Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

Free classical music concerts by Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.

British composers

  • Today's leading<br>clarinet-piano duo
  • Stellar debut<br>piano recital
  • Clarinet transcriptions Jonathan Cohler
  • Jonathan Cohler & Claremont Trio
  • French clarinet masterpieces
  • Today's leading<br>clarinet-piano duo

Shostakovich Symphony 10 Nelsons

Verdi Requiem

Dvorak Opera Premiere

Grieg, Mendelssohn sonatas




Would you like a hyperlinked weekly summary of the CDs we have reviewed?

Click for further details

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
Classical Editor
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Crotchet   AmazonUK   AmazonUS


Christoph Willibald GLUCK (1714–1787)
Orphée et Eurydice (1774) (ed. Hector Berlioz)
Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo) – Orphée; Barbara Hendricks (soprano) – Eurydice; Brigitte Fournier (soprano) – Cupid;
Monteverdi Choir, Orchestre de l’Opéra National de Lyon/Sir John Eliot Gardiner
rec. 29 January–2 February 1989, Auditorium Maurice Ravel, Lyon
Full libretto and translations at  
EMI CLASSICS 5091612 [41:52 + 47:55]
Experience Classicsonline

Gluck composed his reform opera for Vienna in 1762 in Italian and with a castrato in the title role. Later, in 1774 he reworked the opera for Paris, adding ballet music, which was a ‘must’ in that city, and rewrote the title role for a high tenor – haute-contre. Almost a century later Hector Berlioz made his own edition – the main reason being that the score had been arranged by various hands and he wanted to bring it back to Gluck’s original ideas. However, since Berlioz had the famous Pauline Viardot available he transcribed the title role for contralto. This is also the version that has been commonly used ever since but again with various changes, most commonly translating it back to Italian. Latterly Gluck’s first thoughts for Vienna have been reinstated, often with a counter-tenor as Orfeo. In other words there are many variations on the Orfeo theme and this Berlioz version is valuable. This is also the version that is used in the current Stockholm production, which I reviewed a few months ago, where Anne Sofie von Otter alternates with Anna Larsson in the title role.
Strictly speaking this isn’t the ‘real’ Berlioz version, since Gardiner has reinstated some music that Berlioz omitted, no doubt to heighten the tension. I hadn’t heard this set before in full and was slightly disappointed that it felt so laid-back. The playing of the orchestra of the Opéra de Lyon is superlative and the Monteverdi Choir, fairly forwardly balanced, sing with their accustomed poise and perfect intonation. However the drama is a rather underplayed. I have long admired Gardiner’s Iphigénie en Tauride, recorded a couple of years earlier, where the drama is more to the fore; here there is too much oratorio about some passages and the ballet music is neatly played but too polite. There was much more fizz about Sir Richard Armstrong’s reading in Stockholm.
But Gardiner has the same trump card as Armstrong, namely Anne Sofie von Otter as Orphée. She was superb in all respects in Stockholm, vocally as well as scenically. Almost twenty years ago she was marginally fresher of voice – but only marginally – and it is a pity that her voice is accorded a recessed balance in relation to the choir. This matters little when her reading is so superb. The big aria that ends act 1, Amour, viens render à mon âme, is brilliant with fluent coloratura. Quel nouveau ciel in act 2 is celestial. As for J’ai perdu mon Eurydice in act 3, better known as Che faro in the Italian version, it is deeply felt  but classically controlled and forward-moving without being rushed. I haven’t heard all the various Orphées and Orfeos on record but it is hard to imagine the part better performed.
Brigitte Fournier’s bright soprano is ideally contrasted as Cupid and Barbara Hendricks’s Eurydice is frankly the best thing I have heard from her in an operatic role: dramatic, expressive and ravishingly beautiful. Her aria Fortune ennemie, quelle barbarie in act 3 should convert anyone who regards Hendricks as an inexpressive singer.
The recording is good but with a couple of question-marks concerning the balance of von Otter vis-à-vis the choir. There is a good essay and synopsis by Roger Nichols. The libretto is available on the internet.
Those who want Gluck’s 1774 version unadulterated and with a haute-contre in the title role will find a lot to admire in the Naxos recording with Jean-Paul Fouchécourt as Orphée (see review), but for the exalted level of singing from choir and soloists and in particular Anne Sofie von Otter’s all-embracing reading of Orphée the present set requires to be heard by all lovers of this opera.
Göran Forsling


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Cameo Classics
Prima voce
Red Priest
Toccata Classics

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
Classical Editor
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


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

Pat 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 Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.