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

Alfreds KALNIŅŠ (1879-1951)
Moments Musicaux
7 Pieces (1913-15) [18:01]
7 Poems (1917) [20:23]
4 Capriccietti (1946-49) [9:18]
3 Small Pieces for The Album ‘For the Youth’ (1949) [5:24]
Toms Ostrovskis (piano)
rec. 2018, Latvian Radio Studio 1
SKANI LMIC069 [53:08]

Tuneful and lyrical miniatures, is how I would describe the music here. The composer Alfreds Kalniņš could also add to his curriculum vitae the roles of organist, pianist and conductor. He studied with Anatoly Lyadov at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. His contribution to Latvian musical culture was immense, and his compositions embraced orchestral, opera, choral, ballet, piano, organ, and arrangements of folk song. He spent some years in New York freelancing as a choral conductor and teacher. His remaining years were lived back home in Riga.

The earliest works here are the 7 Pieces, written between 1913-1915, a time when Kalniņš had developed a heart disease. This in no way held him back from composing. The dedicatee of the first piece 'At a friend's grave' is Emīls Dārziņš (1875-1910), and the short work is a noble tribute, indeed, both tragic yet reflective. The triumphant No. 2 demands a degree of virtuosity from the performer. The dark hues of autumn permeate No. 3, whereas innocence and wide-eyed simplicity sum up No. 5. The set ends in grand style with No. 7, which has a sort of Pictures at an Exhibition flavour.

Not that long after, Kalniņš composed his 7 Poems, and they certainly reveal a more competent and adventurous hand, as well as plumbing deeper emotional depths. The two outer Poems engender warmth and comfort, and radiate tender lyricism. So also does No. 3, offering some soothing balm after the restless undercurrents of No.2. The fourth is doleful, and one could be forgiven, after a blind tasting, for believing the fifth to be the work of Rachmaninov. I find the exquisite chromatic harmonies of No. 6 particularly appealing.

Fast forward to the late 1940s and we have the 4 Capriccietti. Brief dances and novelettes best sums them up. The fourth is notable for its chromatic density. The 3 Small Pieces for the Album ‘For the Youth’ makes history in being the first set of children's pieces penned by a Latvian composer. Kalniņš took his inspiration from the Op. 68 pieces of the same name by Schumann. They gained instant fame, apparently, with two editions rapidly selling out. The sparking ripples of the brook in No. 2 are vivid. In No. 3, Ostrovskis mimics the Old Kokle player - the kokle being a Latvian plucked string instrument.

Admirers of piano music on the lookout for something new will find plenty to gratify them here. Pianists might discover many attractive morsels to add to their repertoire. Ostrovskis’ performances are engaging, and he achieves a convincing range of tone colours. In addition, he’s been blessed with a superb sounding piano and an attractive venue with an agreeable acoustic.

Stephen Greenbank

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