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

Yes we are selling
Acte Prealable again!
£11 post-free

we also sell Skarbo

and Oboe Classics


with Eggebrecht we get all the excitement we can handle

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

absolutely thrilling

immediacy and spontaneity

Schumann Lieder

24 Preludes
one of the finest piano discs

‘Box of Delights.’

J S Bach A New Angle
Organ fans form an orderly queue

a most welcome issue

I enjoyed it tremendously

the finest traditions of the house

music for theorbo
old and new

John Luther Adams
Become Desert
concealing a terrifying message

ground-breaking, winning release

screams quality

Surprise of the month

English Coronation, 1902-1953
magnificent achievement


We are currently offering in excess of 52,000 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

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
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Poul RUDERS (b.1949)
Piano Concerto no.2 (2009-10) [23:55]
Bel Canto, for solo violin (2004) [6:21]
Serenade on the Shores of the Cosmic Ocean, for accordion and string quartet (2004) [33:28]
Vassily Primakov (piano)
Rune Tonsgaard (violin)
Mikko Luoma (accordion)
iO Quartet
Norwegian Radio Orchestra/Thomas Søndergård
rec. Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, 21-22 October 2010 (concerto); Carl Nielsen Concert Hall, Odense, 9 October 2009 (Bel canto); American Academy of Arts & Letters, New York, 27 March 2009 (serenade). DDD
BRIDGE RECORDS 9336 [64:03] 

Experience Classicsonline

This is almost certainly the first CD ever to combine a piano concerto with a work for solo violin and another for accordion and string quartet - but then this is the 'Music of Poul Ruders'. It is also a series that now laudably reaches volume 6 - see reviews of volume 5, volume 3 and volume2. According to Bridge Records' own blurb, these are all premiere recordings, but in fact Dacapo beat them to it with Bel Canto - for proof, see review.
The Piano Concerto no.2 was written for Vassily Primakov, who seems to record exclusively for Bridge, not to mention prolifically, with an amazing fourteen discs in the last three years! Given Primakov's big name status, Ruders was keen to write a big piece in the grandest Romantic tradition, according to the CD notes. Which is not to say that this is a Romantic work, and it is unlikely that Primakov will have played very much from that tradition, or indeed any other, that is like the work's second movement, which is marked not only 'Semplice', but also 'Slightly hesitant - like a child practising'. What the Concerto is is a colourful, bustling, often unhinged, sometimes aggressive work, imaginatively orchestrated - the inspired bowed cymbal in the first movement, for example - with a breathtaking, window-rattling finale.
After the rumbustious shenanigans of the Piano Concerto, the lyrical solo violin of Bel Canto will seem almost aspirin-like in its aspiration and effect. An earlier work by Ruders for solo violin, his 1989 Variations, was recently reviewed here. Commissioned by and for the 2004 Carl Nielsen International Violin Competition, the title is not a reference to 19th century opera, but simply a statement in Italian of what the music hopes to give the listener: 'lovely song'. The notes describe the piece as "in effect a study in sensitive sustained playing and refined tone". It is certainly attractive, expressive music along the lines of an elegy, in some ways not at all what one might expect from Ruders - though not without moments of lively dissonance.
Serenade on the Shores of the Cosmic Ocean sounds like the far-out title of a 1970s flower power concept album, but the work is on the contrary a tribute to American astrophysicist Carl Sagan's role in the "pursuit of knowledge and reason, an invaluable force in the struggle against ignorance and superstition", with the title coming from Sagan's 1980 book 'Cosmos'. The nine movements of the work are in some respects like the chapters of a book on science for the general public, each covering a different but related topic: the first and last sections are titled Introduction and Finale, but otherwise the work is more suite-like than strictly narrative. There is in any case a considerable amount of variety in character and technique from one movement to the next, from the cacophonous first, to the dreamy, wistful second, to the slow-motion dirge of the sixth and the satanic marching of the eighth. Throughout the work the 'cosmological constant', as it were, is to be inferred from the predominance of high registers. In any case, despite the significant quantities of dissonance, the unique sonorities of the accordion combine memorably with the quartet to create a surprisingly approachable work full of musical ideas, if not metaphysics.
It might seem reasonable to suppose that the Serenade is the first work ever written for the odd marriage of accordion and string quartet, but in fact there exists very nearly a 'tradition', particularly in Scandinavian countries: two whole CD anthologies have been devoted to the combination in the last decade - see reviews here and here (the latter re-released last year) - and outside the main geographical bloc, Korean-born Isang Yun's Concertino, David Diamond's Night Music and at least five of Wolfgang Rihm's Fetzen series of works are just a few examples of what is a surprisingly popular late 20th century pursuit.
Bridge recorded this disc in three different countries over 18 months, and it shows. In a departure from their usual highest technical standards, there is pulsing electronic interference under Bel Canto, especially noticeable from about three minutes onwards, and worsening over time. How it got there and why no one at Bridge noticed it - the credits list a producer, engineer, two editors, a mastering engineer and an executive producer - is a stimulating question, but through headphones at least it all but ruins the mood of the music. The faint noise of passing traffic audible in the quiet sections of Serenade or the background hiss in the Piano Concerto are vastly preferable, although even there it does seem that Bridge might have made more of an effort for what is after all a full-price disc.
On the other hand, there are no complaints whatsoever to be had about any of the musicians involved with this recording. Finnish accordionist Mikko Luoma and the New York based iO Quartet in particular give fine performances in the Serenade. 

The CD booklet is informative, with intelligent notes as ever by Malcolm MacDonald, and well presented. By way of curious footnote, this is the second new release in as many months to feature a living composer photographed smoking a pipe - see review - but that is somehow in keeping with the weirdly pop-art-like booklet cover.
Collected reviews and contact at


































































































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.