One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here


International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger              Founding Editor: Rob Barnett              Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and we have not even reviewed it yet. Multiple copies sold.

La Mer Ticciati




simply marvellous

Outstanding music

Elite treatment

some joyous Gershwin

Bartok String Quartets
uniquely sensitive

Cantatas for Soprano


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


[New] Classical Music on Stamps This week: Claude Debussy

[New] Revisiting Anthony Milner's Chamber Symphony by John France

Conductor Omer Meir Wellber - an interview with Michael Cookson

A Survey of the Piano Trio Repertoire: Joseph Haydn by David Barker


[New] We are longer providing the day's batch of reviews in pdf format, after determining that usage is very low.

MWI needs your help - see here for details

For over 20 years MusicWeb International has never operated a PayWall. We can keep it free if you can be persuaded to make a donation. As an inducement we are giving away CDs for donations of £15 (£20 outside the EU) or more. 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.

Thursday January 18th

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Christmas Oratorio - Berlin Motet & RIAS Chamber Ch, Berlin PO/Fritz Lehmann & Günther Arndt rec. 1955/56 ELOQUENCE 482 7637 [3CDs: 166:38] [RHa] A revelatory early recording of the Christmas Oratorio under a legendary Bach specialist who died tragically young.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 5 - Yomiuri Nippon SO/Stanislaw Skrowaczewski rec. 2008 DENON COCQ-85385 [71:16] [RMo] Clarity and momentum are the hallmarks of Skrowaczewski’s interpretation.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) The Essence of an Iron Will - Craig Sheppard (piano) rec. 2017 ROMÉO RECORDS 7322 [71:16] [JW] A more sympathetic acoustic would have reflected Sheppard’s splendid playing better.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Requiem, Messe basse - Robert Bennesh (organ), Yale Schola Cantorum/David Hill rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68209 [58:05] [MW] The real interest is the collection of delightful smaller pieces, despite a fine performance of Hill’s arrangement of the Requiem.

Nicolas de GRIGNY (1672-1703) Premier Livre d'Orgue, Hymns - David Ponsford (organ) L'ecole de Nivers/Deryck Webb, Russell Burton rec. 2016 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6342 [58:05] [JV] It is very satisfying that Grigny's complete output is now available in such fine performances on such a magnificent organ.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Works for Cello & Piano - Christian Poltéra (cello) Ronald Brautigam (piano) rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2187 SACD [60:18] [GF] The playing of and rapport between Poltéra and Brautigam is extraordinary.

Gaetano PUGNANI (1731-1798) Violin concertos - Roberto Noferini (violin), Nuove Assonanze/Alan Freiles Magnatta rec. 2014 TACTUS TC731601 [58:05] [JW] A valuable addition to the catalogue of eighteenth-century Italian concertos.

Robert VOLKMANN (1815-1883) Complete String Quartets, Piano Trios - Mannheim String Qt, Beethoven Trio Ravensburg rec. 1992-94 CPO 5551822 [4 CDs: 216:34] [SG] Neglected music making a welcome comeback.

Sir William WALTON (1902-1983) & Sir Arthur BLISS (1891-1975) Violin Concertos - Lorraine McAslan (violin) BBC Concert O/Martin Yates rec. 2015/16 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7342 SACD [72:11] [NH] This would grace anyone’s shelves and I recommend it most warmly.

Sappho, Shropshire & Super-Tramp Modern English art-song - Sarah Leonard (soprano) Johnny Herford (baritone) Nigel Foster (piano) rec. 2015/16 DIVINE ART DDA21230 [77:36 + 79:05] [JF] An excellent exploration of English art-song, proving that the genre is alive and well in the early 21st century.

Wednesday January 17th

Daniel-François-Esprit AUBER (1782 – 1871) Le Domino noir, Gustave III - Sumi Jo, Isabelle Vernet (sopranos) London Voices, English CO/Richard Bonynge rec. 1993/95 ELOQUENCE 482 7742 [74:47 + 69:14] [GF] Sumi Jo in sterling form – and that is something not to be missed.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 7 - Royal Concertgebouw O/Mariss Jansons rec. 2016 RCO LIVE RCO17006 SACD [79:55] [DM] A performance of pronounced character and contrast; is this a game-changer for Jansons?

Geraldine MUCHA (1917-2012) Macbeth Suite, Piano Concerto, Variations on an Old Scottish Song - Ivana Troupová (soprano) Patricia Goodson (piano) Hradec Králové PO/Andreas Sebastian-Weiser rec. 2013-15 ARCO DIVA UP0192 2231 [62:57] [JW] The standout work here is the Piano Concerto.

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures at an Exhibition Johannes BRAHMS (1833-97) Intermezzi Panayiotis DEMOPOULOS (b.1977) Farewells - Panayiotis Demopoulos (piano) rec. 2005 DIVERSIONS DDV24166 [53:06] [JF] A well-produced and conceived CD.

