MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

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


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 Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

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

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing



CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads

Piano Music - Volume 5
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Prelude and Fugue in E flat, BWV552, “St Anne” (transc. Busoni c.1890) [13:56]
Ferruccio BUSONI (1866-1924)
Six Etudes, Op. 16 (1883) [22:22]
Six Pieces, Op. 33b (1895/96) [24:22]
Ten Variations on Chopin’s C minor Prelude (revised 1922 version of Op. 22) [12:48]
Wolf Harden (piano)
rec. Potton Hall, Suffolk, 7-8 October 2007
NAXOS 8.570891 [73:28]

Experience Classicsonline

The grandeur of the Bach “St Anne” Prelude and Fugue is writ large in Wolf Harden’s performance of the Busoni transcription. So much so that, while one may be aware of the origins of the piece, one hardly misses the sound of the organ. Harden captures the tower of sound, as well as the slithering counterpoint. This is a tremendous reading in which Harden impeccably characterises the various sections with a wide variety of touch.

The first Etude of Op. 16 is identifiably Brahmsian, with its active bass octaves. Elements of a somewhat speedier (Brahms) Op. 118/6 seem inherent in the Busoni to the present writer. Harden’s staccato in the ensuing Allegro moderato Etude is a joy - he maintains the tone (and, when required, heaviness) in each note. Yet the - again Brahmsian - mellifluous central section reveals another side to Busoni, the mysterious. Harden’s playing is consistently idiomatic, both here and elsewhere on the disc. The Fuga (the fifth Etude) is Busoni through and through - uncompromising, granitic sonorities.

The Six Pieces, Op. 33b are immensely strong compositions. The first, “Schwermut” (Melancholy) has some characteristically trans-keyboard writing yet in ethos seems close to late Liszt. In complete contrast, “Frohsinn” (Gaiety) is utter delight, as is the Scherzino that follows. Salon music par excellence, both. Perhaps Harden could have been that bit lighter and more playful in the Scherzino. The fourth and fifth pieces both last over six minutes each. The fourth is a “Fantasia in modo antico” and begins with much restrained grandeur, drawing a tone of burnished ebony from Harden. The fugal writing is determined and relentless - but this is at speed, in contrast to the tread of the earlier part. The “Finnische Ballade” is magnificently pedal-soaked and atmospheric. Moments of grittiness are juxtaposed with moments of frozen, Mussorgskian serenity. The challenges of the finale are admirably met by Harden.

The 1922 version of the Chopin Variations (the original was also reviewed here) begins in the shadowiest manner possible before the Chopin steals in. The revesion to the opening atmosphere at the first opportunity is telling - this is Chopin being absorbed into Busoni, not merely varied. Harden seems to relish the explorations as well as the way Busoni viscerally enlarges the Chopin original. Tremendous.

A worthy volume in the Naxos Busoni series.

Colin Clarke

see also review by Bob Briggs












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

Past 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.