One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here


International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger


Some items
to consider

Yes we are selling
Acte Prealable again!
£11 post-free

we also sell Skarbo

and Oboe Classics


with Eggebrecht we get all the excitement we can handle

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

absolutely thrilling

immediacy and spontaneity

Schumann Lieder

24 Preludes
one of the finest piano discs

‘Box of Delights.’

J S Bach A New Angle
Organ fans form an orderly queue

a most welcome issue

I enjoyed it tremendously

the finest traditions of the house

music for theorbo
old and new

John Luther Adams
Become Desert
concealing a terrifying message

ground-breaking, winning release

screams quality

Surprise of the month

English Coronation, 1902-1953
magnificent achievement

AmazonUK AmazonUS

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759)
Handel: Gold
CD 1 [68:25]
1. Let the Bright Seraphim (Samson) [5:55]
Kiri Te Kanawa (soprano), Crispian Steele-Perkins (trumpet), English Chamber Orchestra/Barry Rose
2. Lascia la spina (Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno) [5:53]
Cecilia Bartoli (mezzo-soprano), Les Musiciens du Louvre/Marc Minkowski
3. Frondi tenere … Ombra mai fu (Serse) [3:46]
Plácido Domingo (tenor), Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi/Marcello Viotti
4. Tornami a vagheggiar (Alcina) [4:12]
Joan Sutherland (soprano), London Symphony Orchestra/Richard Bonynge
5. Dopo notte, atra e funesta (Ariodante) [6:47]
Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo-soprano), Les Musiciens du Louvre/Marc Minkowski
6. Care selve, ombre beate (Atalanta) [3:19]
Luciano Pavarotti (tenor), Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna/Richard Bonynge
7. V’adoro, pupille (Giulio Cesare) [4:53]
Renée Fleming (soprano), Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment/Harry Bicket
8. Ciel e terra armi di sdegno (Tamerlano) [3:14]
Rolando Villazón (tenor), Gabrieli Players/Paul McCreesh
9. Ma che vuoi più da me (Il Floridante) [4:28]
Joyce DiDonato (contralto), Il Complesso Barocco/Alan Curtis
10. Ah, dolce nome (Muzio Scevola) [8:29]
Russell Oberlin (counter-tenor), Albert Fuller (harpsichord), The Baroque Chamber Orchestra/Thomas Dunn
11. Waft her, Angels, Through the Skies (Jephtha) [4:31]
Nigel Robson (tenor), English Baroque Soloists/John Eliot Gardiner
12. He was Despised (Messiah) [6:43]
Kathleen Ferrier (contralto), London Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Adrian Boult
13. Zadok the Priest [5:17]
Choir of Westminster Abbey, The English Concert, Trevor Pinnock (organ)/Simon Preston
CD 2 [74:13]
1. Wher’er you Walk (Semele) [4:34]
Bryn Terfel (bass-baritone), Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Sir Charles Mackerras
2. Where Shall I Fly! (Hercules) [6:38]
Janet Baker (mezzo-soprano), English Chamber Orchestra/Raymond Leppard
3. Oh! Had I Jubal’s Lyre (Joshua) [2:28]
Magdalena Kožená (mezzo-soprano), Venice Baroque Orchestra/Andrea Marcon
4. See the Conqu’ring Hero Comes! (Judas Maccabaeus) [2:14]
Academy & Chorus of St Martin in the Fields/Sir Neville Marriner
5. Father of Heav’n! From Thy Eternal Throne (Judas Maccabaeus) [6:40]
Grace Bumbry (mezzo-soprano), The Utah Symphony/Maurice Abravanel
6. Almighty Pow’r! Who rul’st the Earth and Skies (Solomon) [3:20]
Andreas Scholl (countertenor), Gabrieli Players/Paul McCreesh
7. Myself I Shall Adore (Semele) [7:30]
Danielle de Niese (soprano), Les Arts Florissants/William Christie
8. The People that Walked in Darkness (Messiah) [3:57]
John Tomlinson (bass), The English Concert Choir, The English Concert/Trevor Pinnock
9. Piangerò la sorte mia (Giulio Cesare) [5:50]
Teresa Berganza (mezzo), Orchestra of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden/Alexander Gibson
10. Verdi prati (Alcina) [4:12]
Fritz Wunderlich (tenor), Cappella Coloniensis/Ferdinand Leitner
11. Hence, Iris, Hence Away (Semele) [3:40]
Marilyn Horne (mezzo-soprano), New Symphony Orchestra/Richard Bonynge
12. Angels, Ever Bright and Fair (Theodora) [3:37]
Susan Gritton (soprano), Gabrieli Players/Paul McCreesh
13. I Know that My Redeemer Liveth (Messiah) [5:23]
Sylvia McNair (soprano), Academy of St Martin in the Fields/Sir Neville Marriner
14. Behold, I Tell You a Mystery … The Trumpet Shall Sound (Messiah) [9:08]
Thomas Quasthoff (bass-baritone), Staatskapelle Dresden/Sebastian Weigle
15. Hallelujah Chorus (Messiah) [3:58]
The English Concert Choir, The English Concert/Trevor Pinnock
rec. 1953-2008
DECCA 4781460 [68:25 + 74:13]


