One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,928 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

Salon Treasures from the Max Jaffa Library



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
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   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


Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
K344 (1779) [94:06]
Isobel Monar (soprano) – Zaide
Markus Schäfer (tenor) – Gomatz
Markus Brutscher (tenor) – Soliman
Christian Hilz (baritone) – Allazim
Wiener Akademie/Martin Haselböck
rec. Hofburgkapelle Wien, October–November 2006
CPO 777281-2 [44:20 + 49:46] 
Experience Classicsonline

is an unfinished, though very full, fragment which Mozart never saw performed. It has been completed various times, though, and it is worth a listen, not least because it dates from a key moment in Mozart’s life. He wrote it after his major tour of 1777-79 wherein he had sought a commission for a new opera from musical centres as prestigious as Mannheim and Paris. It had all come to nothing, though, and he arrived back at Salzburg in low spirits. It was then, however, that he heard that Emperor Joseph II had expressed an interest in founding a German Opera in Vienna, and so Mozart began work on Zaide to prepare himself for what might become an imperial commission. The text was written by his friend Johann Andreas Schachtner, who had also written the libretto for Bastien and Bastienne, and for his subject he chose a “Turkish” story, so fashionable in Austria at that time. The story centred on a European, Gomatz, working as a slave for Sultan Soliman. He falls in love with Zaide, the Sultan’s favourite, and they plan to escape assisted by another European, Allazim. However, they are thwarted and face a sentence of torture and death until the Sultan relents and forgives them. Knowing all this, it’s not surprising that many musicologists see Zaide as a dry-run for Seraglio and there are some undeniable similarities; Zaide’s Act 2 arias Trostlos and Tiger are similar in tone to Konstanze’s Traurigkeit and Martern aller Arten. But it would be a mistake to see Zaide as anything other than what it is. It is nowhere near as well developed as the later work and Mozart’s melodic invention isn’t nearly as inspired. It still has lots to recommend it, though. Mozart broke off because he felt the denouement of the plot was too implausible, so for this recording we are provided with a Brian Michaels’ rearrangement of the Quartet K 479 as a finale, and very satisfying it is, too. Arguably too much so, in fact: the later quartet is on a much higher level of inspiration than what precedes it so that you can easily see the join. In addition there is no overture, so this version, like most others, plays the work G major Symphony No. 32 (K 318) instead, and it works very well. 

The Wiener Akademie are a small period band, and their playing has a zesty energy to it that is evident from the overture onwards. The recording engineers capture them close-up but still preserve a sense of intimacy. Conductor Martin Haselböck keeps things moving along at a fair lick and he cuts the spoken dialogue to a minimum so that the action is not held up, and a good thing too, as a work like this can easily drag. He, at least, is convinced by this work. He knows how to relax, though, such as in the beautiful and well known melody of Ruhe Sanft, Zaide’s first aria in Act 1. Isabel Monar sings with capability but not much else: her singing sounds rather workaday, and top notes sound strained at various points throughout the set. It’s also difficult to believe that this Zaide is a naïve young maiden – she sounds rather knowing and mature here. Christian Hiltz’s Allazim has the opposite problem: he sounds noble, but too young for the elderly sage he is meant to be portraying. Markus Schäfer’s tenor is earnest, but not especially interesting and certainly not beautiful. When he falls in love with Zaide’s portrait he does so rather less subtly than Tamino does with Pamina’s, but that’s more Mozart's fault than his. The best of the singers is Christian Hilz as the Sultan. He is missing for whole of Act 1, but as soon as he arrives, singing an aria of murderous rage accompanied by raging trumpets and drums, the dramatic pace quickens and we feel more involvement. His melologue (spoken dialogue to orchestral accompaniment) is much more successful than Gomatz’s in Act 1, but both are interesting as they remain, to my knowledge, the only such examples in Mozart’s output. It’s a dramatic problem, though, that the Sultan sounds much better than Gomatz, who is meant to be the hero. His second aria is the highlight of the piece. The quartet which precedes the finale is great music, but it is full of individuals rather than an ensemble, though they blend much better for the adapted finale itself. 

The catalogue isn’t exactly bursting with recordings of Zaide at present, so this one will serve the purpose if you want the work, but it would be far better to see the return of Paul Goodwin’s version with the AAM on Harmonia Mundi. This one has too many inconsistencies.

Simon Thompson


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 Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

Eloquence recordings
All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

July 2022

John Luther Adams Houses of the Wind
John Luther Adams
Houses of the Wind

Horneman Alladin
Horneman Alladin

Stojowski piano concertos
Piano Concertos 1 & 2

Vaughan Williams on Brass

Yi Lin Jiang - Dualis I

June 2022

Beethoven Sonatas 29, 32

Orchestral Works

String Quartets Vol 1





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.