£16 post free World-wide

 


555 sonatas 9Cds mp3 files
Only £22


 


Benjamin: Written on Skin £16

Search
What's New
Previous CDs
Concerts
Jazz
Nostalgia
Composers
Resources
Announce
Labels index


Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



Some items
to consider


Shostakovich 14 Petrenko


Rachmaninov #3
Prokofiev #2

 


Dunedin Consort

Peter Grimes

Hymn of Jesus: Sea Drift

Complete Mozart Edition
Mozart complete edition

Vaughan Williams Symphonies 5 & 8 £11

Weiner, Klepper, Bloch, Schulhoff £12 post free


Available again

REVIEW
RECORDING OF THE MONTH



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
CDAccord
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter
 

alternatively
CD: Crotchet
Download: Classicsonline

Sven-David SANDSTRÖM (b. 1942)
Messiah (2009)
Robin Johannsen (soprano), Roxana Constantinescu (alto), Timothy Fallon (tenor), Michael Nagy (baritone), Festivalensemble Stuttgart/Helmuth Rilling
rec. live, Liederhalle Stuttgart, Beethovensaal, 6-7 September 2009
Sung texts and German translations enclosed
CARUS 83.453 [36:06 + 54:15]

Experience Classicsonline


A little over two months ago I heard the Scandinavian premiere of Sven-David Sandström’s Messiah in Gävle. The artists were: Stefan Parkman conducting choral forces from Uppsala, Gävle Symphony Orchestra and soloists including Timothy Fallon, as on this recording, in the tenor part. That concert was repeated in Uppsala two days later, which means that the provinces for once were ahead of the Capital. In Stockholm the first performance came a week later at the Berwald Hall, conducted by Herbert Blomstedt.
 
I was deeply moved by that performance (see review) and hoped that there would sooner or later appear a recording. I had my request granted sooner than I could have dreamt. The work was commissioned by the Bach festivals in Oregon and Stuttgart; the Oregon premiere was in July last year (2009); Stuttgart heard it two months later and this recording was made on that occasion.
 
Sandström set the same text as Handel did, which invites comparisons. It should be stressed, however, that Sandström’s aim was not to imitate Handel. His tonal language is distinctly his own and though the words are exactly those Jennens delivered to Handel Sandström finds other solutions to how to set them. What is an aria in Handel’s work may be a chorus in Sandström’s, for instance. Sandström’s arias, are not da capo which means that Sandström’s work is shorter.
 
I was, naturally enough, very curious to see how I reacted to the music at this second encounter. Let me say at once that I was just as overwhelmed. The magnificent opening chorus Comfort ye, by far the longest number in this Messiah, at once had me caught and the music never lost its grip until Worthy is the Lamb and the concluding Amen had faded away.
 
As in Handel’s work it’s the choruses that carry the heaviest burden and Sandström knows exactly how to get the most out of the choral parts, himself having sung in choirs for many years. The orchestral writing is also extremely varied and colourful and there are numerous instrumental solos, not least from the woodwind. The rhythmic vitality is striking and the big percussion section has a field day.
 
Once again I marvelled at the chorus For unto us a child, the beautiful soprano-alto duet He shall feed his flock and the Ramirez-like chorus This yoke is easy, a hit if there is any justice in this world. Even more the a cappella chorus Lift up your hand is among the most breathlessly beautiful choral pieces ever. And what about the Hallelujah chorus? Beginning hesitantly, as though the people are not quite sure that Lord God Omnipotent really reigneth. But gradually the truth dawns upon them, the music expands and becomes swinging and gospel-like. Joy permeates the crowd and the final bars are truly ecstatic.
 
The performance in Gävle was impressive, with overwhelming orchestral and choral contributions. But the work’s dedicatee Helmut Rilling and his Stuttgart forces had already performed the Messiah at the world premiere in Oregon’s Hult Center and were even more inside the music during the two performances in Stuttgart and I can’t find anything that disappoints. The technical demands on the soloists are high; they have to execute quite a lot of coloratura, which they do with aplomb. The two female soloists in particular are very good and Robin Johannsen’s Behold, a virgin shall conceive is masterly. In Gävle I thought that Timothy Fallon’s light tenor voice didn’t carry properly but there are no such problems here. Michael Nagy is expressive in his powerful declamations but his wide vibrato is sometimes too prominent for total enjoyment.
 
The recording is spacious and atmospheric and could just as well have been a studio production, bar the applause at the end, which could surely have been edited out. Sandström started out as downright avant-garde composer, but he has, step by step, become more approachable - without losing his personal tonal language. This new Messiah is deeply communicative in an idiom that is modern but with a melodic and rhythmic beauty that should please even listeners who normally fight shy of contemporary music. In my mind this is one of the finest large-scale choral works during the whole post-war era.
 
Göran Forsling
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


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.