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

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

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


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



CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS
Download: Classicsonline

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
Paulus - An oratorio Op 36 (1836) [115:13]
Susan Gritton (soprano); Jean Rigby (mezzo); Barry Banks (tenor); Peter Coleman-Wright (bass);
BBC National Chorus and Orchestra of Wales/Richard Hickox
rec. St David’s Hall, Cardiff, 5 May 2000
text and English translation included
CHANDOS CHAN 10516(2) X [64:23 + 50:50]
Experience Classicsonline

The last time I listened to this work it was with the recent Profil recording under Doris Hagel using period instruments and with soloist more usually found in earlier music. It is obvious that “Paulus” is heavily indebted to Bach’s Passions in such features as the chorales and its overall structure. In that recording the actual sounds were much more obviously related to them than usual. What may be surprising is that this adds to the impact of the work. Paradoxically its individuality becomes more apparent the more the Bach influence is made more explicit.

In contrast the present version is very much “Paulus” as we normally hear it on the rare occasions that it appears in the concert hall. The chorus and orchestra are as good as anyone might reasonably expect in putting forward such an approach, and it is not their fault if the result does sound a little faded in part, even, dare one say it, a little dull. The soloists are generally satisfactory. Jean Rigby and Peter Coleman-Wright are indeed much more than that. Susan Gritton’s tone seems at times somewhat harsh and Barry Banks as recorded here has an obtrusive vibrato and produces an occasional unattractive sound at the end of words. As these are not comments that I would have made about either singer heard live, I can only assume that it must be a result of the recording or the recording venue. Incidentally although this is described in the booklet as a live recording there are no extraneous noises or signs of audience reaction whatever.

Overall therefore I have to regard this as a solid if somewhat uncharismatic version of a work which does not deserve its present eclipse. It is perhaps a pity that it is “Paulus” rather than “St Paul”, as a performance in English would have set this recording apart from others. However as the usual translation, even if approved by the composer, is far from perfect and involves much rewriting of notes and rhythms this might have been interesting rather than illuminating. This recording therefore has to take its place alongside some formidable competition from such conductors as Rilling, Herreweghe and Frühbeck de Burgos, all of whose performances have stronger claims on the listener. Whereas “Elijah” or “Elias” seems almost performer-proof, at least in Part 1, “Paulus” is a work where the collector needs to exercise especial care in choosing a sympathetic recording. For me - and I would stress that this is very much a personal view, this version is not it, despite some undoubted virtues in recording and performance.

John Sheppard


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.