Aureole etc.




Nimbus on-line




If it’s the Czech works you’re after, do not hesitate

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android


Tudor 7188


Vaughan Williams Symphony 3 etc.


Lyrita New Recording


Lyrita Premiere Recordings

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

 

 

 


 
REVIEW



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

cover image

availability
CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS

Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874–1951)
"Of Dragonflies and Moonbeams"
Das Buch der hängenden Gärten (“The Book of the Hanging Gardens”) (1908-9) Op. 15 [25:34] Pierrot Lunaire (1912) Op. 12 [35:03]
Alison Wells (mezzo); Firebird (John Barrow (flute); Dov Goldberg (clarinet); Ian Buckle (piano); Mieko Kanno (violin); Adrian Bradbury (cello))
rec. West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge 16-17 July 2007
UNIVERSITY OF HERTFORDSHIRE UHR 020011007 [60:37]

Experience Classicsonline

There is a big surprise for the listener on this disc, but it is not the one which the back of the cover may lead you to expect. The front cover gives little away, stating merely “Of Dragonflies and Moonbeams” and the names of the artists. It gives the titles of the works in English, the authors of the poems and the words “English translation copyright 2007 Susanne Frankel”. However this does not mean that they are sung in English, simply that English translations (but no German originals) are included in the booklet. This was a disappointment to me, as there is much to be gained from the more direct link between words and music that comes from hearing vocal works in translation. The new translations are in fact not very different to those easily available before, and in themselves are unlikely to influence whether you buy the disc.

The actual surprise, one which however may well make you very keen to buy, is revealed inside the booklet. It is that “Das Buch der hängenden Gärten” is sung in an arrangement by Howard Burrell for the same ensemble that Schoenberg used in “Pierrot Lunaire”. This proves to be a very welcome surprise, as what can sound somewhat austere and hard to follow in the original version comes much more clearly to life when given additional colour and when individual lines can be discerned. I have to admit that whilst I find Pierrot both fascinating and lovable I still find that I admire rather than enjoy the earlier cycle. Even if you know it well this version makes much clear that all too often is muddy or even ugly in unsympathetic performances.

Alison Wells has a wide experience in the performance of new music, as well as being a respected teacher. However I must admit to finding her actual vocal tone somewhat worn and unattractive and hard to listen to at length. Her vibrato makes it hard to discern the precise shape of the vocal line in Op 15, and her version of the sprechstimme of Pierrot is unconvincing. There is no doubt as to her total involvement in both works, but I did feel the lack of sheer beauty of tone by the end of works with only limited respite for the singer or listener. Others may respond differently, and I do have great admiration for the detailed way in which both performances have clearly been prepared.

Firebird is an ensemble resident at the University of Huddersfield and mainly involved in the performance of contemporary music. They play with impressive accuracy although much more can be made of the very dramatic second part of Pierrot. Indeed the contrasted character of the three parts does not register as clearly as surely it should. Nonetheless they are clearly wholly conversant with the style of the music, and give a very convincing account of the rearranged Op. 15. It is indeed for that work that the disc is worth having, even if there are better sung versions available in the original piano version.

John Sheppard



Total involvement, but lack of sheer beauty of vocal tone can be a problem… see Full Review
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

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

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      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

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

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

Comment
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

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
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
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
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
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
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.