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


paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

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

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Clarissa Bevilacqua plays
Augusta Read Thomas

all Nimbus reviews

Brahms Dvorak
Brahms 2 Dvorak 7
all tudor reviews



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
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom



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

Recordings of the Month

November 2022
Bach Orchestral Suites

del Cinque
Del Cinque Cello sonatas

Fujita Mozart
Mao Fujita Mozart

Stanczyk Acousmatic Music


October 2022

Berg Violin Concerto
Violin Concerto Elmes

DEbussy Jeux
Debussy Jeux

Romantic pioano masters
Romantic Piano Masters

The future is female - Vol 2
Volume 2 - The Dance

impromptu harp music
Complete Harp Impromptus



CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67 (1806-8) [31:58]
Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68 (Pastoral) (1808) [44:40]
Vienna Philharmonic/Sir Simon Rattle
rec. Grosser Musikvereinsaal, Vienna, April-May 2002
EMI CLASSICS 6317692 [76:38]

Experience Classicsonline

The perceived homogenizing of orchestral style over the last decades notwithstanding, the Vienna Philharmonic retains a strong collective personality, one which can exert a strong influence on its conductors. When Sir Georg Solti conducted, the ensemble's rich sonority and bent for lyrical phrasing tempered the conductor's hyper-intensity, as their recorded collaborations attest. Solti's Vienna Bruckner Seventh, for example, is far more sympathetic and beautiful than his wound-up Chicago account. Sometimes the influence was synergistic, with Solti's intensity, in turn, eliciting a taut, alert response from the players - compare the orchestra's roughly contemporaneous recordings of Ein Heldenleben under Solti, on Decca, and Karl Böhm, on DG, for a ready illustration.

In Beethoven's C minor symphony, at least, the orchestra exercises an opposite pull on Sir Simon Rattle, who in the past has favored smudgy, soft-edged textures and under-energized rhythmic projection, a situation again amply documented on recording. This 2003 concert performance instead boasts a forwardly shaped sonority, balancing a sturdy "Germanic" harmonic grounding with fire and rhythmic thrust, from all of which this score only benefits.

The basically no-nonsense first movement does incorporate a number of possibly exceptionable details. Some, like the slight speeding up in the first movement's second theme, are clearly the sort of thing that can happen on the spur of the moment in performance; others, like the markedly tenuto treatment of the paired chords at 3:40 in the same movement, have obviously been carefully planned and rehearsed. The conductor also opts to leave the "fanfare" at 5:09 to the bassoons as per the score, minus the expected horn reinforcement. None of these details are deal-breakers, but any or all of them could prove distractions rather than enhancements for some listeners.

Some might also question Rattle's unusually flowing Andante con moto, but the tempo as such isn't unduly fast, and there's sufficient gravitas. The clarinet "subtone" at 4:41 is perhaps too arty a piano, especially for a short-term dynamic; credit is due, however, to the bassoonist who matches this tone, on an instrument that doesn't so easily manage the effect. The other two movements go well: the conductor can't resist a slight dynamic pullback and acceleration in the finale's coda, but he projects the seemingly redundant closing series of C major chords with purpose and direction, for a positive finish.

The Pastoral is an up-and-down affair, mostly up. Rattle's sculpting of the articulations in the opening phrase, while finicky, heralds a performance marked by trim, delicate playing, with the development, conversely, bringing a full measure of hearty cheer. Unfortunately, the conductor allows the tempo to slow markedly at the recap's start and again in the coda, the latter producing some confused rhythmic scansion. In the scene by the brook, Rattle reverts to some of his early-career mannerisms. The subdued, blunted triplets at the start enhance the pictorial effect, but later such smudging produces mere heaviness. The fussy unmarked ritard at the end of the fourth bar is perhaps musically defensible, but did it need to accompany every recurrence of that same phrase?

The latter part of the symphony recovers. In the scherzo, the strings play with plenty of vigor and thrust, particularly in the Trio's peasant dance. The trumpet, coming out of the second Trio, sounds slightly under pitch, but Rattle relaxes the subsequent passage, another nice descriptive touch. There's plenty of presence and color in the storm movement; the conductor's tenuto style produces a few softish landings, but actually lends emphasis to the coda's chordal punctuations. The finale runs smoothly, though the textures sound a bit thick and cluttered, and soggy execution renders the "traditional" agogic accent at 5:29 more than usually meretricious.

These performances won't disappoint Sir Simon's fans, and they're frankly better than I expected from him. Sound quality, by the way, is excellent, with crisp definition and plenty of impact.

Stephen Francis Vasta













































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.