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

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



MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883)
Der fliegende Hollander - Overture [11:21]
Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)
Don Juan - Rehearsal and interview with John Culshaw [32:55] Performance [16:49]
Ludwig Van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Symphony No.5 in C minor, Op.67 [35:15]
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden/Sir Georg Solti (Wagner/Strauss)
BBC Symphony Orchestra/Sir Georg Solti (Beethoven)
rec. 22 September 1963 (no location given) (Wagner); 19 March 1967 (no location given) (Strauss); 13 May 1985, Royal Albert Hall, London, UK (Beethoven).
Producer (original broadcasts): Walter Todds (Wagner); Herbert Chappell (Strauss); Alex Spink (Beethoven)
Director (original broadcast): Tom Gutteridge (Beethoven)
Picture format: 4:3/NTSC
Sound: Ambient Mastering
Region: 0 (worldwide)
Subtitles: French, German (rehearsal footage only)

Experience Classicsonline

I’m too young to have seen Sir Georg Solti in concert; watching him in action on ICA Classics’s DVD demonstrates what I’d always suspected listening to his recordings. It’s a clichéd phrase, but it seems apt in this case: Solti was a ‘force of nature’, barely able to contain the fizzing energy he demonstrated on the podium and his physical gestures confirm my long held impression of him as an almost violently demonstrative conducting presence. Solti hacks and cuts through the air with flailing arms, determined to communicate every ounce of the pulverising energy he wants to extract from whichever score is before him. In the earliest film on this disc, Solti wrings all of the power out of Wagner’s Flying Dutchman Overture, arms flapping in a manner that you couldn’t call graceful. Ultimately, in this 1963 BBC studio performance with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, his taut and driven Wagner is pushed too far, but elsewhere his relentless approach worked - how many of us heard The Ring for the first time in his ultra vivid stereo Decca recordings and were hooked for life?
Appropriately, Solti is seen in conversation with John Culshaw, acclaimed producer of that seminal Ring. Culshaw is a relaxed interviewer in a segment featuring conversation and rehearsal on Strauss’s Don Juan. Solti never sits still - that same restless energy as evident on the sofa as on the podium - but the rehearsal and performance footage of Don Juan shows Solti much more receptive to its quieter moments than his Dutchman conducting let on. It’s a shame that the rehearsal footage offers no English Subtitles as Solti’s voice doesn’t always carry as far as the nearest microphone and his comments are often delivered extremely quickly. One revealing nugget that is heard perfectly is his instruction to the orchestra that it ‘doesn’t matter if it’s the wrong note, I’d much prefer a good rhythm’. Solti was, after all, all about the rhythm. With Culshaw, Solti speaks about his experiences of Strauss, right at the end of the composer’s life - I didn’t know, for example, that Solti had conducted at Strauss’s funeral - and his comments about the work’s programme are genuinely enlightening. It is a shame, though, that a picture of Strauss fills the screen at the outset of the eventual performance, meaning that we don’t get to see how Solti launches into the extremely difficult upward surge that begins the whole wonderful work.
An Ethiopian relief concert gives us a view of Solti almost two decades later, conducting Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. This 1985 performance, given at the Royal Albert Hall, again proves Solti’s concern for rhythmic vitality above all else, but he is noticeably more contained on the podium than in the 1960s films. The first movement is trenchant and not particularly swift and the Andante that follows is carefully paced. Most impressive are the taut and concentrated final moments of the finale, in which Solti finds a tempo which makes Beethoven’s series of almost-conclusions seems little less over-egged than usual. The BBC Symphony play well for Solti, though there are a few issues of ensemble in the third movement; an upwards glance is all Solti gives away by way of concern, though.
Solti’s Dutchman is not helped by a poor audio production, rendering the sound quality little better than a mid-1940s radio broadcast - how much of the wind section’s apparent poor form is rather due to the wretched sound is something we’ll never know. The Strauss fares better, although initially it seems startlingly glossy in the treble after the Wagner. Considering the Beethoven hails from the digital era, one might have expected better sound quality than the BBC - who made the original broadcast - provided; it’s narrowly focused and dynamic contrasts are dulled somewhat, but it doesn’t detract from the performance too much. It’s worth pointing out that none of this is the fault of ICA Classics, who have served up another enlightening and enjoyable slice of classical music’s televisual past.
Andrew Morris
Follow Andrew’s string music blog

Masterwork Index: Don Juan






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.