One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here


International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Founding Editor: Rob Barnett

Some items
to consider


Gloria Dei Cantores
All Night Vigil

Whispering Mozart

absolutely essential release

The best recording I will hear all year

Long awaited recordings

Absolutely enthralling

Left me longing for more

A superb 90th birthday recording

A top recommendation.

Superb advocacy

Tchaikovsky Sibelius


Complete ballet

Reviews from the last week
196 reviews completed so far this month
This month's reviews
Last month's reviews


[New] National Discography updates by Mike Herman
British Symphonies
French Symphonies
Previous updates
British & Commonwealth Concertos
British Orchestral Works

[New] Second Thoughts and Short Reviews: Spring 2017-2 by Brian Wilson & Dan Morgan

[New] Forgotten Artists: Carlo Vidusso by Chris Howell

Listening Report April 2017 by John Quinn


English Music Festival 2017 programme

In order to persuade more of you to make a donation to MusicWeb International we are giving away CDs - click the Donate button top right for more details.

Publishing schedule
Monday: Other reviews (nostalgia, books, other music); Friday: Articles.
Live performance reviews posted daily at Seen and Heard
Jazz reviews posted weekly

Shopping on-line? Help us by doing it through the MusicWeb sales page.

Daily batches for printing (pdf) Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday


Wednesday May 24th

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Olivo e Pasquale - Bruno Taddia, Filippo Morace, O Teatro alla Scala, Coro Donizetti Opera/Federico Maria Sardelli rec. 2016 DYNAMIC 37758 DVD [ 83:45+ 67:11] [RK] Donizetti enthusiasts will find this recording to be a lively and enjoyable performance of a virtually unknown work from the Master’s second tier. As such it should be celebrated and cherished.

Paul JUON (1872-1940) Rhapsodische Symphonie, Sinfonietta Capricciosa - Bamberg SO/Graeme Jenkins rec. 2015 CPO 777908-2 [72:38] [RB] Unlikely to conquer your respect and affection at first but attractive and even magical episodes draw you back to explore and deepen your pleasure.

Émile Pierre RATEZ (1851-1934) Chamber Music Vols 1 & 2 - Ewa Murawska (flute) Marcin Murawski (viola) Hanna Holeska (piano) rec. 2015-2016 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0358/AP0366 [62:24] [EJW] Attractive music from a little-known composer, though none of it is especially cerebral or innovative.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No.1; Theme and Variations; Five Fragments; Scherzos - Luxembourg PO/Gustavo Gimeno rec. 2016. PENTATONE PTC5186622 SACD [68:33] [DM] Gimeno makes amends for a dull symphony with some terrific fillers; caveats aside, this could be the start of a most rewarding partnership.

Enrique SORO (1884-1954) Tres aires chilenos, Sinfonía romántica - Chile SO/José Louis Domínguez rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573505 [56.15] [MW] Exciting repertoire in outstanding performances.

Sir William WALTON (1902-1983) Façade - Carole Boyd, Zeb Soames (reciters) ensemble/John Wilson rec. 2015 ORCHID CLASSICS ORC100067 [64.44] [PCG] Something of an also-ran.

Before the Ending of the Day Music for Choral Evening Prayer - The Exon Singers/Richard Wilberforce Jonathan Vaughn (organ) rec. 2016 RUBICON CLASSICS RCD1004 [60:47] [JQ] A fine way for the Exon Singers to mark their first five decades.

Quartet Choreography: The Soundtrack Kreutzer Qt rec. 2007/8 MÉTIER MSVCD92105 [72:34] [SB] Modernist string quartets which all make unusual physical and visual demands.

Rococo - Musique à Sanssouci Dorothee Oberlinger (recorder) Axel Wolf (lute) Ensemble 1700 rec. 2016 DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 88875134062 [79:05] [JV] Recorder aficionados won't hesitate to add this disc to their collection, but you don't need to be one of them to really enjoy it.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Rostropovich: Cellist of the Century The Complete Warner Recordings WARNER CLASSICS 9029589230 [40 CDs + 3 DVDs: 40hrs] [SG] A sterling tribute to a great artist.

