Schubert sonatas

Newest Releases

Piano solo and duet
  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Some items
to consider

Free classical music concerts by Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.


Moravec - Twelfth Night Recital
15%off £17.21 (until Dec 7)

Katerina Englichová - harp
15%0ff £10.83 (until Dec 7)

  • Today's leading<br>clarinet-piano duo
  • Stellar debut<br>piano recital
  • Clarinet transcriptions Jonathan Cohler
  • Jonathan Cohler & Claremont Trio
  • French clarinet masterpieces
  • Today's leading<br>clarinet-piano duo

Sibelius Symphonies Maazel
4CDs + Blu-ray audio
Special Price £36.75

RVW A Sea Symphony - Elder

Shostakovich Symphony 10 Nelsons

Verdi Requiem

Dvorak Opera Premiere

Grieg, Mendelssohn sonatas




Would you like a hyperlinked weekly summary of the CDs we have reviewed?

Click for further details

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
Classical Editor
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Cameo Classics
Prima voce
Red Priest
Toccata Classics

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
Classical Editor
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

cover image

CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Ein Heldenleben (1898) [47:32]
Anton WEBERN (1883-1945) Im Sommerwind (1904) [15:02]
Robert Chen (solo violin on Ein Heldenleben)
Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Bernard Haitink
rec. 4-6 December 2008 (Strauss); 23-25, 28 April 2009 (Webern)
CSO RESOUND CSOR 901 1002 [62:23]

Experience Classicsonline

Along with his fine performances of music by Gustav Mahler and Anton Bruckner, in recent seasons Bernard Haitink has also executed work by Richard Strauss and Anton Webern. Strauss’s late tone-poem Ein Heldenleben received an exemplary reading by Haitink in December 2008, and the recording made from those performances is evidence of his mastery of the score. Of particular interest is the fine reading of the violin solo at the conclusion of the work by Robert Chen. That stated, the contrasts Strauss composed within the score are audible in this recording, with details, like the solo violin not only emerging easily, but fitting well into the larger textures.

Haitink’s tempos also support the sections of the piece, and his phrasing allows the lines to be heard distinctly. This clear, lucid approach is audible from the opening, which is inviting for its nuanced phrasing, subtle dynamic shadings, and balance of tone colors. With regard to the latter, the CSO’s woodwind section is particularly effective in the second section, “The Hero’s Adversaries”. A similar sensitivity to color may be found in the brass (especially those off-stage) in “The Hero’s Battlefield”. Yet for an overall idea of the sensitive ensemble, “The Hero’s Works of Peace” merits attention because of the ways in which the softer sections remain full-voiced and compelling, as Strauss shifts the tone colors that are essential to conveying his extra-musical ideas in this section. The chamber-music-like sonorities which Strauss uses to fine effect in the middle sections of many of his tone poems emerge here distinctively, with his responsive leadership giving fine shape to some of the contrapuntal passages. Elsewhere, the atmospheric quality of the low strings is reproduced nicely, without risking any distortion in the aggregate sound. Moreover, the quotations and reminiscences of Strauss’s other works are clear and appropriately prominent when they occur, and Haitink is perceptive to blend those elements expertly into the structure of this outstanding reading of this important symphonic work.

Along with the clarity in his interpretation of Ein Heldenleben is a sense of restraint in some of the fanfares. Haitink’s precision is remarkable, but the excitement that emerges with some conductors - at times at the expense of accuracy - is absent from some passages. This is a small point, but evident at various points in the recording, as in fanfares that usher the section entitled “The Hero’s Companion”. Some conductors might take some risks in “The Hero’s Battlefield”, though, and the solid clarity of Haitink’s reading is useful when he can bring out the various layers of sound that are part of Strauss’s score. This also allows Haitink to invest the score with a welcome intensity.

Also included on this disc is Haitink’s 2009 reading of Webern’s early tone poem Im Sommerwind, a work that was never heard during the composer’s lifetime, but one which has been brought into the concert performance in recent decades. Composed just a few years after Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben, Webern’s youthful tone poem echoes both the extended chromatic harmony of the time and also some aspects of the young composer’s own style. Since Webern had not yet arrived at the serial concision with which he is associated, the style of Im Sommerwind exists between those two worlds. It is closer, perhaps, to Schoenberg’s Pelleas und Melisande (completed 1903, premiered 1905). In this piece, Haitink gives full rein to the rich harmonies, allowing the tonal space to resound fully. The sonorities along merit attention in this richly performed reading. In this piece Webern took his cue from a poem by Bruno Wille, which describes the various perceptions of a summer day; it is, in a sense a series of impressions influenced by the poem. Here the work succeeds not only through its musical structure, but also as a result of the timbres the young composer used in this impressive piece. It benefits from the sensitive ensemble of the CSO, an aspect that is present in this fine recording. Haitink has given the work clear shape in presenting the structure of this engaging, but less familiar composition. It complements nicely the more familiar music of Ein Heldenleben.

James L. Zychowicz

see also review by John Quinn
(June 2010 Recording of the Month)

















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.