One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here


International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger


Some items
to consider

in the first division

extraordinary by any standards

An excellent disc

a new benchmark

summation of a lifetime’s experience.

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now

A Garland for John McCabe


DIETHELM Symphonies

The best Rite of Spring in Years

BACH Magnificat

Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26

Just enjoy it!

La Mer Ticciati







Russian Compact Disc

Ernst PEPPING (1901-1981)
Symphony No. 2 in F minor (1942) [37:26]
Heinz SCHUBERT (1908-1945)
Hymnisches Konzert for soloists, organ and orchestra [37:39]
Erna Berger (soprano); Walter Ludwig (tenor) Berlin PO/Wilhelm Furtwängler
rec. live, Berlin, 30 October 1943 (Pepping); 6 December 1942 (Schubert). ADD. mono
Experience Classicsonline

This disc is last volume in Russian Compact Disc's fifteen CD intégrale of the recordings liberated by the Soviet victors from the German Imperial Radio archives in 1945. They were carried off to Moscow with other booty and have previously appeared from Russian sources on LP. With the exception of some Glazunov (Stenka), ravel (Daphnis suite no. 2) and Sibelius (Violin Concerto, En Saga) the series represented Furtwängler through the mainstream German classical repertoire in radio recordings made during 1942-45 with the VPO and BPO.

This is the only entry that allows us to hear two composers who had some prominence in Germany during the period 1920 into the National Socialist era. 

While there is clearly some groove damage to the Pepping master it sounds very good indeed as does the even denser Schubert piece. 

The Pepping symphonies we may know from the CPO cycle. His Second Symphony was written during the dark days of 1942 so it was still finding its way when this recording was made. Mind you it could hardly ever have had such an incandescently intense performance as it receives here. It is stern and haunting at first then develops a leaping ebullient athletic confidence. It often refers back to the Regerian organ-loft though without Reger's occasionally suffocating, flatulent and cluttered textures. The second movement is calm, unadorned and mellifluous. It is marred only by groove damage which sometimes produces a frayed edge to the sound. The third movement rests on rustic play and might lead you towards  a Husarenlied jollity. Pepping is however free of creaking ländler and clodhopping boots. The finale returns to the intrepid character of the first movement with more than a hint of Elgar second symphony and In the South. 

Heinz Schubert was to die in 1945. That was three years after this glowingly concentrated performance of the towering Hymnisches Konzert. In this the orchestra - as if not imposing enough – is joined by organ and the ringingly soulful voices of Erna Berger and Walter Ludwig. This is music of grandiloquence occasionally falling into Wagnerian grandiosity as at 2:10. Most of the time however it is just magnificent. The two solo voices sing the words of the Mass and the Te Deum. There is some lovely luminous writing as in the almost ‘Vaughan Williamsy’ pages for solo violin and the whisper quiet organ at 4:52. The trumpet calls at 5:55 might well be referencing Brucknerian refulgence but they are elegiacally impressive nonetheless. Schubert creates a great bath of interleaving string sound and the counterpointing brass grace melodies have a Bachian splendour all their own. This loftiness is sustained when the music becomes a boiling cauldron. The voices enter at 17:00 with Berger's and Ludwig's sung - then spoken - Sanctus being an eerie echo of Holst's ‘round dance’ in The Hymn of Jesus. Berger's wailing Sanctus rises from being piercingly nasal to fuller tonal fruit. From the gleaming dawn of ppp strings at 21:33 rises a great fugal ascent. As things become more emotionally heated Ludwig and Berger are called on to confront the orchestra and rise above it in great virtuosic streamers of sound. The music has a majestic stride and rush as at 36:06 as well as the radiance of confidence.

There’s no applause in either case. 

There are general liner-notes about the conductor but nothing about the works. 

These are powerhouse performances that are athletically affirmative in their reach and conviction.

These recordings have also been reviewed here by Jonathan Woolf in the Melodiya version.

Rob Barnett


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

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
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger



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.