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


CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Elias (Elijah) Oratorio Op 70 [123:01]
Claudia Barainsky (soprano); Franziska Gottwald (alto); Rainer Trost (tenor); Thomas E Bauer (bass)
Chorus Musicus Köln; Das Neue Orchester/Christoph Spering
rec. Philharmonie Essen, 28-29 November 2009
text and English translation included

Experience Classicsonline

I very much enjoyed the recent Naxos issue of Elias conducted by Jun Märkl (see review), in particular because of its dramatic thrust and the quality of its soloists. How good to be able to welcome another fine new recording of the work, again one which takes the composer’s intentions seriously and above all freshly. The present version goes even further in some respects by using an orchestra specializing in historically informed performance. Very properly we have an ophicleide instead of a tuba or bass trombone and the timpanist must have worn out several pairs of hard sticks in his very audible enthusiasm. The choir of about eighty sing with great clarity and fervour where needed but also with great beauty and indeed variety of tone. The various smaller ensembles sometimes sung by a semi-chorus are sung here by a mixture of the soloists and members of the choir and form some of the loveliest moments of the performance.

The booklet contains a pugnacious essay by Norbert Bolin championing the performance and pointing out the benefits of adherence to Mendelssohn’s metronome marks. This does indeed have beneficial effects although it is hardly as unusual in modern performances as he suggests. The resulting drive adds to the drama and helps provide a greater contrast with the more reflective parts of the score. The increasing desperation of the followers of Baal for instance is very vivid if they are allowed to start at a suitably moderate speed and to end at a furious pace. The booklet states that the ritardando at the end of “Then did Elijah the prophet” is the only one explicitly marked in the work. This is incorrect but it is certainly the only one at the very end of a movement, and the resulting sudden changes of gear between movements is very effective, for instance at the end of the Overture or before “Be not afraid” (in the usual translation). The scoring is projected with real character; the string semiquavers in “The waters gather” for instance paint a real picture of rushing water and the cello melody in “It is enough” is phrased with wonderful tenderness.

I am not so convinced by the contributions of the soloists. Rainer Trost is the best of them, singing with beautiful tone and alive to the different characters of his roles Thomas E. Bauer sings beautifully “It is enough” and similar passages, but lacks the fierceness, roughness even, that the role of this particularly intransigent, even unpleasant, prophet ideally requires. The two female soloists are less good. Claudia Barainsky is another who distinguishes well between the various characters she depicts but her vibrato can be obtrusive at times. Franziska Gottwald is competent but uninteresting.

The sleeve includes the word “live” but there is no audible sound of an audience or any other indications of a live performance apart from the vigour and concentration which are there in abundance. This is a recording of real distinction and on balance I prefer it to the Naxos version although I shall certainly return to the latter for its superior soloists and even greater sense of drama.

One minor point. I have been looking at the programme for the very first performance of the work in Birmingham Town Hall on the morning of 26 August 1846. It was succeeded after a five minute break by arias by Mozart and Cimarosa and Handel’s “The King shall rejoice”. What enviable musical stamina performers and audiences had in those days!

John Sheppard












































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.