MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             


Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphony No. 29 in A major K201 [21:16]
William ALWYN (1905-1985) Symphony No. 3 (1956) [31:09]
Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Symphonic Dances [24:57]
BBC Symphony Orchestra/Sir Thomas Beecham (Mozart; Alwyn)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Thomas Beecham (Grieg)
rec. Royal Festival Hall, London, 10 Oct 1956 (Mozart; Alwyn); Studio 1, Maida Vale, 25 Dec 1955 (Grieg). mono. ADD
SOMM-BEECHAM 23 [77:47]
Experience Classicsonline

Siva Oke’s Somm label continues to delight. Somm’s connection with the Beecham Trust has already yielded a substantial catalogue of the conductor’s rarities. This disc continues the story.

It also complements historic recordings of the first two Alwyn symphonies in a limited edition volume on Dutton CDSJB 1029. There the BBC Symphony Orchestra also appears but conducted by Barbirolli in a 1952 performance of the First Symphony. Will someone now oblige with the Pritchard-led first performance of the thrummingly dynamic Fourth Symphony and the Sargent/Goossens premiere of the ineffably serene Lyra Angelica?

The Mozart 29 comes with some initial hall-audience ambience and a few coughs before the potent ebb and surge is unleashed. Beecham’s big band approach is very responsive to dynamic and has his trademark turbo-charged romantic lightning. The listener is taken from restful stroll to satin-smooth assault on the heavens at flick of a baton. Aside from a tendency towards hurried tempos – which may well appeal - this is an old-style full-on reading. It is done with the pedal down yet is soaked in volatile charm. The tape is in good fettle except for a slight ruckle in the finale. The audience who contribute the occasional cough respond enthusiastically.

The sound in the Alwyn is very much better than for the Mozart despite coming from the same concert. There is some close-up distortion in the very loudest sections but it is really very clean and with something close to a pristine treble. Grand stuff given the vintage. As for the performance, Beecham gives Alwyn’s heels Mercury’s wings. There is a flaming aggression to the angry romance of the first movement and a contest between the voluptuous and tense Shostakovich-like violence in the second. Alwyn’s writing for the brass is magnificent. The finale raves, rages and rails with the stomping impact of Holst’s Mars and Vaughan Williams’ Fourth Symphony. One has the impression that it could not have been written without the RVW symphony as an exemplar – yet it has its own intrinsic and individual power. If you appreciate the Vaughan Williams and also perhaps Arnell 3 then you need to hear this. This performance of Alwyn 3 is the most broodingly intense and splenetic I have heard - and this notwithstanding the speckle of coughs and throat-clearing. Not to be missed.

Rather like the Mozart, Beecham recorded the Grieg Symphonic Dances in the studio and the outcome of those sessions were issued on LP. This studio session was recorded for broadcast on the Third Programme in the Maida Vale studio. The razor edge on the treble is not as keen as in the Alwyn but is very acceptable. These are undemanding charming folk dances but with Gynt-ype outbursts in the final Allegro molto. Beecham seems to have given a bucolic Gallic flavour to the first three movements and the village-green Canteloube came to mind several times.

Graham Melville-Mason provides the usual full liner-notes. They are in English only.

Remarkably this is the twenty-third release in Somm’s Beecham Collection. It upholds the high standards of the rest of the Collection. With this mix of repertoire this disc will appeal first and foremost to the Beecham collector. However Alwynphiles and other British music enthusiasts will be missing something special if they do not hear the Third Symphony in Beecham’s hands.

Rob Barnett



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

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

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing




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

Past 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.