Schubert sonatas

Newest Releases

Piano solo and duet
  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

Free classical music concerts by Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.


Moravec - Twelfth Night Recital
15%off £17.21 (until Dec 7)

Katerina Englichová - harp
15%0ff £10.83 (until Dec 7)

  • Today's leading<br>clarinet-piano duo
  • Stellar debut<br>piano recital
  • Clarinet transcriptions Jonathan Cohler
  • Jonathan Cohler & Claremont Trio
  • French clarinet masterpieces
  • Today's leading<br>clarinet-piano duo

Sibelius Symphonies Maazel
4CDs + Blu-ray audio
Special Price £36.75

RVW A Sea Symphony - Elder

Shostakovich Symphony 10 Nelsons

Verdi Requiem

Dvorak Opera Premiere

Grieg, Mendelssohn sonatas




Would you like a hyperlinked weekly summary of the CDs we have reviewed?

Click for further details

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
Classical Editor
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS
Download: Classicsonline


Ferruccio BUSONI (1866-1924)
Busoni Piano Music: Volume 4
Johann Sebastian BACH/BUSONI
Prelude and Fugue in D, BWV532 (transc. Busoni) (1880s) [11:14]
BUSONI Elegien, K249 (1907) [29:09]
Berceuse (“Elegie No. 7”), K252 (1909) [4:32]
Fantasia nach J. S. Bach, K253 (1909) [9:43]
Toccata, K287 (1920) [9:39]

Wolf Harden (piano)
rec. Potton Hall, Suffolk, 20-21 May 2007. DDD
Producer, Engineer, Editor: John Taylor
NAXOS 8.570543 [64:17] 


Experience Classicsonline

The Busoni transcription of Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in D, BWV532 is masterful. Harden is expert at the more melting passages of the Prelude. His more forthright passages - the very opening being among them - can tend towards the literal. The recording precludes any trace of harshness. The Fugue begins rather like an exercise under Harden’s fingers, but builds to an imposing, magnificently Busoni-augmented close.

The Elegies form excellent contrast. The restrained first, “Nach der Wendung” meditates hypnotically on superbly ambiguous harmonies. No mistaking the Italian flavour of “All’Italia!” – the world of Liszt’s Venezia e Napoli is never far away here. The more expressionist “Meine Seele bangt und hofft zu dir” is a prelude on a Lutheran chorale that sees the original transformed into Busonian mysticism. The famous “Turandots Frauengemach” (Intermezzo) uses the theme we in the UK know best as “Greensleeves”. Richard Whitehouse’s excellent notes refer to this as a “well-known and allegedly ‘Chinese’ tune”, presumably to keep the surprise for the first-time listener. The shadowy waltz of “Die Nächtlichen” is magnificently rendered here; the final elegy, “Erscheinung”, is less successful. Harden takes its fragmentary questioning too far and the piece ends up aimlessly disjunct until the final, tremolando-dominated couple of minutes. The “seventh” Elegie was itself rewritten and expanded into Berceuse élegiaque. The piece sounds like a sort of Busonian Debussy.

Busoni referred to the Fantasia we hear here as a “translation” rather than a transcription – implying there is at least as much Busoni as there is Bach. And so it proves. The chorale “Christ, du bist der Helle Tag” is treated to Busonian arpeggio decoration before another chorale, “Gorres Sohn ist kommen” (aka “In dulci jubilo”) appears, sweetly, quietly, but unmistakably. Finally, “Lob sei dem allmächtigen Gott” appears as a final arrival point. The interaction between Bachian harmonies and Busonian ones is fascinating – it is as if the music moves in and out of focus.

Finally, The Toccata of 1920, written after Busoni’s return to Berlin. Contemporary with his opera, Doktor Faust, it is clearly penned in a more advanced idiom than anything we have heard so far on the disc. It requires all of Harden’s virtuosity not only to deliver the notes but also to bring across the multi-faceted states of this tripartite piece (Preludio-Fantasia-Ciaccona). In the latter stages, he feels a little pressed at times, but this is a valuable account nonetheless.

Back in 2007, I reviewed Volume 3 of this series: the Naxos Busoni series continues here in enduringly fascinating fashion. There is the by-now standard download available with every hard-copy purchase. In this case, it is the first movement of Respighi’s Piano Sonata in F minor, Op. 16 played by Konstantin Scherbakov, from 8.553704.

Colin Clarke 









Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Cameo Classics
Prima voce
Red Priest
Toccata Classics

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
Classical Editor
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
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.