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

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and we have not even reviewed it yet. Multiple copies sold.

La Mer Ticciati




simply marvellous

Outstanding music

Elite treatment

some joyous Gershwin

Bartok String Quartets
uniquely sensitive

Cantatas for Soprano


Eleven 11s
3. General Comments
by David Barker

Comparative timings
I’m not a great believer in the idea that differences in timings tell you much about the relative merits of different performances. However, in a work of around an hour, where there is a variation of more than fifteen minutes from fastest (Petrenko, 57 min.) to slowest (Rostropovich, 72), you can at least get the beginnings of a sense of where the conductor is going.

Rather than give you exact timings, which are not helpful, I’ve grouped them in blocks of time, with the first in a group the fastest. Below are the times for the work as a whole; I have placed the equivalent for individual movements where each movement is being considered.

< 60 minutes
Petrenko, Barshai
60-65 min.
Lazarev, Haitink, Stokowski
65-70 min.
Rozhdestvensky, Kitajenko, Caetani, Berglund, DePreist
> 72 min.

Sound and performance quality
To my ears, all the orchestras play well. There are a few instances of ragged ensemble, and some ugly brass notes, but nothing that mars an overall performance . I don’t think I will surprise anyone when I say that as a demonstration of sheer orchestral prowess, Haitink’s Congertgebouw is a clear winner.

Similarly, I can’t make fully informed judgments about comparative sound qualities because some are from CD, others downloaded as mp3s and others streamed. Suffice to say that the best are the Haitink, Caetani and the Lazarev, the latter two being hybrid SACDs, though I listened to the Caetani on a normal CD player, and the Lazarev as a 320 kbps mp3 download.

The survey
So to the performances. Because it is such a large work, I felt the only way to compare the eleven recordings was to do it one movement at a time. I have to say that I found it rather challenging to not repeat myself when trying to describe subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, differences between performances.

General Comments



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
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
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
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.