£16 post free World-wide

 


555 sonatas 9Cds mp3 files
Only £22


 


Benjamin: Written on Skin £16

Search
What's New
Previous CDs
Concerts
Jazz
Nostalgia
Composers
Resources
Announce
Labels index


Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



Some items
to consider


BRAHMS Complete Edition
58CD £95.22


Shostakovich 14 Petrenko


Rachmaninov #3
Prokofiev #2

 


Dunedin Consort

Peter Grimes

Hymn of Jesus: Sea Drift

Complete Mozart Edition
Mozart complete edition

Vaughan Williams Symphonies 5 & 8 £11

Weiner, Klepper, Bloch, Schulhoff £12 post free


Available again

REVIEW



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
CDAccord
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter
 

cover image

alternatively
CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Richard STRAUSS (1864–1949)
Metamorphosen (1945) [26:15]
Maurice RAVEL (1875–1937)
Piano Concerto in G (1930/31) [23:34]
Richard STRAUSS (1864–1949)
Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme Suite, Op.60 (1917, 1920) [38:42]
Hélène Grimaud (piano)
Chamber Orchestra of Europe/Vladimir Jurowski
rec. Cité de la Musique, Paris 24 January 2009
1080i Full HD. 16:9 ratio picture. PCM stereo and DTS Master Audio surround sound 5.1. Region Code: worldwide
Booklet notes in English, French and German
Also available on DVD: 3078738
IDÉALE AUDIENCE BLU-RAY 3078734 [88:31]

Experience Classicsonline

William Hedley has already welcomed this disc in its earlier DVD incarnation – see review. I should say at the outset that I’m pretty much in agreement with what he says, so, if you don’t want to read the rest of this review, you can go out and buy it in one format or the other with confidence. I haven’t seen or heard the DVD, but I think you may safely assume that if you have a Blu-ray player the quality of the picture and sound will justify the extra outlay.

This is a recording of a concert which took place at the Cité de la Musique in Paris in January 2009. You’ll get some idea of the quality of the central work, the Ravel Piano Concerto in a nine-minute excerpt on YouTube here: it won’t, of course, match the quality of the DVD or Blu-ray picture and sound, but you will probably agree with the comments posted there – entirely favourable, apart from one illiterate contribution referring to ‘Mrs Grimaud’.

The concert opens with Richard Strauss’s Metamorphosen. As W.H. writes, it’s one of the most grief-stricken pieces of music of all time, inspired by the composer’s despair at events such as the destruction of Dresden and, presumably, an element of regret that he had, however passively, seemed to support the Nazi régime which had led to the downfall of his country. Much as I admire Vladimir Jurowski’s direction here, it’s still to one or other of Herbert von Karajan’s recordings that I turn for the full impact of the music: Karajan, too, had to an extent seemed to be involved with the ethos which had led to the downfall of Germany and Austria. (DG Originals 447 4222, with Tod und Verklärung and Four Last Songs. The later digital version seems to be currently unavailable, except as a download from Passionato.) The title Metamorphosen, however, contains within itself a hint of hope for an altered or metamorphosed future, and the performance here emphasises the lyrical quality of Strauss’s grief.

Hélène Grimaud is no stranger to the Ravel Concerto: her Baltimore recording with David Zinman remains available as part of a 2-CD Warner collection (2564691489) and a 6-CD set (2564632652) both at budget price.

Her earlier performances, however, have not been to all tastes: Bob Briggs thought that she failed to engage with the work’s emotional heart at the 2010 Proms, where she was accompanied by the Sydney Symphony and Vladimir Askenazy – see review. Nor was Christopher Howell wholly appreciative of her recording of the work which appeared in a Brilliant Classics box, though he admitted that it was illogical of him to resent her left-before-right-hand playing when his hero Michelangeli does the same thing. And, I think, Ravel would have expected the soloist to do so, as that was the general practice. That very inexpensive recording with the RPO and Jesús Lopez-Cobos remains available on Brilliant Classics (92437, 5 CDs – see review).

Like W.H. and the vast majority of those making comments on YouTube, I agree that Grimaud and Jurowski do get to the heart of the music on the new DVD/Blu-ray recording. Once again, however, it’s to an audio version that I shall mainly turn in future – the recently-released recording on Chandos which I made Joint Download of the Month in my January 2011 Download Roundup. (CHSA5084/CHAN5084, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Yan Pascal Tortelier – see review).

We return to Richard Strauss for the final work, though one which reveals a very different aspect of his music. Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme is the kind of 20th-century-meets-17th confection that I love. Like Stravinsky’s Pulcinella, Respighi’s Ancient Airs and Dances and Beecham’s Handel-based concoctions, Love in Bath and The Great Elopement, it’s hugely enjoyable. Like them, too, for all the employment of earlier music it couldn’t have been written before the 20th century – or, in this case, by any other than Strauss, many of whose trade-marks it bears. It really is time that Sony BMG reissued the classic Reiner recording, preferably with the coupling of Stravinsky’s Divertimento that made it such an attractive proposition at 99p on an RCA Victrola LP (VICS1295).

Without demurring from W.H.’s appreciation of the performance, it’s unfortunate that it’s again just pipped at the post by another recent Chandos recording, this time performed as the opening work on a 2-CD set of Ariadne on Naxos, sung in English (CHAN3168). The opera and Christine Brewer’s singing within it is the main attraction of that set, but the Bourgeois Gentilhomme Suite makes a most attractive bonus, especially as the original concept for Ariadne involved setting it within the Molière play (see review and my October 2010 Download Roundup).

The Euroarts picture quality is excellent, though there’s a degree of shimmer on the rear wall that’s common on DVD but which Blu-ray usually cleans up. The sound is very good, even played via television speakers. Heard over an audio system it’s warm and credible, with an emphasis on spread of sound rather than pinpoint stereo placement, especially if played audio-only, without the helpful visual cues on individual instruments. If, like me, you may well find yourself playing the recording audio-only, my CD recommendations may be more to the point, when the DVD costs around £25 and the Blu-ray £30. Blu-ray is an excellent sound-carrier – superior to DVD – but don’t forget that the Chandos Bavouzet/Ravel comes in SACD format. You could have the Ravel and Bourgeois Gentilhomme recordings together and get an excellent Ariadne thrown in, all for slightly less than the Euroarts Blu-ray, while including the Karajan CD of Metamorphosen would add very little extra to the cost. These audio versions, too, may strike you as more logically coupled.

Well worth having, then, whether it’s one or both of the Strauss works or the Ravel which appeals, but if you don’t mind audio-only alternatives, you may well choose to forego the visuals.

Brian Wilson



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

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

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      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

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

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

Comment
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

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
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
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
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
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
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.