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

£11 post-free anywhere
(currently suspended)


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

Bruno Monteiro (violin)

More Preludes to Chopin
Kenneth Hamilton (piano)

Special Price and we are still delivering

Recordings of the Month


Feinberg Piano Sonatas

Schoenberg Violin Concerto

Early Keyboard

Nun Danket Alle Gott
Now Everyone Thanks God


Haydn Scottish Songs

Choral Music

Liszt Sonata

Renaissance Bohemia


Hahn Complete Songs

Piano Sonatas 6,7,8 Osborne

CD: Crotchet AmazonUK AmazonUS


George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759)
Italian Solo Cantatas

Crudel tiranno Amor, HWV97 [15:56]
Ah! Che troppo ineguali, HWV230 [14:06]
Tra le fiamme, HWV170 [21:04]
Adele Stolte (soprano)
Members of the Händel-Festspielorchester, Halle/Thomas Sanderling.
rec. Halle Volkspark, Germany, May 1970.  ADD.
Italian texts included; partial English and German translation.
BERLIN CLASSICS 0013972BC [51:16]
Experience Classicsonline

The black-and-white photograph of Adele Stolte on the cover proclaims that these are performances from another age – not just literally, in the sense that they were recorded in Communist East Germany well before the fall of the Berlin Wall.  The measured, but not stodgy opening of Crudel tiranno sets the pace for old-style Handel performances.  At first I thought them good of their kind – more or less the equivalent of Karl Richter’s Bach Cantatas which, as I have recently said, are still well worth hearing – but I soon revised that opinion and they eventually became wearisome.
At about the time that these recordings were made, I remember buying some East German recording tape in Tottenham Court Road.  When I complained that it produced awful recordings on my Ferrograph reel-to-reel recorder – then regarded as the acme of recorders – I was told that the tape was of the highest quality; the fault lay in the fact that the bias of my Ferrograph was not set up to appreciate it.  My attitude to these recordings is rather akin to the bias of that recorder – we’re no longer set up to appreciate the style. 
One person in particular is to blame – or, rather, praise – for this state of affairs: Emma Kirkby.  With all the good will in the world, I cannot help comparing Stolte in Tra le fiamme with Kirkby’s performance of that work on a splendid super-budget-price Eloquence recording (476 7468) which I reviewed last year – see also RH’s review.  I frequently insist that timings don’t tell the whole story, but the huge discrepancy between Stolte’s 21:04 and Kirkby’s 17:00 tells at least part of this story.
Heard without remembering the Kirkby/Hogwood version, no doubt this account of Tra le fiamme would pass muster – it doesn’t sound as ponderous as the timings might suggest – not least because Stolte has a potentially fine voice.  Some may even prefer her ‘larger’ tone to Kirkby; I’m not among them, though there are things to admire – it’s just that Kirkby has virtually set the benchmark for music of this period.  Stolte even attempts a few ornaments, but they sound out of keeping with her general style.  It sounds rather like Callas trying occasionally to sing in period style – in fact, there is an unpleasant edge, an almost-off-the-note quality, to Stolte’s voice at times which reminds me of Callas, of whom I’m no great fan. 
Indeed, at times the voice is definitely under strain – surprisingly so for a singer whose Bach Cantata recordings in the late 1950s and 1960s were acclaimed as models of good practice. Tra le fiamme starts very promisingly, but the promise is not borne out.
In the other cantatas these vocal faults are less noticeable, though far from entirely absent – perhaps they were made on an off-day – the opening aria of Crudel tiranno is particularly effective, though once again, here and in Ah! Che troppo ineguali, the promising start is not sustained.  One reviewer of her Beethoven Lieder on a DG collection also found her voice “edgy and not very steady”, suggesting that this was not her only off-day.
The instrumentalists are no authenticists – in 1970 modern-instrument players had yet to learn from period-instrumentalists, with the honourable exception of groups like the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields.  Tempi, as I have indicated are a little on the stately side and there is little or no attempt at ornamentation, but this is playing that I can live with: of its kind it is, in fact, very good.  Thomas Sanderling’s credentials as a Bach and Handel conductor are almost as secure as those of Karl Richter.
The recordings, originally made by VEB, are more than adequate.  The balance between vocalist and instruments is near-ideal – if anything, better than that on the reissued Christophe Coin recording of three Bach Cantatas which I recently praised (E8918).
The notes are informative and idiomatically translated.  The original Italian texts are given in full, but only parts are translated (within the body of the notes rather than alongside the texts).
Heard once on Radio 3 or at a concert, these performances might do well enough.  For repeated hearing, they just don’t pass muster.  The music itself is sufficiently attractive to survive the experience, but after hearing these performances several times, I had to listen to the Emma Kirkby CD again – now that really is worth buying and hearing repeatedly.  I repeat its catalogue number: 476 7468.  And remember that it sells for about half the price of this Berlin Classics CD.
Brian Wilson


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

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



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.