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

Leticia Gómez-Tagle
Chopin, Liszt, Scarlatti

Guillaume LEKEU

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

Acte Prealable returns
with New Releases

Superior performance

Shostakovich 6&7 Nelsons

Verdi Requiem Thielemann

Marianna Henriksson
An outstanding recital

Arnold Bax
Be converted

this terrific disc

John Buckley
one of my major discoveries

François-Xavier Roth
A game-changing Mahler 3


Bryden Thomson


Vaughan Williams Concertos

RVW Orchestral


Buy through MusicWeb for £10.50 postage paid.

Musicweb Purchase button

Benjamin LEES (b.1924)
Piano Music: 1945-2005

Toccata (1947) [2:16]
Ornamental Etudes 1-6 (1957) [16:19]
Three Preludes (1962) [9:27]
Sonata Breve (1956) [12:57]
Odyssey: Nos. 1-3 (1971, 1986, 2005) [30:39]
Mirian Conti (piano)
rec. 6-8 November 2006, Estudios Cosentino, Buenios Aires, Argentina. DDD

Experience Classicsonline

Lees was born in Manchuria but his family moved to San Francisco when he was only eighteen months old. He became an American citizen in 1931. His teachers included Halsey Stevens, Ingolf Dahl and George Antheil. There are five symphonies, the Fourth of which, Memorial Candles, is on Naxos. Lees has written many other works including a slew of concertos. I should mention the ones for horn and violin. His Third Piano Concerto was recently premiered by Ian Hobson in Florida. Hobson has also recorded his Fourth Piano Sonata and Second Piano Concerto on Albany.

Lees' Toccata inhabits a world of dissonant angularity parallel with that of the Ramey works also on Toccata - a sort of feral pianola effect. The Six Ornamental Etudes are more varied in effect than the Ramey sequences. From that viewpoint Lees's imaginative palette is more capacious. The first of the Three Preludes is an essay in grand swirling defiance. The second is sombre with a discordant filigree for the right hand. The third has the all the pell-mell pianola torque of the Toccata on the first track. The single movement Sonata Breve is serious and dark-browed. There is an element of fantasy here but always tempered by danger. The three movements of Odyssey are respectively from 1971, 1986 and 2005. The first was written for John Ogdon and is angular in a way that often suggests Shostakovich. The second Odyssey movement is full of brooding and discordant outbursts and purposeful surly energy. This is also felt in a few jazzy passages along the way. It was commissioned by the US Information Agency. The final Odyssey is the most recent and has the feel of a journey into a threatening and fantastic land with vistas of unearthly beauty along the way. For all its angularity and occasional dissonance this is a fascinating piece of mercurial mood-swings and descriptive Lisztian power. Mention of Ogdon earlier on reminds me that the torrential power of some of Lees' writing as represented on this disc might almost have been cousins to the Ogdon-propelled Mennin Piano Concerto once recorded on CRI.

Toccata issued its second Ramey volume in the same month as this Benjamin Lees recital.

Lees engages a dark and fantastic imagination.

Rob Barnett





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
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
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.