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             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

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




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

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
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
Petite Suite (1888-1889) [13:24]
Marche écossaise sur un thème populaire (1890, 1st version) [7:11]
Six Épigraphes antiques (1914-1915) [15:08]
Première Suite d'orchestre (c.1882-1884) [26:16]
Jean-Pierre Armengaud and Olivier Chauzu (piano, four hands)
rec. March and July 2012, Studio 4'33 Pierre Malbos, Ivry-sur-Seine, France
NAXOS 8.572979 [62:16]

The last batch of Naxos/Debussy discs to cross my desk was the 9-CD Jun Märkl box (review); one of the highlights of that somewhat variable collection is Henri Büsser’s fine orchestration of the Petite Suite, the original version of which headlines this new disc. Pianists Jean-Pierre Armengaud and Olivier Chauzu, are new to me, but their potted bios suggest a decent track record as performers. However, this is only their first recording for Naxos.
Initial impressions? Not very favourable, I’m afraid. Sadly En bateau, which opens the Petite Suite, never leaves its moorings. The playing is curiously diffident and the piano sound is nowhere near as sophisticated or immersive as those of Hyperionet al. Indeed, the treble is hard and bright in Cortège, Menuet lacks charm and Ballet is precise but much too mechanical for my tastes. Also, phrasing and dynamic control leave much to be desired. Really, it’s hard to imagine this delightful repertoire played with less imagination than it is here. To make matters worse, there’s an audible glitch in the dying seconds of Ballet.
Recent Naxos releases suggested a welcome move away from the sub-par piano sound of the past, but it seems that was wishful thinking on my part. Back to the music; the Marche écossaise gets a fair outing, but again there’s a perplexing lack of engagement and energy here, as if the pianists were each doodling in separate rooms. That said, there are flashes of what might-have-been, which merely add to my frustration with this disc. The Épigraphes are slightly more alluring, but only slightly; regrettably, there’s still a dull, self-regarding quality to the playing that’s just fatal.
Is there any chink of light in this drab collection? Alas, no. The duo’s rendition of the Première Suite is frankly relentless, and any hopes of a resurrecting lift and sparkle are soon extinguished by this graceless playing and shallow sound. Goodness, I can’t recall a review disc so devoid of appeal. If you want to hear an almost identical programme played with a liberating sense of discovery and delight then try Joseph Tong and Waka Hasegawa on Quartz. I fully endorse Dominy Clements’ sentiments on that one (review).
Dreary; avoid.
Dan Morgan
See also review by Dave Billinge