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



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


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom


CD: Crotchet AmazonUK AmazonUS

Roger SMALLEY (b. 1943)
Through a Glass Darkly
Piano Quintet (2003) [21:05]
Trio for Horn, Violin and Piano (2000-02) [22:20]
String Quartet No.2 (1999) [18:57]
Australian String Quartet; Roger Smalley (piano); Darryl Poulsen (horn); Paul Wright (violin)
rec. no dates given, Perth Concert Hall (Quintet); Winthrop Hall, University of Western Australia, Perth (Trio); ABC Studio 520, Adelaide (Quartet). DDD
Experience Classicsonline

Roger Smalley was born near Manchester and along with Tim Souster and a host of thrawn stalwarts was at the keen edge of the electronic avant-garde in the late 1960s and early 1970s. His and Souster’s Intermodulation ensemble championed the music of Cornelius Cardew, Terry Riley, Frederick Rzewski, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Christian Wolff. Time and his move to Australia in 1974 have dealt a transformational effect on his music. Smalley's works now strike an accommodation with melody as his Piano Concerto - there is a second now - and Symphony have shown (see review).
These three chamber works, written around 1999-2003, provide further confirmation of the creative energy he finds in a free and modified embrace with tangy tonality. Start with the Piano Quintet with its first movement in constant torrential motion and its language caught in Mennin-like fury between Beethoven and Shostakovich. The skittering Bartókian Intermezzo leads to a skeletally eerie scherzo accommodating much magically quiet writing. The finale is a potently atmospheric piece and is the longest of the four movements. It's haunted, yearning music - always troubled, never at peace. The notes tell us that the Chopin Mazurka op. 68 no. 4 is referenced. Indeed Chopin is a shadowy presence in all three of these pieces. You can hear this in its most frank if refracted form in the Quintet’s final Chaconne and Variations which ends the piece in a Szymanowski-like trembling whisper. It's very affecting. The Trio starts with a jewelled torrent of writing for piano and violin redolent of the Intermezzo of the Quintet but more vehement. And vehement is the word for the horn line here which is celebratory, melodic and ardent - not at all difficult. The Mirror Variations central movement is pleasing indeed. The three movement Trio was commissioned by the horn player in this recording. It struck me that this piece could also work very well as a Horn Concerto. It is full of intriguing incident as is the single movement String Quartet No. 2 which in fact includes some of the most thorny writing of the three works featured here. If you would like to hear more from Smalley in the same vein then try the NMC disc.
The String Quartet no. 2 was premiered at the Adelaide Festival in 2002. The Trio is dedicated 'to Darryl & Paul' and was first performed by at the Perth, Octagon Theatre on 1 August 2002. The Piano Quintet was a John Bishop Memorial Commission for 2004 and was premiered at the Adelaide Festival, Adelaide Town Hall on 10 March 2004. The performers at these premieres are the same as those who made these recordings. Two of the works involve the composer as performer. In years to come this disc will also have documentary historic significance.
The booklet with generous notes is bound into the stiff card cover. Melba provide an answer to the criticism of the fragility of these digipacks by supplying a sturdy transparent sleeve into which the ‘pack’ slips.
A stunningly vivid recording of three rewarding contemporary works from a one-time wolverine of the wilderness who is now a lion of a different temperament.
Rob Barnett
Roger Smalley website
Interview with Roger Smalley


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

June 2022

Beethoven Sonatas 29, 32

Orchestral Works

String Quartets Vol 1


Cantatas and Organ Works

Complete Songs

Ralph Vaughan Williams

Simone Dinnerstein piano




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.