Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider


paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

Johnny Bradley
Handmade Kitchen Knives



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


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom


Crotchet AmazonUK AmazonUS


Amy BEACH (1867-1944)
Piano Music Volume 1 – The Early Works

Sketches Op.15 (1892) [12:38]
Mamma’s Waltz (1872) [2:01]
Menuetto (1877) [1:28]
Romanza (1877) [1:33]
Petite Valse (1878) [1:36]
Air and Variations (1877) [3:47]
Valse Caprice Op.4 [5:09]
Ballade Op.6 [9:21]
Bal Masque Op.22 [3:37]
Children’s Carnival Op.25 (1894) [10:18]
Trois morceaux caractéristiques Op.28 (1894) [12:56]
Kirsten Johnson (piano)
rec. St George’s, Bristol, April 2007
GUILD GMCD 7317 [65:32]
Experience Classicsonline

This is the first volume in a new survey of Amy Beach’s piano music. Expatriate American pianist Kirsten Johnson now lives in England and has written her own fine notes. In this volume she pitches in with some Beach juvenilia and adds two rather more substantial works, Children’s Carnival Op.25 and Trois morceaux caractéristiques Op.28 both written in 1894.

Given that much here is of slight musical value things depend largely on the imaginative and sympathetic approach of the interpreter. Johnson proves a valuable guide in the series of rather generic waltz and dance pieces that Beach wrote when she was an ambitious ten year old. There’s even Mama’s Waltz written when the composer was five! Elsewhere the picture postcard and Schumann-flecked influences are never far away.

It’s when we come to the more substantial fare that we can get a meatier grip on things, even when – as in the case of Sketches Op.15 – the demands are not bone-shaking, though they are allusively Schumannesque. The obvious comparison here is with the multi-volume Arabesque set played by Joanne Polk and you should consider my review of the three volumes that constitute the solo piano works in the light of this Guild entrant. The two competing discs have in any case somewhat complementary takes. Guild’s recorded sound is brighter and more immediate, Arabesque’s is rather more veiled and recessed; the Guild is less warm but has greater clarity. So speaking of the Sketches we find Johnson is the more forthright in In Autumn whilst Polk plays more capriciously with rubati. Polk is decidedly quicker in Dreaming, keeping the left hand figures more mobile whilst Johnson establishes the mood suggested by the title more obviously. Conversely in something like the vivacious Valse Caprice we find that it’s Johnson who takes this in an intoxicating arc, whilst Polk holds back, establishing a sense of "raising the curtain" in the introduction and then taking a less showy route throughout. The Chopinesque ardour of the Op.6 Ballade is taken finely by both players. – very little to choose between them, other than recorded sound.

In the Trois morceaux caractéristiques Johnson is consistently quicker than Polk. Johnson takes the more incisive direction, Polk the more languid and withdrawn – especially true of the opening Barcarolle. In the main though Johnson is less inclined to rubati than Polk, preferring a brisker, crisper approach.

Johnson has certainly opened her account with characterful and vital performances. Engaging, clarified and buoyant they make a good foil for the more introspective profile evinced by Polk.

Jonathan Woolf


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

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

Eloquence recordings
All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

(short month)

Orphic Moments

Metamorphoses Books I & II


Donizetti - Le Convenienze ed Inconvenienze Teatrali

Chamber Symphonies 2 & 4

French Cello Concertos







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.