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


paid for


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

FOGHORN Classics

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

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



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat



Recordings of the Month


From Ocean’s Floor


Conner Riddle Songs

Rodzinski Sibelius

Of Innocence and Experience


Symphonies 1, 2, 3



American Reflections
Atlantic Legend (1983) for viola, cello and harpsichord [15:00]
Tribute to Kerouac (1998) for clarinet, tenor saxophone, piano, and string bass [16:30]
Returnings (1990) for harp and piano [9:31]
Elegy for a Friend (1997) for piano solo [8:37]
Songs of Transcendence (1997) for baritone and piano [21:00]
David Alpher (piano); Jonathan Cohler (clarinet); Maureen Gallagher (viola); Robert Honeysucker (baritone); Myron Lutzke (cello); Robert Lynam (string bass); Martha Moor (harp); Jean Newton (harpsichord); Kenneth Radnofsky (tenor saxophone)
rec. Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory of Music, Boston, Massachusetts, 31 July, 22 September, 6, 12 October 1998.
ONGAKU 024-112 [70:38]

Experience Classicsonline

The credo of US composer David Alpher centres on communication with his audience. There’s a frank engagement with emotion in his music and it comes as no surprise to learn that he and his wife, the singer Jenny Litt, are a cabaret duo “Interpreting the great American songbook and satirizing virtually everything else”. This disc is the first all-Alpher CD.
The instrumentation of his Atlantic Legend comes as a surprise. Viola and cello yes but that most ascetic of instruments, the harpsichord? Alpher is not abashed by the instrument which is put through the wringer as if it were a piano - in fact the writing is pianistic. No doubt that is the way he envisaged the piece. The music has an American pastoralist accent in the Introduction and Toccata and is also jazzily and excitingly syncopated with scorching writing for the two string instruments. There's just a touch of Bloch in here as well though the presence of that harpsichord with its overtones of antiquity also reminded me of Arnold Rosner’s music for the opera Chronicle of Nine. The harpsichord at the start of the second movement might almost be imitating the harp or the classical guitar and the Appalachian-sentimental melody is very touching. It has the poignancy of the music for Ken Burns’ TV Civil War epic documentary. a treasure with a salty tang. These are two very substantial movements together playing for approaching 15 minutes. This bipartite piece was written at the request of Jean Newton for her NY City debut at Merkin Hall in September 1983. The artists are Maureen Gallagher, viola; Myron Lutzke, cello; Jean Newton, harpsichord.
Then follows the seven movement Tribute to Kerouac - Alpher rates Kerouac highly. It is for clarinet, tenor sax, piano and string bass (Jonathan Cohler, clarinet; Kenneth Radnofsky, tenor saxophone; David Alpher, piano; Robert Lynam, string bass). American Nocturne suggests Jack Vettriano’s boulevard loneliness. That Nocturne turns jazz-sleazy and hip-slack. Movin' On has that tenor sax stride. The heat dissipates into uber-cool for Remembered for clarinet and piano; the pulse slows too. Intermezzo is not quite the relaxation I expected. The mood picture is ambivalent: morbid, moody and then irritable. a weird microcosm - a bad trip. Beat Scene is a cue for the return of that raspy sax and the clarinet throws off its sophistication to dance around (and with) the sax. Urgency takes us back to the scatty jazzy rush of Beat scene and Movin’ On. Epilogue is at first pensive and melancholy then the jazzy side floods up again and fades into reflection and inwardness.
Returnings is for harp and piano (Martha Moor, harp; David Alpher, piano) - a rare and far from naturally apt combination. This piece is in a single movement. The two instruments muse in contented, yet guarded, communion. The music is like the rest of Alpher: melodic and determinedly tonal. The pieces ends with sudden almost violent emphasis.
Elegy for a Friend (David Alpher, piano) was written in memory of Alpher's dog Neemu who died, aged seven. He writes of Neemu as a music-lover who surpassed her origins, explored, learned and communicated as we all hope to. This is a dark reflection rather than a celebration of a life or that’s how it communicates to me. It's also the most dissonant piece here and rises to great poignant heights at 7:02. This is powerful music – no room for tear-splashed sentimentality
Songs of Transcendence is for baritone and piano (Robert Honeysucker, baritone; David Alpher, piano). Alpher here sets Emerson, Whitman, Thoreau, Jones Very and Margaret Fuller. Honeysucker is resonant and more bassy than baritonal though he is specially good at the high aspirational material. There's a statuesque quality to this music that reminded me of Alan Bush's often defiant songs as in the Whitman setting that is Earthsong. he has difficulty with the high-lying smoke by Thoreau. Some, such as Leaves in autumn, are very lyrical. The dizzying Dryad Song is redolent of Britten. The final Columbine is the last of two songs by Jones Very which have a Housman feel to them. Worth exploring, I think.
The words are printed in full in the well assembled liner booklet. That Alpher has attracted an introduction by the distinguished composer Gardner Read is remarkable for a start.
To date this is the only all-Alpher CD. I feel there will be more. There deserve to be more.
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.