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


Opera transcriptions & fantasias


Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

Schubert Symphony 9


Jean-Baptiste LEMOYNE

Enescu Ravel Britten

Debussy Images etc.

53 Studies on Chopin Études 1
Konstantin Scherbakov (piano)





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




Christoph Willibald GLUCK (1714–1787)
Alceste - Opera in three acts. Italian version, Vienna (1767)
Kirsten Flagstad (soprano) – Alceste; Raoul Jobin (tenor) – Admeto; Alexander Young (tenor) – Evandro; Marion Lowe (soprano) – Ismene; Thomas Hemsley (baritone) – High Priest/Apollo/Infernal spirit; Joan Clark (soprano) – Eumelo; Rosemary Thayer (soprano) – Aspasia; James Atkins (baritone) – Herald/Oracle
The Geraint Jones Singers and Orchestra/Geraint Jones
rec. Walthamstow Assembly Hall, London, UK, April-May 1956
DECCA ELOQUENCE 480 2979 [3 CDs: 59:38 + 72:06 + 37:17]


Experience Classicsonline

About eighteen months ago I reviewed this classic recording when it emerged on Hänssler (see review). Now that it appears as part of the comprehensive Decca Eloquence Kirsten Flagstad series at half the price.
The musical merits of the set were discussed at some length in my Hänssler review, where I matched it against Arnold Östman’s Naxos recording from the Drottningholm Court Theatre. Stylistically the Flagstad-Jones recording is dated and technically it’s no match for the Östman set. There is however that special treat to have one of the grandest singers of any time in a role for which she seems to have had a special affinity. The grandeur and nobility of much of Flagstad’s singing is on a level that makes it a shame not to have heard it. The dramatic Raoul Jobin as Admeto has also something to offer in intensity and involvement, even though this is unlikely to have been what Gluck would have expected. True Gluck-lovers will need both: Östman for a performance as close to Gluck’s intentions as can possibly be imagined; Jones-Flagstad for the starry quality of Flagstad. It should be remembered, though, that Flagstad was suffering from a heavy cold during the recording sessions and the producer John Culshaw tried to persuade her to abandon the project. But Flagstad persisted and the results are fascinating – on its own merits.
In my review of the Hänssler I intimated that they might have had access to the original tapes. Listening closely to some excerpts from both recordings I could detect small differences in sound quality. The Decca transfer seems to be more open and with more air around the voices and the instruments. I can’t honestly say, however, that the difference is very striking. The Hänssler transfer is at times more immediate and the voices are exposed with the same clarity. Though the Decca issue may be slightly more atmospheric, no one with the Hänssler already on the shelves need feel short-changed.
The layout is the same on both issues with one act per CD and here one can note some differences:
Act I
Act II

This means that the Hänssler takes some more time for each act and a difference of 3 minutes for act II may indicate that the Hänssler plays at a slightly lower pitch. To most listeners – including myself – this hardly matters, but it may be annoying for listeners with perfect pitch.
Where Decca definitely scores is in accessibility. Hänssler consistently offer only one track per scene, whereas Decca are much more generous; Naxos even more so:
Act I
Act II

Neither Hänssler nor Decca offer a libretto; Naxos have libretto with English translation. If I wanted just one recording of this opera in the original Italian version, I would buy the Östman set on Naxos: cheap and historically ‘correct’. But the Flagstad recording is a valuable document and with more cue-points and considerably lower price the Decca set is the one to go for.
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.