Tuesday May 23rd 

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Organ Sonatas - Iain Quinn (organ) rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573424 [77:29] [MR] Bright and cheerful organ music from Bach’s second son given spring-like freshness and vitality by Quinn’s delightfully articulate fingers.

Heinrich Ignaz Franz BIBER (1644-1704) Rosary Sonatas - Alice Piérot (violin) Les Veilleurs de Nuit rec. 2002 ALPHA 038 [51:36 + 68:08] [RK] Listeners who enjoy a more fevered approach should look elsewhere, but many will find satisfaction in her even-tempered take on this music.

François COUPERIN (1668-1733) L'Apothéose de Lully, Leçons de Ténèbres - Katherine Watson, Anna Dennis (sopranos) Arcangelo/Jonathan Cohen (harpsichord) rec. 2013/14 HYPERION CDA68093 [70:35] [SSi] An excellent recording of the chamber version of the L'Apothéose de Lully, with a recording of the Leçons de Ténèbres, which whilst it may not be my favourite, is very good.

François-Joseph GOSSEC (1773-1829) Symphonies - Andrea Keller (violin) Martin Sandhoff (flute) Concerto Köln/Werner Ehrhardt rec. 2003 CAPRICCIO ENCORE C8019 [64:13] [RB] Lively music and lively music-making drawing on an amiable personality able to mine serene dignity and regal grace.

Orlandus LASSUS (1530/1532-1594) Magnificat - Die Singphoniker rec. 2014 CPO 777 957-2 [64:16] [JV] Like the first Lassus disc of the Singphoniker, this new release deserves a positive reception.

Alma MAHLER (1879-1964) Lieder und Gesänge Patrizia MONTANARO (b. 1956) Canto di Penelope - Catharina Kroeger (soprano) Monica Lonero (piano) rec. 2014 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95469 [63:45] [GF] Good to have Alma Mahler’s songs available at an affordable price.

Sergei RACHMANINOFF (1873-1973) Piano Concertos Nos 2 & 3 - Khatia Buniatishvili (piano) Czech PO/Paavo Järvi rec. 2016 SONY 88985402412 [70:19] [NB] This disc was less challenging or remarkable than I had been expecting.

Decades - A Century of Song Vol. 2: 1820-1830 - John Mark Ainsley(tenor) Sarah Connolly (mezzo) Christopher Maltman (baritone) Malcolm Martineau (piano) rec. 2015/16 VIVAT 114 [79:36] [JQ] The second instalment in a perceptively assembled and uncommonly interesting survey of art songs.

Nikolaus Harnoncourt - Opera Collection Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Fidelio Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Der Freischütz Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Genoveva - O & Ch Zurich Opera House rec. 1999-2008 ARTHAUS MUSIK 108129 Blu-ray [439 mins] [ST] All told this makes for an economical way of collecting these three productions, and you could have far worse unifying figures than Harnoncourt.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Camilla Tilling (soprano) Loves me … loves me not - Musica Saeculorum/Philipp von Steinaecker rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2234 SACD [65:51] [MC] One of the finest albums of its kind and has my highest possible endorsement.

Monday May 22nd 

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848)/Johann Simon MAYR (1763-1845) Messa di Gloria & Credo - Simon Mayr Ch, Bavarian State Opera Ch, Concerto de Bassus/Franz Hauk rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573605 [86:19] [MR] A compendium of isolated sacred pieces formed into a somewhat dubious Mass setting but performed with insouciant charm by some youthful performers under a firmly committed conductor.

Michel LEGRAND (b.1932) Piano Concerto, Cello Concerto - Michel Legrand (piano) Henri Demarquette (cello) Radio France PO/Mikko Franck rec. 2016 SONY CLASSICAL 88985393722 [63:53] [RB] Contemporary romantic concertos should draw in both Legrand fans, cinema music enthusiasts and those who like their contemporary classical music to have some sweet give and take.

