MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
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


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos 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

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing



CD: AmazonUK

Jón LEIFS (1899-1968)
Scherzo concreto op. 58 [4:10]
Quintet, op. 50 [15:26]
Variazioni pastorale op. 8 (Variations on a Theme by Ludwig van Beethoven) [12:33]
Elegies, op. 35 [22:10]
Thórunn Gudmundsdóttir (mezzo); Rut Ingólfsdóttir (violin)
Reykjavík Chamber Orchestra
unnamed male choir/Bernharthur Wilkinson.
rec. Reykjavik, May 2002, November 2004, May 2005. DDD
Experience Classicsonline

The very personal writing of Icelandic composer Jón Leifs is better known from his Chandos disc and especially from his palatial Bis series. He is as distinctive in style as Rózsa, Moeran, Martinů or Bax.

The Scherzo Concreto carries the familiar Leifs DNA: audacious angularity, a square-shouldered awkward splendour, a rocky bullishness and a natural eruptive impatience. We know these from the orchestral monuments such as Geysir and Hekla. The three movement Quintet has a slow yet restless waywardness, melodic contours similar to those of a Panufnik string hymnal, an otherworldly remoteness in the Funebre and an implacable upstart determination in the Scherzo. This is Leifs in microcosm but complete and recognisable. The Variazione pastorale for string quartet are an orchestral version of the Beethoven Variations. These are Viennese at one level, yet Leifs along the ways springs little traps and rasping automata to criss and cross the pages. The composer's accents are completely recognisable in the peg-leg shambling progress of the Moderato alla marcia. The Allegro vivace e brilliante I would never have been able to track to Leifs. This work surely bespeaks his many years in Germany - as if to the Viennese manner born. The three Elegies are for male choir, mezzo and solo violin. Each of the three becomes increasingly longer in duration 2:53, 5:48 and 13:29. Grief is the message in umbral and subdued Scandinavian romantic mode. Dance of Sorrow is groaningly bardic and although still touched with the wand of Rakastava is more personal though still roundedly honeyed. The final Sea Poem has the solo mezzo and solo violin coasting, descanting and rising in smoking and flaming tendrils of melody out of the soulful density of the choral writing. This is powerful expressive writing, hot as a furnace and then cold as ice.

The words are printed in full and while there are some pages where illegibly small print is matched with equally damaging ochre on humbrol dark green this disc is splendidly documented with Icelandic and English versions of everything.

It's all meticulously presented for the Leifs enthusiast and, booklet colour design apart, the only criticism is the short playing time.

Rob Barnett



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

Past 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.