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

Chopin Edition 17CDs
now available separately
£11 post-free anywhere


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

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets


Recordings of the Month


Jean-Baptiste LEMOYNE

Enescu Ravel Britten

Debussy Images etc.

53 Studies on Chopin Études 1
Konstantin Scherbakov (piano)



Che fai tù? - Villanelles

Cyrillus KREEK
The suspended harp of Babel

violin concertos - Ibragimova

Peteris VASKS
Viola concerto - Maxim Rysanov

The Complete Lotte Schöne




CDs: AmazonUK AmazonUS


Sir Arthur SULLIVAN (1842-1900)
The Tempest - incidental music (1. Introduction; 2. Act III Prelude; 3. Banquet Dance; 4. Act IV Overture; 5. Dance of Nymphs and Reapers; 6. Act V Prelude; 7. Postlude) (1861) [28:12]
Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957)

The Tempest - incidental music (1924): Prelude [5:37]; Suite No. 2 () [14:29]; Suite No. 1 [20:06]
Kansas City Symphony/Michael Stern
rec. 1-2 February 2008, Community of Christ Auditorium, Independence, Missouri, USA
Experience Classicsonline

If you appreciate contrast and shared Shakespearian inspiration then this disc will suit you well. The lives of the two composers overlapped by 35 years. I wonder if Sullivan ever heard any Sibelius and what he thought of it. It seems unlikely but not impossible as Sibelius was 35 when Sullivan died.

We hear the nineteen year old Sullivan's seven movement suite from his score for The Tempest - his earliest piece. This music is smooth, full of lissom invention and generally in the style of Schumann and Mendelssohn with the odd infusion from Massenet. Truly charming is the skipping flute figuration in Banquet Dance. The orchestra is just as successful in the light as down Dance of Nymphs and Reapers. Mendelssohn is certainly engaged in the Act IV overture. The Act V Prelude with its shivering-plodding string pizzicato and epic lassitude is another magnificent effort. The Kansas City Symphony and Stern - son of Isaac Stern - do all of this superbly. The orchestra sports a magnificent rank of woodwind principals that’s for sure.

The Sibelius score was a commission from his Danish publishers, Thomas Hansen. He delivered a 35 section work of which Michael Stern gives us the prelude and the two suites - altogether twenty pieces. This version of the Prelude seemed unfocused during the whirling conflict but miraculously clear and pleasing during its long musing descent. These are very controlled performances and more of a sense of danger would have helped the feral Storm section. Expectations raised by the delicacy of the Sullivan movements were met again for the many gentle and fairytale episodes in this long sequence spread across the two suites. I did however think that the Dance of the Nymphs remained too much in contact with the earth. It should have floated more buoyantly. The same buoyancy is however lovingly articulated for Song II with its Hispanic bounce and flow. The Miranda movement is just a little hurried but earthbound. On the other hand Stern very nicely captures the chilly, elemental and dervish-obsessive Dance Episode. This really holds the attention with its feathery epilogue into silence. The First Suite - which appears second on this disc - opens with The Oak Tree which also works exceedingly well. The recording nicely opens out the detail of the sphinx-like brass chords as much as the Chandos team did for Segerstam's DRSO in the brass hammer blows of Sibelius 5 at the close. The cool mesmerising inhumanity of the flute suggests the supernatural. Humoresque is classic ebullient light incidental Sibelius and it's extremely well done. The Reference Recordings team are at their adept and most nuanced best in the Scene (tr. 23). Its transitions from gruff stomp to filigree pizzicato fragility and tambourine pastel are memorable. The very brief Intrada returns us to the scathing and boiling power of Tapiola and the Seventh Symphony. It reminds the listener that Prospero's island is one of mystery and danger. Lastly comes The Storm; this is contained and ultimately too controlled for its own good. Against Vänskä and Beecham this version cannot be regarded as superior though all Sibelians should make it their business to hear this when they can.

The massed violins of the Kansas Symphony sometimes sound a little less than opulent especially in the Sullivan tracks. On the other hand the recording venue is very lively and makes for an extremely attractive sound throughout. Listen to the silky fade-down at the end of the Sullivan Postlude – so beautifully done.

A substantial essay is provided in English only by Antony Hodgson.

This is a fine and thoughtfully put together project. I hope we will hear more from this orchestra and conductor in similarly inventive couplings. Please continue to steer clear of the obvious. Their Sullivan is excellent and except for a few missed opportunities the Sibelius is good to fine.

Let us hope that this disc signals a rebirth of classical orchestral activity from this great original among American labels and that there will be much more from Kansas City and Stern.

Rob Barnett




Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

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.