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: Historic Recordings

The Premiere Recordings
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770 - 1827)
Symphony No. 3 in E Flat, Op. 55, Eroica (1803) - abridged [22:55]
Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op.67 (1807) [29:05]
New Queen’s Hall Orchestra/Henry Wood (3)
Odeon Symphony Orchestra/Friedrich Kark (5)
rec. 1910 (No.5) and 1922 (No.3)

Experience Classicsonline

For years the received wisdom was that the first complete recording of the Beethoven Violin Concerto was the one made by Isolde Menges. Actually Juan Manen had just beaten her to that honour. Similarly when one thought of the Fifth it was of Nikisch’s 1913 Berlin recording. Various other recordings came close. The Victor Concert Orchestra under Josef Pasternack, for example, left behind a 1916-17 traversal. Shortly after François Ruhlmann directed an orchestra on Pathé. Later acoustic entrants included Landon Ronald and the Royal Albert Hall Orchestra in 1922 and Otto Urack and the Vox Symphonie in the following year, closely followed by Seider-Winkler and the Neues Symphonie. But they had all been upstaged by a pioneering effort in 1910 by Friedrich Kark, who directed the Odeon Symphony Orchestra.

Kark was born in Hamburg in 1869 and was a recording pioneer. He was the musical director for German Odeon during the years 1906-10 so was auspiciously placed to conduct this uncut first ever recording for his own company. One must accept the recording principles of the day. You can hear individual violin lines; the reduced combination sounds very small, chamber sized, possibly something like 6-2-2 and then brass augmentation or substitution for the string basses. Wind parts were equally scaled down. The percussion is audible however despite the boxiness of the acoustic and the severe compression of the forces. There are a few mishaps - there a pizzicato slip in the scherzo, but unanimity of attack was pretty much conditional in nerve wracking circumstances such as these. Kark emerges as a businesslike conductor, with the usual romanticised gestures at the start and a strong, bluff energy elsewhere. There was a transfer of this on the Japanese Wing label some years ago but I’ve not had access to it for comparative purposes.

The Kark is a stand-alone disc from Historic Recordings but for the purposes of this review the company has kindly augmented it for me with Henry Wood’s 1922 Eroica (CDs are custom-made and comprise the purchaser's selections). This was something of a cause célèbre because despite admiration for the performance (a fact often forgotten) Wood and Columbia were heavily censured for the truncation. Nevertheless despite the mutilation one can say that this was the first ever recording, as with the companion Kark, just beating Oskar Fried and Frieder Weissmann - both with the Berlin State, but the former for Polydor and the latter for Parlophone.

It was interesting going back to look at a few contemporary comments about Wood in the light of this recording. By 1925 he was considered a ‘sad disappointment’ in the recording studio according to a critic of the day. Whether this was wholly interpretative or whether the repertoire - rather bitty - had something to do with it one can’t be sure. Still, in 1926 he re-recorded the Eroica and that performance far more than this one, shows his tough and confident approach in its best light. This earlier recording with its raft of bass reinforcements offers a fascinating glimpse at the editorial processes current with regard to abridged recordings - the majority, after all.

There are no notes, as is house style with this company. I don’t particularly regret that if it keeps costs down and allows specialists to get on with the business in hand - namely, accessing very decent sounding transfers of (in the Kark case) very rare historic material.

Jonathan Woolf   
















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.