One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,416 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

Clarissa Bevilacqua plays
Augusta Read Thomas

all Nimbus reviews

Brahms Dvorak
Brahms 2 Dvorak 7
all tudor 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
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   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

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883)
Das Rheingold (1869)
Falk Struckmann (bass-baritone) - Wotan; Jan Buchwald (baritone) - Donner; Ladislav Elgr (Froh); Peter Galliard (tenor) - Loge; Katja Pieweck (mezzo) - Fricka; Hellen Kwon (soprano) - Freia; Deborah Humble (contralto) - Erda; Wolfgang Koch (baritone) - Alberich; Jürgen Sacher (tenor) - Mime; Tigram Martirossian (bass-baritone) - Fasolt; Alexander Tsymbalyuk (bass) - Fafner; Ha Young Lee (soprano) - Woglinde; Gabriele Rossmanith (soprano) - Wellgunde; Ann-Beth Solvang (mezzo) – Flosshilde
Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra/Simone Young
rec. March 2008, Staatsoper Hamburg.
Text and English translation included
OEHMS CLASSICS OC925 [76:27 + 75:10]
Experience Classicsonline

Simone Young took over as Music Director of the Hamburg State Opera from Ingo Metzmacher in 2005. On the present evidence, she is doing sterling work. Jim Pritchard reviewed a performance of this very music-drama with the present forces for Seen and Heard in March 2008. Much of what he said is borne out aurally here, especially in terms of Young’s confident authority. We are just given the recording date of “March 2008”, so one cannot know if this is exactly the same performance, or indeed what level of inter-performance patching was used.
All roles with the exception of two come from the bosom of the Hamburg State Opera. The exceptions are Falk Struckmann - already well known for his Wagner - and Wolfgang Koch, a name new to me.
Simone Young coaxes some lovely playing from her Hamburg players. The opening sounds of the Rhine are appropriately primordial – here is a fluctuating primal soup populated by a group creamy-toned horn players interweaving their ascending arpeggios and this whole passage is exceptionally well recorded, with plenty of space and clarity; the held-breath interlude between Scenes 1 and 2 contains some simply magical playing - from all orchestral departments - before ushering in contained majesty. The entrance of the giants is managed with great unanimity of attack and with great depth - approaching Janowski on the old Eurodisc cycle. Most impressive, perhaps, is the way Young moulds the fourth and final scene, carefully grading climaxes with the end clearly in mind and according Alberich’s curse on the Ring its full and deserved weight. The return of the giants is magnificently played, by the Hamburg horn section in particular, and her long-range preparations make up for any weaknesses in Jan Buchwald’s Donner. The thunder-clap is exquisitely managed in the balance of timpani against emerging, scurrying lower strings
The three Rhinemaidens, Ha Young Lee, Gabriele Rossmanith and Ann-Beth Solvang are each and every one a strong singer, confident of delivery in the opening scene. “Their” Alberich is Wolfgang Koch, whom Simone Young refers to as having a major international breakthrough in his career with this very recording. Koch is remarkably characterful without degrading into old-school over acting. If the Rhinemaidens just miss the ecstasy of the ensemble “Rheingold!” statements (track 5), Lee’s “Nur wer der Minne Macht versagt” carries a huge weight of meaning whose trajectory directly leads to the ensemble Rhinemaidens’ final, pre-curse cry. When the forswearing of love comes from Alberich (Koch), it, too, carries an equivalent weight both from Koch and from the accompanying orchestral forces.
The role of Wotan is taken by Falk Struckmann, who is rather widely vibratoed and does not quite carry the solemn, commanding gait of a true Wotan (he is Wotan, too, in the de Billy/Liceu Rheingold). His “Abendlich strahlt der Sonne Auge” almost redeems him, though.  Katka Pieweck, as Fricka, is a name new to me but I hope to renew acquaintance shortly. Pieweck has a lovely voice, is full of confidence and fully within her part at all times, and it is she that carries the long Scene 2 Wotan/Fricka dialogue. Tigran Martirossian’s Fasolt oozes authority; Alexander Tsymbalyuk’s Fafner a touch less so – one is aware of his careful way with words and intervals. Try “Neue Neidtat sinnt uns der Niblung”; also, his “Fort von hier sei sie erführt!” towards the end of Scene 2 is frankly weak and approximate.
Peter Galliard’s Loge is light but again not over-characterised. It is not as confident initially as I would have liked. By the time of his commentary on the Gods’ ageing, though, he seems much more part of the drama and, in tandem with Young’s excellent sculpting of Wagner’s magnificently “suspended” orchestration, this section becomes truly involving. Galliard is superb in his Scene 3 interactions with Mime, and Young ensures her forces react with lightning reflexes to Wagner’s many changes of mood. Sacher (Mime) matches Galliard in every way here; Koch (Alberich) is completely believable in his role of tin-pot dictator. Only in the opening salvoes of Scene 4 does Koch lose some focus; as if to compensate, it is here that Young’s concentration becomes even more laser-like, and the drama unfolds grippingly nevertheless.
Deborah Humble’s Erda might not be the most contralto-ish on disc but it carries real weight of authority, especially in the warnings of “Höre!”.
The lavish booklet contains a 30-page introductory article by Udo Bermbach, which doubles as exposition of Wagner’s philosophic-political Weltanschauung and synopsis, and full text and translation – but no biographies of singers. There are also many full colour stills from the production itself.
This is a thoroughly enjoyable Rheingold, clearly at every stage born of the stage and not the studio. The cast work well together – as well they might, given that the vast majority hails from Hamburg State Opera. I look forward to future instalments.
Colin Clarke



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 cpo reviews

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

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

October 2022

Berg Violin Concerto
Violin Concerto Elmes

DEbussy Jeux
Debussy Jeux

Romantic pioano masters
Romantic Piano Masters

The future is female - Vol 2
Volume 2 - The Dance

impromptu harp music
Complete Harp Impromptus

September 2022
Nikolai Medtner
Herbert Blomstedt
Tarrodi Four Elements
Secret Love Letters
Lisa Batiashvili





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.