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CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS

The Very Best of Glyndebourne on Record
see full tracklist at end of review
rec. 1934-97
EMI CLASSICS 2642182 [5 CDs: 388:59]

Experience Classicsonline

Celebratory album sets are nothing new. And those looking for smuggled novelties in this 5 CD album will look in vain. There are no unpublished Busch-directed performances; no unearthed Gui. The box is devoted, perfectly reasonably, to the established record.

The box cover sets the scene. A contented sheep grazes in the foreground; toffs graze in the background. There are hampers. The men all look very tall and lean. The women are all elegantly decked out. It’s the archetypical Glyndebourne afternoon.

Inside we have, in the main, the standard EMI transfers of old friends. The exceptions include the 2009 transfers of the first three selections from the Busch Marriage of Figaro, five tracks from the The Beggar’s Opera, The Soldier’s Tale, and all the post-War Gui Figaro extracts. The transfers are in any case non-problematic.

A sampler such as this will inevitably hit on highlights. The first CD takes pre-War Mozart. Figaro’s extracts last about a quarter of an hour and allow one to sample Audrey Mildmay, Domgraf-Fassbaender and Aulikki Rautawaara. Così lasts a little longer and we can hear all the principal singers, which is a satisfactory solution, given that Heddle Nash didn’t make the earlier Figaro selection. Don Giovanni was the last of the three Mozart operas conducted by Busch to be recorded. This has the longest run of excerpts; seven minutes from Act I including (inevitably) Leporello’s Madamina - the Leporello was Salvatore Baccaloni. There are about 22 minutes from Act II and these extracts allow us to hear John Brownlee’s Don, David Franklin (the Commendatore) and Mildmay’s Zerlina, as well as the Act II epilogue. The 1940 recording of Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera is something of a classic. Mildmay and Roy Henderson, often too wooden a singer, are here. Michael Redgrave is Macheath. In all there are about ten minutes included.

The second disc begins in the immediate post-War period with Reginald Goodall’s recording of The Rape of Lucretia. Unlike the Busch recordings, but like the Gay, these extracts were recorded at Abbey Road in London. These extracts last nine minutes. Other highlights of this second disc include Busch’s all-too-brief return with Così and Idomeneo - Sena Jurinac in both - and Gui’s La Cenerentola. Rather more uncommon is Pritchard’s 1954 Busoni Arlecchino extract, from the same year these forces gave the British stage premiere. The following year the conductor was in the studio with Glyndebourne forces to record The Soldier’s Tale with Helpmann, Terence Longdon and Anthony Nicholls, alongside the elite RPO chamber ensemble (Leavins, Brymer, Brooke, Walton).

More rejuvenatory Mozart starts disc three. It’s Gui’s Figaro represented by about nineteen minutes of the performance which featured Jurinac, Sciutti, Bruscantini, Calabrese and other equally persuasive front-liners. Gui was, after Busch’s death, effectively the house’s music director from 1952 to 1964. The second Idomeneo, directed by Pritchard, features different extracts from the Busch, thankfully. Gui’s eminence as a Rossini conductor is clearly not overlooked; though the Comte Ory examples are brief it’s inevitable perhaps that the Barber of Seville should take up the lion’s share. De Los Angeles’s appearance is a coup. But I wouldn’t overlook the final scene from Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea where Richard Lewis and Magda László perform Raymond Leppard’s edition with exquisite romanticism under Pritchard’s direction. Glyndebourne was the first British professional company to stage a work from the early baroque, as George Hall’s notes remind us.

Mozart is a constant in the Glyndebourne story and the fourth disc is given over entirely to him. Pritchard is on hand once again, in 1972, for Die Entführung with Margaret Price, Ryland Davies and Noel Mangin in an abridged LP. In the 1980s Haitink was a regular visitor and his Don Giovanni and Così are documented. These traversals are well known, naturally enough, though it’s still pleasurable to sample the sets. For Figaro in 1987 he had in his cast Rolandi, Desderi, and Lott. The last incarnation of the famous 1988 Rattle-directed Porgy and Bess was in a big box of Americana collated from Rattle’s many recordings. There it was in toto; here clearly we only have room and time for about twenty minutes’ worth, though most of the stand-out numbers. Felicity Lott and Thomas Hampson are on hand for Lehár. A signpost towards the house’s interest in and propagation of new music comes in the shape of Jonathan Dove’s Figures in the Garden. The composer conducts members of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. And finally we have a slice of probably justified auto back-slapping. This comes via the EMI Centenary Gala at Glyndebourne in 1987 with Welser-Möst and Andrew Davis presiding, and some superior vocal talent running through favourites.

