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

3 for 2 Offer

All Forgotten Records Reviews


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

FOGHORN Classics

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets
All Foghorn Reviews

Puertas de Madrid
All EMEC reviews
All EMEC reviews

All Reference Recordings

Eugène Ysaÿe: Violin Discoveries
All Divine Art Reviews

Debussy Complete Preludes



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
Ph. 020 8418 0616



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

All Chandos reviews

All Hyperion reviews

All Foghorn reviews

All Troubadisc reviews

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

All Eloquence reviews

All Lyrita Reviews


Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month


Donizetti - Le Convenienze ed Inconvenienze Teatrali

Chamber Symphonies 2 & 4

French Cello Concertos






CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS
Download: Classicsonline

Edward ELGAR (1857-1934)
Cello Concerto in E minor Op 85 (1919) (arr. viola Lionel Tertis (1928) amended David Aaron Carpenter) [29:08]
Alfred SCHNITTKE (1934-1998)
Viola Concerto (1985) [35:21]
David Aaron Carpenter (viola)
Philharmonia Orchestra/Christoph Eschenbach
rec. 30 June and 1 July, 2008, AIR Studios, London
ONDINE ODE1153-2 [64:40]
Experience Classicsonline

The obvious comparison point for the Elgar is Rivka Golani’s pioneering 1989 recording of the Tertis arrangement, made for Conifer but currently unavailable. However there is a difference, because David Aaron Carpenter has amended Lionel Tertis’s 1928 work, so the two are not strictly speaking comparable.

Carpenter has a lighter, rather more alto-inclined sonority; hers is weightier. His opening Adagio is slower and more rhetorical, the conducting appropriately more measured. Golani and Handley are faster, as Handley was wont to be. I must note that the transition to the moderato is that much stronger in the Golani/Handley reading; the basses and brass are more powerful, the Carpenter/Eschenbach more languid.

The registral changes involved in this adaptation will always bring one up short, no matter who’s playing, but they offer a jolt that adds to the demands of listening to the work in its Elgar-sanctioned viola guise. Then there are the emendations. Carpenter does not say specifically what he’s done and nor do the notes but, for example, he’s amended Tertis’s arco to pizzicato at the start of the second movement Lento. It thereby perhaps loses a parallel virtuosic thrust but maybe it’s more cellistically pure that way. I like the way Carpenter plays; he’s a splendid player with a fine tone. That said those glorious orchestral touches such as the rapid quicksilver descending figures in this movement are better realised by Handley - and more whimsically too.

Carpenter-Escehnbach are a little quicker in the slow movement - a little surprisingly perhaps - than Golani/Handley but also more obviously emotional. Golani is more privy to her emotions, and her recording actually is better suited in this respect, in its veiled quality. This Ondine is rather cut and dried and the dynamics don’t really register as they should; it means overall, despite the heartfelt ethos, the playing comes across as slightly less effective than I think it might be. Carpenter has amended some of Tertis’s luscious writing at the start of the finale; if I find him too tremulous toward the end then I find many a cellist too sentimental here as well. I remember Tortelier’s television Masterclass cry of ‘I am Engleesh, I am Engleesh’ at the work’s zenith. Nobility is required (see Tortelier himself, Fournier, Pini et al), not blood on the floor.

Still I admired the performance. The rapport is fine, ensemble is solid. The emendations are thought-provoking and novel and Tertis’s work is hardly an everyday event. This is an ingenious piece of work, though Golani’s is the more idiomatic I think.

The companion work is Schnittke’s authentic 1985 Viola Concerto, another masterpiece. Powerfully introspective it exerts a momentous vortex-like pull. The central Allegro molto sweeps and swoops in dramatic fashion, its ghostly dance patina richly etched and pointed. Carpenter’s intonation remains unbreached even in the highest positions, and as the reverie incrementally ratchets tension, infiltrating nightmare and torment (from around 12:00 in the central movement) he responds with unsullied tone. He surmounts the paragraphal considerations as well, not least in the finale which can easily dissipate unless a strong and rigorous pair are in close accord. Fortunately they are here. This is all most movingly done. Its proportions remind me of Bashmet’s celebrated première recording (Melodiya 10.00068) which is my preferred choice, still. Imai on BIS 447 plays beautifully and hers is a sleeper performance; she’s a wonderful artist whatever she plays. Van Keulen surprised me with her articulacy as a violist (Koch 1523). Kaskashian drives through the Concerto in record time on ECM 1471 - a performance for lovers of extremes.

Jonathan Woolf
























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.