52,943 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

Chopin Edition 17CDs
now available separately
£11 post-free anywhere


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

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets


Recordings of the Month


Jean-Baptiste LEMOYNE

Enescu Ravel Britten

Debussy Images etc.

53 Studies on Chopin Études 1
Konstantin Scherbakov (piano)



Che fai tù? - Villanelles

Cyrillus KREEK
The suspended harp of Babel

violin concertos - Ibragimova

Peteris VASKS
Viola concerto - Maxim Rysanov

The Complete Lotte Schöne





Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

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


cover image

CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads

Samuel ARNOLD (1740-1802) Polly (1777)
Polly - Laura Albino (soprano); Mrs Ducat - Eve Rachel McLeod (soprano); Damaris, Indian Scout - Gillian Grossman (soprano); Jenny Driver - Marion Newman (mezzo); Trapes - Loralie Kirkpatrick (mezzo); Cawwawkee - Bud Roach (tenor); Culverin - Lawrence J Wiliford (tenor); Vanderbluff - Andrew Mahon (baritone); Morano - Matthew Grosfeld (bass); Ducat - Jason Nedecky (baritone)
Aradia Ensemble/Kevin Mallon
rec. St Anne’s Church, Toronto July 2008
NAXOS 8.660241 [78:37]

Experience Classicsonline

Courtesy of Robert Hoskins’s booklet note I can tell you that Polly was a ballad opera with a libretto by John Gay and tunes harmonised by Johann Christoph Pepusch. Written in 1729 it was a sequel to the previous year’s The Beggar’s Opera. Almost half a century later in 1777 the work was revived for performance at the Haymarket Little Theatre. This time the libretto was fashioned by George Coleman the Elder and the score a new one by Samuel Arnold.

Arnold is a semi-forgotten man of the English theatre. He was born in 1740, educated at the Chapel Royal, and proved adept at theatrical composition. He was composer for the Haymarket for a quarter of a century. His collaborator Coleman made many cuts in the vocal score for Polly. Arnold added an overture (there was none in the original), plenty of dances, and a raft of new vocal pieces. The edition used here in this premiere recording is edited by Hoskins and derives from a reconstruction of the manuscript parts of the orchestral score held at the Houghton Library at Harvard. In addition there are three songs excised from Act III shortly before the opening; apparently this Act got shorter and shorter.

The result is a tuneful ballad opera. The Aradia Ensemble and Kevin Mallon are certainly not unversed in Arnold’s music as they’ve already recorded his Op.8 Overtures to good effect, and they supply modest but attractive contributions throughout. The harpsichord is discreetly balanced. The winds make limited but always pleasant play. Strings are light, adept.

Many of the airs last a minute; some break the two mark minute; none breaks three. So whilst Arnold edited Handel’s works he was not emulating Handelian operatic example. As a result there’s isn’t time or indeed inclination to build up memorable arias. Instead we have brisk, snappy balladry spiced by two sets of instrumental dances - of Pirates and of Indians - and a freewheeling cast that enters into the light-hearted spirit of the thing with gusto.

It’s best not to delve too deeply, or indeed at all, into the machinations of the plot. Instead one can admire the charm brought to the title role by Laura Albino whose She who hath felt is a genial example of her musicianship. As Damaris, Gillian Grossman has a somewhat hectoring quality. Marion Newman, as Jenny Driver, is the pick of the singers - and her incisive, stylish mezzo is a pleasure to hear; try her When gold is in hand in Act II as supporting evidence; this, like so many airs has a pre-existing source, in this case the song Peggy’s Mill. The Act II air Cheer up my lads is an amusing bit of cod-opera, soundly dispatched by Lawrence J Wiliford. As Cawwawkee, Bud Roach wanders round a bit, vocally speaking. More convincing is the solid characterisation of bass Matthew Grosfeld.

Tuneful spirits set the tenor of Polly, and no wonder it was enjoyed. The libretto can be downloaded. The cast here is a little uneven but very personable.

Jonathan Woolf














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

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.