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


Reger Violin Sonatas
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
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


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

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)
Cello Concerto No.1 in A minor, Op.33 (1872) [19:25]
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Variations on a Rococo theme in A, Op.33 (1876) [18:44]
Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907)
Cello Sonata in A minor, Op.36 (1883) [29:05]
Josef Chuchro (cello)
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra/Alois Klima
Josef HŠla (piano)
rec. 1950s, Prague

Once again Forgotten Records has chosen to mine the less-encountered wing of Supraphon’s output from the 1950s. They’ve taken an LP that paired the Saint-SaŽns Cello Concerto No.1 with Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations, and so-much-so-ordinary one might think today. In point of fact the protagonists are what make this a singularly interesting affair. Josef Chuchro is best remembered today as the cellist in Josef Suk’s trio, along with pianist Jan Panenka. His concerto opportunities, on disc at least, were far more limited and circumscribed than his forays into the chamber literature. The conductor is Alois Klima (1905-80), one of Czechoslovakia’s more under-sung podium masters, but a musician of characterful intelligence.

The two certainly make a sympathetic pairing in the Saint-SaŽns. One of the pleasures of this disc is its sheer sense of musicality, the deft rubati and the unshowy dignity of the performance. The Czech Philharmonic is on fine form for Chuchro (1931-2009) who was a soloist with them for a number of years and for Klima, who encourages characterful contributions from the famed Czech winds. The tempos are fine, and the wit in the central Allegretto con moto section unarguable – savour the winds here, in particular. Chuchro shows few if any technical weaknesses and has an attractive tone throughout. If you seek a greater quotient of charisma and self-confident projection, it’s undeniable that other players of the time, more specifically soloistically-inclined, will offer it. To cite two, Starker and Dorati with the LSO offer a more intense reading, whilst Zara Nelsova with Boult – on a splendid Decca Masters box – offer a similarly powerful reading. Chuchro is at his very best in the Tchaikovsky – in its then familiar bowdlerised version – when playing the slower variations. Here his sense of chamber collaborative thoughtfulness, and his refined elegance of tone, are most evident. His playing of the penultimate movement, the lovely Andante, is particularly vivid but in a selfless and introspective way.
The final piece offers examples of that chamber spirit in a recording of Grieg’s outsize Sonata, with pianist Josef HŠla. By coincidence I’ve just been re-listening to the first ever recording of this sonata, made by Felix Salmond and Simeon Rumshisky in New York in the 1920s. Chuchro has a similarly noble and refined persona and in HŠla has a vibrant and communicative colleague, one of the best such in his country. The Supraphon recording is not the most subtle but it is immediate and allows one to hear the sparring and interplay between the two unimpeded. It’s a more-than-useful appendix to the orchestrally-accompanied examples of Chuchro’s art, and admirers of the cellist will welcome its restoration in this excellently transferred disc.

Jonathan Woolf