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


colourful imaginative harmony
Renate Eggebrecht violin

Brahms Symphony 3
Dvorak Symphony 8
9 cello sonatas
Piano Music

Clara Schumann
piano concerto

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley n/a
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

Vraiment magnifique!

Quite splendid

Winning performances

Mahler Symphony 8
a magnificent disc

a huge talent

A wonderful disc

Weinberg Symphonies 2 & 21
A handsome tribute!

Roth’s finest Mahler yet

Mahler 9 Blomstedt
Distinguished performance


alternatively AmazonUK   AmazonUS



Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951)
6 Songs, Op.  8, for soprano and orchestra (1903-4) 1 [25:23]
Friede auf Erden, Op.  13 (1907) 2 [8:35]
6 Pieces for male chorus a cappella, Op.  35 (1929-30) 3 [13:01]
Ei, du Lütte (1895/6) 4  [1:04]
Kol Nidre, for Rabbi-Narrator, mixed chorus and orchestra, Op.  39 (1938) (5) [13:10]
Moses und Aron (1932): Excerpts from “The Golden Calf and the Altar” (Act II, Scene 3) 6 [15:13]
Jennifer Welch-Babidge (soprano) (1, 6)
David Wilson-Johnson (rabbi-narrator) (5)
Simon Joly Chorale (2-6)
Philharmonia Orchestra (1, 5, 6)/Robert Craft
rec. London, 1980s
NAXOS 8.557525 [78:31]


This fascinating, well recorded disc, Volume VII of the Robert Craft-Schoenberg Collection, embraces a 42-year period of the composer’s creative life. The common thread here is Schoenberg’s writing for voice or voices – at its most ingratiating in the Six Songs and at its most challenging in the Six Pieces for male chorus.

The Six Songs, Op.  8 (1903-4) are decidedly late-Romantic, thickly scored and sumptuous in equal measure. Such songs as the third and sixth contain passages of great beauty and sensitivity while the fourth song is more conventional and ultimately overblown. Jennifer Welch-Babidge sings both passionately and accurately, relishing the Straussian vocal lines for which great stamina is needed. Only occasionally does her momentary shrillness or tremulousness under pressure become intrusive.

The Six Pieces for male chorus (1929-30, texts by the composer) form an extraordinary group of very wide expressive range, covering different aspects of human experience, such as Happiness, Inhibition, Obligation or Means of Expression. Four of the pieces are serial compositions. The exemplary clarity of scoring is particularly remarkable in what is a notoriously difficult medium. Landsknechte, the fifth piece, is an astonishing tour de force - effectively a slow march full of onomatopoeic sounds representing drumming and trudging feet. These Six Pieces are essential listening for those who may mistakenly think they know every aspect of Schoenberg. Perseverance is needed, but this difficult but masterly work does bring rewards. Of this set, and of the equally demanding Friede auf Erden, the Simon Joly Chorale gives accomplished performances, though not totally free from a sense of strain in the more demanding passages. Those wishing for a little more polish and sensuousness in Friede auf Erden might prefer the Tokyo Symphony Chorus under Kazuyoshi Akiyama (Montaigne).

The tiny miniature Ei, du Lütte, providing the greatest possible contrast to anyone playing the disc straight through, is pure delight. This would make a wonderful “innocent ear” test for a friend.

Schoenberg set Kol Nidre in 1938, by which time he had settled in America. A Los Angeles rabbi having asked him to arrange the traditional Kol Nidre melody, Schoenberg discovered that the text was Sephardic Spanish and therefore applied to Jews who had “gone over to Christianity”. He was also shocked that apparently “all obligations undertaken during the year should be dissolved on the Day of Atonement, which contradicts the high ethical quality of all Jewish commandments”. Schoenberg’s subsequent alterations to the Orthodox ritual resulted in a ban on the use of his version in synagogues. In his view, the Kol Nidre melody itself hardly deserved to be called a melody, as it was more of a succession of melismas all resembling each other. He selected some of these and subjected them to “serial treatment within a tonal framework”, as Malcom MacDonald has written. From the opening bars a potent atmosphere is established, well sustained in this engaging performance and enhanced by David Wilson-Johnson’s fine diction. The neglect of this compelling, dramatic, beautifully orchestrated and thoroughly accessible work can be explained only by anti-Schoenberg prejudice.

Three extracts from Moses and Aron (The Golden Calf and The Altar, Act II Scene 3) complete this disc. Here the contribution of the Philharmonia is very fine, though one or two moments of slightly untidy ensemble suggest one more take would have been a good idea. In particular, the first trombonist’s outstandingly beautiful playing deserves mention. One poignant sentence from Robert Craft’s informative booklet notes demands quotation – “An orgy follows, but at this point the excerpt ends.” (!) Well, if it’s any consolation, I suppose it would be much more disappointing if this were a DVD.

This is a thoroughly recommendable disc, an essential purchase for any Schoenberg collector. Equally, in its demonstration of the composer’s wide expressive range, it is of enormous value to anyone even remotely interested in this 20th-century master.

Texts are available only from a website. This practice is now widespread, but it remains an undesirable substitute for the traditional inclusion of words with the CD notes.

Philip Borg-Wheeler



We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews

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.