One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here


International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger

Some items
to consider

in the first division

extraordinary by any standards

An excellent disc

a new benchmark

summation of a lifetime’s experience.

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now

A Garland for John McCabe


DIETHELM Symphonies

The best Rite of Spring in Years

BACH Magnificat

Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26

Just enjoy it!

La Mer Ticciati








Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

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
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger




William WALTON (1902-1983)
Façade - Suites 1 and 2 (1922/1926/1938) [21:03]
Charles LECOCQ (1832-1918)
Mam'zelle Angot - Suite (arr. Gordon Jacob) (1872/1943) [23:58]
Royal Opera House Orchestra, Covent Garden/Anatole Fistoulari
recording data not given
HDTT HDCD152 [45:12]
Experience Classicsonline

High Definition Tape Transfer claims to transfer its recordings from the original reel-to-reel tapes, and individually to burn each CD rather than to resort to techniques of mass-production; the sonic results, from whatever part of the process, are first-rate. Granted, it doesn't hurt to start with superior source material, and these analog recordings, from Decca's early-stereo catalogue, sounded fine from the start. I still enjoy my copy of the U.S. "London Stereo Treasury" LP (STS 15191) reissue now and again. Still, the new mastering not only sharpens the clean, pinpoint imaging, but heightens the sense of front-to-back depth. In that latter respect, this is the only CD I've heard that matches any of the "super-LPs" - mastering from the original sources, virgin vinyl, heavyweight pressings; you remember the drill; it had a brief vogue around the turn of the current century.

Nor is this program a bad way to idle away some time. Walton's Façade is a setting of verses by Dame Edith Sitwell for speaker and chamber orchestra, with the spoken texts functioning as a specifically musical element - the words have been chosen as much for their sound as for their meaning. So to play the various "backing" waltzes, polkas, and foxtrots as a purely orchestral suite - actually, a pleasing mishmash of the composer's two five-movement suites - might seem a pointless exercise. Fortunately, Walton's cheerfully cheesy takes on the popular music of the 1920s, enlivened by quirky melodic turns and the occasional harmonic surprise - not to mention the English horn solo from William Tell, in the "Country Dance" (track 6)! - stand well on their own. And HDTT's processing allows you even better to enjoy the sultry flavor of the saxophone solo in the Tango, the way Fistoulari sustains anticipation through the rests in the Waltz, and other details of scoring and interpretation.

The ballet Mam'zelle Angot was created in 1943 for American Ballet Theatre, with Leonide Massine using music from the operetta, La fille de Madame Angot, by Charles Lecocq. It's fluffier stuff than the Walton - at least if the Overture and six dances excerpted here are any indication - and Fistoulari relaxes accordingly, pointing the rhythms and drawing the orchestral sonorities with a lighter hand. Unfortunately, the solo oboe's dry, unalluring tone - also noticeable in Façade - undercuts the broad, romantic mood of the Adagio (track 17).

Given all the pains taken over the sound quality, you'd think the producers might have taken more care over the production and packaging. The "DVD case" - chosen, perhaps, because some other discs in this series are DVD-Audio - may confuse prospective buyers, or cause storage difficulties. The proofreading is poor: Fistoulari's first name is misspelled as "Antole" on both the front and back covers; Lecocq's "Tempo di Marcia" becomes the meaningless "Tempo di Marcelaia." The single-page leaflet offers a good biographical note on Walton - though it doesn't concentrate on Façade particularly - but doesn't even mention Lecocq; I got that information from the jacket of the Stereo Treasury disc. Finally, 45:12 still seems short measure for a high-end CD, sonic improvements or not.

Stephen Francis Vasta 


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.