One of the most grown-up review sites around

51,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

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

Some items
to consider


colourful imaginative harmony
Renate Eggebrecht violin

Brahms Symphony 3
Dvorak Symphony 8
9 cello sonatas
Piano Music

Clara Schumann
piano concerto

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley n/a
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

Vraiment magnifique!

Quite splendid

Winning performances

Mahler Symphony 8
a magnificent disc

a huge talent

A wonderful disc

Weinberg Symphonies 2 & 21
A handsome tribute!

Roth’s finest Mahler yet

Mahler 9 Blomstedt
Distinguished performance


REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 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 from
Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957)  
Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47 (1903 rev 1905) [30:07]
Tapiola, Op. 112 (1926) [16.15]
Tossy Spivakovsky (violin)
London Symphony Orchestra/Tauno Hannikainen
rec. 1959, London
EVEREST SDBR 3045 [46:35]

Lovers of the Sibelius Concerto fall into several different camps when confronted by Tossy Spivakovsky’s dramatic, abandoned take on the concerto. Some refuse to board the train, dismissing the echt-Gypsy slides and ethos; others worry about occasional imprecisions; yet others admire the chutzpah but aren’t really persuaded. Then again, there are those who may feel some or all of these things (or none) and still capitulate and for the course of half-an-hour bask in the molten commitment of soloist and outstanding conductor Tauno Hannikainen, whose name alone is a kind of Sibelian tone poem.
I’ve always loved it. Few readings are as high octane, few as dramatically recorded, as pungently played, or idiomatically conducted. Spivakosvky’s larger-than-life bravado emerges in brilliantly negotiated passagework and in phraseology, some of which is subject to his very personal and controversial bowing. From the very start, with its remarkably hushed sound-world, you are aware that the narrative will unfold with huge contour and definition. Spivakovsky’s constant battery of ear-titillating expressive devices, allied to his virtuosic pyrotechnics, provides an exhaustingly thrilling performance. It’s the kind of solo playing that draws attention to itself in a marked, oratorical way, but that’s part of the Spivakosvky deal; take it, or leave it. The LSO’s baleful brass, brought to the fore so intensely via Everest’s remarkable recording quality, are the equal of the evocative winds, and the string counter-themes at the end of the first movement are equally persuasively placed. The passionate imprecisions of the cadenza attest to a blistering level of commitment from the soloist, though they are irrelevant imprecisions. Predictably the slow movement is aerated and highly expressive, Hannikainen accommodating his occasionally quixotic soloist with tact and imagination. Listen, too, to the sense of rapturous passion that the violinist generates as this movement comes to a close. No Finnish ice here; it’s molten. That there is no dissipation of tension in the finale is testament to the majestic sweep and power of the performers. The brass is held in reserve, its power unleashed when appropriate, as Spivakovsky leads the dance, gawky, leonine, and indestructibly alive.
After the histrionics and elemental drama of this still-astonishing reading, what is there left to say about its coupling, Tapiola, other than that it is perfectly paced, characterful, unselfconsciously phrased, and reveals Hannikainen to be a masterful Sibelian.
There is short measure, of course, in the latest incarnation of this Everest classic. It was coupled with the Tchaikovsky on Everest EVC 9035 but that was back in 2001. It also appeared much more recently on a Magdalen Sibelius/Hannikainen double (METCD8024). The only compensation in the case of the present issue is that half-an-hour of Spivakovsky is enough to rouse the blood. Of historic performances no one would willingly be without Heifetz, Stern, Wicks, Neveu, Oistrakh, Telmányi, Ignatius and so many more, but then I would never be without Spivakovsky.
Jonathan Woolf

Masterwork Index: Sibelius violin concerto