It ends a box that necessarily charts the decades adeptly but selectively. The booklet has full running details, cast lists and recorded information.

Jonathan Woolf

Full tracklist
CD 1 [76:15]
[1]        Overture             3.49
[2]        Se a caso Madama (Act 1)   2.38
Recorded 28 & 24.VI.1935; The Theatre, Glyndebourne
[3]        Dunque…O cielo! Il patente del paggio (Act 2 finale) tutti 5.30
Recorded 6.VI.1934; The Theatre, Glyndebourne
2900231 M A, bands 1 - 3
[4]        Sull’aria…Che soave zeffiretto  3.01
[5]        Ricevate, o pedroncina chorus  1.21
Recorded 6.VI.1934; The Theatre, Glyndebourne
Audrey Mildmay (Susanna), Willi Domgraf-Fassbaender (Figaro), Aulikki Rautawaara (Countess), Roy Henderson (Count), Constance Willis (Marcellina), Norman Allin (Bartolo), Heddle Nash (Basilio),  Morgan Jones (Antonio)
Glyndebourne Festival Chorus, Glyndebourne Festival Orchestra [London Symphony Orchestra] / Fritz Busch
[6]        Una bella serenata (Act 1) 2.15
[7]        Ah guarda, sorella (Act 1) 4.55
[8]        Una donna a quindici anni (Act 2)  3.21 
[9]        Donne mio, la fate (Act 2)   2.47
[10]      Fra gli amplessi (Act 2)  5.56
Heddle Nash (Ferrando), Willi Domgraf-Fassbaender (Guglielmo), John Brownlee (Don Alfonso), Ina Souez (Fiordiligi), Luise Helletsgruber (Dorabella), Irene Eisingler (Despina)
Glyndebourne Festival Orchestra [London Symphony Orchestra] / Fritz Busch
Recorded 25 - 28.VI.1935; The Theatre, Glyndebourne
[11]      Madamina, il catalogo è questo… (Act 1) 5.47
[12]      Finch’ han dal vino (Act 1) 1.20
[13]      Vedrai carino (Act 2)  3.52
[14]      O statua gentilissima (Act 2)  3.35
[15]      Che grido è questo mai? (Act 2) 8.47
[16]      Ah, dov’è il perfido? (Epilogue to Act 2) 5.58
John Brownlee (Don Giovanni), Salvatore Baccaloni (Leporello), Audrey Mildmay (Zerlina), David Franklin (Commendatore), Ina Souez (Donna Anna), Luise Helletsgruber (Donna Elvira), Kolomon von Pataky (Don Ottavio), Roy Henderson (Masetto)
Glyndebourne Festival Chorus, Glyndebourne Festival Orchestra [London Symphony Orchestra] / Fritz Busch
Recorded 29.VI. - 5.VII.1936; The Theatre, Glyndebourne
[17]      O Polly, you might have toyed and kissed  1.55
[18]      My heart was so free  0.38
[19]      Were I laid on Greenland’s coast 1.15
[20]      How happy could I be with either   0.41     
[21]      I’m bubbled, I’m troubled 0.43   
[22]      Cease your funning 1.50
[23]      The modes of the court  1.01
[24]      Would I might be hanged  2.14
Sir Michael Redgrave (Macheath), Audrey Mildmay (Polly Peachum), Constance Willis (Mrs. Peachum), Roy Henderson (Peachum), Linda Gray (Lucy), Bruce Flegg (Filch)
Glyndebourne Festival Chorus, Glyndebourne Festival Orchestra [Orchestra of 15 players] / Michael Mudie
Recorded 11, 12 & 15.IV.1940; No. 1 Abbey Road Studios, London
CD 2 [79:57]
[1]        Tarquinius does not wait (Act 1)  2.47
[2]        She sleeps as a rose (Act 2)  2.52
[3]        Flowers bring to every year (Act 2)  3.15
Peter Pears (Male Chorus), Joan Cross (Female Chorus), Nancy Evans (Lucretia), Flora Nielsen (Bianca)
English Opera Group Chamber Orchestra / Reginald Goodall (piano)
Recorded 17 - 19.VII.1947; No. 1 Abbey Road Studios, London
[4]        Una macchia è qui tuttora! (Act IV)  7.35
Margherita Grandi (Lady Macbeth), Vera Terry (Dama), Ernest Frank (Medico)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra / Sir Thomas Beecham
Recorded: 16.I.1948; No. 1 Abbey Road Studios, London
[5]        Soave sia il vento (Act 1) 3.03
[6]        Prenderò quel brunettino (Act 2) 3.00
[7]       Il core vi dono (Act 2) 4.00
Sena Jurinac (Fiordiligi), Blanche Thebom (Dorabella), Mario Borriello (Don Alfonso), Erich Kunz (Guglielmo)
