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

in the first division

extraordinary by any standards

An excellent disc

a new benchmark

summation of a lifetime’s experience.

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now

A Garland for John McCabe


DIETHELM Symphonies

The best Rite of Spring in Years

BACH Magnificat

Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26

Just enjoy it!

La Mer Ticciati








Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
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
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937)
Violin Concerto No.1, Op.35 (1916) [23:05]
Symphony No.3 Chant de la nuit for tenor, chorus and orchestra, Op.27 (1914-16) [25:26]
Christian Tetzlaff (violin), Steve Davislim (tenor), Volkhard Steude
Singverein der Gesellschaft Der Musikfreunde/Johannes Prinz
Wiener Philharmoniker/Pierre Boulez
Bonus CD
Interviews with Pierre Boulez:
1. English Interview Andrew Clemens [15:04]
2. German Interview Albert Hosp [16:00]
3. French Interview Omer Corlaix [15:32]
rec. Großer Musikvereinsaal, Wien, June 2009 (concerto); March 2010 (symphony). DDD
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 8771 [48:31 + 46:36]

Experience Classicsonline
Boulez conducts Szymanowski – how unlikely is that? Probability is stretched yet further by these pieces being two of the Polish composer’s most ecstatic and lapidary works. After this we must not be surprised if Boulez next records the Krol Roger opera or even Bantock’s Love Songs of Hafiz! Perhaps the marriage is not that implausible given Boulez’s The Firebird and his forays into Bruckner and Mahler. It’s certainly no great travel between the luminous pages of the First Violin Concerto and Stravinsky’s early ballets and Mahler’s night music movements. The present two works along with the orchestral song-cycles and Harnasie are among my favourite Szymanowski - my hopes were very high.

Right from the very start this recording of the Concerto proclaims itself in luxury. Every bejewelled line is held up to the light in luminously glimmering sound. It has never been more beautifully recorded. Tetzlaff’s violin carries a sheen of vibrato – the merest dusting to intensify its exoticism. It’s the first time I have noticed the references to Saint-Saens’ Havanaise as well as an ambient affinity with Korngold. The cadenza is by Pavel Kochanski. Intriguingly Boulez, in the recorded interview, says that he prefers the first violin concerto over the second. He also mentions that, as a student, he was much struck by the Fontaine d’Arethuse which he heard at a Jacques Thibaud concert.

Of the four symphonies Boulez was most drawn to the Third - by its music, obviously, but also by the religious-philosophical text by Rumi. It’s fascinating and its allure is contributed to by tenor Steve Davislim rather than the soprano used by Witold Rowicki in his classic analogue recording. He sounds very idiomatic as he does also in the Vierne and Chausson he recorded for Melba. The recording is just superb and picks up details previously lost to my ears including that doomed drum-beat. The solo violin again plays a critical part rather like a trusted helpmeet yet the part is also freighted with an unnerving sinuous seduction. The choral writing is close to Delius, the glowing lambency of Moeran’s Nocturne and the translucent ecstasies of Flos Campi. Every detail is in place.

There are other aspects to this set. Do they signal a trend? Package 49 minutes of music on one CD and add three different 15 minute conductor interviews – each in a different language - on a second CD. Encase them in an undeniably elite hardback book of 40 pages enlivened with a mix of session photos and historic images of Szymanowski. Then charge £17.00 - that’s MDT - or if Amazon: £21.99. It must be conceded that even if the two works were sold as one CD they would make short commons. As for the book – certainly a lovely thing – just seven of the 40 pages are taken up by the English language essays. There is, I am pleased to say, a very sensibly laid out full text for the Symphony and translations into English and other languages.

A deluxe presentation then – and a price to match - for these two headily exotic works. I wonder whether Boulez and DG will return to Szymanowski for the Stabat Mater, Sinfonia Concertante and Krol Roger.

Rob Barnett































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.