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


Buy through MusicWeb for £7 postage paid World-wide.


Musicweb Purchase button


Henry PURCELL (1659 – 1695)
Dido and Aeneas (1689)
Kirsten Flagstad (soprano) – Dido; Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano) – Belinda; Spirit; Second Lady; Thomas Hemsley (baritone) – Aeneas; Arda Mandikian (mezzo) – Sorceress; David Lloyd (tenor) – Sailor; Eilidh McNab (soprano) – First Lady; Sheila Rex (soprano) – First Witch; Anna Pollak (mezzo) – Second Witch
The Mermaid Singers and Orchestra/Geraint Jones
rec. 15, 27-28 March 1952, EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London, UK
English libretto enclosed
Richard WAGNER (1813 – 1883)
Götterdämmerung: Starke Scheite (Brünnhilde’s Immolation) [19:48]
Kirsten Flagstad (soprano)
Philharmonia Orchestra/Wilhelm Furtwängler
rec. 26 March 1948

Experience Classicsonline

Decca’s 1956 recording of Alceste (see review) deployed Geraint Jones and his forces -  then known as the Geraint Jones Singers and Orchestra. Some four years earlier they were entrusted with the Flagstad’s Dido. For its day their playing was first-class, though heard with the authentic movement in mind the music-making sounds hopelessly dated. The first part of the prelude is highly romantic and even though the fast second half has a certain baroque lilt it is hardly as crisp as what we hear from today’s baroque specialists. But the recording should be judged by the performance style of kits day some sixty years ago. Numerous positive features can be reported. This was not the first complete Dido and Aeneas. In HMV’s catalogue there was a recording with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Constant Lambert. Joan Hammond, Dennis Noble and Isobel Baillie were the principals. Since the orchestra was founded in 1945 it was still a fairly modern recording so there must have been other reasons to re-record it so soon. I have never heard the Lambert version but it is possible that Geraint Jones’ relatively small forces were deemed more authentic. Be that as it may the playing of the Mermaid Orchestra is excellent. The Mermaid Singers’ precision and clean attack is admirable and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf’ as not only Belinda but also the Spirit and the Second Lady was inspired casting. Her English isn’t the best but her singing is. Kirsten Flagstad (1895–1962) as Dido has on the other hand excellent English and her singing is technically better here than on the Gluck set. There her scooping became rather irritating. There are traces of it here but only marginally so. She is also surprisingly apt at florid singing. Not that there is very much but there is none of the clumsiness of heavy sopranos essaying florid roles. Her actual tone is far less hooty than it had become in 1956. She is also a very involved Dido and her lament is deeply felt. There is a special warmth in her utterances that is very appealing.

Thomas Hemsley had made his debut at the Mermaid Theatre in September the previous year as Aeneas opposite Flagstad’s Dido. So this is also from that perspective an historic issue. His is a stylish and youthful reading of the role. Arda Mandikian is a menacing Sorceress, dark and intense, maybe over-aggressive at times and David Lloyd is a fine Sailor. I was quickly drawn into the proceedings and once having adjusted to the style of the performance it was easy to like it. At any rate it is a privilege to have the great Kirsten Flagstad in the role. She had recorded Dido’s lament some years earlier (HMV DB 6913) but to have the full role preserved is truly great. The only other recording of this opera with a comparable soprano is probably the Philips set with Jessye Norman.

As a bonus we are offered Brünnhilde’s immolation from Götterdämmerung in the famous recording with Furtwängler. Varnay and Nilsson but few others could be mentioned in the same breath as Flagstad in this repertoire. The question is whether Flagstad isn’t a notch or two in front of the others. The recording has been issued on a number of occasions but this should certainly be in every decent collection. The sound on the Wagner as well as the Purcell is excellent for its day.

True Purcell friends need a more historically correct recording but even die-hard purists should find a lot to admire in this historic issue.

Göran Forsling


  See also review by Jonathan Woolf






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.