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


paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

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

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Clarissa Bevilacqua plays
Augusta Read Thomas

all Nimbus reviews

Brahms Dvorak
Brahms 2 Dvorak 7
all tudor reviews



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
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom


AmazonUK AmazonUS


Frances Bourne
The Truth about Love

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) orch. Daryl RUNSWICK
Four Cabaret Songs (1937) [14.23]
Kurt WEILL (1900-1950)
Barbara Song
(Threepenny Opera) (1928/1934) [4.27] (2); Solomon Song (Threepenny Opera) (1928/1934) [3.27] (2); Pirate Jenny (Threepenny Opera) (1928/1934)[3.21] (2); Complainte de la Seine (1934) [4.06] (1); Je ne t'aime pas (1934) [4.01] (1); L'Homme qu'il me faut [3.41] (1); arr. Robert ZIEGLER September Song (1938) [3.42] (2); Bilbao Song (Happy End) (1929) [3.25] (2); Surabaya Johnny (Happy End) (1929) [5.01] (2)
Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959)
Three songs for the Red Seven cabaret (1921) [13.28] (1)
Kurt WEILL (1900-1950), arr. Robert ZIEGLER
[5.19] (2); Le Roi d'Aquitaine (Marie Galante) (1934) [2.21] (2); Le Grand Lustcru (Marie Galante) (1934) [3.10] (2); J'attends un navire (Marie Galante) (1934) [4.27] (2)
Frances Bourne (mezzo)
James Holmes (piano) (1); Matrix Ensemble (2)/Robert Ziegler
rec. Townhouse Studios, London, 5-7 March 2008 (2); Champs Hill, West Sussex 29 February 2008 (1)
SONY 88697293431 [78.35] 



Experience Classicsonline

The young mezzo-soprano Frances Bourne has made this imaginative debut disc, assembling cabaret-influenced songs by Weill, Britten and Martinů.

Britten wrote his cabaret songs, to Auden's texts, in the 1930s. They were written at various times and not intended as a set; indeed some are missing. But his Four Cabaret Songs have become well known and often recorded. Here they are performed in orchestrations by Daryl Runswick. For me, Runswick's versions are a little too clever for their own good; at the opening of each verse he adds little quotations from other music involving love. Bourne's performance of the songs is warm and responsive, though she seems more concerned with a sense of line than emphasising the words. She is slightly let down by her upper register which is more dramatically wayward than is ideal in this type of song.

These are followed by three songs from L'Opera de quat' sous, the French version of Weill and Brecht's Threepenny Opera. Quite why we should want to hear an English mezzo-soprano singing French versions of German songs I don't know. The French language is a little too liquid for these songs; Bourne simply doesn't have the consonants to spit out.

Quite what is wrong is demonstrated in the following songs where Weill was writing to a French text. Complainte de la Seine and Je ne t'aime pas were written for the diseuse Lys Gauty who had recorded songs from  L'Opera de quat' sous. Here Bourne shows herself susceptible to Weill's lovely lines and certainly seduces us. For three songs she is accompanied by the excellent James Holmes on the piano. Otherwise the Matrix Ensemble provide exemplary accompaniments, Weill's orchestrations being played stylishly and straight.

The genuine French songs are followed by French versions of September Song and two items from Happy End, these are frankly curious. Though the inclusion of Happy End does provide a link to the songs from Marie Galante which Bourne sings at the end of the disc, as Weill used Happy End as a source of material for his music for Marie Galante.

Bourne and Holmes then perform three songs by Martinů. Though Martinů had a Parisian sojourn, these songs date from 1921 when he lived in Prague. The songs were written for the subversive Red Seven cabaret and the texts are by poets and journalists. In the first, a summer idyll turns into something worse. In this song Bourne even manages to  duet with herself. Then we get a rather jaundiced view of the denizens of a bar and finally a chunk of social realism in the Miners Song. Of course, these are hardly jazz influenced songs and more of interest for the way they illuminate Martinů's later career. The CD booklet points up links to his opera Julietta, whose libretto was also offered to Kurt Weill.

Finally we return to Weill in French with the songs he wrote for Jacques Deval's play Marie Galante; Weill probably did the job simply for the money. The play's star, Florelle, had appeared  as Polly Peachum in the film of L'Opera de quat'sous. To these Bourne adds Robert Ziegler's orchestration of Weill's French chanson Youkali. These are delightful with Bourne's feeling for Weill's vocal lines and the crisp and stylish accompaniment from Ziegler and the Matrix Ensemble.

There are moments on this disc when I wished that Bourne had a stronger feel for the words, but given that she is singing Brecht in French translation, you have to forgive her. I wish that we'd had the Brecht/Weill songs in German, but with that caveat this is a stylish and enjoyable disc.

Robert Hugill


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

Recordings of the Month

November 2022
Bach Orchestral Suites

del Cinque
Del Cinque Cello sonatas

Fujita Mozart
Mao Fujita Mozart

Stanczyk Acousmatic Music


October 2022

Berg Violin Concerto
Violin Concerto Elmes

DEbussy Jeux
Debussy Jeux

Romantic pioano masters
Romantic Piano Masters

The future is female - Vol 2
Volume 2 - The Dance

impromptu harp music
Complete Harp Impromptus




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.