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


paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews
Symphony No 1
Portrait of Ned Kelly



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
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom



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

Eloquence recordings
All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

September 2022
Nikolai Medtner
Herbert Blomstedt
Tarrodi Four Elements
Secret Love Letters
Lisa Batiashvili

August 2022

Louis Caix d'Hervelois

orchestral songs



String Quartets

la folia


Yi Lin Jiang - Dualis I




CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908)
Scheherazade, Op 35 [45:51]
Tale of Tsar Saltan, Suite, Op 57 [19:15]
Tale of Tsar Saltan, Flight of the Bumblebee [1:31]
Maria Larionoff (violin) (Scheherazade)
Seattle Symphony Orchestra/Gerard Schwarz
rec. 7 May 2010 (Scheherazade), 4 June 2010 (Tsar Saltan), 16 June 2010 (Bumblebee), Benaroya Hall, Seattle, Washington, USA
NAXOS 8.572693 [66:37]

Experience Classicsonline


I put this disc on expecting decent playing, an acceptable artistic vision, and little more. Was it prejudice? Perhaps it was the fact that recent Naxos efforts in the core repertoire have been so hit-or-miss: Pietari Inkinen’s sometimes-dreary new Sibelius cycle, Jun Märkl’s bland Daphnis et Chloé, the LSO’s similarly bland Brahms and Bartók coupling. Perhaps it was that the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and conductor Gerard Schwarz have previously teamed up (on Naxos and Delos) to provide us with the byways of obscure American (and especially Jewish-American) music: Achron, Bernstein, Diamond, Foss, Hovhaness, Schoenfield, Schuman. Perhaps it was the fact that Scheherazade is easy to play well, but hard to play memorably. So I’ll confess: I had low expectations.
They were blown away. This is spectacular, an effort in which everyone has put their best foot forward. Gerard Schwarz leads with an unerring sense of when to be expansive, when to indulge in romantic gestures, and when to step on the gas pedal and let the music explode with passion. The Seattle Symphony sounds world-class, with great woodwind soloists (especially the oboist), punchy brass, and a satisfying blend of precision and expression. The recorded engineers have hampered solo violinist Maria Larionoff with too much reverb, but they have also captured the proceedings in a full orchestral sound which starts with crackling tuba and satisfyingly present double basses and builds upward in a richly layered sound-picture. At times the orchestra sounds uncannily like an organ.
This Scheherazade is very nearly beyond praise; aside from the reverb which surrounds the violinist (but nobody else, oddly, except briefly the solo clarinet in the second movement), everything goes right. The opening movement’s seascape builds with slow, steady fervor until the climaxes reach feverish degrees of intensity. The “Kalender Prince” contrasts the lush wind solos with fierce, violent outbursts: when the central section opens, watch out. The percussionists are precisely on-rhythm and boldly project their parts. The love-scene slow movement isn’t as lavish or sensual as it could be, but it flows naturally and benefits from those superb wind soloists. (It can’t be mentioned often enough that oboist Ben Hausmann makes his every solo unforgettably tender.) And the finale, enlivened with a rumbling bass drum, starts with an atmospheric festival and concludes with Maria Larionoff’s most heartfelt solo work of all.
Mostly, it’s thrilling just to hear a performance this good in sound this good. Probably there are a dozen orchestras which have played this well in this music in past decades (though, to my mind, approaches like Ansermet’s are too fast and Haitink’s too colorless), but Naxos’ crystal-clear sound quality takes things to a new level. How satisfying it is to hear the tubas lending oomph to the opening outburst of the finale! How delightful it is to really feel the bass drum, or to hear the harp serenades like something from a dream!
Tale of Tsar Saltan is at least as good. The first movement (Tsar’s Farewell and Departure) has a snappy directness, Schwarz’ perfectly-chosen tempos matched every step of the way by the Seattle players’ gung-ho commitment. The moodier central movement (The Tsarina in a Barrel at Sea) is suitably emotive: the violins shriek in psychological agony, the pizzicato chords are like daggers, the seascapes shimmer with dark splendor and at times sound like far more “modern” composers’ work, and the droning bass again shade in the background with the richness of an organ. The finale (The Three Wonders), light on its toes and enjoyably skittish, bounces off the walls with energy, and in the second minute, as the bass drum rolls start piling up on top of brass fanfares, motoric string rhythms, and wind players running for cover, it’s hard to resist standing up or drawing a sweat.
There are a hundred other recordings of this music, but once a certain level of artistic brilliance is reached, comparisons become moot. My favorite Scheherazade is still Evgeny Svetlanov’s sprawling, voluptuously romantic account with the LSO, a live take on BBC Legends. At fifty minutes it overflows with erotic warmth. One place in which it is noticeably superior is in the flute-harp duet at the end of “Kalender Prince,” which Schwarz takes largely in tempo but for which Svetlanov stops time and indulges in a breathtaking, slow caress of the soloists.
But this new Seattle/Schwarz account takes second place easily, brushing aside such luminaries on my shelf as Haitink, Bátiz, and Ansermet - whose Tsar Saltan lacks vividness compared to this - with its irresistible combination of sense of occasion, (mostly) opulent sound, and intelligent direction. It is just as satisfying as Eugene Ormandy’s glorious Philadelphia reading, and in modern sound to boot. The only real flaw is that the disc ends with Flight of the Bumblebee. Was that necessary? Not only is it a trifle we’ve all heard a million times, it’s an anticlimax. Every single track on the CD has more emotional weight, more dramatic oomph, and a more compelling ending. After sitting through the bumblebee’s short flight, I doubled back and listened to Tale of Tsar Saltan a second time for a more satisfying conclusion. Not that I minded terribly.
So in a way, this disc has restored my faith. After the drudgery of Märkl’s Ravel, or the lack of distinction of Charles Dutoit’s Scheherazade CD with the Royal Philharmonic only a few months ago, it becomes all too easy to wonder what, exactly, the purpose is of continuing to issue recordings of works which have been released hundreds of times. Any new disc of beloved music needs to offer something that cannot be had on any old disc of that music. And, thankfully, this Scheherazade has just that.
And, while I’m on my soap box, I want to add something else. The standards of classical artistry these days are phenomenally high, so high we need to step back for a second and gain some perspective. Sixty years ago, to draw this kind of impassioned but precise response from an orchestra, any orchestra, you needed to be a Thomas Beecham or a Eugene Ormandy. Moreover, you needed to have one of the world’s best orchestras at your disposal, with strong personalities in every department, soloists who could rise to the challenges, and the energy to thrive when asked to throw all inhibitions to the wind. Today, we have a Scheherazade by a seemingly average American orchestra based in a city smaller than Leeds, Valencia or even El Paso, Texas, led by a conductor associated with ‘specialist’ repertoire, produced for a budget-priced record label — and the results are nothing short of spectacular.
Brian Reinhart












































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.