Schubert sonatas

Newest Releases

Piano solo and duet
  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

Free classical music concerts by Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.


Moravec - Twelfth Night Recital
15%off £17.21 (until Dec 7)

Katerina Englichová - harp
15%0ff £10.83 (until Dec 7)

  • Today's leading<br>clarinet-piano duo
  • Stellar debut<br>piano recital
  • Clarinet transcriptions Jonathan Cohler
  • Jonathan Cohler & Claremont Trio
  • French clarinet masterpieces
  • Today's leading<br>clarinet-piano duo

Sibelius Symphonies Maazel
4CDs + Blu-ray audio
Special Price £36.75

RVW A Sea Symphony - Elder

Shostakovich Symphony 10 Nelsons

Verdi Requiem

Dvorak Opera Premiere

Grieg, Mendelssohn sonatas




Would you like a hyperlinked weekly summary of the CDs we have reviewed?

Click for further details

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
Classical Editor
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Buy through MusicWeb
for £12 postage paid World-wide.

Musicweb Purchase button


Giovanni Pierluigi da PALESTRINA (1526 - 1594)
Missa Dum complerentur [33.40]; Super flumina Babylonis [4.32]; Exsultate Deo [2.32]; Sicut cervus [3.23]; O Bone Jesu, exaudi me [3.43]; Dum complerentur dies pentecostes [6.41]
Christ Church Cathedral Choir/Stephen Darlington
rec. Dorchester Abbey, Oxfordshire, 16-17 November 1987
NIMBUS NI5100 [54.31]

Experience Classicsonline

What sort of sound did Palestrina's choir make, when they gave the first performance of Palestrina's Missa Dum complerentur? We don't know. We can't even be sure whether the top line was sung by falsettists, castrati, boys or a combination of all three - not women, of course, that is certain given the church's attitude. What is probably true is that Palestrina's choir didn't sound anything like Christ Church Cathedral choir under Stephen Darlington. This recording was made in 1987, one of the first they made after Stephen Darlington took over from Francis Grier in 1985.
The choir's sound is the epitome of the English cathedral sound, with lovely clear, transparent trebles. There is no hint of the continental sound of Westminster Cathedral. This is neither a good thing nor a bad one, simply a style preference. And when the English cathedral sound is done well as it is here, then it is very seductive. The male altos blend very well with the trebles. But there is the feeling, inevitable in most cathedral choirs, that the men singing the lower parts are not quite the equals of the professional chamber choirs who have made the repertoire their own. Then again, if you look at the choir roster, there are number of names such as Andrew Carwood and Edward Wickham, who have gone on to greater things.
Christ Church Cathedral Choir sing this repertoire on a regular basis in a liturgical context. And this helps bring a naturalness and directness to the performance. You don't get the sort of highly controlled, well modulated performance that a group like, say, the Tallis Scholars would give. And in fact, Nimbus engineers have given the recording some distance, but everything remains clear.
Palestrina's Missa Dum complerentur is a relatively gentle work which responds to Stephen Darlington's relaxed approach, with flexible tempi and a nice feeling for the structure of the piece.
The performance couldn't be anything but English, but it is done with such artistry and naturalness that I was very taken with the result. If you feel you need a more continental approach then Martin Baker and Westminster Cathedral Choir recorded the mass in 2003. The Westminster boys still preserve their famous continental sound. So you have a choice.
Christ Church pair the mass with a lovely sequence of motets. They are all quite well known, but they are a varied and well judged selection. I could imagine a more intense performance of Super flumina Babylonis, but it is nicely balanced and contrasts well with the brighter Exsultate Deo and Sicut Cervus. The sequence finishes with the motet on which Palestrina based the mass.
The CD booklet includes an excellent article by John Milsom and full texts.
This might not be everybody's ideal performance of Palestrina's mass, but it is a perfect example of the English Cathedral sound and beautifully performed.
Robert Hugill

Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Cameo Classics
Prima voce
Red Priest
Toccata Classics

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
Classical Editor
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


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

Return to Review Index

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.