Glyndebourne Festival Orchestra [Royal Philharmonic Orchestra] / Fritz Busch
Recorded 14 & 15.VII.1950; The Theatre, Glyndebourne
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART: IDOMENEO
[8]        Vedrommi intorno (Act 1)  3.40
[9]        Placido è il mar (Act 2) 3.45
[10]      Zeffiretti lusighieri (Act 3) 4.00
Richard Lewis (Idomeneo), Sena Jurinac (Ilia), Dorothy McNeil (Elettra)
Glyndebourne Festival Chorus
Glyndebourne Festival Orchestra [Royal Philharmonic Orchestra] / Fritz Busch
Recorded 2 & 3.VII.1951; No. 1 Abbey Road Studios, London
[11]      Miei rampolli, miei rampolli femminini (Act 1)  4.45
[12]      Nel volto estatico (Act 1) 5.00
[13]      *Nacqui all’affanno (Act 2, finale) 6.23
Marina de Gabarain (Angelina = Cenerentola), Juan Oncina (Don Ramiro), Ian Wallace (Don Magnifico), Sesto Bruscantini (Dandini), Hervey Alan (Alidoro), Alda Noni (Clorinda), Fernanda Cadoni (Tisbe)
Glyndebourne Festival Chorus
Glyndebourne Festival Orchestra [Royal Philharmonic Orchestra] / Vittorio Gui
Recorded 17-21.XI.1953 & *15.II.1954; No. 1 Abbey Road Studios, London
[14]      Mit dem Schwerte, mit der Laute  9.00
Murray Dickie (Leandro),  Elaine Malbin (Colombina), Kurt Gester (Arlecchino)
Glyndebourne Festival Orchestra [Royal Philharmonic Orchestra] / Sir John Pritchard
Recorded 17-20.VII.1954; No. 1 Abbey Road Studios, London
Text by C.F. Ramuz; English version by Michael Flanders and Kitty Black
[15]      Tango     2.00
[16]      Waltz      1.25
[17]      Ragtime              2.00
[18]      The Devil’s Dance  1.21
[19]      The Little Choral  0.29
[20]      The Devil’s Song  0.39
[21]      The Great Choral  3.41
[22]      Ttiumphal March of the Devil (begin with the laugh)             2.20
Robert Helpmann (The Devil), Terence Longdon (The Soldier), Anthony Nicholls (The Narrator)
Chamber Ensemble [Members of Royal Philharmonic Orchestra] / Sir John Pritchard
Arthur Leavins, violin; Edmond Chesterton, double-bass; Jack Brymer, clarinet; Gwydion Brooke, bassoon; Richard Walton, cornet; Sidney Langston, trombone; Stephen Whittaker, percussion
Recorded 12, 13, 25 & 28.IV. and 4 & 25.V.1955; No. 3 Abbey Road Studios, London
CD 3 [77:25]
[1]        Bravo, signor padrone!...Se vuol ballare (Act 1)      3.16
[2]        E Susanna non vien!...Dove sono   6.53
[3]        *In quegl’anni (Act 4)   3.59
[4]        Pace, pace mio dolce tesoro (Act 4, Finale) tutti      6.40
Sesto Bruscantini (Figaro), Graziella Sciutti (Susanna), Sena Jurinac (Countess), Franco Calabrese (Count), Hughes Cuénod (Basilio), Ian Wallace (Bartolo), Rise Stevens (Cherubino), Monica Sinclair (Marcellina), Jeanette Sinclair (Barbarina), Gwyn Griffiths (Antonio), Daniel McCoshan (Don Curzio)
Glyndebourne Festival Orchestra [Royal Philharmonic Orchestra] / Vittorio Gui
Recorded 4 - 9 & 11 - 12.VII.1955; No. 1 Abbey Road Studios, London
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART: IDOMENEO
[5]        Ah perchè pria…Spiegarti non poss’io (Act 3)  4.35
[6]        Andrò ramingo (Act 3) 5.29
[7]        Oh smania!...D’Oreste, d’Alace (Act 3)   2.49
Richard Lewis (Idomeneo), Sena Jurinac (Ilia), Leopold Simoneau (Idamante), Lucille Udovick (Elettra)
Glyndebourne Festival Orchestra [Royal Philharmonic Orchestra] / Sir John Pritchard
Recorded 6 & 30.VII.1956; Kingsway Hall and 7.VII & 4, 6, 8, 13, 26, 27.VIII.1956; No. 1 Abbey Road Studios, London
[8]        O bon ermite (Act 1) b, a, c[  3.27
[9]        À la faveur (Act 2) b, c, a[  9.45
Juan Oncina (Le Comte Ory), Cora Canne-Meuer (Isolier), Sari Barabas (La Comtesse Adèle), Flora Nielsen (Bianca)
Glyndebourne Festival Orchestra [Royal Philharmonic Orchestra] / Vittorio Gui
Recorded 28 - 31.VIII. and 1, 2 & 5.IX.1956; No. 1 Abbey Road Studios, London

