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

Yes we are selling
Acte Prealable again!

we also sell Skarbo

and Oboe Classics


with Eggebrecht we get all the excitement we can handle

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

Vraiment magnifique!

Quite splendid

Winning performances

Mahler Symphony 8
a magnificent disc

a huge talent

A wonderful disc

Weinberg Symphonies 2 & 21
A handsome tribute!

Roth’s finest Mahler yet

Mahler 9 Blomstedt
Distinguished performance



We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

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


cover image

CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples and Downloads

Ave Maria
See below review for full tracklist
Frieder Lang (tenor); Alain Clément (bass); Praxedis Rütti (harp); Daniel Winiger (organ); Andrej Lütschg (violin); Regula Schüpbach (cello)
Zürcher Sängerknaben/Alphons von Aarburg
rec. St. Michael’s Church, Zollikerberg, Switzerland 4-5 June 1995
TUDOR 7029 [52:52]

Experience Classicsonline

We learn from the booklet accompanying this disc that the Zurich Boys’ Choir was founded in 1960 by its present conductor, Alphons von Aarburg. It is not attached to any church or school, but the boys meet to rehearse several times each week as well as participating in a “singing camp” during the school holidays. The disc was recorded some fifteen years ago, but the choir is still going strong, and indeed celebrates its fiftieth anniversary this year, still with the same conductor.

A glance at the programme will confirm that this is a collection of contemplative music. There is a certain sameness of atmosphere as the programme progresses, and the attentive listener will probably wish for a bit more variety. I hesitate to recommend it as background listening, so let me say instead that the mood it creates is more suited to quiet reflection than to undivided attention.

The programme is an interesting and inventive mix of well known and lesser known pieces. It opens with one of the best known of all, the famous Bach and Gounod joint effort. The notes seem to be suggesting that Gounod’s original adaptation of Bach’s Prelude was scored for harp, organ and solo violin, and though this was news to me there seems little reason to doubt it. The present performance adds a solo cello and two vocal parts, and may be a later version by Gounod himself, or indeed a hybrid concoction by the present performers. Either way, the opening notes from the harp come as a surprise, as do the two string soloists when they get in on the act. The soloist, Daniel Perrer, is excellent, and the choir sings perfectly well, but the scoring adds extra sweetener to an already sugary exercise. The cello and harp put in another appearance in Franck’s Panis angelicus, along with the organ, and whilst this may be a bona fide composer’s version - the choir in several parts in the canonic second verse - the effect is romantic and indulgent in a piece which can be very affecting when given simply.

Panis angelicus features some very pleasing solo tenor singing from Frieder Lang, and indeed his presence is one of the strong points of this collection. He is ably supported by the children in Franck’s rather lovely Ave Maria, and he turns in a most sensitive performance of an Ave Maria by Tosti. Another solo Ave Maria, by Arcadelt this time, is certainly beautifully sung, though the authentic performance purists might quibble at one or two stylistic points. I think they might not be totally satisfied with Schütz from Zurich either, at least not in 1995, rhythmically stolid and altogether too smooth for comfort.

The programme features a masterpiece or two, not least the two sublime Bruckner motets. Ave Maria is given a good performance, as is Virgo Jesse, though to my ears the boys do not supply anything like the passion in the soprano line that both pieces require. Most adult choirs find it easier to provide this, and a group such as the Westminster Cathedral Choir manage to find both passion and restraint, a heady mixture. There are one or two slightly uncertain attacks in the upper register here too, and, for this listener, some unpleasant staccato and accented final syllables on the word “hallelujah”. In the Verdi piece, and judged by the standards of the finest children’s choirs, intonation is not always spot-on.

Reger’s lullaby, given in a two-part version unfamiliar to me, and again accompanied by the harp, is a particular pleasure. The Mozart, at a reasonably flowing tempo, goes as far as most performances in avoiding the morose atmosphere which can so easily invade this glorious piece. The harp appears again, along with the organ, in Schubert’s Ave Maria. The young Daniel Perrer again sings beautifully, but this really doesn’t sound much like Schubert. Then, that’s not the point of the disc, which will bring much pleasure to those who enjoy this kind of programme.

William Hedley

Jakob ARKADELT (c. 1500-1568)
Ave Maria [2:10]
J. S. BACH (1685-1750)
Jesus bleibet meine Freude [3:22]
J. S. BACH/Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893)
Ave Maria [5.06]
Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896)
Ave Maria [3:08]
Virgo Jesse [3:43]
César FRANCK (1822-1890)
Ave Maria [3:29]
Panis angelicus [3:43]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Ave verum corpus [3.19]
Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901)
Laudi alla Vergine Maria [5 :24]
Max REGER (1873-1916)
Mariae Wiegenlied [2:04]
Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1635-1921)
Ave Maria [2:04]
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Ave Maria [4:07]
Heinrich SCHÜTZ (1585-1672)
Lobe den Herren, meine Seele [6:25]
Francesco Paolo TOSTI (1846-1916)
Ave Maria [3:13]



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.