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.


Moravec - Twelfth Night Recital
15%off £17.21 (until Dec 7)

Katerina Englichová - harp
15%0ff £10.83 (until Dec 7)

  • 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

Sibelius Symphonies Maazel
4CDs + Blu-ray audio
Special Price £36.75

RVW A Sea Symphony - Elder

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


CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS
Download: Classicsonline

William ALWYN (1906-1985)
Mirages – a song cycle for baritone and piano (1970) [23:26]
Six Nocturnes for baritone and piano (1973) [13:14]
Slum Song (1947) [4:10]
Seascapes – four songs for soprano, treble recorder and piano (1980) [10:40]
Invocations – a song cycle (1977) [20:36]
Elin Manahan Thomas (soprano)
Jeremy Huw Williams (baritone)
John Turner (treble recorder)
Iain Burnside (piano)
rec. Potton Hall, Suffolk, March (Invocations) and October (Mirages, Nocturnes, Slum Song) 2006; Henry Wood Hall, April 2007 (Seascapes)
NAXOS 8.570201 [72:06]
Experience Classicsonline

is a set of poems to words by the composer himself. There’s rippling unease and appropriately so in the first, Undine, in which Jeremy Huw Williams’s quite wide vibrato brings an almost quasi-operatic force.  The juxtaposition of flitting nature and stasis in the second is equally dramatically effective. Romantic warmth and ardour vie with stentorian pain (‘Do not leave me’) in the third, The Honeysuckle. And the remorseless pounding and anguished declamation of the final lines of Metronome are almost brutal in their starkness. This is no complaisant cycle, and it doesn’t shirk the big, bleak picture. In the last song for instance he surveys himself in the mirror with the pitiless scrutiny of Lucian Freud  - the disbelief at the sagging of the flesh, ending finally with some sort of reconciliation. Love, loss, disillusion, decay, death, extinction of self; big issues then but not bleakly set. Characterful and full of vitality in fact; fearful, yes, but absorbed by the struggle and by the need to see oneself unflinchingly.

The Six Nocturnes followed three years later and are not quite so forcefully descriptive. There is muted romanticism here and nature setting too; the urgent rain in Summer’s Rain speaks of love’s fissures. The spooky hallucination of Visitation brings one up short and it’s in a setting such as Circle that we are most reminded of the starkness of Mirages; the poems are by Michael Armstrong as they are in Invocations and Seascapes. The latter is a cycle of seven poems set in 1977 by Alwyn. Thee opening of an Alwyn cycle tends to be rather remote; here there’s a withdrawn, remote romanticism at play. The second song Holding the Night strikes me as lacking the dramatic vocal line necessary fully to convey the compressed intense romanticism of the poem. But certainly those who lived through the rainless summer of 1976 will appreciate the parched chordal accompaniment in Drought. The poem that gives its name to the cycle, more fully Invocation to the Queen of Moonlight, is simply beautiful, one of Alwyn’s most mysterious, refractive and lovely inventions. And the cycle ends excitingly with Our Magic Horse, energetically and vitally sung by Elin Manahan Thomas, though her tone can lose body in higher registers.

Seascapes is written for soprano, treble recorder (John Turner) and piano. Thomas sings with almost bloodless purity here, especially in Sea-Mist but of the four I am most taken by the wheeling, wheedling uplift and gentle current-surfing of the Black Gulls. Alwyn composes about birds almost as well as Rex Warner writes poetry about them.

There is another exciting thing here as well. Slum Song, to words by MacNeice is a ballad, reflective, elegant and heard in its first ever recording. The Nocturnes are world premiere recordings as well.

Throughout Iain Burnside plays with a true vein of poetry and sensitivity. There are full texts and the notes by the composer are augmented by those of Andrew Knowles and John Turner.

Some real discoveries here – lucid and fearful poetry transmuted into self-knowledge via the composer’s consoling self-awareness.

Jonathan Woolf 

Alwyn Website



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.