£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



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: AmazonUK AmazonUS

Richard WAGNER (1818-1883)
Parsifal - an Orchestral Quest (arr. 1993 by Henk de Vlieger (b. 1953)) [45:56]
Overture and Venusberg Ballet Scene from Tannhäuser [19:53]
Prelude to Act III of Lohengrin [3:28]
Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Neeme Järvi
rec. Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, August 2009
CHANDOS CHSA 5077 [69:38]

Experience Classicsonline

Anyone who remembers Järvi and the RSNO’s recording of The Ring: an Orchestral Adventure will know what to expect here. Henk de Vlieger has made something of a name for himself with his arrangements of Wagner’s operas: he has completed versions of The Ring, Parsifal, Tristan and Meistersinger to date. His aim seems to be to create an orchestral impression of each opera. His foundation stones are the purely orchestral moments (in this case the Act 1 prelude and the two moments of “Transformation music”). To these he appends carefully arranged excerpts from the rest of the opera. Sometimes he gives the vocal lines to the orchestra – most memorably here the low strings who play the line of the Grail Knights in the feast scene of Act 1. Sometimes he just recreates the atmosphere, such as in the early part of the Flower Maidens’ scene. He broadly keeps the narrative structure of the opera but, despite what we are told in the booklet note, I don’t think he’s so much trying to tell the story as to evoke a mood. For example, we go straight from the Act 3 transformation music into the transcendence of the final scene, evoking a rapid transition which is evocative enough in its own way. De Vlieger’s approach isn’t for everyone and it won’t convert the purist, but it offers an alternative to somewhat unsatisfying “bleeding chunks”. He hardly ever meddles with Wagner’s scoring so his approach is undeniably respectful, though some of the transitions between sections feel a little forced. I suspect his approach is more aimed at those who already know the operas but want to approach them in a different light, rather than total newcomers. If you come to this with an open mind then you’ll find more to enjoy than to criticise, but what of the performances here?

The most striking thing about the opening is the pacy manner in which Järvi approaches the score. The prelude, which Wagner intended to hang shimmering in mid-air, moves at a fair crack, leaving too little time for contemplation or meditation. Even the great climax of the “faith” theme seems to disappear after it has barely arrived. This rapid approach has the more serious side-effect that the big climaxes often sound fuddled and the all-important bells in the Grail Hall sound clogged and indeterminate. The orchestral playing is undoubtedly fine throughout, nowhere more so than in a lovely account of the Good Friday music - gorgeous winds here - but in this account of Parsifal I didn't feel that I was given enough time to stop and stare, not even in the transcendent final pages where the RSNO are at their finest.

There is a similar problem with the Tannhäuser overture which rattles along at a fair pace too. This helps to generate excitement in the Venusberg music and the orgiastic aspect of the Bacchanal works very well, but it is less helpful for generating the weighty reverence of the opening section. There is little sense of buoyancy or swell for the great restatement of the Pilgrims’ theme on the trombones, despite some meltingly beautiful string playing in the previous bars. Towards the end of the piece, once all energy is spent, there is a lovely feeling of fragrant stillness as the music winds down to a halt. Going straight from this to the energy of the Lohengrin prelude is quite a shock, but it is here that the speed and energy of Järvi’s reading works best. There is a real celebratory rush here, rounding off the disc brilliantly. The brass sound fantastic in the final refrain.

Recorded sound is superb throughout and the packaging provides a brief comment on all three works. It’s worth exploring for novelty value, but Järvi’s excitable speeds will produce disappointment for many.

Simon Thompson

 


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.