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

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android


Tudor 7188


Vaughan Williams Symphony 3 etc.


Lyrita New Recording


Lyrita Premiere Recordings

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

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
Atoll
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 AmazonUK AmazonUS

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Christmas Oratorio BWV 248 [149:42]
Barbara Schlick (soprano); Michael Chance (alto); Howard Crook (tenor); Peter Kooy (bass)
Chorus and Orchestra of Collegium Vocale Ghent/Philippe Herreweghe
rec. Mindersbroederskerk, Ghent, January 1989. stereo. DDD
VIRGIN CLASSICS 0963342 [78:09+71:33]

Experience Classicsonline



As you might expect, Herreweghe's account of the Christmas Oratorio is as authoritative as any. His orchestra and choir are lively but always precise and his soloists all excel. Most impressively, Herreweghe is able to marshal his impressive forces to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. The Christmas Oratorio isn't the most coherent of Bach's works, but Herreweghe brings it all together, not so much by imposing architecture as by maintaining the flow of the music and not letting any single movement stand out too much from its surroundings.

The general mood of this performance is surprisingly relaxed. Even from the outset, the solo timpani in the opening bars sound curiously flaccid, and the orchestral and choral textures that follow are warm and round rather than punchy and focussed. The use of such a large choir in a period performance is unusual, but their precision and agility more than justify the numbers.

The number of orchestral players is not given, but the string section also sounds relatively large. The wind soloists put in some great performances, but Herreweghe always makes sure that the obbligato lines are subservient to the solo voices. Marcel Ponseele plays first oboe, and with more restraint than on the Kuijken recordings. He also spends a fair proportion of the work playing oboe d'amore. It is great to hear a virtuoso performance on that unduly neglected instrument.

The vocal soloists form a well-matched group. In keeping with this relaxed performance, none is required to take anything to excess, giving the recitatives, and especially the arias, an almost conversational feeling of flow. The lion's share of the vocal work goes to Howard Crook as the Evangelist, and his light but characterful voice is ideal for the part. He often introduces solo numbers by the other singers and each time the timbral similarities between them make for an almost seamless transition. In any other context, these vocal performances could be criticised for lack of power and projection, but here the performances are ideal. Fans of Michael Chance and Peter Kooy might want to track this recording down for their performances. In 1989, both men were at the height of their powers, and Herreweghe makes sure he gets the best from both of them.

So why the relaxed tone in so much of this music? Well, by reducing the musical drama, Herreweghe is able to present the Oratorio as a more coherent entity. Also, the continuously celebratory major music that makes up so much of the work can get monotonous when presented in more boisterous recordings – introducing a sense of intimacy and poise creates more variety if nothing else. The recording also cleverly counters a range of stereotypes about the period performance movement. The idea that such ensembles are always small, always play fast and always go for spiky, angular sonorities, is countered by every aspect of this recording. The choir and orchestra are large, the tempos are relaxed, and the sound is warm. Herreweghe has plenty of austere period performance recordings to his name, but he is clearly open to other ideas as well.

Gavin Dixon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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.