Experience Classicsonline

Just a couple of weeks ago I had a similar double CD with Handel’s vocal music for review. It was issued by Virgin and the material was culled from complete recordings and recitals in the Virgin and EMI vaults. This Decca issue draws on the back catalogues of Deutsche Grammophon, Decca and Philips and a couple of further sources. The biggest difference is that the Virgin set also included a number of duets. Decca on the other hand offer a couple of choruses. In both compilations it is the arias that dominate. Stylistically the Virgin set has a greater dominance of period performances. The Decca is not far behind however but include some truly old-fashioned – but classical – readings. The choice of items is good with a predominance of arias that most listeners will recognise, maybe even sing along with; nothing wrong with that. The important thing is that the general standard is high and even though there is a higher percentage of non-baroque specialists among the singers here, they do a really good job.

Kiri Te Kanawa in creamy voice and Crispian Steele-Perkins on superb form open with Let the bright seraphim from Samson, in effect one of most magnificent duets in all Handel. Lascia la spina from the Italian oratorio Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno will be familiar from Handel’s first opera for London, Rinaldo, as Lascia ch’io pianga, which came a few years later, but the aria seems to hark back to a saraband from Almira. Cecilia Bartoli’s reading is beautifully inward and expressive. Domingo’s Ombra mai fu, recorded in the early 2000s, is fine and Joan Sutherland’s aria from Alcina doesn’t enunciate many of the words audibly but her trill and runs are astonishing - as always. Anne Sofie von Otter’s Dopo notte is one of the highlights, bouncy and forward moving and with the utmost fluency. No one expects Pavarotti to be a baroque stylist but though largely un-Handelian Cara selve has moments of sensitivity – and the voice in 1973 was still unscratched.

Renée Fleming’s creamy tones are almost on a par with Kiri Te Kanawa’s and Rolando Villazon, whose Handel recital I recently reviewed, gives a riveting, vital reading of the aria from Tamerlano. Joyce DiDonato is the contralto of the day and she is magnificent. Russell Oberlin in the long Ah, dolce nome, recorded as long ago as 1959, sports a warm rounded countertenor with beautiful vibrato, a far cry from the whitish sounds of Alfred Deller and the few other singers of the day. Nigel Robson opens his aria from Jephtha with almost countertenor sounds too but then establishes his quite personal, restrained but expressive tenor voice. Kathleen Ferrier’s He was despised is grand – but moving and Simon Preston inspires his Westminster Abbey forces to a punchy – and springy – Zadok the Priest.

CD 2 opens with Bryn Terfel singing Where’er you walk so softly and scaled down that he challenges even John McCormack, and Janet Baker is unsurpassed in her combination of powerful intensity and warmth in Where shall I fly. The contrast in voice characteristics between her and Magdalena Kozena is instructive, set one after the other as here. Kozena’s much lighter voice hardly touches the ground in her flight with Jubal’s lyre. Neville Marriner avoids the old-fashioned pomposity that mar some old readings of the Judas Maccabaeus chorus. This is followed by an aria from the same work, sung by Grace Bumbry in what must be one of her earliest recordings. It was published in 1959, when she was 22 and before she had even made her operatic debut. She was a surprisingly mature singer even then. Andreas Scholl’s clarion tones gild his aria from Solomon and the sparkling Danielle de Niese is delightful in the long aria from Semele. 

John Tomlinson, before he took on Wotan in Bayreuth, is weighty but flexible in the aria from Messiah and it is a pleasure to hear the young Teresa Berganza in soprano repertoire. Fritz Wunderlich’s Verdi prati from Alcina reminds us of that he was the possessor of one of the most beautiful tenor voices in recorded history. Unique was also Marilyn Horne with her enormous voice range and sure-fire technique. Both Susan Gritton and Sylvia McNair deliver sensitive lyrical readings of their arias, whereas Thomas Quasthoff, who normally is just as sensitive, primarily has to be jubilant in The trumpet shall sound. This is, just as much as Let the bright seraphim, a duet for voice and trumpet, and the trumpet player should naturally be credited, which he isn’t. Since I reviewed the recital from where the aria is culled, I was able to check in the notes there and his name is Markus Schmutzler.

What better way is there to end a compilation like this than with the Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah? Trevor Pinnock’s reading has all the joy one could wish.

There are no texts and no liner notes, just a plain track-list identifying the participating singers. But this is not really an issue to ponder too much in depth, rather lean back, shut one’s eyes and just enjoy. Those who find the repertoire to their liking can rest assured that the performances are fully worthy of the music.

Göran Forsling


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.