MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2023
Approaching 60,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


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

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing



AmazonUK AmazonUS

Paul WHITTY (b. 1970)
Thirty–nine pages (2005/2007) [62:04]
Darragh Morgan (violin); Mary Dullea (piano)
rec. August 2007, The Old Grannary, Suffolk. DDD
Experience Classicsonline

Paul Whitty was born in
Lisburn, Northern Ireland in 1970. He has achieved an impressive amount of performances and his work has been taken up by a host of leading ensembles and featured at many contemporary music festivals. 

Whitty has written, “Recently I have been engaged in a series of interventions in pre-existing contexts - re-reading, re-organising, re-categorising, re-distributing and re-sounding the materials that I have found there. These contexts can be scores, actual physical sites or instruments. In the violin and piano duo thirty-nine pages (2005-2007) I re-organised each page of the Henle Urtext Edition of Cesar Franck's Sonata for violin and piano in A Major”.

I have no problem with this kind of de–construction, perhaps Whitty might prefer the word ‘re–evaluation’, of already existing material and what we have here is a fascinating look at an old friend. That we can barely recognize the old friend is neither here nor there for the Franck Sonata is only the stepping off point for Whitty’s work – I hesitate to call it a composition. 

Thirty–nine pages consists of 39 (or is it 38?) pages, which can be performed in any order, the longest playing for a little over 5 minutes, the shortest being 10 seconds. It’s an oddly engaging work and whilst there’s very little for the listener to latch on to – such as melody, harmony or counterpoint – there is sufficient material to keep one wanting to hear more. I should also point out that if you’re hoping to hear any part of the Franck Sonata that work is well hidden except for the very occasional fleeting glance. 

What we have here is, in general, a kind of meditation, with minimal movement. Think of an even more static Morton Feldman but without the forward motion of the American, and you’ve got some idea of what to expect. But it’s not without its moments of humour, which are obviously intentional. 

This is not any easy listen, however, for the source material is so well hidden that the various sections, or pages, have little, or no, relationship to each other except the sparseness of notes, and, as each page is separated by a silence, there’s little continuity in the classical sense. Despite this, the music is compelling in a strangely hypnotic and disturbing way. Even more disturbing is that in the brief notes the composer writes, “the thirty–eight pages (of a piece called thirty–nine pages) can be played in any combination and in any order”, which is odd in itself. What is truly worrying is that the final track (no.38) contains pages five to forty three. How’s that for screwing up your perceptions of what you’re listening to? 

This isn’t a work to be listened to for pleasure alone for the whole layout of the piece leaves much to the listener’s imagination, and much work must be done by the listener. One can have hours of fun re–arranging the order of the tracks to get a different perspective on the music and I am sure that this is what the composer would want you to do. 

In the long run, I don’t think that it matters in what way you listen to this piece as long as you listen to it and give the music time to get inside you. The performances are very fine, both musicians sustaining brief lines which seem to hang in the air as if suspended in nothingness. I am not sure how often I will return to this work for it is a hard listen but it will, once one becomes familiar with it, be worth the work you have to put into the experience.

Bob Briggs




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

Past 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.