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

Free classical music concerts by Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.


Moravec - Twelfth Night Recital
15%off £17.21 (until Dec 7)

Katerina Englichová - harp
15%0ff £10.83 (until Dec 7)

  • Today's leading<br>clarinet-piano duo
  • Stellar debut<br>piano recital
  • Clarinet transcriptions Jonathan Cohler
  • Jonathan Cohler & Claremont Trio
  • French clarinet masterpieces
  • Today's leading<br>clarinet-piano duo

Sibelius Symphonies Maazel
4CDs + Blu-ray audio
Special Price £36.75

RVW A Sea Symphony - Elder

Shostakovich Symphony 10 Nelsons

Verdi Requiem

Dvorak Opera Premiere

Grieg, Mendelssohn sonatas




Would you like a hyperlinked weekly summary of the CDs we have reviewed?

Click for further details

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
Classical Editor
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Cameo Classics
Prima voce
Red Priest
Toccata Classics

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
Classical Editor
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

AmazonUK AmazonUS

Alfredo Catalani - Composer of Lucca by Domenico Luigi Paradini (publ. 1935) including:-
a. Pucciniís Great Rival (David Chandler)
b. In Memory of Alfredo Catalani (Giovanni Battista Nappi) (publ. 1918)
c. The Sorrowful Star of Alfredo Catalani (Raffaello Barbieri) (publ. 1926)
Translated: Valentina Relton
Edited: David Chandler
Durrant Publishing (2nd edition 2010) 153 pages
Hardback: ISBN 978-1-905946-29-7
Paperback: ISBN 978-1-905946-28-0
ePub: ISBN 978-1-905946-16-7

AmazonUK AmazonUS

The First Lives of Alfredo Catalani
a. David Chandler Ė Introduction, Genius and Illness
b. Alfredo Soffredini - Alfredo Catalani (Milan 1890) and Obituary (August 1893)
c. Giuseppe Depanis - Alfredo Catalani, Notes and Memories (1893). A late memoir (1915)
d. Catalani - Letters to Stefani Stampa - 1875-1885
e. Stanley Henig - Catalani on record - The 78 Era
f. Toscanini valediction
Various translators
Durrant Publishing (First edition 2011) 164 pages
Hardback: ISBN 978-1-905946-25-9
Paperback: ISBN 978-1-905946-26-6
ePub: ISBN 978-1-905946-27-3

Experience Classicsonline

I have spent some weeks addicted to these two books. Two issues arose. The first was: could lightning strike twice with both Puccini and Catalani being born in the same town? Given the proliferation of opera composers in Italy, this was more than a possibility depending on how obscure the other composer might be Ö but in the same generation? They were more or less contemporaries. Puccini was born only four years later than Catalani. The odds against become somewhat lengthy with all of these conditions. Then add the intimate connection with Toscanini and the odds go wayward. It was the great conductor who championed Puccini and conducted the premiere of his unfinished final opera, Turandot. Further, in a well documented account, reproduced as a postscript to Book 2, comes Toscaniniís eulogy. There he states that not only did he name his daughter after Catalaniís opera La Wally, but also goes on to assert that Catalani ďwas the most simpatico of the composers - refined Ė he wasnít as crude as the others, Puccini, Mascagni, Giordano, or even Franchetti

It was the latter comment that took me to my extensive music library - too extensive in terms of shelf-space my wife contends. There are twelve books on Verdi. He spoke fondly of Catalani following his premature death in 1893. Thereís a clutch on Puccini, even more on Mozart and many others. Bizet and Beethoven are strongly represented. My speciality of bel canto also features, but thereís nothing on the verismo composers. Whilst I know La Wally I knew little of the contemporary scene in Italy at the time those composers lived. I had some details on Mascagni and Leoncavallo, for example. These are of the type that sometimes used to be found in the detailed essays accompanying flagship CD releases and now seem only to appear in those by Opera Rara. This is not to forget Buddenís chapter, titled a Problem of Identity (Italian Opera 1870-1890) in The Operas of Verdi. Vol. 3 (Cassell 1981. pp. 263-292) and from which a quotation is used in Book 1. Beyond Verdi and his life in Milan, my library keeps me well versed in the operatic and social milieu of the first decades of the primo ottocento via Philip Gossettís Divas and Scholars (Chicago, 2006) and those Opera Rara issues. But thereís much less about the later decades and the turn of the nineteenth century. An important subsidiary virtue for me, of these two books lies not only in their introduction to Catalani but also in the manner and detail in which they fill much of that gap. This is mainly achieved by editor David Chandler via the detailed, extensive and scholarly introductory chapters to both books. Things are also significantly aided by the explanatory footnotes appended, by him, throughout the various chapters of the two volumes.

Reading these books one comes to know the composer quite intimately. The reader feels for his frustration at his physical limitations consequent on suffering from tuberculosis with its frequent debilitating set-backs. As well as his other operas such as La Falce (1875), with its libretto by Boito, using his standard pseudonym of Tobio Gorrio, there are Dejanice (1883), Edmea (1886) and Lorely (1889/90 revision of Elda 1880) to go alongside La Wally (1891). He was a member of the Scapigliateura, or tousle-haired - the group of young bloods whose criticism of the state of Italian opera so got up Verdiís nose and which he took as a personal attack. Boitoís connection with that group was initially a problem when Ricordi broached the latterís name at the time the great Italian master was considering a re-write of Simon Boccanegra (1880-81). Catalani and others such as Boito also met at Countess Maffeiís salon in Milan. She was a significant confidante of Verdi who wrote her many letters. She played some part in bringing Ricordi, Boito and Verdi together in the manoeuvring that brought Otello to fruition.

More than many of his contemporaries, Catalani was diverse in his compositions. There are for example widely admired string quartets and piano music. After tortuous consideration because of his poor health, Catalani was appointed Director of the Milan Conservatory, by Royal Decree, on 11 April 1888. He succeeded Ponchielli in that prestigious post. Illica, Giacosa, Toscanini, G Ricordi, Boito, Leoncavallo and Teresa Stolz - great soprano and friend of Verdi - attended his funeral. In a letter Verdi castigated the lack of a eulogy from Milan or its Conservatory. Ricordi filled that gap.

These two books are of considerable value to those interested in or curious about Catalaniís music and milieu. They contain details of that which is on record. Chandlerís chapter in Book 2 titled Catalani on CD gives credit to the Bongiovanni label in this respect. It also offers the hope of a general DVD release of La Wally derived from a performance in Buenos Aires in June 2010.

The ready availability in English of these first-hand accounts of Catalani and his life, alongside Chandlerís evident immersion in the life and works fills many important gaps in the composerís literature and period. At their very modest cost I have no hesitation in commending them to opera-lovers in particular. They will also appeal to students of the musical context in Italy during Catalaniís all-too-brief lifetime.

There we have it: two complementary, well-presented and researched books, modestly priced. They offer details and insights into a composer who, if he had lived a normal span, would undoubtedly have set Italian opera on an exciting path.

Robert J Farr

Two complementary, well-presented and researched books, modestly priced.


































































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.