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

£11 post-free anywhere

Special Offer
Complete Chopin
17 discs
Pre-order for £100


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

Works for Voice by György Kurtág


Best Seller

Symphony for solo piano

Chopin Piano Concerto No.1

Schubert Piano sonata

Schubert symphony No. 9

Katherine Watson (Sop)

From Severn to Somme

Buy through MusicWeb for £12.49 postage paid.

Musicweb Purchase button


Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957)
Symphony No. 3 in C Major op. 52 (1907) [27:41]
Symphony No. 6 in D Minor op. 104 (1923) [25:42]
Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971)
Violin Concerto in D major (1931) [20:40]
Northern Sinfonia/Thomas Zehetmair (violin/director)
rec. 19-22 April 2007 (Stravinsky); 4-5 August 2007 (6); 20-21 September, 13 November, 2008, Hall One, The Sage, Gateshead. DDD
AVIE AV2150 [74:22]

Experience Classicsonline

Sibelius’s Third Symphony - dedicated to Granville Bantock - has never enjoyed the success of the first two. The classical mode of argument of the first movement, its restrained method of expression - certainly in comparison with the Second Symphony - speak of a distillation of thought to be continued in the Fourth.

The Northern Sinfonia has formed a strong bond with Thomas Zehetmair; their recording of the Brahms Violin Concerto and Schumann’s Fourth has been particularly well received. Their account of Sibelius 3 Third is intensely disciplined, which gives a real sense of ruggedness to the more energetic passages. I think specifically about the music around the five-minute mark of the first movement. The central - of only three movements - Andantino con moto is given a performance of the utmost affection. The sequence of variations feels entirely natural. It is in the quieter moments that one notices the excellence of the recording. The Producer and Engineer is Simon Fox-Gál. The sense of space and clarity are entirely noteworthy, carrying across the beautiful simplicity of the playing. The finale, which so perplexed early audiences, combines Scherzo with an ultimate reconciliation of earlier material from the symphony. There is a grit to the Northern Sinfonia’s reading that almost seems to speak of their determination to refute any perceived structural weaknesses here. It is in this movement, too, that they seek out the darkness in the music most.

Sibelius referred to his Sixth as “a draught of pure spring water”. Sir Colin Davis’s recent recordings of this work have confirmed his status as a foremost Sibelian, but there is certainly a place on the shelves for the Northern Sinfonia’s light, delicate, chamber reading. It’s an approach that pays particular dividends in the second movement, Allegro moderato. That is not to imply there is no gusto here - try the end of the third movement - but it is beauty and transparency that are to the fore. A wonderful testament to the talents of the Northern Sinfonia.

Finally, the Stravinsky Violin Concerto, which actually is sandwiched in between the two symphonies in the disc playing order. The acerbic opening certainly alerts us in no uncertain fashion to the fact that the territory has changed. The violin is very forward - the bassoons therefore, in particular, suffer. The passage that begins around 2:37 is interestingly rendered here, making more than usual allusion to the angular world of Agon over a quarter of a century later. In the final bars of the first movement the ritardando is overdone. It just sounds like someone has pulled the plug out and its running down.

I wish, too, that there was more of a sense of play at times - notably in parts of Aria I. The opening of the finale (“Capriccio”) is rather hectic, and there is an impression that ensemble is only just together. Directing the Stravinsky Violin Concerto is a brave act, certainly, and one that here just takes the edge off proceedings. That said, if Mutter (DG) remains my final preference here, Zehetmair’s version is well worth hearing and acts as a nice bonus to the main Sibelian fare.

Colin Clarke 

see also review by Rob Barnett


We are currently offering in excess of 52,619 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

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
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
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.