£16 post free World-wide

 


555 sonatas 9Cds mp3 files
Only £22


 


Benjamin: Written on Skin £16

Search
What's New
Previous CDs
Concerts
Jazz
Nostalgia
Composers
Resources
Announce
Labels index


Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



Some items
to consider


BRAHMS Complete Edition
58CD £95.22


Shostakovich 14 Petrenko


Rachmaninov #3
Prokofiev #2

 


Dunedin Consort

Peter Grimes

Hymn of Jesus: Sea Drift

Complete Mozart Edition
Mozart complete edition

Vaughan Williams Symphonies 5 & 8 £11

Weiner, Klepper, Bloch, Schulhoff £12 post free


Available again


 
REVIEW



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
CDAccord
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter
 

alternatively
CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS

The Bohemian Album
Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Serenade for Strings in E op. 22 (1875) [27:42]
Pavel HAAS (1899-1944) String Quartet no. 2 op. 7 From the Monkey Mountains (version for string orchestra and percussion) (1925) [32:56]
Erwin SCHULHOFF (1894-1942) Five Pieces for String Quartet WV 68 (version for string orchestra) (1923) [15:14]
Amsterdam Sinfonietta/Candida Thompson
rec. Philharmonie, Haarlem 22-23 December 2008; Bach Hall, Amsterdam, The Netherlands 23-24 May 2008. SACD stereo multichannel - hybrid disc
CHANNEL CLASSICS CCS SA 24409 [78:00]

Experience Classicsonline

This superbly engineered disc continues one element of the recorded trajectory of the Amsterdam Sinfonietta which is to present augmented arrangements of string quartets. They’ve already had some success with their engorged versions of Shostakovich’s second and fourth quartets, Beethoven’s Op.135 and Verdi’s quartet, amongst other things. Now we come to a very different repertoire.

The vin ordinaire, as it were, is Dvořák’s evergreen Serenade in E – which is an authentic work authentically performed. But we then have Pavel Haas’s Quartet No.2 and Ervin Schulhoff’s Five Pieces, which have been inflated to chamber orchestra size. I have no rooted objection to this in any way. In fact it’s been done before in the case of the Haas. The Australian Chamber Orchestra and Richard Tognetti recorded it in his own arrangement (minus the final movement’s percussion part) on Chandos CHAN 10016. It was coupled with equally large-scale versions of Haas’s teacher, Janácek – the First Quartet – and Szymanowski’s Second.

One has to accept that this arrangement will change the character of the work. For the Haas the Sinfonietta has six first violins, six seconds, five violas, four cellos, two double-basses and the percussion part. The result, it needs hardly stating, is a bigger, chewier, generally slower, less mobile, less rhythmically accented performance than one for the quartet. It masks the tensile, changeable, sheer strangeness of the quartet writing; it’s like bathing a face in shaving foam. This is particularly of concern in the Janácek-derived Moravian rhythms, where the verdant nature writing sounds heavier than with the eponymous Pavel Haas Quartet recording [Supraphon SU 3877-2]. The effect here and elsewhere – especially in the cart-lurching pictorial that is the second movement - is a smoothing out of the tensile and tactile writing; the bilious lurches and wayside folkloric dances are flattened. My further objection is that these folkloric episodes are written explicitly for an appropriately sized band; turning them into a regimental string section defeats the object spectacularly. I suppose I could go on; the lack of intimacy of the spectral third movement, the turning of novel sonorities into rather generalized amorphous gestures; the lack of genuine wildness in the finale. But equally I suppose, in the end, the chamber sized version is something else and should be judged on its own terms. The playing is really first class in this respect; this is a truly crack ensemble.

The Schulhoff Pieces are again written for quartet. And again they lose their tart astringency and become more malleable, more parochial in their new arrangements. The second piece, a Serenata, is taken really rather slowly – it’s marked Allegretto con moto - and elsewhere we lose the occasional echoes of Stravinsky. One could quibble too that the tempo for the Alla Tango Milonga doesn’t really work taken quite this slowly. The blurry beefed up Tarantella ends another wonderfully played but to me rather dispiriting reading. Turn to the Schulhoff Quartet on VMS 138 for the real deal.

The Dvořák Serenade gets a light, brisk and eventful performance. It’s certainly airy and nourishing but other performances have found more light and shade; the expressive mastery of Talich and the Prague Soloists in 1951 is an object lesson to one and all.

I said that I had no real objection to these souped-up arrangements. It’s the effect they have that concerns me. It would incidentally be nice to know who made the arrangements and whether the Haas is derived from the Tognetti version with percussion added, or not. Despite the playing and the superlative recording, I can’t see why anyone should prefer to experience these two inauthentic versions to the original incarnations, unless it’s for the pleasure of hearing the fine playing.

Jonathan Woolf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

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

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      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

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

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

Comment
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

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
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
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
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
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
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.