Sándor VERESS (1907-1992) String Quartets 1 & 2, String Trio - Doelen Quartet Rotterdam rec. 2012 CYBELE RECORDS SACD CYBELE3SACDKIG009 [222:03] [JW] A valuable set for its documentary nature, as well as the fine performances.

Leo WEINER (1885-1960) Serende; Divertimenti 1-5 - Estonian NSO/Neeme Järvi rec. 2015/16 CHANDOS CHAN10959 [83:05] [EJW] An appealing recording of Hungarian works by this little-known composer.

Horowitz at Carnegie Hall – Volume 1 Works by Haydn, Schubert, Scriabin, Kabalevsky & Chopin - Vladimir Horowitz (piano) rec 1948 PRISTINE AUDIO PAKM071 [79:50] [DC] Fascinating window into a rather special Carnegie Hall concert.

Per Due Donne Katarzyna Oleś-Blacha (soprano) Monika Korybalska (mezzo-soprano) Krakow Opera O/Tomasz Tokarczyk rec. 2016 DUX 1351 [71:09] [RMo] Despite the undoubted care invested in the recording, reviewing it has been an ungrateful exercise.

Tesserae Medieval Music for Recorders & Percussion - Duo Enßle-Lamprecht rec. 2016 AUDAX ADX13712 [52:54] [SG] Artful and imaginative - one to dip into.

Variations on America – Organ Spectacular Simon Preston (organ) rec 1988 ELOQUENCE 482 8101 [66:32] [RHa] A second bite of the cherry for this exciting 1990 Argo issue of transcriptions and show-stoppers.

Tuesday January 16th

Marcus BLUNT (b.1947) Piano Concerto, Aspects of Saturn, Concertino, Symphony No.2 - Murray McLachlan (piano) Lesley Wilson (bassoon) Manchester Camerata/Stephen Threlfall rec. 2016 MÉTIER MSV28570 [63:21] [JF] A fascinating retrospective of Marcus Blunt’s orchestral music.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 9 Toru TAKEMITSU (1930-1996) Ceremonial - Mayumi Miyata (Sho) Tonkünstler SO/Yutaka Sado rec. 2017 TONKÜNSTLER TON2004 SACD [69:20] [RMo] A combination of superb sound and ideal interpretation makes it an easy recommendation.

Antonin DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Piano Quartets - Busch Trio, Miguel da Silva (viola) rec. 2016/17 ALPHA 288 [71:05] [RKr] There are many fine recordings of these piano quartets. This version stands with the best.

Georg Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) The Handel Album - Artaserse/Philippe Jaroussky (counter-tenor) rec. 2017 ERATO 9029577445 [71:58] This disc will appeal unequivocally to Jaroussky’s many admirers.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) Don Giovanni - James Pease (baritone) Sena Jurinac (soprano) Royal PO/Glyndebourne Fest Ch/Georg Solti rec. 1947-1954 NIMBUS PRIMA VOCE NI7964 [4 CDs: 267:40] [GF] I can’t be entirely enthusiastic about the complete Don Giovanni, but the extras are very worthwhile.

Sergei Vasilievich RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) The Miserly Knight - Sergei Leiferkus, Richard Berkeley-Steele - London PO/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2004 OPUS ARTE OA0919D DVD [95 mins] [EJW] A superb, inexpensive DVD of a neglected work.

Eric STOKES (1930-1999) The Lyrical Pickpocket - Riverside Winds, Maria Jette (soprano) Merilee Klemp (oboe) Sonja Thompson (piano) rec. 2009-15 INNOVA 962 [67:09] [MW] A lively and varied introduction to the music of a quirky, enjoyable composer.

Lena Belkina (mezzo) Classic Vienna - Andrea Bacchetti (piano) Siegfried Schenner (clarinet) Johannes Maria Bogner (harpsichord) ORF Vienna Radio SO/Andrea Sanguineti rec. 2015 SONY CLASSICAL 88985441842 [64:14] [DC] Superb programme by a sublimely talented mezzo.

Alexis Galpérine (violin) Works by Viotti, Bach, Yaye, Paganini & Mefano rec. 2002-2004 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1361 [46:18] [JW] A good souvenir of Galpérine’s artful musicianship.

Mordecai Shehori (piano) The Celebrated New York Concerts - Vol. 8 rec. 2000 CEMBAL D’AMOUR CD181 [48:52 + 48:44] [JW] The listener will have decide if the aural compromises involved are outweighed by the frequently fine playing.

Monday January 15th

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No. 1 Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Invitation to the Dance  Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 - Philadelphia O/Leopold Stokowski rec. 1926/7 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC500 [70:01] [JW] The start of a vibrant and historically important cycle.

