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
(New titles - January)


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

Chopin Piano Concerto No.1

Schubert Piano sonata

Schubert symphony No. 9

Katherine Watson (Sop)

From Severn to Somme


We are currently offering in excess of 52,000 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


CD: MDT £11.75 AmazonUK £13.99 AmazonUS

O felici orecchi miei! - Vecchie e celebri canzoni napoletane. Dominico Balzani
Nicola VALENTE (1880 – 1946)
1. Passione [3:35]
Salvatore CARDILLO (1874 – 1947)
2. Core ’ngrato [2:59]
Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797 – 1948)
3. Me voglio fa’na casa [2:07]
Eduardo DI CAPUA (1865 – 1917)
4. ‘O sole mio [4:02]
Gaetano LAMA (1886 – 1950)
5. Reginella [3:53]
Pasquale Mario COSTA (1858 – 1933)
6. Era de maggio [2:51]
Ernesto TAGLIAFERRI (1889 – 1937)
7. Piscatore’e pusilleco [2:29]
Eduardo DI CAPUA
8. I’te vurria vasa [4:32]
Vincenzo BELLINI (1801 – 1835)
9. Fenesta che lucive [3:18]
Eduardo DI CAPUA
10. Maria mari [4:23]
Enrico CANNIO (1874 – 1949)
11. ‘O surdato ‘nnammurato [3:28]
Guillaume COTTRAU (1797 – 1847)
12. Fenesta vascia [3:34]
Ernesto De CURTIS (1875 – 1937)
13. ’Torna a Surriento [3:50]
Salvatore GAMBARDELLA (1873 – 1913)
14. ’O marenariello [3:03]
Rodolfo FALVO (1874 – 1936)
15. Guapparia [2:40]
Libero BOVIO (1883 – 1942)
16. ’Tu ca nun chiagne [1:39]
Antonio DE CURTIS (1898 – 1967)
17. Malafemmena [3:56]
Rodolfo FALVO
18. Dicitencello vuje [2:47]
Domenico Balzani (baritone)
Ludo Mariën (accordion), Macri Simone (piano)
no recording dates and venues
Italian texts with summaries in French, English, German and Dutch in the booklet
PHAEDRA 292023 [59:06]

Experience Classicsonline

A mixed programme of Neapolitan songs should still have its appeal and on this disc there are quite a number of songs that are unhackneyed. Core ‘ngrato, ‘O sole mio, Fenesta che lucive and ’Torna a Surriento have been recorded over and over again, but much of the rest were attractive finds that I will return to with pleasure. What makes the disc stand out from most other discs of this kind of repertoire is the way it is performed. Instead of a brilliant tenor we hear a baritone with Italianate rounded tone and instead of inflated and bombastic orchestral accompaniments we hear a piano alternating with an accordion.
It is true that the first two songs were slightly disappointing, the first sung with power and little of the light and shade, the second musically nuanced but still robust and prosaic. Things improve with the Donizetti song (tr. 3), where Signore Balzani lightens the tone and makes it a charmer with its ‘tra-la-la-lera’. The real revelation comes with O sole mio, heard in too many hammed-up versions. Here we are treated to a dreamy accordion introduction with finely judged rubatos and quite restrained singing. There is nothing of the Pavarotti exhibitionist approach – and very refreshing it is, filled with joy. On top of this there are no fortissimo high notes at the end. This is music-making for an intimate room with some friends gathered around tables, sipping a glass of wine.
Even more of a find is Gaetano Lama’s Reginella (Little Queen). It’s a sad song by a man whose love has left him. As long as they lived in poverty there was love, but now the woman has tasted riches and left her King to become Queen of another man. It is again sung softly and intimately with wonderful, sensitive phrasing.
And this is the hallmark of this recital throughout. There are few big gestures but lots of exquisite nuances, flexible tempos and engaging story-telling. Time and again we also admire the lovely accordion playing, in Fenesta che lucive the accompaniment is tastefully embellished. Balzani and his fellow musicians take this repertoire seriously, by which I mean that they show the inherent musical qualities and don’t treat the melodies as vehicles for showing off.
In Torna a Surriento Balzani really lets loose in a couple of powerful fortes but – contrary to the showy types – the song ends with a postlude by the accordion that finishes with a diminuendo. There’s excellent playing also by the pianist – but the accordion makes the songs more intimate and small-scale, which I think they should be. This is a recital that should be an excellent corrective to the many full-throated programmes that are or have been available. Carlo Bergonzi made a couple of discs – one of them with piano accompaniment – and the present one is in the same sincere and tasteful mould.
The recording is first class and though I would have preferred full-scale translations of the texts, the summaries are a good help to savour the content of these lovely songs.
Göran Forsling













































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.