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




Leoš JANAČÉK (1854-1928)
String Quartet No. 1, “The Kreutzer Sonata” (1923) [17:47]
String Quartet No. 2 “Intimate Letters” (1928) [25:40]
Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)
Cypresses (1887) [25:40]
Leipziger Streichquartett (Andreas Seidel (violin); Tilman Büning (violin); Ivo Bauer (viola); Matthias Moosdorf (cello))
rec. Paul-Gerhardt-Kirche-Leipzig, February 2007


Experience Classicsonline

This fantastic music here receives playing of the highest calibre in demonstration quality sound. A well planned disc, this is now one of the top choices for this repertoire.

Dating from late in his life, Janáčék’s quartets both date from the time of his infatuation with the young Kamila Stösslová and they mirror the turbulent passion that racked him at the time.  The first quartet was inspired by Tolstoy’s short story The Kreutzer Sonata, especially the deep but unspoken love between the two protagonists, which must have resonated with the elderly man as he contemplated his separation from the object of his adoration.  The second is the most blatant and forthright depiction of his love for Kamila in all of Janáčék’s output.  Works of genius, they are characterised by moments of unbearable lyricism which sit cheek by jowl with howling dissonances, nowhere more so than in the third movement of No. 1, where a theme of melancholy beauty is periodically disrupted by unmusical screeching, perhaps representing the husband in Tolstoy’s story who waits outside the door to kill the two lovers. 

The Leipzig Quartet have the full measure of these extraordinary masterpieces.  They embrace the beauty of quartet No. 1, but the feeling of barely concealed tension hovers under the surface right from bar one, making it all the more shocking when it rears its head.  There is a sense of gathering dread as the quartet - and the story - moves towards its tragic climax: see, for example, the second movement which has the feeling of an elegant dance thrown gradually off-kilter by the malevolent force that hovers around it.  There is playing of striking beauty in the third movement but the horrible tension forbids us from ever relaxing.  Likewise the finale builds to a whirling climax then abruptly subsides into nothing.  Intimate Letters begins with febrile energy then melts into a gorgeous section for the viola, which Janáčék originally planned to score for a viola d’amore – how appropriate!  The second movement is simply the unfolding of a single theme with ever more ardent passion.  The slow movement carries a love theme which Janáčék described in a letter as “particularly happy”: the viola playing here is particularly sumptuous, but the incisiveness of the lower rhythm layers it with plenty of tension.  The final pages of the quartet bring passion and vigour, but still an element of doubt.  Throughout the Leipzig players surge together as one unit, bringing passion, flair and a deep understanding of the duality which makes these works so powerful.  Janáčék said the work was “as if carved out of living flesh”: if that’s true for the notes then it also seems true of the playing in this performance. 

Room is found for a less nuanced but still delightful performance of Dvořák’s Cypresses, a collection of twelve movements based on an early song cycle of the same name.  The original poems focused on a young man’s unrequited love, and Dvořák rearranged the songs for string quartet adding new accompanying melodies and counter-melodies.  They make a lovely ensemble, and there is a beautiful “singing” quality to the playing, such as the violin the opening number, and the cello in the third and fourth, to name but three examples.  The dominant mood is overwhelmingly lyrical and full of melting tenderness, quite in keeping with Dvořák’s intentions.  Importantly, they serve as a gentle foil to the stridency of the Janáčék quartets. 

In addition to the marvellous playing I should mention the disc’s fantastic sound: ideally balanced, it feels like it’s coming at you from every direction.  The playing is close and clear, but still with a lovely bloom on the sound.  Furthermore, the disc is packed with more than 81 minutes worth of music, so you get your full value for money.

Simon Thompson


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.