than 10,000 titles in its ArkivCD reissue program. These are recordings that have previously been out of print or otherwise unavailable.