MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing



Buy through MusicWeb
for £10.50 postage paid World-wide.

Musicweb Purchase button

Sound Samples & Downloads

John GARDNER (b.1917)
Flourish for a Wedding Op. 162 (1983) [2:57]; Easter Fantasy Op. 232 (1997) [6:41]; Theme and Variations for Brass Quartet Op. 7 (1952) [11:11]; Five Dances for Organ Op. 179 (1988) [17:16]; Sonata da Chiesa sopra un thema di Claudio Monteverdi Op. 136 (1976) [13:44]; Sonata Secolare Op. 117 (1973) [15:21]
Paul Archibald (trumpet); Cosmopolitan Brass (Helen Sanger, Stephen Pemberton (trumpets), Kate Hainsworth, Alex Hambleton (horns), Craig Beattie, Fabian Schmidt (trombones), Yao Cong Tan (tuba)); Stephen King (organ); Chris Gardner (conductor):
rec. Brentwood Cathedral, 29-30 January, 12 February, 25 June 2010

Experience Classicsonline

Among the many composers whose music does not get the exposure or the reputation that it deserves surely John Gardner is one of the most deserving. A few welcome discs apart – above all those of orchestral music from Naxos and ASV in recent years – anyone wanting to get to know his music has had to make do with scraps on other discs. So for that reason alone this disc should be warmly welcomed, but when in addition to the quality of the music, performances, recording and presentation are all first rate the achievement and the attraction of the disc are all the greater.
John Gardner is still best known for just one work – the carol Tomorrow shall be my dancing day. It turns up frequently in services, concerts and on disc. Whilst it deserves no less, and whilst there are many composers who have never managed anything half as memorable or enjoyable, this carol is merely the tip of the iceberg as far as his output is concerned. There are symphonies and concertos, much choral music and the opera The Moon and Sixpence which must be overdue for revival; it seems tailor-made for Opera North. All of his music that I have heard shares the characteristics of being above all musically alive, of having something to say and saying it interestingly and economically.
That is certainly the case with all the works on this disc although perhaps it is better not to listen to it straight through – the sound of brass and organ, whether together or separately – can be wearing. The first work – the Flourish for a Wedding – shows straightaway the characteristics I have described. It is for two trumpets, two trombones, tuba and organ, and makes use of the chorale Wachet auf in a joyous, varied and exciting miniature. The Easter Fantasy omits the tuba but is also based on existing melodies. The best works on the disc however are the two Sonatas. The Sonata da Chiesa for two trumpets and organ is based on a motif from L’Orfeo and its four very varied movements evoke the very spirit of Monteverdi. The Sonata Secolare is especially memorable for the slow and haunting middle movement.
The Theme and Variations was written for Philip Jones and was recorded by his quartet. Again its economy of means is remarkable. The Five Dances have been recorded recently by William Saunders on his disc Animal Parade which I reviewed recently. Both versions use the organ of Brentwood Cathedral – that by William Saunders being recorded in April 2010 and the present disc in January and June 2010. There is little to choose between these two versions of this highly enjoyable work.
The larger works are conducted by the composer’s son who also provides lengthy and interesting notes in the booklet. I knew little of this music before listening to this disc but it has given me immense pleasure and I am very keen to get to know more of this strangely under-performed and recorded composer.

John Sheppard

See Paul Conway’s article about John Gardner











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

Past 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.