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



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

CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS

I Was like WOW
Arthur HONEGGER (1892-1955) Hommage du trombone exprimant la tristesse de l'auteur absent [1:37]
Frank MARTIN (1890-1974) Ballade [8:01]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Aria 'Jener Donnerworte Kraft' [7:26]
Joseph JONGEN (1873-1953) Aria et Polonaise [7:18]
Martijn PADDING (b.1956) Second Piece [5:33]
Jacques CASTÉRÈDE (b.1926) Concertino [12:45]
Philippe GAUBERT (1879-1941) Morceau Symphonique [6:15]
Martijn PADDING (b.1956) Third Piece [2:55]
JacobTV (b.1951) I was like WOW [10:31]
Jörgen van Rijen (trombone); Paolo Giacometti (piano); Marcel Beekman (tenor); Frits Damrow (trumpet)
Combattimento Consort/Jan Willem de Vriend
rec. Waalsekerk and Doopsgezinde Kerk, Amsterdam, Spring 2008 Stereo/Surround DDD/DSD

Experience Classicsonline
This disc offers a varied showcase for the talents of a phenomenal player. Jörgen van Rijen is the principal trombone of the Concertgebouw, but in recent years has also become a soloist of international standing. His tone is broad and strident, but there is also enough variety there to cover the spectrum from the militaristic to the lyrical.

On the whole, this programme tends towards the latter. Apart from the title track, which concludes the CD, the main works are all familiar staples of the solo trombone repertoire. But of those three, the Martin, the Castérède and the Gaubert, two are in less familiar arrangements. Frank Martin’s Ballade, was originally written for trombone and piano but is better known in the later orchestrated version. If the original sounds a little flat in comparison, that’s certainly not the players’ fault. But the hairpinned swells in the strings at the opening, for example, are notable by their absence. Van Rijen makes up to a certain extent with the variety and lyricism of his performance. Paolo Giacometti offers both lyricism and drama, both here and elsewhere on the disc.

The unusual feature of Jacques Castérède’s Concertino as presented here is the inclusion of a trumpet. Frits Damrow is the principal trumpet of the Concertgebouw, and easily matches van Rijen’s virtuosity, but without stealing the show. Apparently, the addition of the trumpet to this trombone and piano work was an afterthought on the composer’s part and a solution to the congested textures in the accompaniment. Freed of this extra thread of counterpoint, Giacometti provides a muscular accompaniment that balances the heavyweight soloists. The style of work approaches Poulenc, a rich mix of the lyrical and the dramatic in a framework that is only ever a short step from neo-classicism. Gaubert’s Morceau Symphonique is the one standard work that is presented in a standard form. Or rather not, in that it is famous as an audition and examination piece, but would rarely be heard in either of those contexts performed to this standard.

Van Rijen brings the sound of an orchestra section principal to his solo work. The technical resources he can draw on are phenomenal. I’m particularly impressed by the broad, round tone he often has in the very highest register – that’s ideal for Schumann 3, but you wouldn’t hear it from Christian Lindberg. Having said that, van Rijen shares Lindberg’s taste for narrow but definite vibrato and also his ability to produce smooth lyrical lines in any register or tempo.

One of his secrets when it comes to legato, I think, is the acoustic. All the works on the disc were recorded in churches in Amsterdam. I get the impression from the sound that the churches are quite small, but impressively resonant. The clarity and length of the decay allows the notes to blend when required, and in combination with the SACD sound creates a satisfying feeling of aural immersion. On the other hand, there is something a little artificial about it too, or rather claustrophobic, as if the acoustic has been selected solely to showcase the surround sound. The piano in particular sounds very strange. It is recorded from a distance, I think, to accentuate the effect, but it is unthinkable that anybody would try to record a solo piano recital this way.

Of the less familiar works, the biggest surprise - for me at any rate - is an aria by Mozart with trombone obbligato. This work is completely new to me, but is a major contribution to the trombone repertoire. It seems we have Luther’s deficient organology to thank for the trombone part; the 11-year-old composer used the instrument for the aria because his Lutheran bible refers to the last trumpet of Judgement Day (the subject of the text) as Posaunenschall. Van Rijen is joined in his warm bath of an acoustic by tenor Marcel Beekman and the period ensemble Combattimento Consort. He uses a sackbut for the work, but unless you’d read that in the liner, you’d never know. Similarities again with Lindberg, whose recent sackbut disc sounds just like his tone on the modern trombone. I suspect that both players have retained their modern mouthpieces for the sake of their lip. Unfortunately, you lose a lot of period colour that way.

Martijn Padding’s Second Piece and Third Piece are unaccompanied works commissioned by van Rijen. There are plenty of extended techniques here, glissandos and growling. The composer is clearly aware of the arresting effect of van Rijen’s muscular upper register and uses it for a number of loud passages to good effect. Third Piece makes extensive wah-wah use of a harmon mute, and comes over quite jazzy as a result.

I was like WOW! is an interesting finale. It belongs to that specific sub-genre of crossover where electronic effects developed for dance music are employed in electro-acoustic classical environments; other names to look out for are Roque Rivas and Stefan Klaverdal. So we have audio samples from interviews with American soldiers about the injuries they sustained in Iraq, a multi-tracked trombone line, and some heavy ominous bass-box accompaniment. The trombone line(s) often mimic the formants of the spoken voice, which creates a coherency in the timbral array. On the other hand, the concept behind the piece never really becomes clear, and when the voice samples are looped and slowed down, the result seems indulgent and manipulative. I’d call the work experimental, in the sense that there is obviously a great deal of potential in the technology for interaction between the classical and the electronic (composer JacobTV describes his work as ‘avant-pop’), but too many ideas are thrown in to create anything artistically valuable. The disc includes a video to accompany the work - are they hoping for a slot on MTV? - but it adds nothing.

Disappointment, then from the last track, but as far as the rest of the programme goes, I can honestly say, I was like WOW!

Gavin Dixon


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.