£16 post free World-wide

 


555 sonatas 9Cds mp3 files
Only £22


 


Benjamin: Written on Skin £16

Search
What's New
Previous CDs
Concerts
Jazz
Nostalgia
Composers
Resources
Announce
Labels index


Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



CD REVIEW

Some items
to consider


BRAHMS Complete Edition
58CD £95.22


Shostakovich 14 Petrenko


Rachmaninov #3
Prokofiev #2

 


Dunedin Consort

Peter Grimes

Hymn of Jesus: Sea Drift

Complete Mozart Edition
Mozart complete edition

Vaughan Williams Symphonies 5 & 8 £11

Weiner, Klepper, Bloch, Schulhoff £12 post free


Available again

alternatively
CD: Crotchet AmazonUK AmazonUS

 

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959)
Nipponari – Seven songs to Japanese lyrical poetry for female voice and small orchestra (The Blue Hour; Old Age; A Memory; Life in Dreams; Footsteps in the Snow; A Look Back; By the Sacred Lake) H68 (1912) [21:35]
Magic Nights (Kouzelné noci) – Three songs to Chinese texts for soprano and orchestra H119 (In a Foreign Land; Untouched by Spring; The Mysterious Flute) (words by Li Tai-Po, Chang Yo-Su, transl. Hans Bethge) (1918) [15:19]
Czech Rhapsody (Česká rapsodie)* – Cantata for baritone, mixed choir, organ and orchestra H118 (1918) [36:11]
Dagmar Pecková (soprano); Ľubica Rybárska (soprano); Ivan Kusnjer (baritone)
Kühn Mixed Choir/Pavel Kühn
Prague Symphony Orchestra/Jiří Bělohlávek
Rhapsody released on CD for the first time
rec. Dvořák Hall, Rudolfinum, Prague, 30-31 August 1985 (Rhapsody), 3-4 September 1988 (Nipponari, Nights). DDD
SUPRAPHON SU 3956-2 [73:23]
Experience Classicsonline


 

This is early Martinů. These three works, comprising two fragile song-cycles and a passionate patriotic cantata, were written between the ages of 22 and 34. The Martinů we know from the Parisian and American years peeps through only rarely but the music itself is very attractive even if not yet fully personal.

Nationalism has had a bad press … and no wonder but the fervour of Sibelius and Smetana and Vaughan Williams is acceptable. Martinů’s Czech Rhapsody H118 is a very different work from the same titled piece for violin and piano H307 written 27 years later and then dedicated to Kreisler. H118 is a sort of discursive extended Finlandia with play being made of the St Wenceslas Chorale – a melody also used to great effect by Josef Suk in his War Triptych. The Martinů piece sometimes shares that mood. The music radiates sincerity and utter dedication. The strings of the Prague Symphony sing out laden with an almost Russian passion. The musical style veers between Brahms, Suk and Strauss. Indeed the rhapsodic-episodic nature of the score recalls the larger-scale tone poems of Richard Strauss. There is a long orchestral prelude in which the harp detailing registers with great sensitivity. The harp is prominent later where it seems to serve as a recollection of antique times. The choir enters at 9:40 and the singing whether choral or solo by the admirable Kusnjer is saturated with zeal. It often presents as an unwavering wild-eyed patriotic liturgy. At 16:20 we suddenly get a brief presentiment of the mature Martinů style but it comes and goes very quickly. Kusnjer has a long solo exposure from 24:00 to 29:17 when the choir re-enter with full orchestra. They carry the spoils of victory with just a hint of barbarism. There is also a gritty violence in the organ solos – the same spirit to be found in the flaming fury of the organ solos in Janáček’s Glagolytic Mass. By the way this work is in a single 36 minute track which is a criticism. Although played continuously it would have been good to have had some other entry points.

By contrast Nipponari is sensuous, minimalistic in instrumentation and reminiscent of Ravel in Shéhérazade or the Chansons Madécasses. It’s for a chamber orchestra with soprano – a part luminously taken her by Dagmar Pecková. The orchestra is used like a palette drawing off many slender, distinct and poetic lines. Listen to how the harp is used as a heart-beat or pulse. You hear that pulse in Old Age providing a backdrop to the viola’s gentle long-breathing line. The instrumental weave is subtle and in A Memory recalls the Introduction and Allegro and Ma Mčre l’Oye. The vocal line is clearly affected by the work of Chausson and Duparc. Footsteps in the Snow strangely echoes RVW in I Got Me Flowers from the Mystical Songs. RVW was partial to Ravel as we know from his On Wenlock Edge. Other references would include the songs of Czeslaw Marek. In The Blue Hour which ends in a gentle doffing of the hat, there are moments of Straussian-Szymanowskian luxuriance. While Nipponari is pointillistic except for its last two songs, the more substantial Magic Nights makes more generous use of heavier orchestral textures. Ľubica Rybárska is a fine and romantic advocate for these honeyed songs.

It is delightful to welcome these recordings back from late LP format or early and long-deleted Denon-based CDs. Delightful, yes but also fascinating and that fascination is supported by good programme notes in idiomatic English.

Rob Barnett
 



 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
CDAccord
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

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

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      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

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

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

Comment
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

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
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
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
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
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
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.