One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,416 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount



CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Symphony No 9 in D minor Choral Op 126 [62:04]
Isobel Baillie (soprano); Kathleen Ferrier (contralto); Heddle Nash (tenor); William Parsons (baritone)
London Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra/Bruno Walter
rec. live, Royal Albert Hall, London, 13 November 1947
MUSIC & ARTS CD1243 [62:04]

Experience Classicsonline

This recording has been available for some time in other transfers but the present issue derives from restorations by Andrew Rose for Pristine Audio in 2008 and Aaron Z Snyder in 2010. I have not heard the earlier versions so that I cannot compare them, but the results on the present disc certainly sound remarkably good for their date - much better than many live recordings from ten or even twenty years later - especially bearing in mind the notoriously difficult acoustic of the Albert Hall as it was at that time. The result is that one can concentrate on the performance without too many distractions. Admittedly there are some remaining problems. The balance is at times odd, with the timpani very prominent, the first violins are apt to disappear unpredictably into the distance, and there are moments of severe congestion, but there is nothing here that seriously obtrudes in listening to the performance. It does help to be able to imagine what is missing at times and to have an idea of what the live balance would be, but this is clearly an issue to appeal essentially to those who know the work well already so that this should not be too much of a problem.
I find it difficult to imagine concert life in London so soon after the war in a city dominated in my childhood memory by bomb sites and shortages. It is a pity that the brief notes in the booklet do not mention what else was on the programme for this concert or say anything else about its context but what matters is the performance itself. It is powerful and energetic - not words I would use about Walter’s later recordings but very obviously in the same exciting vein as the superb Met Fidelio of 1941 that Naxos reissued some years ago. The first movement is fierce rather than mysterious - possibly the recording has something to do with this - and the second very lively, if short on repeats. The wonderful lyrical approach to the slow movement leads to a finale that for once seems to be treated as a whole rather than a series of short sections and to lead inexorably towards the final release of energy at the close.
This is a live performance and not everything is perfect. To my surprise Heddle Nash sounded effortful at first whereas William Parsons, despite a somewhat dry tone, is much better than I had expected. The two ladies meet most of the formidable requirements of their roles as well as you would expect - a pity that there is so little of them. The choir are also very good and I imagine that occasional indistinctness to be the result of the recording and the hall rather than their performance. The orchestra are generally good despite some occasional faults of intonation and ensemble. If anything these add to the excitement of the occasion. The audience are allowed some brief applause at the end and provide a few coughs and other noises during the music but these are not too obtrusive.
All in all this is an issue which will appeal to any admirer of the conductor or to listeners wanting to hear a performance of the Choral which stands somewhere between his great contemporaries Toscanini and Furtwängler. This is certainly not for anyone without a more modern and better recorded version of the Symphony in their collection but it is very well worth hearing for its own merits and as an instructive comparison with the modern mainstream of historically informed performance.
John Sheppard 












































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.