One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,928 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for


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

FOGHORN Classics

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

New Releases

Naxos Classical

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


Obtain 10% discount


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


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom
Ph. 020 8418 0616



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat



Recordings of the Month


piano music Vol 4


Songs of Love and Sorrow

Thomas Agerfeldt OLESEN
Cello Concerto

The female in Music




From Ocean’s Floor



CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS

American Clarinet
Elliott CARTER (b.1908) Clarinet Concerto (1996) [19:47]; Steve REICH (b.1936) New York Counterpoint (1985) [11:07]; Elliott CARTER (b.1908) Gra (1993) [3:45]; Howard SANDROFF (b.1949) Tephillah (1997) [16:18]; John ADAMS (b.1947) Gnarly Buttons (1996) [24:56]
Franck Rossi (tape, electronics); André Trouttet (clarinet) (Adams); Alain Damiens (clarinet); Ensemble InterContemporain/David Robertson
rec. 6-7 September 1998 (Carter Concerto) and 11 November 1998 (Adams); Cité de la Musique, Paris, 17, 12, 22 July 1996, IRCAM, Espace de Projection, Paris (Reich, Carter, Sandroff). DDD
EMI CLASSICS 9 67133 2 [76:30]

Experience Classicsonline

This disc contains some of the masterpieces of twentieth century American clarinet writing. Elliott Carter’s Clarinet Concerto starts, in the expert hands of Alain Damiens and the Ensemble InterContemporain. Composed in 1996, this is a rich work with lyrical lines, moments of exquisite beauty and contrasting fast-moving passages which are energetic and complex but never impenetrable. The ensemble is formed predominantly of wind, brass and percussion, with just five solo string players adding colour. Carter treats the ensemble as a series of instrumental groups, linked by the clarinet soloist, providing timbral variety for each of the sections while retaining an overall sense of unity. The slow-paced sections have a beautifully lyrical quality, while the faster moments have an enjoyably biting panache. This is an excellent performance which lives up to the high standards one has come to expect from this ensemble.
The harmonic simplicity and slowly transforming patterns of Reich’s New York Counterpoint provide a fascinating contrast. The difference between the two works is stark, demonstrating varied aspects of the contemporary clarinet. Here, the instrument’s timbre takes centre-stage, and the unified tone of all the tracks is one of the main features. Each of the sections makes use of different rhythmic characteristics, and I particularly enjoyed the final fast section with its pounding bass note accents and syncopations.
Gra is a short, virtuoso solo work for clarinet by Carter, composed in 1993 as an 80th birthday tribute for Lutoslawski. The Polish title means ‘play’ and corresponds to the playful nature of the work. Here Carter’s wit is in full flow, and this challenging work is both light-hearted and high-spirited. Howard Sandroff’s Tephillah for clarinet and electronics repeats motivic patterns in the style of a mantra, with live electronics used to add an extra, unpredictable dimension in performance. The electronics are performed as a duo with the live performer, using reverb, delay lines and chorusing at different points in the work. The music is based on Hebrew chants, and is in three contrasting movements which are heard without break.
The last work on the disc is Gnarly Buttons by John Adams, with André Trouttet the able clarinet soloist. One has the sense with this work that it is almost autobiographical; Adams played the clarinet himself in marching bands, and was introduced to the instrument by his father through the music of Benny Goodman. Jazz elements can be detected here, particularly in the solo line, as can the regular pulse of the marching bands. Adams’ musical language is relatively - at least in comparison to Carter’s - simple, but highly effective; despite the conventional nature of this concerto, the orchestration makes use of some interesting sounds, including computer-generated samples, cor anglais and banjo. The central movement is a dancing Hoe-Down, subtitled Mad Cow, with interrupted lines and a developing sense of fun. By contrast, the final movement is an expressive, contemplative ballad, with simple tonality used to create an easily accessible sense of emotion at the opening. The subtext to this movement is said to be a depiction of Adams’ father’s struggle with Alzheimers, and this poignant opening is both expressive and touching. Rhythms are used to add a sense of tension and disarray, as the music becomes more complex, dissonant and chaotic as it progresses.
This is an enjoyable CD with high quality playing throughout. The programming is interesting and varied, showing the multi-faceted compositional output of some leading twentieth century American composers.

Carla Rees



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.