One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,416 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

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

Buy through MusicWeb for £13.50 postage paid World-wide.


Musicweb Purchase button


Franciszek LESSEL (1780-1838)
Three Grand Duetts for two German Flutes Op. 1 (1802): Duetto 1 [18:16]; Duetto 2 [13:53]; Duetto 3 [16:20]
Elżbieta Gajawska, Hanna Turonek (flutes)
rec. 21-23 December 2007, Studio Laski, Poland

Experience Classicsonline

Here is a disc offering less than fifty minutes of music with which you are almost certainly unfamiliar. It was written for an small and unpromising combination by a composer who is likely to be barely a name, if that, to you. Why should you buy it? The simple answer is that it contains music of great delight. Not important or profound music, and not to be played as a whole, but if taken one Duet at a time I can promise considerable musical pleasure.

Franciszek Lessel was the son of an obscure but learned musician, Wincenty Lessel, who encouraged his son not merely to follow him as a musician, but to ensure that he did better for himself than his father had done. Franciszek was sent to Vienna where he studied with Haydn, Cherubini and Salieri, and listened to the then-new music by Beethoven, Hummel and Clementi. Duets for two flutes were common at a time when it was an instrument regarded as suitable for gentlemen to play. Many were published, especially in London - as were the present examples, and presumably they gave much pleasure to those for whom they were written. The majority are indeed immense fun to play but even the most prejudiced flautist would not seriously suggest that most give anything like comparable pleasure to listeners. There is nowhere when writing for such a modest combination for a composer to hide any lack of imagination or technique.

It is here that these duets stand out. They abound in sheer inventiveness and charm, very much in the style of the time but not without some individuality. It is perhaps arguable that they would sound even better on instruments of the period, but the two players here have an agreeable tone, avoiding the excessive vibrato to which some players of the modern instrument are prone. They have sufficient variety of tonguing and volume to avoid the monotony which might otherwise set in very quickly. A note by Elżbieta Gajawska makes clear how much work was required to produce a modern edition of the pieces. They previously existed only in the original 1802 London publication in two separate parts for the two flutes. These contained many apparent errors. The work in preparing the modern edition seems to have been done well. I am sure that I am not alone in hoping that she will be publishing it soon so that others can enjoy playing them. Having said that, most of us will only be able to dream of playing them anywhere near as well as is the case here.

The notes, in Polish and English, are full and useful, although a magnifying glass is useful for reading them. But I must not carp. This is a surprisingly diverting disc which I hope will have the success it deserves, even given the very limited amount of music on it - it is the quality of the music and performance that counts. I see that Acte Préalable have recorded other works by this composer. On the basis of this disc they too are probably well worth exploring.  

John Sheppard  






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 cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount




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.