MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... 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

Buy through MusicWeb for £12 postage paid.
You may prefer to pay by Sterling cheque or Euro notes to avoid PayPal. Contact for details

Musicweb Purchase button

Arthur de GREEF (1862-1940)
Violin Sonata No. 1 in D minor (1896 rev 1932) [15:37]
Violin Sonata No. 2 in C minor (1933) [22:15]
Sonata in C minor for two pianos (1928) [22:30]
Nico Baltussen (violin), Catherine Mertens, Luc Devos (piano)
rec. 1998?
TALENT DOM2910 24 [57:52]

Ronald J Dom’s label has been working away quietly in Antwerp since the mid-1990s. Only in recent years has its unhackneyed approach to A&R started to nudge its way into the broader international market.
These are passionate performances of passionate music written or revised in temporal exile from the decades when its style was common. Truly the past was in De Greef’s case a different country. However he held true to his star.
De Greef had been a pupil of both Liszt and Saint-SaŽns. He popularised the Grieg Piano Concerto throughout Europe. There’s a symphony and two piano concertos in C minor (1914, dedicated to Saint-SaŽns and 1930) from his own hand. The two concertos have been recorded by Andre de Groote on Naxos on 8.223810.
A slightly tremulous and wiry violin tone from Baltussen does nothing to dampen these romantic sonatas. They were probably written as a product of the friendship between De Greef and EugŤne Ysaˇe. The First Sonata is passionately redolent of the Franck and Grieg sonatas and in the swirlingly romantic and tempestuous finale there’s even a passing similarity to the Grieg piano concerto. The Second Sonata has its centre of gravity removed from that of the First. It has about it a stronger fragrance of the Franck and an even more powerful philosophical bent. We hear this in the potent unshowy writing that ends the first movement. However the salon style grotesquerie of the Romance makes for an awkward gear change when it comes to the middle movement. There’s a gangly protesting brusqueness about the Tumultueux finale which finally dissipates in a becalmed seascape before the splendidly impassioned and ripely romantic closing pages.
The Sonata for Two Pianos was premiered at the Brussels Royal Music Conservatory on 21 April 1928 by two of De Greef’s female pupils. It’s a darker work than the two violin sonatas with conflicts and tensions resolved in some clangorously grand Rachmaninovian statements (I, 4:04; III 3:12, 4:20) in the outer parts of the three movement structure. That seriousness of purpose relaxes somewhat in the face of the Litolff-like bravado of the central TrŤs vif. I cannot help thinking that De Greef must have intended to work up this sonata into a piano concerto. Mertens and Devos are well matched and are forthrightly recorded.
The violin sonatas are richly enjoyable and will appeal to anyone with a taste for Franck, Grieg and Rachmaninov.
Rob Barnett



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos 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



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.