Schubert sonatas

Newest Releases

Piano solo and duet
  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


Not available in the USA or Canada

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Symphony No. 3 in E flat, Op. 55, “Eroicaa (1803) [49:18].
Leonore Overtures: No. 1 in C, Op. 138b (1805) [8:34]; No. 3, Op. 72a.c (1805) [13:40]
Philharmonia Orchestra/Otto Klemperer
rec. Kingsway Hall, London, 5-6 aOctober, 17 December 1955; b17 November 1954; c18 November 1954. MONO. ADD
NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.111303 [71:33]
Experience Classicsonline


The “Eroica” comes from Columbia 33CX 1346. The presence of the sound carried in the grooves of the LP is well transferred across to compact disc by restoration engineer Mark Obert-Thorn. This is actually almost the same programme as the EMI GROC issue reviewed by Christopher Howell on this site in August 2002; here we have Leonore Overtures 1 and 3; there it was 1 and 2.

The sheer weight of the first movement seems to be a reflection of its own internal, natural force. There is no exposition repeat; it is almost as if it were impossible to go back. Dissonances are relayed for all they are worth, making the famous climax prior to the “E minor” theme all the more awe-inspiring. If the acoustic sounds a bit swimmy for the first horn solo around the 9-10 minute mark, it is generally in fine focus. Detail is lovingly preserved, so that one gets to hear woodwind parts lost in many “more advanced” recent recordings.

The Adagio assai is, as CH suggests, faster than one might expect at first. It is also exquisitely shaded, with the Philharmonia strings rich and sonorous. Fugal work - around seven minutes - is marked by the unstoppability of lava flow. The sound is everywhere, and nowhere more so than in this movement built from the bass upwards. It is as if the sound is both tied to the earth and coming from it. The sheer quality of the playing from all sections of the orchestra is little short of miraculous. The same comment goes for the Scherzo. No nimble-footed sprite, this, more a behemoth on uppers. The horn trio is superbly played - just a pity they sound a little recessed.

The opening to the finale blazes. No mere introduction, this, but a clear statement of intent that casts its shadow over the unfolding variations. And unfold they do, with an inevitability and structural grasp that enable Klemperer to hold to his tempo. In lesser hands this would merely sound pretentiously ponderous. The great horn entry at 8:55 is the only moment I question – it hits you like a punch in the stomach and is so sudden it almost, but not quite, takes away the over-riding grandeur.

Comparing this account of the mighty “Eroica” to the Karajan/Philharmonia is to compare two interpretations both of giant stature. Karajan’s cycle was recorded November 1951-July 1955 in the same hall with the same orchestra – EMI 5 5158632. Perhaps Klemperer wins out. His is the more noble, and in both the EMI and Naxos Historical versions I prefer the sound accorded to Klemperer. But I would not do without the bargain Karajan cycle.

The two Leonore Overtures come from the same Columbia LP (33CX 1270). We hear the rarely played Leonore No. 1. Klemperer was to re-record it with the same orchestra in the same location nine years later. All three of the 1963 Leonore Overtures are available coupled with the Eighth Symphony on EMI’s Klemperer Legacy CDM5 66796 2. Klemperer makes a superb case for No. 1, as he does for the much better-known Third Overture - essentially a symphonic poem, as Colin Anderson points out in his booklet notes - recorded the very next day. The sound-painting of the prison cell at the opening, followed by the clarinet statement of Florestan’s aria (“In des Lebens”) is exquisitely managed, as is the true string pianissimo immediately following. String discipline, too, is miraculous. The “off-stage trumpet” is nicely distanced. Both Leonores have their own theatricality here and reward careful listening.


Colin Clarke




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.