One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here


International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger

Some items
to consider


Reger Violin Sonatas
Renate Eggebrecht violin

Brahms Symphony 3
Dvorak Symphony 8
9 cello sonatas
Piano Music

Clara Schumann
piano concerto

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

Vraiment magnifique!

Quite splendid

Winning performances

Mahler Symphony 8
a magnificent disc

a huge talent

A wonderful disc

Weinberg Symphonies 2 & 21
A handsome tribute!

Roth’s finest Mahler yet

Mahler 9 Blomstedt
Distinguished performance



We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

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




Luigi BOCCHERINI (1743-1805) Sonata No. 3 in G major [10:09]
Gabriel FAURE (1845-1924) Après un Rêve [4:23]
Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Vocalise (1912) [7 :50]
David POPPER (1843-1913) Hungarian Rhapsody, Op. 68 [9 :07]
György LIGETI (1923-2006) Sonata for Solo Cello (1953) [9:20]
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Cello Sonata No. 1 in E minor, Op. 38 [28:33]
Stjepan Hauser (cello); Yoko Misumi (piano)
rec. no details provided
MERIDIAN CDE 84589 [64:58]

Experience Classicsonline

Stjepan Hauser is a young Croatian cellist. He and his pianist, Yoko Misumi, are members of the Greenwich Trio. Their biographies in the booklet reproduce the expected list of illustrious mentors and prestigious concert appearances, but more telling than any of that is the playing, which is consistently impressive.
The sonata by Boccherini reveals a cellist who produces a beautiful sound, very clean and pure and with impeccable intonation. Phrasing is musical and subtle and the player is equally at home in the singing lines of the first movement and in the more rhythmic second and third. The reading of the cello transcription of Fauré’s beautiful song is slow indeed, very romantic with lots of expressive rubato. The original is at once ecstatic, controlled and cool, very French, but the present reading, the heart clearly visible on the sleeve, transforms it into something quite different. This is valid enough – it is a transcription, after all, not the original – but once it was over I needed a dose of Gallic restraint. Gérard Souzay, baritone, provided it. Rachmaninov’s Vocalise usually provokes a similar reaction from me, but in this case it’s clear at least that dreamy, long-breathed lines and languorous atmosphere are what the composer intended. This is therefore a very successful reading.
The recording venue and date of recording are not given, but the contribution of Susanne and Richard – the recording team – is generously acknowledged in the booklet, as is the page turner and the “Coffee Shop next to the church”. The disc is dedicated to the cellist’s parents. The booklet notes are very lightweight and appear to have been written by a non-native English speaker. The booklet as a whole would have benefitted from a bit of editing and detailed proofreading. The recording is close, with the player’s breathing very audible. This will probably bother many listeners less than it does me, but there are other extraneous noises too. The attack of the very first note of the Boccherini, for example, is accompanied by a strange, simultaneous creak which I’m still struggling to identify. The second note too, and many notes thereafter, throughout the disc, apparently associated with bow strokes. Is it from the player’s chair?
Czech cellist-composer David Popper’s Hungarian Rhapsody is creaky enough already not to need any help. Singing lines alternate with technical fireworks, and the whole is dispatched by Hauser with all the skill and bravura you could possibly want. He is equally commanding in the fiendish second movement of Ligeti’s solo sonata. Five years separate the two movements of this piece, the first a mixture of arioso and sliding, pizzicato chords, and the second, a Paganini-inspired virtuoso showpiece. Each movement is satisfying on its own terms, but the years that separate them were long enough, I fear, to prevent them from melding into a convincing whole. Hauser is very fine in this work, but comparing his performance to that of Emanuelle Bertrand on a Harmonia Mundi disc from 1999, I find I prefer it. She brings a greater sense of calm to the first movement, the pizzicato chords more sonorous, and the near-absence of extraneous noises is a real advantage. More contentious, perhaps, is her way with the finale, preferring something altogether more civilised than Hauser’s quite remarkable wildness. She makes more, having more time to do so, of some of the strange sonorities in this movement, and though each view is no doubt as valid as the other, I find the work itself is more convincing in Bertrand’s hands.
The major work in this recital is the Brahms, and it receives a very fine performance indeed from these two young artists. In the same key as the Fourth Symphony, the fugal finale comes to a close, as does the finale of the later (and greater) work, on an uncompromisingly desolate minor key cadence. Indeed, the work is fairly sombre throughout, its gently light-hearted minuet notwithstanding. The work was composed for an amateur cellist friend of the composer, and singing tone and power in the lower register are more important than technical prowess. The piano part is another matter, and here Yoko Misumi comes into her own at last. Her contribution is a very fine one, fully equal to the standards of her partner, though she comes perilously close to overwhelming him at a few points in the work. I compared this performance to that of Natalie Clein, with Charles Owen on EMI Classics for Pleasure, and found I had a similar reaction to the two performances of the Ligeti. Broadly speaking, Natalie Clein plays with rather more finesse – she is both more espressivo and more legato in the opening bars, for example – but can’t quite match up to the Croatian’s sheer power in the more heavily scored passages. Again, both views seem valid, and this performance of the Brahms is a most satisfying way of bringing this very fine recital to a close.

William Hedley

























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.