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

in the first division

extraordinary by any standards

An excellent disc

a new benchmark

summation of a lifetime’s experience.

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now

A Garland for John McCabe


DIETHELM Symphonies

The best Rite of Spring in Years

BACH Magnificat

Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26

Just enjoy it!

La Mer Ticciati







RTE Lyric FM


Fallen Leaves from an Irish Album
John FIELD (1782-1837)
Nocturne in B flat (1812)
Fantasia on Martini’s Andante op.3 (1811)
Michelle ESPOSITO (1855-1929)
Ballade op.59 no.1 Though the last glimpse of Erin
William Vincent WALLACE (1812-1865)
La Gondola op.18 Ye Banks and Braes
George Alexander OSBORNE (1806-1893)
La Nouvelle Pluie de Perles
Nocturne - Pauline (1841)
Francis PANORMO (1764-1844)
Woodland Rondo
Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924)
Toccata (1912)
Prelude (1918/21)
Waltz in A minor (1923)
Thomas Augustine GREARY (1775-1801) Aileen Aroon
Arthur O’LEARY (1834-1919)
Valse Heureuse

Philip COGAN (1748-1833)
from Sonata op.8 no. 3
Patrick K MORAN (early 19th century) L’Oiseau
Una Hunt (piano)
rec. Castalia Hall, Callan, County Kilkenny, Ireland, February 2006
RTÉ LYRIC FM CD109 [73:45] 


Experience Classicsonline

The programme of this well-filled disc covers some very interesting pieces by forgotten Irish composers. I am always pleased to find a CD that introduces us to fresh works by good classical composers. The 19th century is noted for being a rich period in musical composition where inspired invention is often coupled with enchanting melody; and here the pieces are no exception. An important adjunct to community and home life, the piano provided the main means of making music accessible to all. 

Of this disc’s composers, John Field and Charles Stanford are the best known yet not for the pieces represented here. Field was instrumental in developing the romantic vein of piano composition which peaked in the 1820s with Chopin: in fact one recognizes it to be Chopinesque before Chopin ever developed his characteristic style. It is further believed that Field invented the Nocturne. Also, as he was closely associated with Clementi, his style sometimes overlaps that of Clementi. So here we have a very important Irish composer. 

O’Leary is another composer of the Chopinesque vein who studied at Leipzig yet followed the French school in style. Stanford and Esposito provide the most recent compositions in this programme with Stanford coming across as one of the most robust and perhaps least inspired. The remainder of the composers on the disc are even less well known, if at all. Panormo, Greary, O’Leary and Moran don’t appear in Grove! It is to the credit of Una Hunt and the National Library of Ireland for unearthing this fresh and interesting material. It introduces us to some superb music, fresh to the ear. 

Una Hunt’s dextrous and imaginative playing throughout is first class and brings out the life and character of the varied pieces with amazing strength. This RTÉ recording is provided with a warm acoustic, with the piano mid-focused. The notes remind us that in the 19th century, the piano was a status symbol and was often the focus of home entertainment. As the century progressed the Industrial Revolution put the ‘parlour upright’ in the reach of the nation’s improving classes. Composers would earn their daily crust by providing sheet music ‘pot-boilers’ for the increasing number of pianists amongst the masses. Stanford was a prolific composer and is here represented by pieces that come from his later period of composition, when in his sixties. 

Meriting special mention is John Field’s tranquil and delightfully engaging Nocturne that to me contains a passing resemblance to Mozart’s Andante "Elvira Madigan” and is reminiscent of falling autumnal leaves. Una Hunt teases out the emotions and colour with great skill. Esposito’s Ballade is concerto-like and more robust in strength and power, thus providing a nice contrast with the opening Nocturne. Deft finger-work in Osborne’s balletic piece, La Nouvelle Pluie de Perles and languid phrases in the dreamy Nocturne - Pauline evoke good imagery. In fact, these two pieces show that Osborne was a particularly gifted and accomplished composer. It makes me wish to explore his works further; another Lyric fm disc, CD 103, contains just Osborne’s music. He came from an extended family of Limerick cathedral organists and later became embedded in London Society as Director of the Royal Academy of Music and a sought after pianist. Composer Panormo is clearly influenced by Mozart with his enchanting Woodlark rondo. Here our pianist impresses with perfectly contoured, upper octave filigree. The unusually long rippling L’Oiseau, by an unknown Moran, turns many corners and is elegantly uplifting. 

I would have welcomed fuller notes on the composers because elsewhere I find that the Limerick-born Osborne played alongside Chopin in Paris and it appears that he had a most interesting career. The notes are provided in English.

Raymond Walker


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

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
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
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.