Schubert sonatas

Newest Releases

Piano solo and duet
  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Some items
to consider

Free classical music concerts by Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.

British composers

  • Today's leading<br>clarinet-piano duo
  • Stellar debut<br>piano recital
  • Clarinet transcriptions Jonathan Cohler
  • Jonathan Cohler & Claremont Trio
  • French clarinet masterpieces
  • Today's leading<br>clarinet-piano duo

Shostakovich Symphony 10 Nelsons

Verdi Requiem

Dvorak Opera Premiere

Grieg, Mendelssohn sonatas




Would you like a hyperlinked weekly summary of the CDs we have reviewed?

Click for further details

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
Classical Editor
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Cameo Classics
Prima voce
Red Priest
Toccata Classics

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
Classical Editor
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Buy through MusicWeb
from £12.00 postage paid.

Musicweb Purchase button


Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)
Sonata in D major, Hob. XVI:37 (ante 1780) [11:53]
Sonata in G major, Hob. XVI:27 (ante 1776) [11:37]
Sonata in C major, Hob. XVI:35 (ante 1780) [13:32]
Sonata in F major, Hob. XVI:23 (1773) [15:10]
Parthia in E-flat major, Hob. XVI:Es3 (attrib) (c.1764) [8:26]
Divertimento in A-flat major, Hob. XVI:46 (ante 1788) [13:35]
Richard Lester (fortepiano)
rec. March 2008.
NIMBUS NI 5847 [74:23]
Experience Classicsonline

I mean no disrespect to Richard Lester - nor of course to Haydn! - if I say that one of the most interesting aspects of this disc lies in the instruments used. In the first four pieces in his programme Lester plays a fortepiano by Johann Schantz, the manufacture of which is thought to belong to about 1795. Schantz was born in South Bohemia in 1762; Haydn thought well of the instruments he produced in his workshop in Vienna. We know that he acquired a fortepiano from Schantz in 1788, and in a letter of June 1790 - to his patroness Maria Anna von Genzinger - Haydn wrote 'it is only a pity that your Grace doesn't own a Schantz fortepiano, on which everything is better expressed'. In another letter to the same lady he compared Schantz's instruments favourably to those made by Walter, observing that Schantz's fortepianos 'have a quite special lightness and are very nicely finished'. It was of instruments made by Johann's brother Wenzel that Haydn was talking in these letters, but Johann took over his brother's workshop and his instruments are the nearest we have to those of Wenzel. The instrument played here is in the collection of the Holburne Museum in Bath. With a range of five octaves, it has two knee levers (a damper lift and a moderator) and a hand stop. The sound is sonorous but quite crisp, without any harshness, good in both bass and tenor and with a bright sound in the treble.

The last two items in the programme are played on what is probably a North Italian instrument of 1790, or possibly earlier, of unknown manufacture. Discovered in semi-ruined condition, the instrument was restored by Michael Cole. Again there are two knee levers (one for treble one for bass) and a moderator operated by a stop above the keyboard. The instrument has a particularly clear articulation, heard to especially good effect in the Divertimento which closes this disc.

Lester is a very accomplished player, most often heard seated at the harpsichord. Indeed, there is perhaps something of the harpsichordist about his playing, his control of rhythmic patterns and contrasts being particularly striking, his range of tonal colour and dynamic variation perhaps a little less so. These are fine performances, nevertheless, clear and purposeful at all times, entirely in the spirit of the galant manner. These are performances full of respect and enthusiasm for Haydn's keyboard writing. Lester imposes his own personality rather less than many a modern performer - individual listeners may find that either a limitation or a strength. The more I listened, the more I found it a pleasing strength. We are lucky at the moment in the number of fine performances of Haydn's keyboard works which are available, on a variety of instruments and from fair variety of perspectives. Andreas Staier, Ronald Brautigam, Marc-André Hamelin, to name but a few, are helping us to understand what a fascinating body of music this is, and how long its qualities have been underestimated. Richard Lester's recital - on these two fascinating instruments - has its own role to play in that process of reassessment.

Glyn Pursglove 


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.