Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

£11 post-free anywhere

Special Offer
Complete Chopin
17 discs
Pre-order for £100


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

Works for Voice by György Kurtág


Best Seller

Symphony for solo piano

Chopin Piano Concerto No.1

Schubert Piano sonata

Schubert symphony No. 9

Katherine Watson (Sop)

From Severn to Somme

CD: Crotchet AmazonUK AmazonUS


Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963)
Das Marienleben Op.27 (1948 version) [71:05]
Elisabeth Meyer-Topsøe (soprano)
Per Salo (piano)
rec. Mantziusgaarden, Birkerød, June 2006
Includes texts


Experience Classicsonline


Hindemith wrote Das Marienleben – to Rilke’s poetry – in 1922-23. The fifteen poems had been written in 1912 but though Hindemith early absorbed their narrative of the Virgin Mary from life to death, he kept returning to the songs and revising them. This was primarily in the light of his own compositional development, so that he revised the songs in the mid 1930s and then again for publication in 1948. It’s the post-War revision that’s performed here.

In some cases earlier songs are ditched whilst others are left untouched. The principal specific changes relate to singability. Though he needed to inject a tension between the voice and piano there were occasions where he overbalanced and revision clarified his exploration of Rilke’s text. One wonders how the first performers of the 1922-23 edition coped with the inherent technical demands, which are almost constant. They are still very considerable in the 1948 revision.

From the first song Geburt Mariae we can hear what a technically and expressively demanding sing this is going to be. Hindemith pushes the voice ungratefully high in places but one notes that these are places that exactly mirror the greatest strains and tensions in Rilke’s poetry. Elisabeth Meyer-Topsøe proves resilient here, reserving real communicative power when most necessary. In the third song for instance, Mariae Verkündigung she responds strongly to the urgency of the writing that talks of the ‘quite without mating’ in the Annunciation. Here her tensile speed and commanding vocalism, as well as the fine exploration of Hindemith’s rather brusque piano writing by Per Salo, is excellent.

A word about Salo, who is a thoroughly convincing proponent. Listen to the terse compression of his contributions or to, say, the gruff underlining of Argwohn Josephs. Here we also find that Meyer-Topsøe perfectly captures the element of hectoring, almost abstracted compaction that the vocal line demands. Or, too, the flourishes of the next song Verkündigung über den Hirten where the piano writing is almost macabre. Rast auf der Flucht is a struggle – it is for most singers – but the brittle fugal Von der Hochzeit zu Kana is well characterised. And so is the melancholy and transfixing Vor der Passion one of the few expressly slow movements.

There have been other recordings of the 1948 version of the work of course. Prominent among them is the Annelies Kupper-Carl Seeman performance on Christophorous 74612 – they premiered the new version and this dates from 1949. There’s also the Judith Kellock and Zita Carno performance on Koch 373812, though that contains both the 1922-23 version and the 1948 revision and is a two CD set. Nevertheless this new performance is powerfully expressive, technically very accomplished and has really excellent recorded sound.

Jonathan Woolf


We are currently offering in excess of 52,000 reviews

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



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.