52,943 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

£11 post-free anywhere
Normal service resumed


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas


Recordings of the Month


Beethoven String Quartets

Produzioni Armoniche

Seven Symphonic Poems

Shostakovich VC1 Baiba Skride
Tchaikovsky Symph 5 Nelsons

Vivaldi Violin Concertos



Beethoven Piano Concertos

Stradal Transcriptions

LOSY Note d’oro

Scarlatti Sonatas Vol 2


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS

John IRELAND (1879-1962)
The Piano Music of John Ireland - Volume 2
Sarnia – An Island Sequence (Le Catioroc; In a May Morning; Song of the Springtides) (1939-40) [21:45]
Sea Idyll (1900) [14:51]
Two Pieces from A Downland Suite (Elegy [3:42] and Menuet) (1932) [3:50]
Greenways: Three Lyric Pieces (The Cherry Trees; Cypress; The Palm and May) (1938) [9:09]
The Darkened Valley (1921) [4:03]
Two Pieces (For Remembrance, Amberley Wild Brooks) (1921) [4:03 + 4:10]
Vilanella (early 1900s for organ, arranged for piano 1912 [3:18]
Love is a Sickness (freely transcribed by Robert Helps, 1995) [3:25]
Mark Bebbington (piano)
rec. January 2008, CBSO Centre, Birmingham

Experience Classicsonline

I reviewed the first volume of Mark Bebbington’s projected four disc Ireland survey with some enthusiasm whilst also pointing out the alternative practitioners in the field, both new and restored to the catalogues.

Volume 2 is no less engaging. In Sarnia he finds the brooding gravity of Le Catioroc as well as the spew catch in the rhythm in its central section. He certainly has his own ideas regarding the final panel, Song of the Springtides, which he takes at a very deliberate tempo; I’m not sure I’ve ever heard it taken quite this slowly. Once again in Sea Idyll he sounds a great deal less incisive than say, Alan Rowlands, whose pioneering Lyrita box I cited in the review above. Bebbington has a very different take on things, far more measured, less rhythmically incisive, but he does generate a feeling of ‘power in reserve’ in the second movement. Here we have a more fulsome romanticism as opposed to Rowlands’ altogether brisker, brighter trajectory.

I like the suggestive chording he evokes in The Cypress, the second of Greenways. The waft and sway of the writing is well conveyed, and the sense of colour too. Tempi are more conventional here – Eric Parkin (also on Lyrita) and Rowlands are similarly in agreement. He plays The Darkening Valley well. It’s an evocative piece, and Bebbington allows it time to breathe and ripen. It’s his way with the composer’s music, to seek out that extra measure of time, to bring a sense of ‘Ireland chording’ to these works – to allow a just and resonant sense of weight and texture. Sometimes I have to say this comes at the cost of retardation of the rhythm. Even when Ireland estimated optimum timings, as he did in the case of the A minor Violin Sonata, his own performance shows he was out, and played works rather faster than he anticipated he would.

That seems to me the case with two of the most famous pieces here; For Remembrance and Amberley Wild Brooks. He doesn’t quite convey the latter’s essence in my view though there is certainly consistency in his view. This is the first recording of Villanella – a charming salon effusion. It’s not the first recording of Robert Helps’s free transcription of Love is a Sickness, which is very touchingly done. But it is the first recording of this arrangement of Two Pieces from A Downland Suite; they were arranged for piano in 1932 and carry a deal of charm.

If you prefer a measured, but still romantic view of Ireland this disc has sizeable virtues. My own preference is for slightly tauter tempi and tempo relations in a number of these pieces but the logic with which Bebbington states his case is formidable and his technical and colouristic accomplishment, and those of the recording, are considerable.

Jonathan Woolf

see also review by John France



















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

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.