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


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



CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS

Giuseppe MARTUCCI (1856-1909)
La Canzone dei Ricordi (1886) [31:19]
Notturno, Op. 70 No. 1 (1888) [7:42]
Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936)
Il Tramonto (1918) [16:33]
Carol Madalin (mezzo)
English Chamber Orchestra/Alfredo Bonavera
rec. 13-14 November 1987, Rosalyn Hill Chapel, Hampstead, London


Experience Classicsonline

Giuseppe Martucci was a contemporary of Puccini, born two years before that master. In an age when opera dominated the Italian musical consciousness, Martucci concentrated his attention on instrumental and orchestral music, writing notable piano concertos and symphonies. The major work included here comes the closest to an opera among any of his compositions. La Canzone dei Ricordi (The Song of Remembrance) for mezzo-soprano and orchestra is a full thirty minutes in duration, setting poems by Rocco Pagliera with lush Wagnerian harmonic textures, though employing an orchestra of fairly modest proportions. As such it lays claim to a position as the first Italian song-cycle with orchestra.
Make no mistake, this is a fine performance of a fine composition, reminding us that though Martucci is not well known he deserves urgently to be heard. Each of these seven songs offers its own particular personality to the whole experience, in music at once expressively sincere and beautifully organised, while orchestrated with much subtlety besides. As befits a work for orchestra and female soloist, the tone is predominantly lyrical, and at times there is a memorable melodic appeal. The effect of the whole is certainly more than the sum of the parts, so that when the climax arrives in the sixth song it forms a passionate outburst. These strengths are confirmed in this compelling performance, which is beautifully recorded. Carol Madalin is a warm-toned soloist whose vocal shadings and dynamic control are admirable. Although the poetry may not be of the highest order, the music lends it a new and fulfilling identity. The final song reworks material from the first, thus providing a musical unity.
The conductor, Alfredo Bonavera, is wholly in sympathy with Martucci’s style and he also provides the excellent and perceptive insert notes, a necessary and helpful bonus to this well-produced disc. There have been other recordings besides this one, which was first issued some twenty years ago. Among these, there is an equally splendid version featuring the Swizz mezzo Brigitte Balleys, with Jésus López-Cobos and the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra (Claves 50-9807), though the documentation comes second to that of the Helios reissue.
In Italy Martucci’s Notturno has been one of the pieces that keeps his name before the public. His mastery of the orchestra is again assured, his expressive sensitivity most rewarding. The English Chamber Orchestra plays magnificently under Bonavera’s direction, making the music sound rather like the Adagietto from Mahler’s Fifth Symphony. It is not derivative, having been written some years previously. The music lasts some eight minutes, and the climax that arrives around the five-minute mark has a really powerful intensity.
It makes sense to couple Martucci’s song-cycle with another by Respighi, since the younger composer was his pupil and this is reflected in his musical style. Subtitled ‘lyrical poem for mezzo-soprano and string quartet or orchestra’, Il Tramonto (The Sunset) is a setting of Shelley's poem The Sunset in an Italian translation. Lasting only fifteen minutes, this little masterpiece is a tautly constructed miniature drama, full of pathos. It tells of two young lovers who spend a single night together. Then in the morning the girl awakes to find the youth dead at her side, and spends the remainder of her life grieving silently for her lost love. The musical images of sunset, and the sense of dignified sadness, are mirrored in the chromatic harmony, which is as lush and expressive as anything found in Strauss, of whom Respighi was a great admirer. The closing moments are particularly effective, as the restless music at last achieves serenity at the word 'Peace'. Il Tramonto appears also on the Balleys and López-Cobos disc, and in both their performance and this one by Madalin and Bonavera, the musical features are most effectively captured. Perhaps the Hyperion Helios recording is slightly more atmospherically recorded, but either will give much satisfaction.
Make no mistake, these are fine performances of fine music, reminding us that though Martucci is not well known he urgently deserves to be heard. The Respighi coupling is both appropriate and rewarding in its own right.

Terry Barfoot



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.