One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,928 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Stephen Barber

I took a degree in English Literature and then trained as a social worker, retiring in 2016. Classical music has always been part of my life. I play the piano and I used to play the clarinet, from which came an interest in wind instruments. The first recordings I knew were my father’s 78s of Beethoven symphonies and some Mozart and Brahms. The first two records that I owned were of Beethoven sonatas and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. I started learning about music from some volumes of Tovey’s essays which we had in the house, and I still turn to him. He basically taught me about music from Bach to Brahms. Not long after came Hartog’s European music in the twentieth century, which started me off on discovering more recent music. Then there was Wagner and I remember the excitement with which we greeted the arrival of each instalment of the Solti Ring.

It is difficult to convey how hard it was in the 1960s and 1970s to locate and hear recordings of recent and contemporary works. Vinyl LPs were fragile and expensive and composers now accepted as classics, such as Bartók, Stravinsky, the Second Viennese School and Messiaen, were hard to find. Now works such as Strauss’s Elektra, Schoenberg’s Erwartung and Berg’s Wozzeck are for me both examples of expressionist horror and also dear old friends. I have discovered early music and have a particular affection for Tudor Latin-texted church music, Jacobean viol fantasias and the French baroque.

Work pressures and the cost meant that I could not often go to concerts, operas and ballets, though, looking back, I seem to have gone to a fair number. However, BBC Radio 3 and recordings have always been the way I discover music and some of my favourite composers and works I have never heard live in the concert room. These include the Franck string quartet, anything by Chausson or Frank Martin and even some Beethoven symphonies and quartets. I am particularly drawn to works off the beaten track and, of course, for these, recordings are ideal.

Outside music I continue to be a student of English Literature and have a particular interest in the work of Charles Williams, best remembered as one of the Inklings circle around C. S. Lewis. I also attend classes reading Latin literature and some day will take up ancient Greek again.


Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Past and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools


Return to Index