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


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928)
String Quartet No.1 JW VII/8 'The Kreutzer Sonata' (1923) (arr. string orchestra Terje Třnnesen) [18:52]
String Quartet No 2 JW VII/13 'Intimate letters' (1928) (arr. string orchestra Terje Třnnesen) [24:06]
Leo TOLSTOY (1828-1910)
The Kreutzer Sonata – Dramatisation in English [54:12]
The Kreutzer Sonata – Dramatisation in Norwegian [55:18]
Teodor Janson (speaker)
Norwegian Chamber Orchestra/Terje Třnnesen
rec. 2014, Kulturkirken Jakob, Oslo
LAWO CLASSICS LWC1124 [3 CDs: 152:34]

Leoš Janáček’s string quartets have been orchestrated less frequently as, for instance, those of Shostakovich, their detailed and quirky contrasts and narrative extremes making them less amenable to straight transcription. Terje Třnnesen has solved some of these complexities by using solo parts to contrast with tutti sections and to retain that intensity of expression that makes these quartets so special.

There is always a swings-and-roundabouts set of arguments about these kinds or orchestration, with a loss of that directness and intimacy one has from a well-played quartet version and potential gains elsewhere. This is true of course, but Třnnesen’s intention of adding new dimensions to this remarkable music is highly successful here. The emotional connections to Janáček’s music and these quartets in particular, whether stated or latent, are powerful indeed, and with the sweep and collective resonance of larger string sections we are given wordless operas – dramatic in the extreme but still respectful of the originals, and indeed adding substantially to our understanding of these works.

The Norwegian Chamber Orchestra does remarkably well in this recording, dealing with technical problems like true specialists, but always conveying the remarkable impact of Janáček’s quartets in their essence. Třnnesen allows plenty of space but doesn’t wallow: urgency is conveyed and the pacing is as good as any quartet version. Richard Tognetti’s orchestrated recording of the First String Quartet with the Janáček Chamber Orchestra on the Chandos label (review) is also very fine, beating his first outing with the Australian Chamber Orchestra on CHAN10016. The Norwegian recording has more grit and energy than both however, and the recording is also a touch more transparent.

This is a project in two parts, and the remaining CDs have dramatisations of Tolstoy’s novella The Kreutzer Sonata in English and Norwegian. Tolstoy’s story is a psychological drama about jealous rage that results in murder, the narrator and main character Pozdnyshev becoming convinced that his wife is passionately involved with a violinist with whom she plays Beethoven’s eponymous sonata. The dramatisation doesn’t give the entire text, but has enough content to give the rising tensions and crucial points of the story. It is expertly read by Teodor Jansen and larded with musical extracts, opening with some of the Beethoven sonata and including each movement from the Janáček quartet, through with no access points we’re left with a single track which is hard to navigate if searching for particular moments. Having complete Janáček movements slows the pace of the narrative and gives plenty of space for reflection, though there are well-chosen dramatic fragments used as well. With subtle use of sound effects and distant shreds of music the whole thing takes on the character of a nightmare, the denouement understated but deeply memorable.

This is a winning combination of dramatic narrative and closely allied music, and with such potently performed orchestrations of Janáček’s two quartets we very much have a complete package - both musical and literary - that is well worth having.

Dominy Clements



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