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

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

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

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Salon Treasures from the Max Jaffa Library



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
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
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


alternatively AmazonUK AmazonUS

Thomas BALTZAR (c.1630-1663)
Complete works for unaccompanied violin

Prelude in G major [3:53]
Allemande and Variation in G minor [3:26]
Courante in G minor [1:55]
Sarabande in G minor [1:53]
Prelude in C minor [1:51]
Allemande in C minor [3:54]
Allemande in B-flat major [2:00]
Sarabande in B-flat major [2:52]
Allemande in C major [2:15]
Sarabande in C major [1:38]
Prelude in G major (2) [2:21]
John JENKINS (1592-1678) / Thomas BALTZAR (c.1630-1663)
Allemande in B minor (by Jenkins, with Variation by Baltzar) [2:46]
Thomas BALTZAR (c.1630-1663)
A Set of Tunings (scordatura):
I. Allemande in A major [0:53]
II. Allemande in A major (2) [1:08]
III. Courante in A major [0:47]
IV. Sarabande in A major [0:24]
Patrick Wood (violin)
rec. September 2006, Princeton, New Jersey.
MSR CLASSICS MS1224 [33:56]


Experience Classicsonline

Thomas Baltzar was one of the many expatriate musicians in seventeenth-century London, a figure of considerable importance in English musical life for a period in the middle years of the century, either side of the Restoration. Born in Lübeck in 1630 or 1631 into a well-established family of musicians, by 1653 Baltzar was working at the court of that extraordinary monarch Queen Christina of Sweden. It’s worth noting in passing that Veronica Buckley’s marvellous Christina, Queen of Sweden, 2004, provides a fascinating account of her life and of the environment in which Baltzar must have worked. Christina abdicated in 1654 and by March of 1656 Baltzar was working in London. Given his background, some referred him as ‘The Swede’ and others as ‘The Lübecker’, where they didn’t use his actual name. Under whatever name, he dazzled most of his London hearers. John Evelyn, diarist, connoisseur – and much else – left an account of hearing him soon after his arrival in London. The diary entry is dated March 4th 1656, and deserves quotation in full (I have modernised slightly):

“This night I was invited by Mr. Rog. L’Estrange to hear the incomparable Lubicer [Lübecker] on the Violin, his variety upon a few notes [& plain ground] with that wonderful  dexterity, as was admirable, & though a very young man, yet so perfect & skilful as there was nothing so cross and perplext, which being by our Artists brought to him, which he did not at first sight, with ravishing sweetness, & improvements, play off, to the astonishment of our best Masters: In Sum, he plaid on that single Instrument a full Consort, so as the rest, flung down their Instruments, as acknowledging a victory. As to my own particular, I stand to this hour amazed that God should give so great a perfection to so young a person. There were at that time as excellent in that profession as any were thought in Europe: Paul Wheeler, Mr. Mell and others, ’til this prodigie appeared & then they vanished, nor can I any longer question, the effects we read of in Davids harp, to charm malign spirits, & what is said of some particular notes produced in the Passions of Alexander & that King of Denmark.”.

Others wrote with equal enthusiasm of his playing and he became an established figure on the musical landscape of his newly adopted country. We know that he played in the production (in 1658 or 1659) of Sir William Davenant’s The Siege of Rhodes; that around the same time he made a considerable impact when he played at some of the musical evenings in Oxford organised by William Ellis, formerly organist of St. John’s College. There he seems to have outclassed the available competition – including the English violinist Davis Mell. Anthony Wood recorded his “astonishment” at hearing Baltzar play in Oxford; John Wilson, Professor of Music in Oxford is said to have knelt – in jest - to study Baltzar’s feet to see whether or not he was man or devil, “because he acted beyond the parts of man”.

Certainly Baltzar’s surviving compositions for solo violin – all gathered here – suggest a player well able to move around the instrument with considerable ease and rapidity. More strikingly they illustrate what Evelyn surely meant when he wrote that Baltzar “plaid on that single Instrument a full Consort”. Here is music which creates the effect of several voices, of polyphonic writing for the solo instrument. We are used to that, of course, in the music of Bach, handled with a sophistication and beauty way beyond Baltzar; baroque specialists are familiar with something similar in the work of earlier figures such as Walther and Biber. But Baltzar’s music predates any of these, and must have created a real sensation when first heard by English listeners; no wonder that, as Evelyn puts it “the rest, flung down their Instruments, as acknowledging a victory”. His use of scordatura, to be heard in the four brief pieces which close the CD, is amongst the earliest instances known beyond Italy and must have been equally startling to his English hearers.

The compositions of a practising violinist famed as a virtuoso quite often come as something of a disappointment. And, to tell the truth, the works gathered here might not excite away from their biographical and historical contexts. No doubt much that was most exciting in Baltzar’s playing was improvised. Patrick Wood plays with precision and appropriate gravity, elucidating the polyphonic textures of Baltzar’s music with admirable clarity and he benefits from a good recorded sound. His performances have an air of conviction and certainty that put the case for Baltzar very effectively. The resulting CD is rather short in playing time, but it would, I think, have been unfortunate to fill it up merely for the sake of extending that playing time. Baltzar’s surviving works for solo violin deserve to be in the spotlight without having to share it. All with an interest in the history of the violin repertoire, or in the ‘English’ music of the seventeenth century should hear this CD.

After the restoration of Charles II in 1660, Baltzar was given appointments first in the King’s Musick and then in the elite group of the King’s Private Musick (at a handsome salary of £110 per year). He died in July 1663, his death (according to Anthony Wood) being brought on by his “drinking more than ordinary”.

Glyn Pursglove


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos 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

Eloquence recordings
All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

July 2022

John Luther Adams Houses of the Wind
John Luther Adams
Houses of the Wind

Horneman Alladin
Horneman Alladin

Stojowski piano concertos
Piano Concertos 1 & 2

Vaughan Williams on Brass

Yi Lin Jiang - Dualis I

June 2022

Beethoven Sonatas 29, 32

Orchestral Works

String Quartets Vol 1





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.