Search MusicWeb Here

selling Internationally

aBritish Symphonies
4CDs £16 post-free


W.S. Bennett, Rootham, Moeran,
Bax, Rubbra, Rawsthorne, Berkeley
Alwyn, Grace Williams, Arnold, Wordsworth. Searle, Joubert

Van Dieren Chinese Symphony
Searle Symphonies 3, 5
Shaw Piano Concertos 1 and 2

£11.75 post-free

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Editor-in-Chief: Rob Barnett

Some items
to consider


  • Bantock Khayyam
  • Arthur Butterworth Symphonies
  • William Wordsworth Symphonies
  • Sir John in Love
  • Violin Concertos


Vadim Gluzman - A quite extraordinarily good disc

This impressed me mightily

Shostakovich 5, 8 9
Great concentration

Let me tell you
Stratospheric Barbara Hannigan
Birmingham and BBC Proms

Berkeley - Authenticity

Highly Expressive

NØRGÅRD Stunning

Superbly played

One to treasure

One of the finest American
choral-orchestral works

from strength to strength

inspired choice

Book and CD £12

Book + 4CDs £33



Plain text for smartphones & printers

Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce
Red Priest
Toccata Classics

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Editor in Chief
Rob Barnett
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
Out of Africa
Atanas OURKOUZOUNOV (b.1970)
Folk Song Variations [6:54]
Vojislav IVANOVIC (b.1959)
Café Pieces [25:22]
Carlos Rafael RIVERA (b.1970)
Canción [1:35]
Dusan BOGDANOVIC (b.1955)
Blues and Variations [5:46]
Alan THOMAS (b.1968)
Out of Africa [19:42]
Denis Azabagic (guitar)
rec. 4-6 October, 2011, and 19 December, 2012, Ganz Hall, Roosevelt University, Chicago, USA

First let’s clear up the misnomer: only one of these works relates to Africa, and that one was not written by an African. This is more like a quick world tour with guitar as guide, stopping over everywhere.
Things get off to an appealing start with the Folk Song Variations by Atanas Ourkouzounov, based on a Bulgarian tune. The melody doesn’t sound particularly Bulgarian; especially when I hear the first variation, I think of the gentle, welcoming sounds of the American midwest. Other variations add a number of moods and evocations to the mix. Café Pieces, composed just one country over in Greece by Vojislav Ivanovic, is a suite that moves far beyond Athens for inspiration. There’s a tribute to Piazzolla, a “Funny Valse” that does indeed have some exaggerated dynamics and even a sliding “ha-ha-ha” motif.
Carlos Rafael Rivera’s Canción packs outsize expression into ninety seconds, like Granados’ Dedicatoria. Dusan Bogdanovic, the third Balkan composer, turns to blues for his inspiration here. One variation has the rhythm of Beethoven’s syncopated “boogie variation” in the final piano sonata, but with the harmonies of the modern day; it just reminded me how far ahead of his time Beethoven was. Bogdanovic’s work gets increasingly exuberant as it goes; all to the good.
Alan Thomas’ Out of Africa is inspired by African and Arabic ideas, but it does not attempt to depict actual scenes, or to imitate folk music directly. That’s probably for the best. It allows Thomas to be more sincere in his voice, whether he’s evoking the stomp of folk dancing, painting a portrait of sunrise or writing microtonal music that deliberately - and I feel qualified to say, very skillfully - imitates the sound of the Arabic oud.
Guitarist Denis Azabagic is superb all the way through, and I can’t imagine the five composers being happier with performances of their works. It’s as if technical difficulties do not even exist, and his slow build-up from one near-silent thread of notes to a glorious full sunrise in Out of Africa bespeaks an equally impressive mastery of expression. The sound quality is pretty great, too. I wish the title and cover had been different-out of the Balkans?-but that’s my only complaint.
Brian Reinhart