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

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


CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Amy BEACH (1867-1944)
Piano Music Volume 3 Ė The Mature Years
Fantasia fugata Op.87 (1923) [6:09]
Les RÍves de Colombine Op. 65 (1907) [18:24]
The Lotos Isles (c. 1914) [3:32]
Prelude and Fugue Op.81 (1912-14) [10:16]
From Blackbird Hills Op.83 (1922) [4:35]
The Fair Hills of …irť, O! Op.91 (1921) [4:33]
A Hermit Thrush at Eve Op. 92 No.1 [5:03]; A Hermit Thrush at Morn Op.92 No.2 (1921) [4:28]
From Grandmotherís Garden Op.97 (1921) [13:34]
Two Pieces Op.102 (1924) [4:09]
Kirsten Johnson (piano)
rec. March 2010, Wyastone Leys, Monmouth
GUILD GMCD 7351 [74:43]

Experience Classicsonline

After something of a gap we now have the third instalment of Kirsten Johnsonís survey of the delightful piano music of Amy Beach. Iíve reviewed the previous two (vol. 1 vol. 2 vol. 2) and can reiterate how enjoyable itís been listening to Johnson, and also, once again, to her disc rival and compatriot Joanne Polk on Arabesque (the relevant Arabesque volumes for points of comparison in this case are Z6704 and Z6721 Ė see review).

This volume selects ĎThe Mature Yearsí, so we approach Beach between roughly 1907 Ė when she was 40 - and 1923, when she still had another two decades to live. A Hermit Thrush is heard at Eve, and at Morn, the two pieces forming Beachís Op.92. The impressionistic fleck of the former is a signal of her immersion in Gallic writing. This quality is the more explicitly realised by Polk, whereas Johnson prefers a more beguiling, softer and rounder sound world. The result is that Johnson stresses the romanticism at the musicís heart, whilst Polk seeks out the Debussian. The Hermit Thrush at Eve again sees an interpretative divergence. Polk reveals the harmonic steps more obviously; Johnson prefers a fresher innocence, and is less avian. The music sounds far more modern, proto-Messiaen in small places, with Polk, more dappled with Johnson.

This is a small example of a general truth in these performances. Both are impressive however, in their own way, in the Prelude and Fugue where there is, in any case, somewhat less room for interpretative manoeuvre. Polk, true to form, etches deeper and darker and is more adamantine, and more dramatic. But Johnson takes a more direct route in this Lisztian powerhouse piece, and is good as well. In From Grandmotherís Garden Johnson is once again more limpid in her romanticism, and less assertive tonally and chordally too. She has the confidence to unveil Beachís miniatures naturally and with unforced generosity. Some, however, will prefer Arabesque who offer a more burnished sound than Guild.

Where I do definitely prefer Johnson is in her pert and frisky waltz, the third of Les RÍves de Colombine, the earliest of this selection, written in 1907. Polkís crinolines are a bit starchy here, but with Johnson one senses that this Valse amoureuse is going to end with a clinch on the balcony.

These things are very much a question of personal preference. If you like a bold, sometimes even jarring, stylistically Gallic, harmonically questing (in part) Beach, then go for Polk. If you prefer a more carefree, light-hearted, beautifully deft Beach, go for Johnson. If you canít decide, go for broke and go for both.

Jonathan Woolf

see also review by Dominy Clements RECORDING OF THE MONTH July


































































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.