Schubert sonatas

Newest Releases

Piano solo and duet
  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

CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Organ Works
Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 645 [3:49]
Passacaglia in C minor, BWV 582 [13:19]
Erbarm dich mein, o Herre Gott, BWV 721 [4:36]
Pièce d'Orgue, BWV 572 [9:02]
O Mensch, bewein dein Sünde groß, BWV 622 [5:15]
Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C major, BWV 564 [17:41]
Dies sind die heil'gen zehn Gebot', BWV 678 [5:41]
Prelude and Fugue in E flat major, BWV 552 [15:19]
David Hamilton (organ)
rec. The Canongate Kirk, Edinburgh, February 2010. Stereo. DDD
DIVINE ART DDA25088 [75:39]

Experience Classicsonline

David Hamilton is clearly a fine organist, but there's no doubt that the instrument is the real star of this disc. It was built by Th. Frobenius of Copenhagen in 1998 and is in tip-top condition. Like the kirk itself, the organ isn't big, just two manuals and a registration that fits comfortably on half a page of the liner notes, but this is definitely a case of small is beautiful.

It is much more common to meet discs of popular Bach selections played on huge cathedral organs, but what this organ lacks in power it makes up for in the precision of the sound and the subtle combinations of the tone colours. Hamilton avoids the temptation to concentrate solely on the small-scale works and includes two of the behemoths: the Passacaglia in C minor BWV582 and the Prelude and Fugue in E flat major BWV 552. The Passacaglia in particular sounds great at this chamber music scale, and all sorts of contrapuntal devices and inner lines become apparent that larger organs usually obscure.

Clarity and evenness of tone are the main virtues of this instrument, and of Hamilton's registration choices - just because there are less stops to pull, that doesn't make the decisions any easier. In the Adagio second movement of the Toccata in C minor BWV564 the voicing of the individual notes of the melody is immaculate. The opening movement also benefits from the clean, well defined sound, and the grace notes in the main theme are actually heard as pitches, another detail that is often lost on larger organs. There isn't much in the way of mutation or colouristic devices in the registration. The only piece to use a more constrained, nasal stop is O Mensch BWV678, and even that has a relatively open tone.

Hamilton is quite conservative in his use of ornaments and his rubato is either non-existent or so subtle as to be imperceptible. The result is a series of very clean interpretations, an approach ideally matched to the tone and scale of the instrument.

The sound quality is good, and it seems that the organ and the acoustic are ideally matched. There is very little resonance - for a church I mean - but enough to give the organ sound a satisfying warmth. The bass in the recording is excellent, clear and focused and not artificially amplified, or at least not obviously so. The bottom end of the organ is actually quite meagre, the pedals have two 8' stops and two 16', but that's plenty, even for the Passacaglia.

An enjoyable disc then, and not your usual Bach greatest hits. This may be the absolute core of the organ repertoire, but it does have a tendency to bring out the worst excesses of megalomania in professional organists. David Hamilton demonstrates how a little humility can go a long way.

Gavin Dixon


























































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.