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.


Moravec - Twelfth Night Recital
15%off £17.21 (until Dec 7)

Katerina Englichová - harp
15%0ff £10.83 (until Dec 7)

  • 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

Sibelius Symphonies Maazel
4CDs + Blu-ray audio
Special Price £36.75

RVW A Sea Symphony - Elder

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



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

AmazonUK AmazonUS

George Frederick HANDEL (1685-1759)
Alexander’s Feast HWV 75 (1736) [84:53]
Ode for St Cecilia’s Day HWV 76 (1739) [50:32]
Simone Kermes (soprano); Virgil Hartinger (tenor); Konstantin Wolff (bass);
Kölner Kammerchor; Collegium Cartusianum/Peter Neumann
rec. live, 25-27 October 2008, Trintatiskirche, Köln
text included in English and German
CARUS 83.424 [57:06+78:28]
Experience Classicsonline

These recordings join a series issued by Carus in what promises to be a complete or virtually complete set of Handel’s English choral works. This is an enticing prospect especially as the instalments are being issued in parallel with generally admirable new editions of the printed music. Like its predecessors the present discs have been recorded in Germany and yet another set of performers is employed. Inevitably this has led to some variation in the success of the results although once again the listener can expect to take the use of a reliable edition for granted as well as a thorough understanding of the appropriate period style from the performers. Given that these two works are among the composer’s clear masterpieces from his settings of the English language there is immediately much to be said in favour of these discs. Whilst I do have some reservations about the performances they are certainly never less than acceptable and for much of the time much more than that. As usual with Carus the presentation is a delight, with a helpful introduction by Markus Schwering (in German, English and French), notes on the performers, including the names of members of the choir and orchestra, and the text in the original English and in German.

Both works are based on poems by John Dryden and both are essentially in praise of St Cecilia and the power of music. Handel seized with obvious enthusiasm the many opportunities they present to illustrate the words. “Alexander’s Feast” includes for instance a splendid bass air in praise of Bacchus, a soprano air about war, and a bass air whose middle section depicts a ghostly band of dead Grecian warriors. The Ode has even more obvious cues for music, with its references to “the trumpet’s loud clangour”, “the soft complaining flute” and to “sharp violins” - the last of these relating to articulation rather than pitch. Together they can be counted amongst the composer’s most loveable and succinct works.

I first got to know the Ode in a recording from the early 1960s (?) conducted by Anthony Bernard, with Teresa Stich-Randall and Alexander Young as the soloists. It is many years since I heard it but I suspect that it would still be worth hearing, if only for the rhythmic energy and zest I remember it as having possessed. The present version does occasionally fall down in this respect. In the first chorus, for instance, the chorus’ first words – “From harmony” – are slightly delayed, and although this may seem a small point it significantly reduces the cumulative energy of the movement. The soloists are generally satisfactory, and at times, for instance the soprano’s unaccompanied line at the end of the Ode, much more than that. Indeed the soprano, previously unknown to me, is one of the main assets of the performances. I assume that the apparently close miking of the soloists is an attempt to reduce reverberation from the church, and while the resulting sound is not always convincing I soon adjusted to it.

There are other versions of both works available which in some ways may be regarded as being more satisfactory or which are certainly cast with better known performers. Conductors as different as Bernstein, Britten and Harnoncourt have recorded the Ode but I am not sure that they can be said wholly to eclipse the present version. Indeed the convenience and aptness of the coupling and the quality of the presentation do reinforce the quality of the performances as very good reasons to add this set to your collection.

John Sheppard 




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.