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


paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Clarissa Bevilacqua plays
Augusta Read Thomas

all Nimbus reviews

Brahms Dvorak
Brahms 2 Dvorak 7
all tudor reviews



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
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

October 2022

Berg Violin Concerto
Violin Concerto Elmes

DEbussy Jeux
Debussy Jeux

Romantic pioano masters
Romantic Piano Masters

The future is female - Vol 2
Volume 2 - The Dance

impromptu harp music
Complete Harp Impromptus

September 2022
Nikolai Medtner
Herbert Blomstedt
Tarrodi Four Elements
Secret Love Letters
Lisa Batiashvili





CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976)
Les Illuminations, Op. 18 (1939) [21:45]
Prelude and Fugue for 18-part string orchestra, Op. 29 (1943) [9:03]
Variations of a theme of Frank Bridge, Op. 10 (1937) [25.55]
Now sleeps the crimson petal (1943) [2:46]
Karina Gauvin (soprano)
Louis-Philippe Marsolais (horn); Pascale Giguère (violin)
Les Violons du Roi/Jean-Marie Zeitouni
rec. Salle Raoul-Jobin, Palias Montcalm, Quebec, April 2009
ATMA ACD2 2601 [59:29]

Experience Classicsonline

This disc, from the Quebec-based chamber orchestra, Les Violons du Roi, begins with one of the finest performances of Britten’s Les Illuminations I have ever heard. Karina Gauvin has just the right voice for the work, strong and clear, brilliantly coloured at all times, but with the ability to be scaled down almost to nothing when the music demands it. And the orchestra and conductor Jean-Marie Zeitouni have clearly looked at the work afresh. Time and again I was surprised by details of the score, previously unheard but nonetheless there, marked in with scrupulous care by the thirty-five year-old composer. Take the very opening, for instance. The string fanfares are marked to played “like a trumpet” and “close to the bridge”. The Canadian players go further in this direction than I have ever heard, with startling results; and the accented, staccato delivery of the accompaniment to the second song also indicates that there are to be no shrinking violets in this particular world. The third song, “Phrase”, is the clincher. The held string harmonics are superbly articulated, with the gorgeous vocal line culminating in an absolutely ravishing high B flat and following downward glissando. No, there’s only one aspect which disturbs, and though it is a pity, it’s not a reason to avoid this outstanding performance. The singer’s ability to sing piano and pianissimo, and thereby establish some intimacy with the audience, is somewhat compromised by the recording which, though stunningly clear – a huge advantage when the orchestral playing is so accomplished – places her rather too far forward in the overall picture.

The performance of the Variations of a theme of Frank Bridge is also very fine, if not quite on the same exalted level. Many of the features previously noted are again present. The principal characteristic of the playing is brilliance, and this brings dividends in many of the variations, notably “Aria Italiana” and “Moto Perpetuo”. The “Bourée Classique” is very brisk, perhaps even brusque, and the “Wiener Walzer” carries lots of punch. The high violin line in “Romance” is played with remarkable purity of tone and intonation. The recording again makes it difficult for the performers to establish intimacy with the listener, but in any event I don’t think this is one of their primary aims. The final movement, a composition of astonishing virtuosity from so young a composer, is brilliantly played, but the moment when the music turns back to the theme is too heavily signalled here, and the following passage wherein the theme and fugue are presented simultaneously similarly suffers. In the finest performances, especially the one conducted by Britten himself, the theme creeps in, almost without our noticing, underlining the composer’s mastery of form and dramatic sense. This is an outstandingly fine performance, nonetheless, albeit with perhaps a little too much emphasis on the brilliant aspects of the work to the expense of those more withdrawn.

Britten’s Op. 29 has had a bad press. Michael Kennedy holds the view that the fugue subject is “turgidly worked out”, and Peter Evans, in his monumental study of the composer’s music (OUP 1996) finds it “workaday”. I don’t think anyone would claim it as one of Britten’s greatest works, but it is very enjoyable and it shouldn’t be written off. Each of the eighteen instruments is treated as a soloist, and though the fugue subject itself is not very promising, its working out leads to some exciting writing, and the return of the opening music is dramatic and effective. The work receives a fine performance from these Canadian players. Their high harmonics don’t evoke the same atmosphere of mystery the composer himself did in 1971, but again, the very close recording with little reverberation nor very much sense of space around the sound doesn’t help. I urge readers to give the work a try, though.

The disc ends with the short Tennyson setting, first performed in 1987, but originally written as part of the Serenade, Op 31 and removed by the composer before that work’s premiere. It’s a most beautiful piece, and intriguing too, in that its rocking string accompaniment, slightly transformed, supports the vocal line in the opening song of the Nocturne of 1958. Louis-Philippe Marsolais plays beautifully, but with so little time to create his own musical identity, it is once again the gorgeous singing of Miss Gauvin that lingers in the mind. It makes a lovely, touching envoi for this excellent disc.

William Hedley




















































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.