Classical Music classical CDs reviewed New CD reviews every day latest Classical CD releases Buy your CDs of the classics here

Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Music Webmaster
Len Mullenger:

Hebrides Overture - Berlin PO/Karajan
Violin Concerto Mutter/Berlin - PO/Karajan
Symphony No 4 Italian - Berlin PO/Karajan
Songs Without Words (4) - Barenboim
Midsummer Night's Dream - Edith Mathis Ursula Boese Bavarian Radio SO and choir/Rafael Kubelik
Octet - Academy of St Martin the Fields
DG PANORAMA 469 157-2 2 CDs - CD1 [78.54]; CD2 [73.23]

Karajan's serene peacemaker of a Hebrides (1971) with its close attention to dynamics makes a very good curtain-raiser establishing parallels with Brahms' Second Symphony. The Mutter version of the concerto has been a constant presence since its first issue in 1981. It is turbulent and a little more goaded than I prefer (I rather prefer the ancient Campoli version on Beulah) but Mutter shapes it affectionately and is well recorded. The Symphony pelts along with power but charm is the casualty even in the two central movements. As with the rest of the series there are decent rudimentary notes and a sketchy timeline. The Barenboim played four Songs Without Words are innocent, peaceful and happy. The Kubelik Midsummer Night's Dream (all ten numbers) is very welcome back into the catalogue. Although venerable (1965) the sound is excellent and the infusion of South German woodland magic into a North German's music makes this the highlight of the set contrasting with the platinum tendencies of the Mutter concerto and the Symphony. Edith Mathis is in superb voice. There is a wonderful sense of light and air around the voices. Mendelssohn's orchestral mastery must have been a considerable inspiration to Rimsky-Korsakov whose music is prefigured by the Dream. I had not heard the Octet for many years and was delighted to meet the work again in such a passionately accented and assertively recorded performance (rec 1979). The work is captured in all its sly charm. The design is agreeable and all factors conspire to make this another winner. It would have been even more compelling with a different version of the Symphony or perhaps the Scotch symphony would have been more in tune with Karajan's character.

Rob Barnett


Reviews from previous months

You can purchase CDs, tickets and musician's accessories and Save around 22% with these retailers : - The UK's Biggest Video Store

Concert and Show tickets


Musicians accessories

Click here to visit

Return to Index