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


Peter Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Symphony No.5 in E minor, Op.64 (1888) [48:04]
Francesca da Rimini - Orchestral Fantasy Op. 32 (1877) [25:33]   
Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela/Gustavo Dudamel
rec. live. January 2008, Sala Simón Bolívar, Centro di Acción Social por la Musica, Caracas.
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 8022 GH [73:37] 
Experience Classicsonline


How we warm to performances that are possessed. Dudamel - still comparatively new on the international stage - has had a run of releases praised for their fervour - their rejection of the routine. They include Fiesta (00289 477 7457), Beethoven 5 and 7 (00289 477 6228) and Mahler 5 (00289 477 6545).

This Tchaikovsky disc is the first Dudamel I have heard. I missed his BBC Proms broadcast. Thank heavens that Dudamel and DG remain loyal to the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela. I wonder if some of the tang and zest of this music-making would be compromised if and when he moves to more celebrated 'great' orchestras. We have seen it happen before. Meantime Venezuela’s attitude to the arts and young people is to be envied and these DG recordings are the evidence and the praise. That this international label back a youth orchestra is praise indeed and they rise to - and above - the challenge.

What of Dudamel’s Tchaikovsky 5? It's ardent and fresh in this live recording made in the orchestra's home in  Caracas. Does it supplant my reference version: Monteux and the LSO on Vanguard recorded live in Vienna in 1960? No. While it is a fine and pulse-quickening reading with it is not as taut or as unremittingly intriguing as Monteux. The orchestra sounds like a big beast but one that is nimble. The brass are not merely gutsy but also have stern impact as well as bite and bray as at 5:32 in the finale. Solo details such as the etched musing solo bassoon in the first movement impress time after time. The mournful cantabile in the exposed horn solo in the Andante Cantabile is indelibly abiding in its effect. There is lilt from the start in the Waltz and the finale is doggedly determined. Not to pass unmentioned is the passion during the climactic passages. Dudamel drives like the furies in the unleashed gale of the finale at 3:23 onwards. I wonder whether the Mravinsky/Leningrad’s string-band tornado for their 1960 stereo recording (also DG) was in Dudamel's mind. The recording boasts wonderful stereo separation from the DG team: try the finale at 1:02 for the antiphonal pizzicato.

This is a very fine Tchaikovsky 5 and largely uncompromised by audience noise. Even so I would rather have had the applause included. All we get is the lively resonance of the hall decay. However I know that preferences vary on this point.

Francesca responds well to possessed performances. I am fortunate indeed to have a broadcast tape of a superb RFH concert from 1980 where the conductor was the oft-disdained Yuri Ahronovitch; for me that has yet to be bettered. Commercial sessions by Stokowski (Vanguard), Mravinsky (BMG), Golovanov (Boheme) and Rozhdestvensky/Leningrad (DG LP – why never reissued) remain strong contenders. Dudamel’s reading is heated enough but does it excel Stokowski - the version most seasoned enthusiasts will know. I think not, though it is certainly makes for a fine whirlwind with gentle poetry in the central pensive episodes. For me however that final grain of shuddering horror is missed by a hair’s breadth. Not that this prevents a well-merited burst of whooping applause from the audience.

Is this great Tchaikovsky? Not quite. It's very fine indeed and is well towards the front of the vanguard. I urge you to hear it. That said, Monteux and Stokowski still have the edge if you can live with forty year old analogue.
Rob Barnett


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


Cantatas and Organ Works

Complete Songs

Ralph Vaughan Williams

Simone Dinnerstein piano





Chopin Bruce Liu

Ingeneri Volume 2

Mondonville - Titon et L'Aurore

Telemann - French Cantatas 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.