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


MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

France: A Musical Tour of Provence
1. Beaucaire (Gard)
2. Roman Aqueduct, Pont du Gard
3. Landscape
4. Les Alpilles
5. Les Baux-de-Provence
6. Landscape
7. Les Baux-de-Provence: Cemetery and Church of St Vincent
8. Les Baux-de-Provence: Ruins
Music by Debussy and Ravel. Performed by Kodály Quartet from Naxos CD 8.550156.
No recording dates or venues given
DVD Director: G Gachot
Cameraman: H T Aschwanden
Audio Format, DTS 5.1. Dolby Digital 5.1. PCM Stereo 2.0
Video Format: NTSC. Region 0. Colour. Aspect ratio 4:3
NAXOS 2.110544 [52.54]

Experience Classicsonline

Recently the Director of some of these Musical Journeys complained to Musicweb International that neither he, nor the photographer were noted in the credits in the header. I pleaded guilty to my omission using the excuse that the information was not present in the accompanying leaflet or on the box outer. I was guilty because I turned the DVD off before the arrival of the printed credits at the end of the film; I now know where to find them. The Director concerned, Adriano, professed to be the progenitor of this extended series of releases having persuaded the management of Naxos as to the commercial possibilities. Well, now for my turn, and with no feeling of animosity, I take issue with the lack of clear objectives in these issues. Some are crowded with different views, artefacts, buildings and scenic views, or whatever, of the area covered. Others are sparse and with unnecessary repetition as is the case with this issue of a region of France rich in photographic possibilities.

The region of Provence extends both east and west of the Grande Rhone, a view of which is choppy with the winds of the Mistral as are the surrounding trees and cereal fields. The town of Beaucaire is the subject listed in the printed list (CH.1). Well the view from the river is so long distant as to require a telescope with zoom facilities. Believe me, a close look at the town, with its chateau (castle) would have been preferable to this, especially with the added view across the river to the bastide at Tarascon. The two fortified buildings faced each other when part of separate kingdoms in the Middle Ages. We might also have expected more views of the Roman remains than those of the magnificent Pont Du Gard aqueduct illustrated on the front of the box in a region rich in such structures (CH.2). Make the most of those pictures, as there are no more. Look particularly at the dimensions of the arches. Each one is different. The Romans knew how to build so as to avoid the catastrophe consequent on the effects on their architecture of earthquakes. Note also that you can no longer walk on the top tier.

The photography in these issues is often brilliant. As to the three visits to Les Baux, in this issue the photographer seems to have lost any cohesive script in his views and visits to the medieval town. How, a visit to the Alpilles, wonderful as their eroded rock formations are, could miss out the Roman Commemorative Arch outside the excavated town of Glanum, one of the best outside Italy, beggars belief. If the Pont Du Gard is to be the focus photo on the front then the source of the water should been included, particularly the outlet in Nimes which dates back to Roman times. It is an engineering miracle far ahead of its time.

The only good thing I can say about this issue is that French composers have been chosen with Debussy's String Quartet, Op. 10, from 1893, and Ravel's single string quartet of 1902 being well played. The L’Arlésienne suites by Bizet or an extract from Gounod’s Mireille, written in nearby St Remy, whose museum contains many artefacts found at Glanum, would have been more appropriate, but Naxos does not feature them in its catalogue.

Robert J Farr

Track Details


Beaucaire (Gard)

Once a significant trading port, Beaucaire has declined in importance. It lies on the west bank of the Rhône, and the town is shown here only from a distance, over the water, with attention given rather to the characteristic vegetation of the district.

Music Debussy: String Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 10 – I. Animé et très décidé

The four movements of Debussy’s only string quartet, written in 1893 and dedicated to the Ysaÿe Quartet, are thematically related and typical of the musical language which he created. He planned a second quartet as one of six chamber works of patriotic intention, of which only half were completed in 1915. The first movement retains the general form of a classical first movement.


Roman Aqueduct, Pont du Gard

The great Roman aqueduct, the Pont du Gard, was built by the Roman general Agrippa in about 19 B.C. to bring water to Nîmes. It spans the valley of the Gard, and remains an impressive monument of Roman rule.

Music Debussy: String Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 10 – II. Assez vif et bien rythmé

The scherzo of Debussy’s quartet is dominated by the viola theme with which it opens.



The landscape of Provence offers a varied picture, with its abundance of flowers and trees that in their forms recall the work of French painters who worked in the region. The setting of the sun and the cloud patterns bring an element of drama to the scene.

Music Debussy: String Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 10 – III. Andantino doucement et bien rythmé

The slow movement of the quartet suggests the medieval or pre-Raphaelite world that Debussy was to create in his opera Pelléas et Mélisande some ten years later.


Les Alpilles

Les Alpilles is a relatively low-lying range of mountains, standing out from the flatter terrain of the Rhône valley. Strange rock formations have resulted from erosion, and lower fields are planted with olive and almond trees and with vines. The general scene is familiar from the work of Van Gogh.

Music Debussy: String Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 10 – IV. Très modéré

The last movement of Debussy’s quartet opens in contrapuntally angular fashion, proceeding to an allusive summary of what has passed.


Les Baux-de-Provence

Les Baux-de-Provence, set on a hill-top in Les Alpilles, boasts the remains of a feudal town, powerful in the 12th and 13th Centuries, but later losing dominance, to be laid waste in the 17th Century and today to become an attraction for tourists. Some of the old buildings have been restored, in one way or another, and there is a small 12th Century church.

Music Ravel: String Quartet in F – I. Allegro moderato. Très doux

Although his name is often linked with that of his older contemporary, Debussy, Maurice Ravel is a very different composer, his musical language derived in part from his maternal Basque heritage and the precision of thought imbibed from his engineer father. Ravel wrote his only string quartet in 1902, dedicating it to his teacher, Gabriel Fauré. The quartet opens with one of those characteristically nostalgic melodies, suggesting a yearning for an unattainable past, a mood of which Fauré was a master.



The landscape of Provence offers contrasts. Fields of olive-trees, newly planted vines and meadows full of flowers give way to the starker rock formations of Les Alpilles.

Music Ravel: String Quartet in F – II. Assez vif. Très rythmé

The scherzo of Ravel’s quartet, with its opening pizzicato echoing the plucked strings of Debussy’s scherzo, is a movement of rhythmic complexity, bringing reminiscences of the first movement. At its heart is a trio section that exploits the resources of the muted strings.


Les Baux-de-Provence: Cemetery and Church of St Vincent

The cemetery at Les Baux-de-Provence, overlooking the Val d’Enfer, is within the castle complex. Among notable people buried here are the Catalan artist Louis Jou, with the ashes of his friend, the violinist Alexander Schneider, and the writer André Suarès. The Church of St Vincent dates from the 12th Century. Its colourful stained glass windows by Max Ingrand were presented by Prince Rainier III of Monaco, a reminder that Les Baux was given to his family by Louis XIII, the title thereafter held by the direct male line.

Music Ravel: String Quartet in F – III. Très lent

The slow movement of Ravel’s quartet presents music of suggestive delicacy, evoking a mysterious past world.


Les Baux-de-Provence: Ruins

Over the centuries the once powerful court of the lords of Les Baux declined and in 1483 Louis XI had the fortifications torn down. It was in the 17th century, however, that the surviving castle was finally demolished, leaving the ruins to be seen today.

Music Ravel: String Quartet in F – IV. Vif et agité

The quartet ends with a movement of rhythmic asymmetry, still thematically related to what has gone before.







































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.