Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

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
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

alternatively
CD: MDT

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)
Symphony No. 8 in G, Op. 88 [36:50]
The Noon-Day Witch, Op. 108 [13:00]
Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95, From the New World [45:10]
In Nature’s Realm, Op. 91 [14:31]
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra/Seiji Ozawa
rec. live, May 1991 (Opp. 91, 95), April 1992 (Opp. 88, 108), Großer Saal, Musikverein, Vienna
NEWTON CLASSICS 8802003 [49:50 + 59:40]

Experience Classicsonline


What ever happened to Seiji Ozawa? Since taking over the Vienna State Opera in 2002 (a job which ends this year), Ozawa has nearly fallen off the map of new recordings. Over the last eight years, I can find only a handful of new Ozawa albums, most of them collaborations with young pianists like Yundi Li (Prokofiev and Ravel concertos), as well as a Takemitsu disc and a small collection of concert DVDs. A quick search of MusicWeb International finds little trace of the conductor over the last few years. Ozawa, who turns 75 at the beginning of September, is still featured in many reissues, but his patience for, or marketability in, the recording process appears to have faded.
 
Thus the fact that these recordings of Dvořák’s last two symphonies, featuring the Vienna Philharmonic, are in fact live tapings from 1991 and 1992. The Eighth, from April of the latter year, is given a good performance, full of pastoral ambience and terrific wind playing. Ozawa does not really emphasize the sharp rhythms of the symphony, or go out of his way to make them seem quirky. Quirky, sharp rhythms do not have to be fast, by the way: a few years ago, I would have listened to this recording of the scherzo and wished it were faster, but now I wish it were slower.
 
What Ozawa does, by contrast, is to make the music very attractive. The Vienna Philharmonic are natural allies; the first movement is gorgeous and bucolic, the second highlighted by a very subtly pretty flute-clarinet duet, and the finale is fast from start to finish (occasionally too much so) with excellent playing by all. There are about fifteen seconds of applause.
 
The first disc also includes a brisk performance of the superb symphonic poem The Noon-Day Witch. The music is performed with great energy and clarity (always a winning combination), and the Viennese orchestra shines as usual. At 4:21 one can hear a motif played on cellos which will reappear prominently in The Wild Dove. What is missing is the element of grotesquerie or sheer storytelling panache brought to this music by a conductor like Charles Mackerras. The superb orchestration is rendered beautifully, but not indulgently; the entrance of the witch is eerily done by the violins, but at a tempo which seems curt. The recorded sound, on the other hand, is terrific, giving prominence to the percussion which becomes thrilling at the coda. This time there is no applause.
 
The Ninth Symphony continues the trend from the first disc: Ozawa makes no obvious mistakes but creates no singular insights either, and the Vienna Philharmonic play wonderfully. I should single out for praise the scherzo, given with special fervor, and for criticism the opening, on which there are a few seconds of applause while Ozawa walks onstage. Why were these preserved for us?
 
In Nature’s Realm gets the best performance of the set; the beauty of the Vienna Philharmonic and the swifter-than-usual tempi from Ozawa making the piece sound fresh, breezy, and bright. I can hear highlighted all sorts of orchestral detail which I had not heard before (from Kubelík, Ančerl, Gunzenhauser, or Netopil), like the violin pizzicatos in the fifth minute, or the excited trumpets at 9:15.
 
I am left with the conclusion that this is a set recorded very well, played very well, and conducted without error, which nevertheless fails to rise (except in the case of In Nature’s Realm) to the very best of the competition. Otmar Suitner’s Staatskapelle Berlin reading remains my favorite Eighth, and Kubelik, Szell, and Mackerras are among the names I’d mention for the Ninth. Ozawa’s readings, though, are respectable and enjoyable, with admirable dedication to presenting the orchestration with clarity, and this is certainly better than, say, the recent Marin Alsop discs. Maybe the best thing about this set, though, is the excellent booklet. After reading David Gutman’s excellent essay, I feel like a much better-informed listener to this music.
 
Brian Reinhart
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


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.