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 Crotchet


Howard SKEMPTON (b. 1947)
Chamber Concerto (1995) [5:30] #
Clarinet Quintet (1997) [8:43] #
The Voice of the Spirits (1999) [7:30] *
The Bridge of Fire (2001) [7:04] *
Suite from Delicate (1999) [18:12] #
Roundels of the Year (1992) [7:15] *
Rise up, my Love (2002) [8:35] *
Ben Somewhen (2005) [12:16] #
Birmingham Contemporary Music Group #; Exaudi */James Weeks
rec. St Paul’s Church, Knightsbridge, London, 16-17 January 2007 (choral works) and CBSO Centre, Birmingham, 14-15 April 2007 (instrumental works)
Texts included
NMC D135 [76:08]
Experience Classicsonline

Howard Skempton is probably best known as a composer of brief and often deceptively simple instrumental works including a large number of short, at times very short pieces for piano. Some of these were recorded several years ago by John Tilbury (“Well, well, Cornelius” once available on Sony SK 66482). His substantial orchestral work Lento of 1990 – originally released as a single NMC D005 and later re-issued on NMC D032 – came as somewhat of a surprise. More surprisingly still, he recently turned to choral music and – curiously enough – his choral works are generally more extended than his instrumental pieces. I came to know this part of his output when reviewing a Guild CD (“Flight of Song” – GMCD 7213) including a number of his choral works, both small and large. These featured superb and highly idiomatic choral writing and the composer’s often subtle response to word setting. The breadth of words that Skempton sets in the works recorded here is also worth noting: Flecker (The Bridge of Fire), Shelley from Prometheus Unbound (The Voice of the Spirits), John Drinkwater (Roundels of the Year) as well as words from The Song of Solomon (Rise up, my love).
This disc, released to mark Skempton’s sixtieth birthday, encompasses both sides of his music-making in that it includes and juxtaposes instrumental and choral works. Most instrumental pieces recorded here are suites consisting of short movements, sometimes of an almost lapidary quality. For example, the Chamber Concerto (1995) scored for a small mixed ensemble of fifteen players consists of four movements, the whole playing for a little over five minutes, whereas the Clarinet Quintet (1997) is in three movements playing for a little over eight minutes. The longest work here, Suite from Delicate (1999), scored for two cellos and percussion, is again made up of six very short movements, some of them lasting less than one minute. The most recent work Ben Somewhen (the title refers to drawings by Ben Hartley, some of which are reproduced both on the cover and in the insert notes) is a concertino for double bass and ensemble - a lovely, delightful work that has become a favourite of mine.
As already mentioned earlier in this review, the choral works are the longest single items here. James Weeks aptly describes them as “miniatures-writ-large”. All but one are expressed in a single fairly large movement. Rise up, my love (2002) is more like a small-scale cycle of short part-songs. Skempton’s choral writing – in much the same way as his instrumental writing – is deceptively simple. In fact it puts considerable demands on the singers in order to sustain what Weeks rightly describes as “mighty overarching spans”. Moreover, the apparently simple choral writing must nevertheless pose considerable problems of intonation and breath control. The Exaudi singers rise magnificently to the challenge.
This generously filled disc was released to mark Howard Skempton’s sixtieth birthday. It seems to provide a fair appreciation of his achievement. The music is superbly served by immaculate readings that perfectly bring out the many qualities of this music – material that unerringly achieves its aims but without undue fuss. I fully share Gerald Barry’s words as quoted in Oxford Music Now – Summer 2007: “Howard Skempton’s music is like himself, generous, direct and clean”. It is as fine a birthday tribute as a composer might wish, and offers much listening enjoyment throughout.
Hubert Culot


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

August 2022

Louis Caix d'Hervelois

orchestral songs



String Quartets

la folia



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





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.