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


Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Swan Lake, Op.20 (1875-6) excerpts [54:59]
Philadelphia Orchestra/Eugene Ormandy
rec. 1972
DTS HD-MA stereo and 4.0 surround, reviewed in surround
HIGH DEFINITION TAPE TRANSFER BD-A (no catalogue number) [54:59]

Ormandy recorded Swan Lake at least twice with the Philadelphia Orchestra and this selection of fourteen extracts was first available in the UK in 1974 as part of a boxed set of 3 LPs each devoted to one of the ballets. It was never regarded as one of the "must have" issues. That accolade seems to have gone to the Suisse Romande under Ansermet on Decca who had the huge advantage of a good recording and a top acoustic. Whilst the Philadelphia always had a reputation as one of the great orchestras even they had their off days and this was one of them. It all sounds like an enthusiastic run-through rather than the product of careful thought. I stress the 'enthusiastic' because this is quite fun to hear but there is more than a touch of the fairground in the playing, greatly enhanced by one of the worst recordings I have heard in some time. Let no one fool you into thinking this is a fantastic chance to hear a previously unheard surround recording of a crack orchestra at their peak. This period did see some superb early experiments in surround, the Boston/Ozawa Berlioz Faust on Pentatone made in 1973 is one example. Ormandy's circus performance is raucous and distorted, and furthermore much of the sound seems to come from the front left channel which is dominated by shrieking strings. I do not doubt that HDTT did the best they could but this was one tape that could have been safely left in the vault.

HDTT issues are available in various forms, as downloads and as physical discs. They are derived from commercially issued 7 ips pre-recorded consumer reel to reel tapes, either 2 Track or 4 Track, from the so called "golden age" of recording. This issue is from an RCA Quadraphonic 4-track tape. The disc reviewed is a standard Blu-ray Audio disc which carries the programme in both 4 channel and 2 channel versions. The stereo is less dreadful than the surround but neither is good to hear. I am sure most collectors will have good RCA vinyl issues from this period and I wish I could be a tiny bit enthusiastic about this one. Sadly I cannot.

Dave Billinge



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