Schubert sonatas

Newest Releases

Piano solo and duet
  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Some items
to consider

Free classical music concerts by Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.


Moravec - Twelfth Night Recital
15%off £17.21 (until Dec 7)

Katerina Englichová - harp
15%0ff £10.83 (until Dec 7)

  • Today's leading<br>clarinet-piano duo
  • Stellar debut<br>piano recital
  • Clarinet transcriptions Jonathan Cohler
  • Jonathan Cohler & Claremont Trio
  • French clarinet masterpieces
  • Today's leading<br>clarinet-piano duo

Sibelius Symphonies Maazel
4CDs + Blu-ray audio
Special Price £36.75

RVW A Sea Symphony - Elder

Shostakovich Symphony 10 Nelsons

Verdi Requiem

Dvorak Opera Premiere

Grieg, Mendelssohn sonatas




Would you like a hyperlinked weekly summary of the CDs we have reviewed?

Click for further details

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
Classical Editor
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Cameo Classics
Prima voce
Red Priest
Toccata Classics

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
Classical Editor
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS

Sound Samples and Download

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54 [30:20]
Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Piano Concerto No.2 in F minor, Op. 21 [32:05]
Louis Lortie (piano)
Philharmonia Orchestra/Neeme Järvi
rec. Church of St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, 13 November 1991. Stereo. DDD
CHANDOS CHAN 10603 X [62:27]

Experience Classicsonline

Try as I might, I cannot think of a single thing to say against this recording. Both works have left giant footprints on the catalogues throughout the history of sound recording, but rarely has either sounded as convincing or as passionate as here.
Everybody seems to have been in the right place at the right time. The acoustic is warm, occasionally blending the piano notes in Chopin's faster runs, but I've no complaints about that. The technical end is a family affair, the producer Brian Couzens, the sound engineer Ralph, and the mix they produce hasn't dated a bit. OK, it does not have the pinpoint precision of more recent SACD releases, but that would surely be inappropriate in works that cry out for atmosphere and aural coherence. The greatest test of the audio is the various woodwind obbligato solos that accompany the piano (or vice versa) in the Schumann. All are cleanly articulated by the audio, not to mention immaculately played by the Philharmonia principals.
Louis Lortie knows just how to gauge the 'Romantic' dimension of these works. Both are filled with tempo indications, all of which are followed to the letter, yet without the results ever sounding pedantic. The Schumann is, at least in my opinion, the greater work, and Lortie takes every opportunity it offers to instil deep psychology into its performance. The strident opening is as forthright as you could want, but all that initial confidence gives way in the second subject, where both composer and performer get on with the real job in hand: the heart-on-sleeve Romantic melodies. The central slow movements of both concertos are pretty insubstantial when you look at the scores, and it is to the credit of everyone involved that the direct simplicity of these movements is never compromised by over-interpretation.
The Philharmonia are on top form, and Neeme Järvi manages to both energise the orchestra and keep them in exact interpretive sympathy with the piano. As I mentioned above, the woodwind solos in the Schumann really are something special; each is played with an apparent freedom without ever compromising the ensemble with the piano, and each has a distinctive colour and character. Ideal.
The Chopin concertos can suffer when great pianists are teamed with uninterested or under-qualified orchestras … and I suspect that many of the criticisms of Chopin's orchestration over the years have been the result of such arrangements. But there are no such concerns here. Balance between soloist and orchestra is maintained beautifully throughout. More importantly, though, the orchestra play their tuttis and accompaniments as if the music actually matters. So there is humour here, and occasional sarcasm. When Chopin writes quasi-military music, the belligerence of the orchestra suggests - rightly I think - ironic or at least undecided intent on the part of the composer.
Don't be put off by the necking swans on the cover. They are representative to the extent that these are 'Romantic' interpretations in the sense that I'd have no qualms in giving this as a Valentine's gift. But there is much more to them than that. The readings are also Romantic in the way that the term could be applied to Beethoven or Brahms: melodic and approachable yes, but with a world of complex, gritty emotion churning away underneath. If your undecided about either of these works - and I had my reservations about the Chopin - then this is the recording to convince you.
Gavin Dixon


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.