53,674 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...




selling Internationaly

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

Some items
to consider

£11 post-free anywhere
Normal service resumed


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


Recordings of the Month


Che fai tù? - Villanelles

Cyrillus KREEK
The suspended harp of Babel

violin concertos - Ibragimova

Peteris VASKS
Viola concerto - Maxim Rysanov

The Complete Lotte Schöne


Beethoven String Quartets

Produzioni Armoniche

Seven Symphonic Poems

Shostakovich VC1 Baiba Skride
Tchaikovsky Symph 5 Nelsons

Vivaldi Violin Concertos



REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

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
Krzysztof PENDERECKI (b. 1933)
Symphony No. 3 (1988-1995) [44:32]
Polish Sinfonia Iuventas Orchestra/Krzysztof Penderecki
rec. 20-22 December 2011, Witold Lutosławski Concert Studio of Polish Radio, Warsaw.
DUX 0898 [44:32]

Penderecki’s Third Symphony is a substantial work and is given a terrific performance conducted by the composer on this Dux release, part of a set of the complete symphonies (see review of symphonies 1 & 2). The competing Naxos single disc release of this work conducted by Antoni Wit, 8.554491, also includes the terrifying Threnody, as well as Fluorescences and De natura sonoris II, so even if it weren’t half the price it would still be twice the value in terms of musical content. The Naxos complete set is reviewed here.
In absolute musical terms the choice is by no means clear cut. Antoni Wit’s urgency in the second movement brings it in half a minute quicker than the composer. The visceral impact of the percussion is quite a feature of the Dux recording, but the Naxos has to my mind a more realistic balance, and the colour of some of the instruments is also more interesting. The brass is more penetrating and energetic from the Dux recording however, and as ever there is an element of swings and roundabouts in effect.
The central Adagio is crucial to this work, and I am less keen on the wide and wobbly vibrato we hear from the violins at the beginning in Penderecki’s own account. Antoni Wit’s sound is more generalised, but the sheen of string sound is easier on the ear. Wit takes an extra minute in this movement, but manages to sound less sentimental if a tad less passionate. The Passacaglia which follows echoes the repeated low notes of the opening movement, but also has a tough, stand-alone character like a prehistoric standing stone. It is one of the original 1988 movements and is strikingly powerful in both recording, the grander scale of Wit’s Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra standing its ground against the beefier growl of Penderecki’s Sinfonia Iuventas brass.
The final Scherzo is full of vitality in both recordings, but Wit is once again more compact, shaving a good half minute from Penderecki’s pace and making less of a meal of all those chugging repetitions. When commencing this survey of these two competing cycles I was fairly sure the composer’s own versions would be likely to pip those from Naxos, but in this case I am by no means sure it does. The Dux recording is detailed and Penderecki’s performance is gritty and persuasive, but if sailing off to my desert island it would be Antoni Wit I would take in the Third Symphony.  

Dominy Clements