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

Free classical music concerts by Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.

British composers

  • Today's leading<br>clarinet-piano duo
  • Stellar debut<br>piano recital
  • Clarinet transcriptions Jonathan Cohler
  • Jonathan Cohler & Claremont Trio
  • French clarinet masterpieces
  • Today's leading<br>clarinet-piano duo

Shostakovich Symphony 10 Nelsons

Verdi Requiem

Dvorak Opera Premiere

Grieg, Mendelssohn sonatas




Would you like a hyperlinked weekly summary of the CDs we have reviewed?

Click for further details

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
Classical Editor
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Cameo Classics
Prima voce
Red Priest
Toccata Classics

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
Classical Editor
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads

Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
Complete Piano Works - Volume 31
Grande Fantasie de concert sur des motifs favoris de l’opéra ‘La Sonnambula’ S393/R132 [12:41]
Réminiscences de ‘Norma’ S394/R133 [16:39]
Réminiscences des ‘Puritains’ de Bellini S390/R129 [20:28]
Hexaméron (Morceau de concert; Grandes variations de bravoure sure la marche des ‘Puritains’ de Bellini) S392/R131 [19:54]
William Wolfram (piano)
rec. Glenn Gould Studio, CBC, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 25-26 May 2009
NAXOS 8.572241 [70:06]

Experience Classicsonline

Ever since I heard American pianist William Wolfram’s Liszt/Donizetti disc – review – I’ve been looking forward to more from this arresting virtuoso. Naxos must be pleased with the progress of this series, which has garnered such positive comments here and elsewhere. And just seconds into this Bellini album I was sure this was going to be something rather special. That same commanding keyboard presence and a fine recording – what more could one possibly want?

As Keith Anderson’s excellent liner-notes remind us, operatic paraphrases, fantasies and transcriptions were the virtuoso’s stock-in-trade. Liszt had few peers in this field, as his coruscating take on Bellini’s celebrated sleep-walker amply confirms. Artful as ever, he weaves disparate threads from the opera into a thrilling tapestry, full of drama and high contrast. After those opening staccati Wolfram goes on to phrase and shade this music with astonishing skill, complex inner details laid bare; but that’s not all that Wolfram reveals, for behind the more extrovert gestures are quiet, reflective moments essayed with grace and sensitivity. That said, it’s the free-flowing rhythms that really impress; indeed, one senses Wolfram has unwavering sight of Liszt’s longer spans, which gives his performance a wonderful, inexorable logic and shape.

Norma is Bellini’s most enduring and accomplished opera, as anyone who knows the Callas and Sutherland recordings will surely testify; and for those who like to see their opera as well there’s a DVD of Caballé’s formidable priestess, filmed at a wind-swept outdoor performance in Provence. As for Norma, hers is a classic operatic dilemma of private needs and public duties, a dichotomy that Liszt captures so well in this epic synthesis; the inner – and inward – voices are beautifully articulated, Wolfram purposeful in the valleys and surefooted on the peaks. After that final peroration all that’s missing is the roar of an appreciative audience. A thrilling performance all round.

If anything, the remaining pieces, based on Bellini’s I Puritani, are more overtly dramatic, Wolfram colouring the music with great care; indeed, it’s a mark of his skill that he does so without mannerism or artifice. Again it’s that supple, unbroken sense of rhythm that makes the most impact, a powerful well-spring from which Bellini’s melodies flow. But what I admire most about Wolfram is the easy assurance of his playing – especially welcome in such bravura pieces – and his ability to dazzle and yet remain firmly focused on musical structures. A rare talent in an age stuffed with superficial and generally self-regarding keyboard artists.

There’s really nothing to criticise here; the playing is top-notch and the recording is pretty good too. Keith Anderson’s liner-notes are a model of their kind, and one I wish more labels would emulate. Yes, the music is paramount but for me a well-written and presented booklet is not an after-thought but a perfect and necessary complement to great music-making.

Dan Morgan

See also review by 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.