£16 post free World-wide

 


555 sonatas 9Cds mp3 files
Only £22


 


Benjamin: Written on Skin £16

Search
What's New
Previous CDs
Concerts
Jazz
Nostalgia
Composers
Resources
Announce
Labels index


Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



CD REVIEW

Some items
to consider


BRAHMS Complete Edition
58CD £95.22


Shostakovich 14 Petrenko


Rachmaninov #3
Prokofiev #2

 


Dunedin Consort

Peter Grimes

Hymn of Jesus: Sea Drift

Complete Mozart Edition
Mozart complete edition

Vaughan Williams Symphonies 5 & 8 £11

Weiner, Klepper, Bloch, Schulhoff £12 post free


Available again

alternatively
Crotchet

Alexander ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942)
CD 1
Die Seejungfrau
(1903) [44:14]; Sinfonietta (1934) [22:31]
CD 2
Lyrisches Symphony (1923) [45:05]; Operatic Preludes: Sarema [5:43]; Es war Einmal [5:29; 5:04]; Kleider Madchen Leute [4:15, 4:08]; Der Kreidekreis [2:16]; Der König Kandaules [5:42]
CD 3
Cymbeline Suite (1913) [17:01]; Frühlingsbegräbnis (1896) [24:16]; Ein Tanzpoem (1901) [35:10]
Deborah Voigt, Soile Isokoski (sopranos), Donnie Ray Albert, David Kuebler (tenors), Bo Skovhus (baritone)
Chör der Stadtischen Musikverein Düsseldorf,
Gürzenich-Orchester, Köln/James Conlon
rec. Köln, March 1995 (CD1); Köln, August 2001 (CD2); Köln, October 1997 (CD3)
EMI CLASSICS TRIPLE 5094562 [3 CDs: 67:07 + 78:18 + 77:04] 

 

Experience Classicsonline


Very often the first recording you hear of a work new to you leaves such an impression that it “imprints” on you, making it hard to appreciate different new interpretations. James Conlon was an early champion of Zemlinsky’s music, and for many years, his work dominated the market. It was interesting to revisit Conlon after the many new recordings that have come along since the huge revival of interest in this composer has sharpened the whole way we listen.

Conlon wasn’t the only Zemlinsky champion. Riccardo Chailly’s series for Decca may not have gained as much market saturation, but although not as widely encompassing it’s definitely worth seeking out. Chailly’s version of Die Seejungfrau was recorded some nine years before Conlon’s, but seems timeless, because Chailly and the Berlin Radio Orchestra are more refined, getting closer to the complexities in Zemlinsky’s music. Refinement is important in Zemlinsky’s lush, fin-de–siècle idiom. Die Seejungfrau, written in 1903 was the composer’s take on the splendours of the very late Romantic. It’s a fairy tale, after all, albeit gruesome, and needs a light, magical touch, so the delicate textures can breathe. Conlon plays up the obvious pictorial aspects of the piece enthusiastically, but there’s more to this music than there is in this fairly straightforward recording. In 2005, he conducted the BBC Symphony Orchestra in this piece at the Proms (see review) with much more clarity and emotional charge. The Gürzenich Orchestra, is good - they played with Mahler no less - so perhaps Conlon brought to the Proms performance the benefit of several more years of “living with” the music.

Another great Zemlinsky performer and perhaps the Zemlinsky authority par excellence is Anthony Beaumont. He is so attuned to the composer’s idiom that anything he does is worth listening to, whoever he may be working with. Beaumont’s recording, with the Czech Philharmonic is livelier though Conlon’s approach moves with an expansive sweep. 

For a long time, Chailly’s Lyrische Symphony, with Alessandra Marc and Hagegård was one to get. Because I’m fond of Dorothy Dorow, I also like the early Gabriele Ferro recording where she sings – magnificently if somewhat over the top – with Sigmund Nimsgern. Beaumont’s recording is orchestrally lucid but suffers from indifferent singing, a fatal weakness in a work so demanding of singers. Beaumont, however, uses a new edition of the score where inconsistencies and errors are cleaned up, liberating the music so to speak. Thus Eschenbach’s recording truly was groundbreaking, building upon Beaumont’s scholarship and insight. The Orchestre de Paris gives Eschenbach such beautifully refined, clear colours that they prove what Beaumont meant when he said “In performance, the score requires Mozartean grace and precision. For all its abandon, this music reveals its true beauty only when performed with discipline and cool-headed restraint”. The symphony shines with Eschenbach, and his singers, Schäfer and Goerne are utterly unequalled. Conlon has the excellent Soile Isokoski, but she alone isn’t enough to rescue this recording from leaden fussiness in the orchestral playing. As Beaumont also said “often the singers are engulfed in a dark forest of orchestral filigree work”. He wasn’t referring to Conlon’s recording which was made long after Beaumont published his commentary, but it describes it uncomfortably closely. The Lyric Symphony may dwell on erotic love and sumptuous exoticism, but its aim is liberation of the spirit. If a performance is earthbound, it misses the point completely. The Eschenbach recording is so good that it’s one of my Desert Island Discs (please see review). Poor Conlon is no competition.

For the Cymbeline Suite, Beaumont is again the comparison, This is another fairy tale, this time from Shakespeare, so again diaphanous textures are a good idea, but Conlon’s dream-like leisureliness isn’t inappropriate – the plot does, after all involve potions that numb the senses! This allows Conlon to dwell on the rococo that has for so long dominated Zemlinsky’s image. But the composer is no “lesser Wagner”, as Frühlingsbegräbnis demonstrates. This piece is contemporary with Hugo Wolf’s ventures into the genre. Where Conlon does score well is in these early pieces, before Zemlinsky’s style takes on a more complex edge. Thus Tanzpoem waltzes along gracefully, culminating in a coda that’s pure Hollywood. 

This release is a 3 CD set reissue of previously released recordings. Anyone familiar with Zemlinsky will already have the originals, while new listeners are advised to seek out alternatives. It’s priced very low, which should appeal to those wanting a complete set of Zemlinsky recordings, since Conlon is, after all, important to the genre. Others might want to spend a bit more and get other recordings: in the long term what makes something cheap isn’t the initial price but how much high value listening you get.

Anne Ozorio





 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
CDAccord
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

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

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      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

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

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

Comment
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

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
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
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
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
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
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.