Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


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




Wladyslaw Szpilman: Legendary Recordings
Frederic CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Polonaise-Fantaisie Op. 61 [11:38]
Ballade in F minor Op. 52 10:30]
Nocturne cis Moll Op. Posth. [3:37]
Alfred GRÜNFELD (1852-1924)
Soirée de Vienne. Konzertparaphrase über Johann Strauß’sche Walzermotive nach Fledermaus u.a. Op. 56 [5:53]
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
La fille aux cheveux de lin (Prelude No. 8) [2:06]
Grazyna BACEWICZ (1909-1969)
Sonata No. 2 [14:07]
Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
Sonata No. 7 in B-flat major Op 83 [17:29]
Peter and the Wolf paraphrase [3:30]
Ignaz FRIEDMAN (1882-1948)
Wiener Tänze nach Eduard Gärtner, No. 1 [3:21]
Wladyslaw SZPILMAN (1911-2000)
Mazurka [2:08]
Ludvig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Sonata No. 5 in F, Op. 24 “Spring” [22:18]
Edvard GRIEG (1943-1907)
Violin Sonata in C minor Op. 45 [23:42]
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Rondo (based on Sonata Op. 53) [5:30]
Antonin DVOŘAK (1841-1904)
Slavonic Dance Op. 46/2 [3:15]
Henryk WIENIAWSKI (1835-1880)
Obertas [1:59]
Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959)
Nigun No. 2 [5:58]
Karol RATHAUS (1895-1954)
Pastorale and Dance for violin and piano Op. 39 [12:42]
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Quintet in E-flat major Op. 44 [29:05]
Juliusz ZAREBSKI (1854-1885)
Quintet in G minor [36:41]
Wladyslaw Szpilman (Piano)
Bronislaw Gimpel (violin)
Tadeusz Wronski (violin)
Srefan Kamasa (viola)
Aleksander Ciechanski (cello)
Recordings from Polish Radio Broadcasts, 1946-1965
SONY CLASSICAL 82876728552 [3 CDs: 79:31 + 79:18 + 66:02]



Those who have seen The Pianist or read the book upon which the film was based will surely be interested in this well thought-out three-disc set, with extensive notes written by the artist’s son. Seen by the Polish regime as merely a composer of “light” music - and, being such, a composer that didn’t need to be credited - Szpilman toured widely and also composed some serious music, one example of which is included here, a movement of his until-recently lost toccatina. Some of his other works are on another Sony Classical disc: SK 93516.

Gleaned from the Polish radio archives, each disc focuses on a facet of Szpilman’s career as a musician: as soloist, as performer with his friend Bronislaw Gimpel, and as founding member of the Warsaw Quintet. Being archive recordings, the quality does vary widely, with the Warsaw Quintet disc faring the best. The Schumann quintet is sensitively played, and paired with the unfamiliar G-minor quintet of Zarebski; this is the world premiere recording. The Zarebski, a Romantic composition by a little-known master pupil of Liszt, has a driving scherzo movement that calls forth his teacher and Beethoven both. It is a work that was a pleasant surprise, especially the gorgeous slow movement; an undulating barcarolle of a piece that is an underplayed gem.

Faring less well in sound quality are the violin and piano pieces with Gimpel. Beethoven’s Spring sonata Op. 24 has the violin far too prominently placed, and the tone is nasal throughout. The playing is done well, and there are some surprises here as well — the Pastorale and Dance Op. 39 of Karol Rathaus is a showpiece, as is Obertas by Wieniawski. The Rathaus, an enjoyable piece that brings to mind much of the best music of the 1930s for violin, suffers from balance issues. Again, the violin is too prominently placed. In order for the piano to be heard well enough, the volume level of the violin, especially in sforzando and forte passages in the upper register, becomes uncomfortable.

Disc one focuses on solo piano broadcasts from 1946 to 1950, the earlier recordings among the first post-war Polish broadcasts. Chopin is, of course, presented, but here, as on the other discs, a wide range of the known and unusual is to be found. His Prokofiev 7th sonata is assured and fluent, the playing angular; the last precipitato movement played slightly slower than the hallmark performances of the piece by Horowitz. Here the focus is more on the structure of the piece rather than as a program-closing barnburner. I feel the Horowitz interpretation is more enjoyable, but Szpilman’s viewpoint is an interesting one.

Another great surprise is the second sonata of Grazyna Bacewicz, a piece informed at the same time by Chopin and Hindemith — the first movement flirts repeatedly with a waltz but is taken over by agitato passages before quieting down into a piece of uneasy beauty.

There are many great moments here, not simply a survey of vintage recordings of works firmly ensconced in the usual canon of “pieces to play”. Szpilman took risks in his playing as he did in life, and we are fortunate to have this collection, with some of these works available nowhere else.

David Blomenberg

see also Review by Jonathan Woolf





Return to 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.