[10]      La ran  la le ra…Largo al factotum (Act 1)              4.45
[11]      La calunnia è un venticello (Act 1)   4.29
[12]      Fermi tutti. Nessun si mova (Act 1, Finale) tutti  9.59
[13]      Ah, qual colpo inespettato!...Zitti, ziti, piano, piano (Act 2) 5.59
Sesto Bruscantini (Figaro), Luigi Alva (Il conte d’Almaviva), Victoria de los Angeles (Rosina), Carlo Cava (Basilio), Ian Wallace (Bartolo), Laura Sarti (Berta), John Rhys Evans (Un ufficiale)
Glyndebourne Festival Chorus
Glyndebourne Festival Orchestra [Royal Philharmonic Orchestra] / Vittorio Gui
Recorded 4 - 7 & 9 - 11.IX.1962; No. 1 Abbey Road Studios, London
[14]      Put ti miro, pur ti stringo (Act 3, Finale)  4.19
Magda László (Poppea), Richard Lewis (Nerone)
Glyndebourne Festival Orchestra [Royal Philharmonic Orchestra] / Sir John Pritchard
Recorded 1, 3 & 31.VII and 1 - 3, 6 & 8.VIII.1963; No. 1 Abbey Road Studios, London
CD 4 [77:05]
[1]        Ach ich liebte, war so glücklich (Act 1)   5.42
[2]        O! wie will ich triumphieren (Act 3)   3.29
[3]        Welch ein Geschick (Act 3) 8.00
Dame Margaret Price (Constanze), Ryland Davies (Belmonte), Noel Mangin (Osmin)
London Philharmonic Orchestra / Sir John Pritchard
Recorded 22 - 24.VII.1972; The Organ Room, Glyndebourne
[4]        Là ci darem la mano (Act 1) 3.33
[5]        Or sai chi l’onore (Act 1) 2.51
[6]        Dalla sua pace (Act 1)  4.31
[7]        Riposate, vezzose ragazze (Act 1, Finale) tutti  8.12
[8]        Deh vieni alla finestra (Act 2) a  2.03
Sir Thomas Allen (Don Giovanni), Carol Vaness (Donna Anna), Keith Lewis (Don Ottavio), Elizabeth Gale (Zerlina), Richard Van Allan (Leporello), Maria Ewing (Donna Elvira), John Rawnsley (Masetto)
London Philharmonic Orchestra / Bernard Haitink
Recorded 3 - 12.I.1984; No. 1 Abbey Road Studios, London
[9]        Smanie implacabili (Act 1)   1.46
[10]      Come scoglio immoto resta (Act 1)   4.36
[11]      Non siete ritrosi, occhietti vezzosi (Act 1)  1.35
[12]      Un’aura amorosa (Act 1) 4.43
[13]      Dammi un bacio, o mio tesoro (Act 1, Finale) tutti  3.22
Carol Vaness (Fiordiligi), Delores Ziegler (Dorabella), John Aler (Ferrando), Dale Duesing (Guglielmo), Lilian Watson (Despina), Claudio Desderi (Don Alfonso)
London Philharmonic Orchestra / Bernard Haitink
Recorded 16 - 21, 23, 26 & 27.II.1986; No. 1 Abbey Road Studios, London
[14]      Non più andrai (Act 1)   3.38
[15]     Porgi, amor (Act 2)  4.33
[16]     Voi, che sapete (Act 2)   2.52
[17]     Vedrò, mentr’io sospiro (Act 3)    3.30
[18]     L’ho perduta, me meschina! (Act 4)   1.49
[19]     Deh vieni, non tardar (Act 1)   3.52
Claudio Desderi (Figaro), Gianna Rolandi (Susanna), Dame Felicity Lott (Countess), Richard Stilwell (Count), Faith Esham (Cherubino), Anne Dawson (Barbarina)
