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
Sound Samples & Downloads

Igor MARKEVITCH (1912-1983)/Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
The Musical Offering (1747) (arr. three orchestral groups and solo quartet (1949-50)) [51:58]
Rémy Baudet (violin); Hans van Loenen (wooden transverse flute); Jeroen Reuling (cello); Dirk Luijmes (harpsichord)
Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra/Christopher Lyndon-Gee
rec. Musis Sacrum, Arnhem, April 1997. DDD
NAXOS 8.572158 [51.58]

Experience Classicsonline

This is the eighth and final volume in Naxos's Complete Orchestral Works of Igor Markevitch. It is in fact a re-release of Marco Polo 8.225120, which was labelled, somewhat confusingly, volume 7. The Naxos series began in 2008 with a volume of newly 'discovered', relatively early works, after which all other discs have been re-releases of the earlier Marco Polo series - meaning that Naxos volume 2 was the same as Marco Polo Volume 1, Naxos volume 3 the same as Marco Polo volume 2, and so on.

Naxos volume 1 is reviewed here, 2 and 3 here (as Marco Polo 1 and 2 alongside Marco Polo 3), Naxos 4 and 5 here, volume 6 here, and volume 7 here (as Marco Polo 6). This final release has already been reviewed here, with plenty of historical and technical description, so the review below focuses primarily on the music.

To reassure those fearing otherwise, Markevitch's Musical Offering is not a Stokowski-style orchestration/lushification exercise, although the opening Ricercar does start the work off in that direction. But Markevitch proves to be more sensitive.

Whether or not there is any real musical point to his reworking of Bach is a moot point - on balance probably not. Nevertheless, Markevitch was fond of this work, conducting it himself on several occasions - something he did not do with his original music! And there is no doubting the intelligence of Markevitch's reshuffling and tweaking of Bach's ten original Canons into a kind of symphonic arch, now entitled 'Theme and Variations' - nor the stroke of brilliance provided by the appearance of first the oboe, then the cor anglais and bassoon in 'Variations' V and VI.

The trio Sonata section is less successful - not in itself, but in the context of an otherwise orchestral arrangement, the chamber forces of the Sonata - almost pure Bach - seem out of place. In his notes Lyndon-Gee argues that the participation of orchestral strings in the Sonata - to amplify the solo violin - "cleverly integrates" this section into the composition as a whole. But the strings are so discreet, the harpsichord so obviously Baroque, that the Sonata sounds more like a separate piece. Still a very attractive one, though.

The orchestra returns for the final Ricercar, which Markevitch labels Fuga. Using mainly strings, he makes of this beautiful, enigmatic fugue a rich, dark, but ultimately uplifting finale. Overall, it is Bach's, not Markevitch's, genius that illuminates this Musical Offering - but probably that was what Markevitch expected and wanted.

The liner-notes, which include an extended essay on Markevitch and his music, a detailed chronology of Markevitch's life, and, for CD notes, a thorough discussion of Bach's original work and what Markevitch does with it, have all been updated and expanded from the Marco Polo original. It is a pity that many people will still require a magnifying glass to read the tiny, dense print!

Lyndon-Gee and the Arnhem Philharmonic, with the soloists drawn from its ranks, give another sterling performance. The sound quality is not the greatest. It is clear, certainly, and communicates the intentions of Markevitch's stereophonic arrangement of instrumental forces on stage. However, resonance and background rumble are more than evident in the quieter sections of the opening Ricercar and the Theme and Variations. The Sonata is far better recorded - presumably the microphones are closer to the performers and therefore pick up much less background noise.











































































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.