One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,928 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

Salon Treasures from the Max Jaffa Library



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
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   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 Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

Eloquence recordings
All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

July 2022

John Luther Adams Houses of the Wind
John Luther Adams
Houses of the Wind

Horneman Alladin
Horneman Alladin

Stojowski piano concertos
Piano Concertos 1 & 2

Vaughan Williams on Brass

Yi Lin Jiang - Dualis I

June 2022

Beethoven Sonatas 29, 32

Orchestral Works

String Quartets Vol 1




CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS
Download: Classicsonline

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943)
Aleko (1892-1893)
Sergey Murzaev (baritone) - Aleko; Svetla Vassileva (soprano) - Zemfira; Evgeny Akhimov (tenor) - Young Gypsy; Gennady Bezzubenkov (bass) - Old Gypsy; Nadezhda Vasilieva (mezzo) - Old Gypsy Woman; Coro del Teatro Regio del Torino; BBC Philharmonic/Gianandrea Noseda.
rec. RAI Auditorium, Piazza Rossaro, Turin, 8-9 September 2009. DDD
CHANDOS CHAN10583 [50:55]

Experience Classicsonline


Note that this is not part of the Chandos ‘Opera in English” series. This Aleko is sung in Russian. Rachmaninov’s early opera is remarkable, especially given its early date. The inspiration is free-flowing from the composer’s pen; the integrity of the Pushkin original is maintained.
The BBC Philharmonic sounds simply superb in the opening Prelude, delivering the themes of fate and jealousy with equal amounts of foreboding and lyricism. The recording helps – superbly focused, believably balanced and with just the right amount of space. The orchestra is superbly captured throughout, a vital facet of any recording of this piece given the dances that permeate the score. The Women’s Dance is superbly characterful - the BBC Philharmonic’s wind section excels. The Men’s Dance contains more contrasts, all relished by the forces here.
The opening chorus of gypsies makes plain reference to Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances. The chorus throughout - and it plays an integral part in the work’s unfolding - is magnificent. The Teatro Regio, Turin chorus makes a lovely, rounded sound and still sounds believably Russian.
The Russian text is given in Cyrillic only in the booklet, which might pose problems for some. At least there are translations in English, French and German and track points are frequent.
Luxury casting comes in the form of the experienced Gennadi Bezzubenkov as the Old Gypsy, full of Russian melancholy as he reminisces (track 3). The oboe’s supporting comments seem echt-Russian rather than Mancunian. The Old Gypsy Woman, who appears towards the end of the opera, is similarly convincing (Nadezhda Vasilieva).
The title role is taken by baritone Sergey Murzaev, strong and virile of voice. Aleko’s Cavatina (track 10) is powerfully delivered, a clear arioso narration until Aleko utters the magic name of “Zemfira”. The aftermath of his Cavatina (after the lines “Zemfira is unfaithful! Zemfira has grown cold!”) is a magical Intermezzo, during which the moon disappears and daybreak begins onstage. His vocal acting in the finale, when he awakes to find Zemfira and the Young Gypsy together, is excellent, right up to the moment he stabs the Young Gypsy.
As Zemfira, Svetla Vassileva is pure and yet passionate. Her big number is the Lullaby (track 9), preceded by the tender duet with the Young Gypsy - the ardent tenor Evgeny Akimov. Only his later off-stage aria, “Look how beneath the distant vault of Heaven …” disappoints, lacking the last iota of conviction. Again, the BBC Philharmonic performs a sterling service in setting up the atmosphere, here in the pointed phrasing. Vassileva sings beautifully, moulding her responses to the text perfectly.
Noseda conducts intelligently, sensitively, with full structural awareness of the dramatic trajectory. We clearly hear the Tchaikovskian influences in the orchestral writing, particularly in the yearning string phrases.
Rob Barnett rightly praised the Järvi DG recording on this site some eight years ago. I would love to hear the Svetlanov (only part of a six-disc set, alas). I remember a Proms performance of Aleko some years ago now which featured the magnificent Elena Prokina – perhaps it is too much to wish that she were part of the Chandos cast. Whatever, there is no doubt that this performance stands firmly on its own two feet.
My Recording of the Month, by a long way.

Colin Clarke



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.