Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

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

Some items
to consider

£11 post-free anywhere

Special Offer
Complete Chopin
17 discs
Pre-order for £100


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

Works for Voice by György Kurtág


Best Seller

Symphony for solo piano

Chopin Piano Concerto No.1

Schubert Piano sonata

Schubert symphony No. 9

Katherine Watson (Sop)

From Severn to Somme

Plain text for smartphones & printers

We are currently offering in excess of 52,619 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

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
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this disc from

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Symphony No. 4 in C minor D417 “Tragic” [27:54]
Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976)
Serenade for tenor, horn and strings Op 31 [24:37]
Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957)
Symphony No. 2 in D major Op 43 [45:45]
Gerald English (tenor); Hermann Baumann (horn)
Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester/Sir John Barbirolli
rec. live, Saal 1, Funkhaus, Cologne, 7 February 1969
ICA ICAC 5096 [52:47+45:45]

Although it is to his recordings with the Hallé Orchestra that most collectors will turn for the fullest representation of Barbirolli’s art, he also had a close relationship with a number of other orchestras.
According to Raymond Holden’s brief but interesting note he was particularly enthusiastic about his work with the Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester - now renamed the WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln. The concert recorded here was part of a tour of Germany and Holland he made with the orchestra. If it is typical of their collaboration then his enthusiasm was very understandable. It might be hard to claim that any of the performances here were amongst the best recordings of these works but their understanding, eloquence and sheer musicality makes them all very well worth hearing.
Schubert’s Fourth Symphony can seem unrelenting and even dull in a poor performance. The first movement in particular can seem unnecessarily repetitive if not treated with care. Fortunately Barbirolli makes it clear at all times where the music is going, and the resulting mixture of affection and drive in the performance makes for real pleasure.
The Britten is perhaps more interesting rather than convincing as a whole. Gerald English sings with great subtlety, ease in the upper register, clear diction and an understanding of the music’s style. When the line lies low he is occasionally less successful, at least as recorded here with Hermann Baumann’s rather uninteresting performance of the horn part too dominant. Barbirolli ensures that the strings play with great eloquence and hits on tempi that are convincing even when they differ from those the composer indicates. This is an interesting addition to the many recordings of the Serenade but not the revelation for which I was hoping.
Sibelius is a composer for whom the conductor had great respect. The performance here of the Second Symphony is similar in general character to those of his commercial recordings that I have heard but with the additional excitement of a live performance. Like the other works the recording is more than acceptable for its age although the balance at times seems odd and unrealistic, and as a result some important lines are hard to hear. Nonetheless this remains a performance that any admirer of the conductor will want to hear. It and indeed the whole concert are worth hearing for others too, especially in demonstrating that in his latter years he was not always addicted to slow speeds or to holding the music up excessively.
John Sheppard