52,943 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

Chopin Edition 17CDs
now available separately
£11 post-free anywhere


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

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets


Recordings of the Month


Jean-Baptiste LEMOYNE

Enescu Ravel Britten

Debussy Images etc.

53 Studies on Chopin Études 1
Konstantin Scherbakov (piano)



Che fai tù? - Villanelles

Cyrillus KREEK
The suspended harp of Babel

violin concertos - Ibragimova

Peteris VASKS
Viola concerto - Maxim Rysanov

The Complete Lotte Schöne





Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

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

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Essential Highlights of Jorma Hynninen
CD 1

Die schöne Müllerin D795 (1824)
Das Wandern; Wohin?; Halt!; Danksagung an den Bach; Am Feierabend; Der Neugierige; Ungeduld; Morgengruß; Des Müllers Blumen; Tränenregen; Mein; Pause; Mit dem grünen Lautenbande; Der Jäger; Eifersucht und Stolz; Die liebe Farbe; Die böse Farbe; Trockne Blumen; Der Müller und der Bach; Des Baches Wiegenlied.
CD 2
Winterreise D911 (1827)
Gute Nacht; Die Wetterfahne; Gefrorne Tränen; Erstarrung; Der Lindenbaum; Wasserflut; Auf dem Flusse; Rückblick; Irrlicht; Rast; Frühlingstraum; Einsamkeit; Die Post; Der greise Kopf; Die Krähe; Letzte Hoffnung; Im Dorfe; Der stürmische Morgen; Täuschung; Der Wegweiser; Das Wirtshaus; Mut; Die Nebensonnen; Der Leiermann.
Jorma Hynninen (baritone); Ralf Gothóni (piano)
rec. Järvenpää Hall, Helsinki, Finland, May 1988 (CD 1); Martinus Hall, Vantaa, Finland, September 1988 (CD 2)
ONDINE ODE253-2D [64:44 + 72:21]

Experience Classicsonline
To celebrate its 25th anniversary, Ondine, now distributed by Select but still operating independently, have released five bargain twofers in “a limited edition available in 2010 only.” Each comprises titles from their best-selling backlist to showcase five of their star artists: sopranos Soile Isokoski and Karita Mattila, violinist Pella Kuusisto, clarinettist Kari Kriikku and the singer featured here, baritone Jorman Hynninen.

“Essential Highlights” is somewhat misleading, in that rather than offering snippets, the programme provided here consists of telling accounts of Schubert’s two most celebrated song-cycles, both recorded by Hynninen in his prime in 1988. “Die schöne Müllerin” is slightly unusual in that it is more often sung by a tenor, although there have been many recordings made by baritones. “Winterreise” is sung in its most familiar tessitura – but again, we have had highly successful versions recorded by singers of other vocal categories, especially mezzo Brigitte Fassbänder and contralto Nathalie Stutzmann. Not being much of a fan of Fischer-Dieskau, I am unused to hearing a baritone in “Die schöne Müllerin” and take as my yardstick recordings by tenors Aksel Schiøtz, Fritz Wunderlich and, more recently, Jonas Kaufmann – although the latter evidently has more of a baritonal colouring to his voice than his silvery predecessors. In general, I feel that this music really demands a tenor voice to make its full impact, so I began listening inclined to make disparaging comparisons between Hynninen and his tenor competitors.

I have to say that his singing wholly disarmed my prejudice, even if I still persist in favouring a tenor version. A lot of his success has to do with the brilliance and sensitivity of Rolf Gothóni his accompanist – perhaps the wrong word, given the prominence and beauty of the piano part, but more of that anon. Born in 1941, Hynninen has been one of the pre-eminent Finnish singers of the last thirty years. He possesses a flexible, slightly grainy, husky baritone with a light vibrato, an easy top and rich low notes. He has performed very successfully in opera but is particularly renowned for his interpretations of Schubert, making this bargain set indispensable to any lover of Lieder or any of his fans who do not already own these discs.

His freedom and naturalness with the German text suggests that he is quite at home in the language, without sharing Fischer-Dieskau’s propensity for preciosity and for pouncing on words. I also happen to think that he has a more beautiful voice than DF-D, but that is a question of personal taste. I was surprised to find that the transpositions Hynninen requires are often by no more than a tone downwards and sometimes not at all. There are fleeting moments of strain or ungainliness in fast-moving songs with higher-flying passages such “Der Jäger” – but tenor Kaufmann has the same passing difficulties, inherent in a heftier voice having to take on such music. Hynninen counteracts the possibility of a baritone being unable to convey a sense of lost, bewildered youth by frequently lightening his voice into a tender, touching mezza voce and employing falsetto for particular effects, such as in the closing cradle-song “Des Baches Wiegenlied”.

Hynninen and Gothóni attack “Das Wandern”, the opening song of “Die schöne Müllerin”, at such a pace that I was temporarily taken aback, but I suspect that this was a deliberate choice to counteract immediately any effect of lugubriousness which a lower-pitched voice might engender. Tempi in general are brisk; both artists rely more on precise, calculated articulation of both notes and texts to delineate emotion rather than an all-purpose melancholy. They seem well attuned to poet Wilhelm Müller’s exploitation of that very Romantic technique of pathetic fallacy; as the narrators contemplate the rippling brook or trudge through the bleak landscape, their emotions are palpably embodied in the interplay between voice and piano and the listener is drawn into this world of metaphysical projection. Hynninen’s personae in both cycles emerge as very real and very human, operating in a vividly realised, naturalistic context.

Gothóni is simply the best pianist I have heard in this music since Gerald Moore; his playing complements perfectly the singer’s emotional range, especially in “Winterreise”. It is noticeable that its vocal topography suits Hynninen slighly better than “Die Schöne Müllerin”; as he moves from a haunting half-voice to a more extrovert and operatic register, Gothoni shadows him, unhurried and sonorous in “Das Wirtshaus”, nervy and agitated in “Im Dorfe, defiant and emphatic in “Mut”. Singer and pianist are equal partners, each varying the dynamics, employing rubato and momentary hesitations to heighten or lower the emotional temperature, particularly in “Der Lindenbaum”, a key, core song, whose opening affords a moment of repose before the stark intrusion of “Die kalten Winden bliesen”. The culmination of the cycle is “Der Leiermann”, that most haunting and disturbing of songs; Hynninen and Gothóni combine to evoke the strange beauty of the benumbed, trance-like state of a narrator “half in love with easeful Death.”.

There are literally scores – hundreds? - of recordings of these two song-cycles available at any one time to the collector and a top recommendation is impossible. Just as many adore Fischer-Dieskau, there are some who swear by Ian Bostridge’s version. I do not share their enthusiasm and as such am happy to endorse Hynninen’s artistry as being at least on a par with theirs, if not superior, although I would still turn first to a favourite tenor to hear “Die Schöne Müllerin”, fine though Hynninen is.

Ralph Moore



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.