Thomas HYDE (b. 1978) That Man Stephen Ward - Damian Thantrey (baritone) Nova Music Opera Ens/George Vass rec. 2016 RESONUS RES10197 [62:57] [NH] Anyone who is the least bit interested in contemporary opera should hear this outstanding recording.

Mario PILATI (1903-1938) Violin Sonata, Cello Sonata, Bagatelles Books 1 & 2 etc. - Francesco Manara (violin), Luca Signorini (cello), Dario Candela (piano) rec. 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95352 [64:13 + 63:56] [JW] A welcome and valuable release.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Cantata for the 20th Anniversary of the October Revolution - Ernst Senff Ch, Staatskapelle Weimar/Kirill Karabits rec. 2017 AUDITE 97.754 [41:55] [JQ] A very interesting Prokofiev rarity in a fervent and dynamic performance.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Der Ring des Nibelungen - Metropolitan Opera O & Ch/James Levine, Fabio Luisi rec. 2010-12 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON DVD 0734770 [8 discs: 18 hrs 31 mins] [SB] A very satisfying production, especially for those who want a traditional Ring but with imaginative staging.

Juliusz ZARĘBSKI (1854-1885) Complete Works for Piano - Piotr Sałajczyk (piano), Maria Szwajger-Kułakowska (piano 4 hands), rec. 2014 DUX 1181/84 [4 CDs: 277:00] [SG] The set has given me many hours of pleasure.

Bernd Alois ZIMMERMANN (1918-1970) Late symphonic works - SWR RSO Stuttgart/Bernhard Kontarsky rec. 2012 CYBELE RECORDS SACD KiG008 [3 discs: 198:58] [DC] Challenging but significant music in a usefully educational package.

Daniel Behle (tenor) Nostalgia - WDR RSO & Ch Cologne/Helmuth Froschauer rec. 2016 CAPRICCIO C5317 [54:50][GF] Buy and enjoy!

Christmas at Westminster Abbey Ch Westminster Abbey/Simon Preston, Christopher Herrick (organ) rec. 1984 ELOQUENCE 482 8564 [57:12] [RHa] The return of this celebrated recording to the catalogue is very welcome.

The Maryla Jonas Story Complete piano recordings rec. 1946-51 SONY 88985391782 [4 CDs: 193:07] [JW] Everything she recorded is stamped with individuality.

Other reviews
Richard RODGERS (1902-1979)
South Pacific, Oklahoma! - Original 1943 Broadway Casts rec. 1943/49 ALTO ALN1964 [77:59] [GF] Everyone with an interest in Broadway musicals should lend an ear to these classic recordings.

Friday January 12th

John ADAMS (b. 1947) American Berserk - Liviu Neagu-Gruber, Axel Hess (violin) Jens Brockman (viola) Michael Hablitzel (cello) Holger Groschopp, Majella Stockhausen (piano) rec. 2017 CRAGG FOUNDATION CF003 SACD [77:08] [DC] A fine programme from an interesting source.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concerto No. 2 Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Burleske - Joseph Moog (piano) Deutsche Radio Philharmonie/Nicholas Milton rec. 2016 ONYX 4169 [66:39] [SG] A satisfying coupling.

Orlando GIBBONS (1583-1625) Fancies for the Viols - L’Achéron/François Joubert-Caillet rec. 2017 RICERCAR RIC384 [74.07] [GH] An important addition to the catalogue.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Occasional Oratorio - Bavarian Radio Ch, Alte Musik Akademie Berlin/Howard Arman rec. 2017 BR KLASSIK 900520 [75:38 + 62:49] [CRo] This performance has an edge-of-the seat drama, but I suspect that many Handelians will remain committed to Robert King’s account on Hyperion.

Dorothy HINDMAN (b. 1966) Tightly Wound INNOVA 965 [67:17 + 68:41] [MW] Innovative, lyrical and fascinating music from an exciting contemporary composer.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Pierre d’Assy (bass) Airs & melodies rec. 1908/9 MUSIQUE EN WALLONIE MEW1683 [71:35 + 66:53] [JW] I can’t imagine this being done any better.

Paul Bazelaire (cello) Ses 78 tours rec. 1929-51 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1202/3 [2 CDs: 148:44] [JW] An outstanding release in every way.

Beecham at the Royal Festival Hall Vols 1, 2 & 3 Frederick Riddle (viola) Royal PO rec. 1959 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC502/4/7 [3 CDs: 185:14] [RWM] Beecham and the RPO mostly at their greatest – but expect no sonic revelations.

Reiner Ginzel (cello) Works by Brahms, Popper, Beethoven, Fauré, Martinů & Suk - Annette Weisbrod (piano) rec. 2009 TYXART TXA17088 [76:05] [JW] A somewhat odd programme, played with committed artistry.

Dame Nellie Melba (soprano) Melba’s Farewell rec. 1926 ELOQUENCE 4828093 [77:24] [GF] Important historically, but beware the sound.


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Special offer 50% off

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