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

CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS
Download: Classicsonline

Le Ballet Français
CD 1 [50:36]
Leo DELIBES (1836-1891)
Coppélia – Ballet Suite [23:26]
Frederic CHOPIN (1810-1849) orch. Roy Douglas (b.1907)
Les Sylphides – Ballet Suite [27:10]
Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester Berlin/Heinz Fricke
rec. Christuskirche, Berlin, 1985
CD 2 [57:57]
Adolphe ADAM (1803-1856)
Giselle - excerpts [37:30]
Jules MASSENET (1842-1912)
Cendrillon – Ballet Suite [20:27]
Academy of St Martin in the Fields/Sir Neville Marriner
rec. St Jude’s, London, 1994
CD 3 [49:43]
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
La Boîte à Joujoux [32:49]
Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester Leipzig/Max Pommer
rec. Paul-Gerhard-Kirche, Lepizig, 1984
Leo DELIBES (1836-1891)
Sylvia – Ballet Suite [16:54]
Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra/Janos Sandor
rec. Hungaroton Studios, Budapest, 1987
[3 CDs: 158:00] 


Experience Classicsonline

This ballet hotch-potch is a pretty random concoction.  It contains recordings from four different orchestras, recorded at different times in four different locations under different conductors.  It’s a collection of seemingly unrelated French ballet music with very thin programme notes and varying quality performances.  It seems as though Capriccio have simply got their hands on the licence for a group of recordings and thrown them all together as a marketing plan.  Nothing wrong with that, and the result is OK, but it’s really nothing special. 

The playing is at its best in the first half of the set.  Coppélia is given a very distinguised treatment in lovely, close sound, though for some reason the selection omits the Mazurka, surely Delibes’ most famous piece of music.  I’ve always had a soft spot for Les Sylphides, the warm, romantic orchestration somehow seemes entirely suited for Chopin’s music.  It’s probably the most successful thing in the whole set, played with lush legato and revelling in the rich textures, the acoustic of the Christus-kirche no doubt playing its role.  Equally, the excerpts from Giselle are well played and lovingly shaped. 

The problems begin with Cendrillon, which just doesn’t seem to be that substantial musically.  Of course, it’s the compulsory ballet from a French opera, but it just doesn’t linger in the memory.  Debussy’s Toy Box, on the other hand, is a distinctively Debussian work with all of the shimmering textures and flickering uncertainties that he does so well.  However, its story is narrated, somewhat like Peter and the Wolf, and there are no texts or even a synopsis to help guide you through, so its subtleties were lost on me.  Sylvia is the biggest disappointment: here is a truly great ballet score, almost Wagnerian in its scope, but it is given a very underwhelming performance, vapid and without conviction. 

So Les Sylphides apart, this set is nothing special, but its price might just tempt you to explore.

Simon Thompson


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.