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


cover image

CD: MDT AmazonUK

Sergei RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943) Symphonic Dances, op.43 (1940) [32:39]
Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971)
Le Sacre du Printemps (1913) [32:58]
Malcolm Wilson - Philip Martin (two pianos)
rec. Adrian Boult Hall, Birmingham 30-31 March 2009. DDD.
SOMM SOMMCD 098 [65:37]

Experience Classicsonline

Rachmaninov conceived the two piano and orchestral versions of his Symphonic Dances simultaneously, so neither is an arrangement of the other. Indeed, both versions work so well that when listening to one version you never miss the other, so complete in itself is the text. This is Rachmaninov’s final work, from a compositional career which was severely curtailed by his life as a travelling virtuoso concert pianist. The strength and power of this work makes one all the more disappointed that because of his necessity to earn a living as a pianist we were robbed of so many other works which could have been written. But whatever one’s frustration, Rachmaninov certainly gives the public a work of some substance, and he goes out in a veritable blaze of glory.

The Symphonic Dances is a great work and it requires pianists of stature, not to mention stamina; Wilson and Martin are well up to the challenge. This is a fine performance but it’s all a bit too polite. There are times, such as the climax of the second movement waltz, or the appearance of the Dies Irae in the final dance, where the music should have a wild abandon. It just doesn’t happen here. Ashkenazy and Previn are much to be preferred here for their performance is rip-roaring, no-holds-barred (Decca 444 8452 6 - a 2 CD set containing all the music for two pianos and a few solos from Ashkenazy for good measure).

Le Sacre is so obviously an orchestral work - it fascinates as much for its orchestration as for its content. It takes great insight and intelligence to make sense of this music on two pianos. Oddly what I find missing from their performance of the Symphonic Dances is exactly what makes this performance of Le Sacre so interesting. With marvellous understatement, or is it British reserve?, Wilson and Martin give a sensible and clear-cut performance, allowing individual voices to be heard, and never going over-the-top or descending into melodrama. It’s rhythmically vital and very exciting.

Whilst the Rachmaninov cannot be recommended as the best performance available, this Le Sacre can, and the disk is worth buying if you want the two works, for they make a good coupling. The sound is excellent and the pianism superb.

Bob Briggs



































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.