Juliusz LUCIUK (b. 1927) Songs - Bozena Harasimowicz (soprano) Krystyna Pyszkowska (piano) rec. 2014 ACTE PREALABLE AP0357 [41:42] [EJW] An interesting CD of music by a little known living Polish composer.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concertos 1-5 - Mozart Anniversary O/James Ehnes (violin) rec.2005 ONYX 4164 [64:57 + 78:14] [JW] An attractive set.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Gran Partita - LSO Wind Ens rec. 2015 LSO LIVE LSO5075 SACD [47:43] [ST] A performance that doesn't really have enough to make it stand out, and dangerously uncompetitive without a coupling.

Johann Georg PISENDEL (1687-1755) Violin Sonatas Silvius Leopold WEISS (1687-1750) Lute Sonatas - Thomasz Aleksander Plusa (violin) Earl Christy (lute) Ere Lievonen (harpsichord) rec. 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95432 [79:20] [SSi] An interesting and attractive disc, which introduces the possible link between the music of Vivaldi and Bach.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Violin Concertos Nos 1 & 2, Suite from Alone - David Oistrakh (violin) Leningrad PO/Yevgeny Mravinsky, Moscow Philharmonic SO/Kirill Kondrashin, USSR State SO/Gennadi Rozhdestvensky rec. 1956-70 ALTO ALC1337 [79:00] [JQ] Indispensable recordings of the Shostakovich violin concertos.

L'arte del Madrigale Ens Voces Suaves rec. 2016 AMBRONAY AMY306 [62:24] [JV] Voces Suaves deserve much praise for their first recording.

Minimalist Dream House Katia & Marielle Labèque (pianos) David Chalmin (vocals, guitars, bass & electronics) Raphaël Séguinier (drums, percussion & electronics) Nicola Tescari (keyboards, electronics) rec. 2012 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 481 4468 [61:06 + 68:09] [DC] A curate's egg of a collection.

Poetic and Romantic Songs Iwa Sörenson (soprano) Lennart Hedwall (fortepiano, piano) rec. 1982/86 STERLING CDA1819-2 [74:05] [GF] This should appeal to everyone with even the slightest interest in Swedish art songs.

Other reviews
John WILLIAMS (b. 1932) Star Wars Suite & other film music - Filmharmonic Brass rec. 2016 ROVEN RECORDS RR10017 [54:36] [NB] Further prooof that the standard of brass playing around the world has never been higher.

Friday May 19th

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) St John Passion - Apollo’s Fire/Jeannette Sorrell rec. 2016 AVIE AV2369 [33:08 + 74:34] Les Musiciens du Louvre/Marc Minkowski rec. 2014 ERATO 9029585405 [39:34 + 71:08] Crouch End Festival Ch, Bach Camerata/David Temple rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHSA5183(2) SACD [34:33 + 75:44] [ST] Three excellent recordings; if forced to pick just one, I’d go for Minkowski because I found his overall vision so compellingly convincing.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2 - Yevgeny Sudbin (piano) Tapiola Sinfonietta/Osmo Vänskä rec. 2014/15 BIS BIS-2078 SACD [63:16] [DHu] A disappointing end to the cycle ... or is it?

Barbara HARBACH (b. 1946) Orchestral Works Vol. 3 - London PO/David Angus MSR CLASSICS MS1614 [62:54] [DJB] Stirring and well-crafted music.

László LAJTHA (1892-1963) Symphonies Nos 5 & 6, Lysistrata: Ouverture prestissimo - Pécs SO/Nicolás Pasquet rec. 1996 NAXOS 8.573646 [68:11] [RB] The Naxos Lajtha symphony project takes another confident step forward.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) La clemenza di Tito - Kurt Streit (tenor) Karina Gauvin (soprano) Ens Aedes, Le Cercle de L’Harmonie/Jérémie Rhorer rec. 2014 ALPHA 270 [62:54 + 70:41] [GF] Although the competition is fierce, this recording by Jérémie Rhorer has a lot in its favour.

Julius RÖNTGEN (1855-1932) Symphonies Nos 9 & 21, Serenade - Brandenburgisches Staats O/David Porcelijn rec. 2005 CPO 777 120-2 [55:37] [RB] A sympathetic and inspired guide through so much otherwise 'lost' Röntgen.

