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

3 for 2 Offer

All Forgotten Records Reviews


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

FOGHORN Classics

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets
All Foghorn Reviews

Puertas de Madrid
All EMEC reviews
All EMEC reviews

All Reference Recordings

Eugène Ysaÿe: Violin Discoveries
All Divine Art Reviews

Debussy Complete Preludes



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
Ph. 020 8418 0616


Buy through MusicWeb from £10.50 postage paid.

Musicweb Purchase button


Julius BURGER (1897-1995)
Stille der Nacht for baritone and orchestra (c.1919) [10:55] ¹
Scherzo for strings (1939) [5:02]
Cello Concerto (1938) [32:14] ²
Variations on a Theme of Karl [Carl] Philipp Emanuel Bach (c.1945) [19:03]
Legende for baritone and orchestra (c.1919) [12:43] ¹
Michael Krauss (baritone) ¹
Maya Beiser (cello) ²
Radio Symphonie Orchester, Berlin/Simone Young
rec. Jesus-Christus Kirche, Berlin, September 1994

This enterprising release from Toccata Classics brings to the fore the music of Julius Burger, born Bürger, composer, conductor, arranger, pianist, and exile. He was born in the Monarchical stronghold, Vienna, in 1897 and studied under Schreker and Humperdinck. In the city in the early 1920s his fellow students included Hába, Křenek, Rathaus, and Jascha Horenstein. Burger began conventionally as a répétiteur in Karlsruhe and then, on Bruno Walter’s instigation, Burger went to the Met in New York as assistant to the redoubtable Bodanzky, returning to Europe as accompanist to the perhaps even more redoubtable Ernestine Schumann-Heink. He was Klemperer’s assistant at the groundbreaking Kroll before leaving for Vienna on Hitler’s advent as Chancellor. Shortly before the Anschluss he was on the move again and in 1939 emigrated to America for good.

Here he found himself back at the Met as an assistant conductor and accompanist; his career was relatively low-key and his original compositions only very occasionally aired. There was a cello-piano reduction of the Cello Concerto at New York Town Hall in 1952 and some other performances over the years. Fortunately interest in Burger, his life and music increased and he lived long enough to hear these performances, made in 1994 and only now released commercially – a co-production with Deutschland Radio and released under licence from Sony Classical, from whose grasp they have presumably been prised.

Burger is here revealed as standing in the central Austro-German mainstream; Schreker, Mahler, Zemlinsky, Korngold and Strauss are names that spring to mind – as does that of Debussy. The excellent early c.1919 Stille der Nacht for baritone and orchestra has strong impressionist hues but also hints at absorption of late Wagner and a keen ear for Mahler’s song cycles. The piano – Burger’s own instrument of course – is used discreetly for colouristic effect and the orchestration throughout remains light and aerated, not heavy or cloying. There’s occasionally some luscious string moulding, owing something to Strauss and Korngold, and some stirring grandiloquent moments as well. The companion Legende for baritone and orchestra is more obviously over-heated than Stille der Nacht and here we find some Hebraic oboe/drone writing – derived perhaps from Mahlerian example – and some powerful bell chime music, flourishing late romanticism writ large.

The Scherzo for strings (1939) is a riot of cross rhythms – energetic, vital music with moulded romantic melodies arching through it – wafting in perhaps one should say. And at five minutes it hardly outstays its welcome. The Variations on a Theme of Karl [Carl] Philipp Emanuel Bach is a later affair, dating from Burger’s American sojourn. The model is possibly Brahms’ Haydn variations though the results are very different. Burger can be a touch too heavy in places but elsewhere one finds him suave, deft and engaging. There’s panache in the second variation, warm string contours in the fifth, rustic sounding moments in the sixth and maybe just a touch of justified portent in the finale.

The 1938 Cello Concerto is the most important work here. The slow movement has been recorded before - by cellist Jan Vogler with the Saarbrücken Radio Symphony and Thomas Sanderling on Berlin Classics New CD 0017672BC. It was coupled with Barber’s Cello Concerto and Adagio for strings and Korngold’s Concerto; strange though only to present a torso of the Burger concerto. Now the Toccata recording shows the concerto in a proper light. It’s a substantial three-movement, thirty-two minute score. It opens in intense, introspective and lyric fashion and then breaks into the allegro proper – not unlike classical models, say a Haydn symphony. The slow movement was later dedicated to Burger’s mother who had died on the way to Auschwitz (shot out of hand). It has the feel of a passacaglia – with elegant cello and wind lines sounding slightly but not obviously Jewish. There’s a strong sense of suffused power but the tolling is certainly more central European than anything bardic; certainly there’s no kind of kinship with, say, Bloch. The finale is lively – there are hints of Hindemith here, unusually so for Burger if the other works are reflective of the influences on him – though Burger is more overtly expressive. There are changes of mood and moments of reflection and over-arching reminiscences of the mood of the opening movement.

All the performances are outstanding. The recording is first class as well and Toccata’s documentation serves as a model for how an unknown composer should be presented in biographical and musical form. Burger’s was a keen voice, not necessarily either original or ground breaking, but one which presented a strong musical blood line, finely absorbed, excellently orchestrated, thematically interesting, dramatically convincing, and expressively controlled yet eloquent. A composer well worth getting to know, especially in performances as expert as these.

Jonathan Woolf


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

All Chandos reviews

All Hyperion reviews

All Foghorn reviews

All Troubadisc reviews

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

All Eloquence reviews

All Lyrita Reviews


Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month


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.