One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,928 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             


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



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
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   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


Buy through MusicWeb for £13.50 postage paid World Wide.


Musicweb Purchase button


Johann /Giovanni (H.A.) HOFFMAN (1770-1842)
Divertimento a Mandolino, Violono e Basso (No.1) [6:23]
Divertimento a Mandolino, Violono e Basso (No.2) [10:56]
Giovanni Francesco GIULIANI (1760-1818)
Quartetto per Mandolino, Violino e Cello o Viola e Liuto (No.1) [17:00]
Quartetto per Mandolino, Violino e Cello o Viola e Liuto (No.3) [15:38]
Quartetto per Mandolino, Violino e Cello o Viola e Liuto No.5) [16:45]
Ensemble Baschenis: Ruggero Fededegni (violin), Marco Luca Capucci (mandolin), Alessandra Milesi (cello), Giorgio Ferraris (theorbo)
rec. Spring 2007, Bartok Studio, Bernareggio, Milan
CONCERTO CD 2036 [66:41]

Experience Classicsonline


On my wanderings around art galleries I have often noticed – and been intrigued by – the paintings of Evaristo Baschenis (1617-77). Based for most of his life in his birthplace in Bergamo, his most fascinating paintings are still life compositions made up of musical instruments (sometimes with a few non-musical additions). There are fine paintings of this kind in, for example, Bergamo itself, Turin, the Accademia in Venice, and a particularly fine Still Life with Musical Instruments has found its way to the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. In this last, various musical instruments lie on a large table, seemingly abandoned casually after music making. But the casual air is deceptive; the more one looks at the painting the more intricate the geometries of the arrangement reveal themselves to be. A score hangs out from a drawer at the left  - presumably the music recently played: two apples, past their best, reinforce the idea that the music has happened and is no more. The visual geometries of the instruments seem to offer a kind of after echo, transferred to the eyes rather than the ears, of the no longer audible music. Bass viol, mandolin, cittern, two guitars, a lute and a flute are amongst the instruments visible. The paintings of Baschenis have always seemed to me to evoke that tantalising sense of having just missed some fine music, of having, frustratingly, not been party to some intimate chamber music, which one is now left to try to imagine. What a good name, then, for a chamber group – Ensemble Baschenis! Read the (excellent) booklet notes and one discovers that their author (and the theorbist of the group), Giorgio Ferraris, has “under the auspices of the Accademia Carrara of Bergamo … made a study of the musicological and organological aspects of the works” of the painter. Though it dates from some time after his death, one suspects that Evaristo Baschenis would have loved the music here recorded in his name, as it were.

Little is know of Giovanni (or Johann) Hoffman, though he seems to have been a well regarded performer on the mandolin. These compositions date, Ferraris suggests, rather oddly, from the 1770s or 1780s, which doesn’t harmonise with a birth date of 1770.  The music itself is delightful. For some strange synaesthetic reason it makes me think of sitting and eating good Italian ice cream after a long spell in the sun. While that particular association is, no doubt, absurdly subjective, the music is certainly refreshing in its tang and colour, its melodic fluency and its rhythmic sharpness. It gets a loving performance full of unexaggerated joie-de-vivre. All this is enhanced by a crystal clear recorded sound.

Giuliani’s work has a slightly lower centre of gravity, with some of Hoffman’s sprightliness replaced by a greater reflectiveness. But he shares Hoffman’s essential grace and unassuming ease of creativity. He also shares Hoffman’s fascination with the subtle shifts of tone colour possible with this combination of instruments, which draws, in part, on the connections between mandolin and violin in the musical thought and practice of the Eighteenth Century. As Ferrarri’s notes point out, performers often doubled on the two instruments; he calls them ‘accomplices and rivals’. Mandolins from Brescia and Naples were tuned identically to the violin.

In the work of both composers – played with such sensitive and intelligent understanding of the idiom by the Ensemble Baschenis – the advancing into and retreating from prominence of each solo instrument in turn, along with the beautifully judged continuo work, produces patterns of structure and texture which the painter who gives his name to the group would surely have admired and, as it were, recognised as cognate with his own art.

While this may not be music of great profundity, and isn’t remotely grand in scale, it is exquisitely made and played - without the slightest hint of mere preciousness. It rinses the senses into freshness, engages the mind and makes the foot tap. This time – in contrast to the paintings of Baschenis – we haven’t missed the music! There’s much unpretentious pleasure to be had here.

Glyn Pursglove


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 Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

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

Eloquence recordings
All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month


Chopin Bruce Liu

Ingeneri Volume 2

Mondonville - Titon et L'Aurore

Telemann - French Cantatas 1


March 2022

Brahms Symphony 4
MacMillan Larghetto for Orchestra

Bruch Violin Concertos

Debussy Preludes Book 2

Jan-Peter de GRAAFF
Cello Concertos

La Nuit étoilé
Berlioz. Holmes




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.