John Philip SOUSA (1854-1932) A Sousa Celebration - Royal Scottish Ntl O/Kristjan Järvi rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHSA5182 SACD [68.26] [DBi] A highly recommendable pot pourri of Sousa.

Virgil THOMSON (1896‒1989) Four Saints in Three Acts, Capital Capitals ‒ Boston Modern O Project/Gil Rose, Linda Osborn (piano) rec. 2013/15 BMOP SOUND 1049 SACD [55:40 + 51:48] [NH] Four Saints is a fascinating one-off worth reviving, but I’m afraid I found Capital Capitals just plain tedious.

Music for the 100 Years' War The Binchois Ens/Andrew Kirkman rec. 2016 HYPERION CDA68170 [76.35] [GH] A very fine release; beautifully recorded and presented.

Ignacy Jan Paderewski (piano) The American Recordings rec. 1914-1931 APR 7505 [5 CDs: 311:12] [JW] There is a huge amount to discover and admire, as well as occasionally to vex, in this generous set.

Thursday May 18th

Walter BRAUNFELS (1882-1954) Ulenspiegel - Marc Horus (tenor) Christa Ratzenböck (mezzo) EntArteOpera Ch, Israel CO/Martin Sieghart rec. 2014 CAPRICCIO C9006 DVD [129 mins] [SSi] Give this production time, and the fine singing and the musicality of Braunfels’s score will win you over.

Sir Nicholas JACKSON (b. 1934) The Rose and the Ring - William Morgan (tenor) Robyn Parton (soprano) Katherine Crompton (mezzo) Concertante of London/Sir Nicholas Jackson rec. 2016 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6339 [68.51] [PCG] A curious mix of text and music; not to be considered as a contribution to the realm of modern British opera.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 2 - Anne Schwanewilms (soprano) Olga Borodina (mezzo) Münchner Phil & Ch/Valery Gergiev rec. 2015 MÜNCHNER PHILHARMONIKER RECORDINGS MPHL0001 [80:56] [MC] Gergiev underlines his credentials as a Mahlerian of some stature with this entirely compelling live account of the Resurrection Symphony.

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Flute Concerto, Clarinet Concerto, Aladdin Suite - Samuel Coles (flute) Mark van de Wiel (clarinet) Philharmonia O/Paavo Järvi rec. 2015/16 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD477 [69:22] [LW] Outstanding accounts of the concertos, but the coupling detracts.

Ildebrando PIZZETTI (1880-1968) Symphony, Harp Concerto - Margherita Bassani (harp) National SO/Damian Iorio rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573613 [65:14] [RB] Unusual, provocative and satisfying ... a step into the open air.

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Chamber symphonies Nos 1-4, Piano quintet - Yulianna Avdeeva (piano) Kremerata Baltica/Gidon Kremer (violin) Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla rec. 2015 ECM NEW SERIES 2538/39 [79:42 + 79:33] [DC] Very good indeed.

Władysław ŻELEŃSKI (1837-1921) Secular Choral Works - Zespół Wokalny Simultaneo/Karol Kisiel; Art'n'Voices, Podkarpacki Chór Męsk/Grzegorz Oliwa rec. 2016 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0363 [68:32] [JW] The choral forces are on fine form and are excellently drilled and directed in a pleasing acoustic.

Calvet Quartet Works by Debussy, Milhaud, Ravel & Samazeuilh rec. 1946/48 MELOCLASSIC MC4005 [79:43] [SG] I may be a first-timer to the Calvet Quartet’s playing, but I now count myself a convert.

Heimat Benjamin Appl (baritone) James Baillieu (piano) rec. 2016/17 SONY CLASSICAL 88985393032 [66:54] [ST] This comes as a slight disappointment after the singer’s previous recording.

Limelight and Limestone: A Singing Journey - Margareta Dellefors (soprano) STERLING CDA1693-2 [79:15] [GF] A very enjoyable retrospect of the art of Margareta Dellefors.


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD


These prices cannot last!
Compare Toccata discs
Presto £13.50 +£2 pp
Amazon £15.53 post free
MusicWeb £10.50 post free

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
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
Sheva £2 off
Sheva Contemporary
Sterling 10% off
Toccata Classics

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
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger