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

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


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




Georg MUFFAT (1653-1704)
Auserlesene Instrumentalmusik
Concerto IV in g 'Dulce somnum' [10:32]
Concerto I in d 'Bona Nova' [09:09]
Concerto VI in a 'Quis hic?' [07:53]
Concerto VII in E 'Deliciae Regum' [09:12]
Concerto II in A 'Cor vigilans' [09:27]
Concerto V in D 'Saeculum' [10:23]
Concerto III in B 'Convalescentia' [07:45]
Holland Baroque Society/Matthew Halls
rec. September 2007, Doopsgezinde Kerk, Haarlem, Netherlands. DDD


Experience Classicsonline

It is always tricky to compare situations or people from different eras. The programme notes in the booklet of this disc are headed "Georg Muffat, a European without borders". And the writer, the Dutch musicologist Gerard van der Leeuw, ends thus: "Let the complete assurance with which Muffat moved from country to country within Europe be an example to us all". We should not forget, though, that Muffat's movements were not entirely voluntary; often circumstances forced him to move. And the travelling of musicians and composers throughout Europe was not really that uncommon in the 17th century. Many composers were sent to Italy by their employers to broaden their horizons and become acquainted with the latest trends in music. Others preferred the French style and went to France to learn from the great masters in Paris, in particular Jean-Baptiste Lully. Although Muffat deliberately mixed national styles and was himself a kind of European - born in the Alsace to a family with Scottish roots - he considered himself German. To label him a 'European' is bit anachronistic.

One of the most striking aspects of Muffat's music is the mixture of French and Italian influences. This 'mixed taste' was to become a common feature of music in Germany in the first half of the 18th century. Even in France composers began to incorporate Italian elements in their compositions. One could however argue that Muffat was the very first to mix French and Italian elements. He also went a bit further than others in this respect. He studied with Lully and Corelli, and held both composers in high esteem. The number of his compositions is small - at least as far as we know - but of consistently high quality. What makes his collections of music especially interesting are the prefaces which contain remarks in regard to interpretation. 

The present disc contains seven of the twelve concertos of the collection 'Auserlesene Instrumental-Music' which was published in Passau in 1701. Five of these are reworkings of the sonatas which were published as 'Armonico Tributo' in Salzburg in 1682. It is relevant to quote the full title of the 1701 print here: "Auserlesene mit Ernst und Lust gemengte Instrumental Music". The words "Ernst" (seriousness) and "Lust" (pleasure) are particularly interesting, as in his preface Muffat explains why he has mixed French and Italian elements: "I strove so to balance profound Italian feeling with French gaiety and charm that neither the one should colour the music too darkly, nor the other make it too frivolous". This explains the general structure of these concertos, which contain two halves, each beginning with a movement called 'grave', mostly followed by dance movements in a fast tempo. But Muffat doesn't slavishly follow this structure: the Concerto IV begins with a 'sonata' (like all first movements) with a grave character, but this is followed by a sarabande, which is again labelled 'grave'. The Concerto VII also has a second slow movement, an 'aria' with the indication 'largo'. On the other hand, the Concerto VI begins with two fast movements: a sonata in two sections, allegro and presto, followed by an 'aria' which is again an allegro.

In his concertos Muffat deliberately avoided all the extremes often associated with the Italian style: he wanted his music to be "natural and flowing", and therefore avoided "extravagant runs" and "frequent and awkward leaps". This probably also explains the lack of strong dissonance; the strongest are to be found in the second grave of the Concerto V. The influence of Corelli, who provided Muffat with "many useful observations touching his style", is also present in the sequence of short slow and fast sections within a single movement, as here in the second movement (aria) of the Concerto III. 

Before the era of historical performance practice Muffat's music was completely ignored. The British musicologist Arthur Hutchings was among the first to pay tribute to Muffat's art: "He avoided the formulae of his times unless he could invest them with life (...) He seems to have been incapable of slovenly or even mediocre work". Among the first recordings of Muffat's music was the one by Nikolaus Harnoncourt's Concentus musicus Wien for Archive Production. Since then a number of recordings have appeared, but it would be an exaggeration to say that Muffat's orchestral works belong to the standard repertoire of today's baroque orchestras. Over a period of about thirty years of attending concerts I can't remember having heard more than a handful of these pieces. Whereas his 'Armonico Tributo' has been recorded a number of times, the other collections have hardly enjoyed the attention they deserve. 

That makes this recording very welcome. The more so as the interpretations do full justice to this splendid music. The Holland Baroque Society consists mainly of rather young musicians, most of whom are members of established Dutch and international baroque orchestras. Under the direction of Matthew Halls, also director of The King's Consort, the playing is of a consistently high level. The ensemble produces a very beautiful sound, and I very much like its relaxed way of playing. The slower movements are accorded the full weight of their 'gravitas' as intended by the composer, but the lighter movements displaying French taste are equally well played. The performances make one not just hear, but even feel the dance rhythms, thanks to clear but never exaggerated dynamic accents and articulation. The mixture of Italian and French style, which Muffat aimed at, has been very well realised in this recording. 

If you don't know Muffat's music, this is your chance to get to know it. The Holland Baroque Society delivers an eloquent and passionate plea for this splendid repertoire.

Johan van Veen


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat



Recordings of the Month


Symphonies 1, 2, 3



Aho Symphony 5

Dowland - A Fancy


Rachmaninov_ Babayan


Opera transcriptions & fantasias


Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

Schubert Symphony 9




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.