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

alternatively AmazonUK


Nicholas MAW (b. 1935)
Violin Concerto (1993) [41:48]
Joshua Bell (violin)
London Philharmonic Orchestra/Roger Norrington
rec. Air/Lyndhurst Hall, Hampstead, London, September 1996
SONY CLASSICAL SK62856 [41:48]
Experience Classicsonline

This isn’t a new release. Maw’s Violin Concerto was written with Joshua Bell specifically in mind in 1993; the recording followed in September 1996. In the very enthusiastic sleeve-notes – I’m not sure how Maw feels about being described as a “genius” – great play is made of the work in relation to the Brahms Violin Concerto. Certainly it has a complex romantic affiliation but the composers’ names that occurred to me were those of Prokofiev and Walton. Not that Maw could be remotely taken to be either of them – but in its cultivation of an almost Italianate lyricism it does summon up the memory of Walton’s Mediterranean work and in its fusion of melodic beauty and scherzo drama it must pay at least oblique, tangential historical homage to Prokofiev.

The Concerto is cast in four movements. It opens with ruminative slowness but then opens out into a flourishing, rich and luminous sound world, bedecked by manifold orchestral and solo felicities; those little orchestral lurches toward the end for instance. The second movement is indeed Walton-like in its vivacity but Maw’s control of lingering lyricism, finely woven into the work’s fabric, ensures seamless warmth from the current-swell of dynamism that he generates. The lodestones here are Prokofiev and Barber but they’re securely absorbed into Maw’s lyric modernist world. The powerful cadential passage over a sustained orchestral chord is followed by a muted upwards drift into orchestral nothingness, a Cherubini-like stroke of translucent and mysterious beauty.

Maw’s predilection for major chords – the C major especially – permeates the third movement. Harmonies are richly complex and there are elements of post-impressionism in the writing, as well glimmers of Berg; but over and above such composer-spotting moments, which are essentially incidental, is the sense of luminous quiet, the rapture, the specific and yet endless personal landscape that Maw evokes. And when he unleashes the finale it comes brimful with tunes, vibrant and exciting, richly orchestrated.

Throughout Bell plays with the romantic ardour that Maw identified – and so admires – in him. His playing manages to balance scrupulous cleanliness of attack with tonal warmth and pliant phrasing. Norrington marshals the LPO in assured, colouristically aware fashion and the recording does full justice to the enterprise.

The Maw is a concerto that embraces its historical lineage without being shackled by it. If you admire the Berg, Barber, Walton and Prokofiev concertos, and like orchestration that is both luminous and pulsing then this is the work for you.

Jonathan Woolf

see also this overview of Nicholas Maw on disc



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




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.