London Philharmonic Orchestra / Bernard Haitink
Recorded 17 - 21 & 24 - 26.II.1987; No. 1 Abbey Road Studios, London
CD 5 [78:17]
[1]        Summertime… (Act 1, Scene 1) d, chorus   3.28
[2]        Bess, you is my woman now (Act 2, Scene 1)   5.30
[3]        Oh, I can’t sit down… (Act 2, Scene 1)  4.24 
[4]        It ain’t necessarily so…(Act 2, Scene 2)  3.45
[5]        Bess is gone… (Act 3) 3.23
Sir Willard White (Porgy), Cynthia Haymon (Bess), Damon Evans (Sporting Life), Harolyn Blackwell (Clara), Marietta Simpson (Maria), Maureen Brathwaite (Lily), Cynthia Clarey (Serena), Barrington Coleman (Mingo)
The Glyndebourne Chorus
London Philharmonic Orchestra / Sir Simon Rattle
Recorded 8, 10, 11, 13, 14 & 16 - 19.II.1988; No. 1 Abbey Road Studios, London
[6]        O Vaterland, du machst bei Tag…Da geh’ich zu Maxim (Act 1) 2.23
[7]        Es lebt’ eine Vilja… (Act 2) 6.15
[8]        Lippen schweigen (Act 3) 3.35    
Dame Felicity Lott (Hanna Glawari), Thomas Hampson (Graf Danilo Danilowitsch)
The Glyndebourne Chorus
London Philharmonic Orchestra / Franz Welser-Möst
Recorded 18, 20 & 22.VII.1993; The Royal Festival Hall, London
Jonathan DOVE (born 1959): Figures In The Garden
[9]        1.         Dancing in the Dark  2.14
[10]      2.         Susanna in the Rain  3.48
[11]      3.         A Conversation  1.18
[12]      4.         Barbarina Alone  2.19
[13]      5.         The Countess interrupts a Quarrel            2.35
[14]      6.         Voices in the Garden  1.40
[15]      7.         Nocturne: Figaro and Susanna 3.18
Members of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Paul Goodwin & Catherine Latham (oboe), Nicholas Bucknall & Timothy Lines (clarinet)t
Andrew Watts & Frances Eustace (bassoon), Roger Montgomery & Robert Maskell (natural horn)
directed by the Composer
Recorded: 22.XI,1991; Henry Wood Hall, London
DVOŘÁK: Rusalka
[16]      Měsíčku na nebi hlubokém (Song to the Moon) (Rusalka; Act 1)  6.01
Amanda Roocroft, soprano
KERN: Show Boat
[17]      Ol’ Man River (Joe; Act 1) 3.41
Willard White, bass
VERDI: Falstaff
[18]      È sogno? O realtà? (Ford; Act 2)   5.09
Thomas Hampson, baritone
[19]      Sul fil d’un soffio etesio (Nanetta, Act 3)  4.00
Alison Hagley, soprano
HANDEL: Semele
[20]      Where’er you walk (Jupiter; Act 2)   4.36
John Mark Ainsley, tenor
[21]      Glitter and be gay (Cunegonde; Act 1)   5.51
Natalie Dessay, soprano
7243 56465 2 1 [7], [8], [10] - [12] & [14]
London Philharmonic Orchestra / [16] & [17] Franz Welser-Möst; [18] - [21] Andrew Davis
Recorded Live: 27.IV.1997; The Theatre, Glyndebourne



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