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 £12.95 postage paid World Wide.


Musicweb Purchase button


Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915)
Dreams (or Reverie) in E minor op. 24 (1898) [4:28]
Symphony No. 3 in C minor Divine Poem op. 43 (1902-03) [44:27]
Prometheus – Poem of Fire op. 60 (1908-10) [23:02]
Alexander Goldenweiser (piano)
All-Union Radio Committee Grand Symphony Orchestra/Nikolai Golovanov rec. 1946-1947, Moscow. ADD
VISTA VERA VVCD-00168 [72:03]
Experience Classicsonline

The credentials of Nikolai Golovanov (1891-1953) are impeccable. Sergei Vassilenko was his composition teacher and his conducting tuition came from Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov. His wife was the operatic soprano Antonina Nezhdanova (1873-1950) who had given the world premiere of Rachmaninov’s Vocalise. He was at home in the Bolshoi as well as with the symphonic repertoire. Golovanov directed the premiere of Miaskovsky’s Sixth Symphony in 1924. Going by his monophonic LP legacy from his fifties onwards his approach to music-making was spontaneous – even incendiary.

The first impression of this CD is unfavourable and is made by the friable and spalling recorded signal of Dreams. It's a dreamy atmospheric and meandering piece and would have benefited from much better sound. In this respect it is unrepresentative of the whole disc. The other two works are by comparison in better sound though don’t set your sights too high – we are still talking late 1940s Soviet technology probably before the use or replication of captured German tape recorders from the radio studios of devastated Nazi Berlin.

Scriabin’s three movement Third Symphony can seem a generalised wash. I recall the BBCSO/John Pritchard version of Scriabin 3 recorded on one of the earliest CDs on the BBC Regium label. It fell into this trap and seemed essentially shapeless and diffuse. Golovanov was clearly having none of this. His approach is virile and combustible. He has a craftsman's eye for ceaseless rebalancing and constant tempo adjustment. He lays bare melodic and linear narrative in a fabric too easily prone to smear and lack of definition. The second movement shows the same attention to mercurially changing texture and hue. It is redolent of Miaskovsky's earliest symphonies and further back with Tchaikovsky's Manfred. The finale has real zest and expressive exhilaration. If you don’t get Scriabin it may well be because you have not hear Golovanov. Prometheus – Poem of Fire is for piano, chorus (here not identified) and orchestra. Scriabin’s ecstatic-eruptive music responds well to Golovanov’s hieratic and seemingly instinctive approach. Its incense-wreathed pages and lofty theosophical swell impress though the melodic material is this by comparison with the symphony. Goldenweiser seems completely at one with his conductor. Such a pity that Bax’s Symphonic Variations and Griffes’ Pleasure Dome never reached as far as 1940s Moscow. This is fine music-making but if you must have better sound then try Postnikova/Rozhdestvensky on Chandos. Fine three record sets including all three symphonies with the Poems of Ecstasy and of Fire are available from Decca (Jablonski/Ashkenazy) and EMI Classics (Alexeev/Muti).

The Golovanov Scriabin recordings have been reissued time and again. One of their most handsome appearances remains the batch of three discs on Boheme International circa 1999.

The notes on this Vista Vera set are very brief; not that that has stopped me plundering them for factual context.

Historic mono recordings where the temperamental music-making remains undimmed.

Rob Barnett 


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.