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


CD: ’L'Association Blanche Selva


Blanche Selva – une promenade musicale
César FRANCK (1822-1890)
1. Violin Sonata in A (1886) [27:13]
2. Sardana – from the Sonata [5:00]
Vincent d’INDY (1851-1931)
3. Départ martinal – from Tableaux de voyage Op.33 (1889) [3:19]
4. Danses rhythmiques – from Poème des Montagnes (1885) [3:39]
Albert ROUSSEL (1869-1937)
5. Sicilienne – from Suite Op.14 (1909-10)  [4:13]
Isaac Albéniz (1860-1909)  
6. Triana – from Iberia (1906-09) [4:06]
Déodat de SEVERAC (1872 – 1921)
7. Où l’on entend une veille boîte à musique – from En Vacances (1912) [3:11]
Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924)
8. Berceuse – from Dolly suite Op.56 (1893-96) [2:39]
9. Barcarolle No.13 [3:42]
Paul DUKAS (1865-1935)
10. Variations, Interlude and Final (1903) [16:05]
Joan Massia (violin, 1)
Pianists: Blanche Selva (1&2) Vincent d’Indy (3&4) Lazare Lévy (5) Moriz Rosenthal (6) Georges de Lausnay (7) Anita Siegel (8) Babeth Leonet (8&9) Yvonne Lefébure (10)
rec. 1923-48
RCP 076 [74:17]
Experience Classicsonline

What a shame. This is a fine selection of recordings, thoughtfully complementary to Malibran’s Selva disc (see review) which has been compiled with intelligence, given Selva’s august position in the annals of French – and international – pianism. The Franck violin sonata recording with Joan Massia has never, to my knowledge, been released in any form since its appearance on 78s in 1930. It joins the Malibran transfer of the Massia-Selva recording of the Spring sonata, similarly unissued until then. Given the paucity of recordings by Selva – she died before a long run could be undertaken – this represents her entire discography as far as I’m aware.
The shame concerns the transfers. It’s one thing to go to the trouble to decide to restore these important recordings but another entirely to do it like this. The pity of it all is that the commercial realities – financial imperatives, copyright extension fears, sub-prime belt-tightening – mean that recordings such as these may only get one shot in the marketplace. Internet groups are good at disseminating rare material such as this – I’ve seen the Sammons-Murdoch Grieg Violin Sonata No.2 produced by a well known and admired transfer engineer who envisages no commercial opportunities for releasing it - and it’s one of the great performances of the work; similarly the rare, excellent Catterall-Murdoch Franck sonata has been made available as a good download. This little detour is to make one simple point; if you are going to misjudge your transfers – as these Selva ones have been and as were, say, the Hallé historical reissues and plenty of others – no matter how awful the restoration work it means that the chances of a competing and far superior transfer appearing will be exceptionally small. There’s no point any other transfer engineer pursuing a very small rabbit down a very small hole.
One final point. If you do ever listen to this disc then for the love of Mike don’t think that 78s sound like this. I’ve got the Massia-Selva Franck set on Columbia and it’s not at all bad as a recording. The noise suppression computer however has been switched on like a cement mixer and has done its absolute worst – the result is indescribably horrible. I really can’t be bothered to tell you about the Catalan Massia’s singing but essentially limited tone, the on/off vibrato, his occasionally laboured lower (gut, I think, not metal) strings. Nor really that the balance is skewed in favour of Selva – she was a powerful, squat woman and Massia a tall elegant slim man and they play like they look. Ought I to dare to hope that someone will retrieve the Cantrelle/Descaves 1928 set of the Franck, alongside the Catterall mentioned above? Well, not if it’s done like this. 
The other pieces are equally sad examples of what happens to 78s when engineers understand them. The pieces associated with Selva and played by other notables are certainly worth resurrecting. How could the Rosenthal, say, not be worth revisiting? But the poor, scratchy copies used, the treacle of noise suppression, the blasting in fortes and wrong sized styli used to do the work all vitiate the good intentions. Only the Dukas escapes censure to a degree - always wonderful to hear Lefébure, especially in this masterpiece.
But to think that the Association Blanche Selva and the Centre International Albert-Roussel have put their names to this disc. Sacré bleu.
Jonathan Woolf


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.