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             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider


colourful imaginative harmony
Renate Eggebrecht violin

Leticia Gómez-Tagle
Chopin, Liszt, Scarlatti

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

Acte Prealable returns
with New Releases

Superior performance

Shostakovich 6&7 Nelsons

Verdi Requiem Thielemann

Marianna Henriksson
An outstanding recital

Arnold Bax
Be converted

this terrific disc

John Buckley
one of my major discoveries

François-Xavier Roth
A game-changing Mahler 3


Bryden Thomson


Vaughan Williams Concertos

RVW Orchestral


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)
Aber der Richtige ...
Violin Concerto in D minor Op.8 [29:49]
Arrangements for violin and orchestra:
Romanze [9:36]
Little Scherzino Op.3 No.4 [4:12]
Zueignung Op.10 No.1 [1:34]
Traum durch die Dämmerung Op.29 No.1 [2:46]
Cäcilie Op.27 No.2 [2:27]
Wiegenlied Op.41 No.1 [4:30]
Aber der Richtige (from Arabella) [5:09]
Arabella Steinbacher (violin)
WDR Symphony Orchestra/Lawrence Foster
rec. Kölner Philharmonie, Cologne, Germany, 2017
Hybrid SACD/CD Stereo/Surround 5.0; reviewed in surround
PENTATONE PTC5186653 SACD [60.35]

It is clear that this latest release on Pentatone SACD is a dedication to Arabella Steinbacher's family for their support in a career that is now fully established on the international stage. The words "Aber der Richtige ..." (the right one) are emblazoned on the cover. The letters are bigger than anything else, even those used for the composer or indeed Steinbacher herself. There is a section of the liner notes detailing the violinist's recollections of her household when she was growing up and opposite the unusually personal note is a photograph of the soloist as a very young child of, maybe, two years. She stands by the wrought ironwork banisters in her home within which are the musical staves containing the Aber der Richtige motif. Steinbacher's father was solo-répétiteur (soloist coach) at the Bayrischer Staatsoper during the 1980s and baby Steinbacher was named after the eponymous Arabella of Strauss' opera (which does appear to have been in repertory in Munich at the time - under Wolfgang Sawallisch I would speculate). Aber der Richtige is a key duet in Act 1 and indeed the motif Strauss wrote for the passage is integral to much of the thematic development of the work. It appears also at the very end in the final duet between Arabella and her betrothed husband Mandryka. It is hardly surprising, as the liner note states, that the violinist was so named.

This strong link to Richard Strauss and to her family background explains the unusual programming of the disc, the early Violin Concerto of Strauss and the seven miniatures, all transcribed for violin and orchestra by Strauss and others, that follow it to make up the second half. It needs explanation because this content is rather unusual for a leading soloist of her stature. The concerto is scarcely of major importance, though attractive in its way. Norman Del Mar writes with little enthusiasm of the work whilst noting that some parts hint at the more important compositions to come. Another major biographer, Michael Kennedy, scarcely bothers to mention the piece. It is a standard classical concerto but one which lacks a proper cadenza. It is certainly not without its attractions, particularly the slow movement, and Steinbacher makes the best possible case for it. The miniatures are beautifully played but in some cases, (the songs) a lot more musically convincing in their original guise with sung words. For example Wiegenlied is lovely as a violin solo but absolutely gorgeous sung by Elisabeth Schwarzkopf.

Unusually for a Pentatone SACD I have some issues with the surround recording. Whilst the orchestra sounds as spacious as usual, the violin sounds too recessed for clarity and the image itself is unstable, moving from side to side. I think it is fair to suggest that the recording was balanced primarily for stereo listening, that being the most commonly used format amongst listeners, and the surround mix was a lower priority. I confirmed this by trying the SACD and CD stereo tracks and there the violin sound is clean, clear and stable, as one would expect. It may be a further sign of the slow retreat from surround recording that is occurring all over the industry. One cannot be sure where the pressure is coming from, the listening public, the accountants or the audio manufacturers. It is very noticeable that audio oriented surround disc players are disappearing from the marketplace so if you have a good one, look after it.

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