Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Some items
to consider

£11 post-free anywhere
Normal service resumed


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


Recordings of the Month


Beethoven String Quartets

Produzioni Armoniche

Seven Symphonic Poems

Shostakovich VC1 Baiba Skride
Tchaikovsky Symph 5 Nelsons

Vivaldi Violin Concertos



Beethoven Piano Concertos

Stradal Transcriptions

LOSY Note d’oro

Scarlatti Sonatas Vol 2


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: AmazonUK AmazonUS
Download: Classicsonline

Albert ROUSSEL (1869-1937)
Symphony No. 4 in A major, Op. 53 (1934) [23:18]
Rapsodie flammande, Op. 56 (1936) [9:58]
Petite Suite, Op. 39 (1929) [13:00]
Concert pour petit orchestre, Op. 34 (1927) [13:12]
Sinfonietta, Op. 52 (1934) [9:40]
Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Stéphane Denève
rec. Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow, UK, 17-18 October 2006 (Rapsodie); 30 May-1 June 2007 (Sinfonietta); 13-14 August 2008 (Symphony, Petite Suite); Henry Wood Hall, 14 August 2008 and City Halls, Glasgow, 20-21 October 2008 (Concert pour petit orchestre) DDD
NAXOS 8.572135 [69:08] 

Experience Classicsonline

This CD may conclude Stéphane Denève’s highly regarded series of Roussel’s symphonies and other orchestral works, unless he plans to record The Spider’s Feast and other music not already represented. Of the four volumes, the one under review may well be the most attractive because all of the works come from Roussel’s mature period where he had perfected his own brand of neo-classicism. In Richard Whitehouse’s words in the accompanying booklet, Roussel’s neo-classicism is “wholly personal in its resourceful harmonies, intricate counterpoint, and energetic rhythms.” Indeed, a few minutes spent with any of the works on the disc will reveal the composer’s individual stamp, easily identifying the music as that of Roussel.
The Fourth Symphony has never been as popular as its famous predecessor, but certainly deserves to be. If anything, it has greater depth and more variety in its four movements and, arguably, the most profound slow movement Roussel composed. It may not have the powerful, motoric rhythms of the Third, but compensates with its greater lyricism. It has received its share of excellent recordings, too, but none better than this new one by the RSNO under Denève. His has been a superb series all round and no more so than in the current release. I have not heard the series by Christoph Eschenbach and the Orchestre de Paris, which has also received a good deal of attention, but I doubt that it could be better than this one. Heretofore my favorite recording of the Fourth Symphony has been the one by the Detroit Symphony under Neeme Järvi on a Chandos CD that also includes the second suite from Bacchus et Ariane, the Sinfonietta, and the Third Symphony. While that version of the Fourth is quite good, with excellent performance and sound, Järvi does not bring out the variety in the work the way Denève does. For one thing he races through the slow movement: his timing is 7:04 compared to 9:36 for Denève! This is more than a subtle difference, with Denève finding much more in it without ever sounding the least bit ponderous. Elsewhere, too, one is much more aware of the wonderful orchestration with the many wind solos making their presence felt, but with no distortion in the balance with the strings and percussion. Having listened to this new version numerous times, I cannot imagine a better performance of one of the twentieth-century’s most delightful symphonies.
The remainder of the disc is also up to the level of the symphony, with none of the works being mere fillers. The most familiar of these is undoubtedly the Sinfonietta, composed just before the symphony and resembling its style, though it is scored for strings only. Again it receives a superb performance here, as it did with Järvi, with little to choose between the two recordings. The other pieces on the disc are new to me, but I enjoyed them all. As Whitehouse notes, the Flemish Rhapsody is Roussel’s homage to his Flemish ancestry. It is based on actual Flemish songs of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and is an attractive work. The Petite Suite and the Concert pour petit orchestre are both in three movements, as is the Sinfonietta. The structure is similar, with a slow movement surrounded by two faster ones. However, as in the Symphony No. 4, the slow movements are the meatiest of the three in these two works, being nearly as long as the two faster movements put together. In the Sinfonietta, on the other hand, all three movements are of similar length, even though the andante slow movement’s three-minute length belies its power.
Both the Petite Suite and the Concert are lighter in vein, even breezy, and contain much color and no little humor, but are nonetheless substantial works that really add to one’s appreciation of Roussel’s genius. The Petite Suite is divided into an Aubade, a Pastorale, and a Mascarade, with the Pastorale containing much delectable writing for the woodwinds - oboe, flute, and clarinet - and a muted trumpet solo that has a bit of blues about it. The Concert is equally colorful and memorable and has the character of a concerto grosso, especially apparent in the slow movement with its woodwind solos. The first movement allegro ends on a totally unexpected chord, after much high-spiritedness that returns in the final presto with its driving rhythms reminiscent of those in the Third Symphony. However, this movement, too, ends quietly and rather unexpectedly.
There is not a dull moment in this whole program. With outstanding performances and excellent sound, the disc will appeal strongly to those collecting this series as well as to newcomers to Roussel’s music. I can think of no better place to start.
Leslie Wright

see also review by Nick Barnard 












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.