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


paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Clarissa Bevilacqua plays
Augusta Read Thomas

all Nimbus reviews

Brahms Dvorak
Brahms 2 Dvorak 7
all tudor reviews



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
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom




Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976)
Cello Symphony Op. 68 (1963) [37:37]
Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941)
Oration – Concerto Elegiaco for cello and orchestra (1930) [30:41]
Steven Isserlis (cello)
City London Sinfonia/Richard Hickox
rec. Studio 1, Abbey Road, London, 12, 14 March 1987. DDD
Reissue of EMI Classics CDC 7497162

Experience Classicsonline

That these two brooding ‘concertos’ for cello should appear coupled for the first time - to my knowledge, at least - seems very fitting. It is well known that Frank Bridge was Britten’s teacher and mentor. Until relatively recently, however, much of Bridge’s music has been shamefully little known. These are both brooding, big-boned works that largely concentrate on the darker side of the cello. They have both fared very well on CD prior to this release. The Bridge has enjoyed excellent performances by Alexander Baillie, Alban Gerhardt, Raphael Wallfisch and Julian Lloyd Webber, while the Britten has been recorded by its dedicatee Mstislav Rostropovich (twice under the composer’s direction), Tim Hugh, Yo-Yo Ma, Truls Mørk, Raphael Wallfisch and Julian Lloyd Webber. None of these performances is inferior in any way and so this reissue of Steven Isserlis’s readings already has some hot competition. It is surprising that these works have not appeared together on CD before, given that Wallfisch and Lloyd Webber have recorded both of them. They make for apt stable mates; neither is a straightforward concerto, both are from later on in their creators’ careers and both make formidable demands of the soloist. 

Britten’s Cello Symphony was one of the many cello concertos written especially for Mstislav Rostropovich, and one of several pieces that Britten wrote for his friend ‘Slava’. It dates from 1963, two years after the War Requiem, and the classic Decca recording with composer, dedicatee and the English Chamber Orchestra was made very soon after the first performance in 1964. This really is a symphony with cello, rather than a cello concerto per se. It is in four very symphonic movements, with a substantial cadenza between the third slow movement and the final Passacaglia. I would have liked to have felt slightly more forward momentum in the Cello Symphony’s lugubrious first movement, as well as slightly more clarity of sound. To my ears, the sound on this CD is very slightly too boomy – very surprising given the provenance of the recording. Or perhaps the soloist just needed a somewhat more forward balance. The Presto inquieto is suitably nocturnal with very subtle colours. Here is it is more appropriate for the cello’s voice to be almost part of the orchestral texture. The slow movement is well done, with the timpani as dominant as they should be. I have never been able to stomach the odd, forced Coplandesque trumpet tune at the outset of the Passacaglia and have found this movement by far the weakest in the Cello Symphony. However, on the whole, Isserlis and Hickox give a thoroughly satisfactory performance of this illusive work. 

The strengths of Frank Bridge’s Oration rather show up the weaknesses of the Britten. It is a finely-wrought piece whose ‘oration’ is a protest against war – both Britten and Bridge were pacifists. Written in 1930, Oration is in an arch-like structure in nine sections which roughly correspond to four symphonic movements (another similarity with the Cello Symphony). Like the Britten, Oration receives a committed performance from Isserlis and Hickox. 

For anyone wanted these two pillars of 20th-century English concertante cello works, this recording is ideal in its obvious but rare coupling. 

Derek Warby


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

October 2022

Berg Violin Concerto
Violin Concerto Elmes

DEbussy Jeux
Debussy Jeux

Romantic pioano masters
Romantic Piano Masters

The future is female - Vol 2
Volume 2 - The Dance

impromptu harp music
Complete Harp Impromptus

September 2022
Nikolai Medtner
Herbert Blomstedt
Tarrodi Four Elements
Secret Love Letters
Lisa Batiashvili





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.