£16 post free World-wide

 


555 sonatas 9Cds mp3 files
Only £22


 


Benjamin: Written on Skin £16

Search
What's New
Previous CDs
Concerts
Jazz
Nostalgia
Composers
Resources
Announce
Labels index


Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



Some items
to consider


BRAHMS Complete Edition
58CD £95.22


Shostakovich 14 Petrenko


Rachmaninov #3
Prokofiev #2

 


Dunedin Consort

Peter Grimes

Hymn of Jesus: Sea Drift

Complete Mozart Edition
Mozart complete edition

Vaughan Williams Symphonies 5 & 8 £11

Weiner, Klepper, Bloch, Schulhoff £12 post free


Available again

REVIEW



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
CDAccord
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter
 

alternatively
CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads

Richard STRAUSS (1864 - 1949)
Ariadne on Naxos (1916)
Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme suite
Prologue: Stephen Fry (spoken) - Major Domo; Christine Brewer (soprano) - The Prima Donna; Robert Dean Smith (tenor) - The Tenor; Alice Coote (mezzo) -Composer; Alan Opie (baritone) - Music Master; John Graham-Hall (tenor) - Dancing Master; Paul Keohone (bass) - A Wigmaker; Dean Robinson (bass) - A Footman; Declan McCusker (tenor) - An Officer
Commedia dell’arte players: Gillian Keith (soprano) - Zerbinetta; Roderick Williams (baritone) - Harlequin; John Graham-Hall (tenor) - Scaramuccio; Matthew Rose (bass) - Truffaldino; Wynne Evans (tenor) - Brighella
Opera seria: Christine Brewer (soprano) - Ariadne; Robert Dean Smith (tenor) - Bacchus; Anita Watson (soprano) - Naiad; Pamela Helen Stephen (mezzo) - Dryad; Gail Pearson (soprano) - Echo
Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Sir Richard Armstrong
rec. Usher Hall, Edinburgh, 17-21, 23-25, 27-28 January and 13 May 2010
libretto enclosed
CHANDOS CHAN3168 [75:11 + 77:43]

Experience Classicsonline


There is no shortage of recordings of this delightful opera. Wikipedia lists thirteen sets and that’s far from all. Two of my favourite recordings are missing, for instance: Rudolf Kempe (EMI), recorded in Dresden in 1968 and Kurt Masur (Philips), recorded twenty years later in Leipzig. In December 2008 I reviewed the Kempe set and used the Masur recording for comparison. The review is here. The new Chandos set is unique insofar as it is the only recording in English - the translation is by Christopher Cowell - and thus it will probably be ruled out by readers who must have the original. But that would be a pity, since it has a lot to offer.
 
The sound quality on Kempe’s analogue recording is excellent for its day; EMI were at the forefront more than forty years ago. The digital sound on Masur’s recording offers even wider dynamics and more than twenty years after that Chandos may be a notch further ahead. It is in every respect a well balanced sound, every detail in the orchestra can be heard and savoured and the voices are beautifully caught.
 
The Scottish Chamber Orchestra may not be as famous as the two then East German orchestras but under Sir Richard’s experienced leadership they deliver Strauss playing of superb refinement and tempos are well judged. A special treat is the 35 minute suite from Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, played before the opera. Strauss pasticcio reveals the composer’s love for baroque music but the sound world is that of his own time. Interestingly, although my shelves are crammed with CDs and LPs I couldn’t find a single recording of this music and though I must have heard it some time I had no recollection of it. Without comparison I can only declare that the playing can hardly be bettered and the music is ravishing.
 
For Ariadne on Naxos, Chandos have gathered a cast that can challenge any of the earlier sets. The singers, from both sides of the Atlantic, are well inside their roles and we get glorious singing from the principals. Christine Brewer must be ranked among the foremost dramatic sopranos today and she is a radiant Ariadne with beautiful tone and magnificent fortes, but even more impressive is her ravishing soft singing. Alice Coote’s Composer also impresses greatly and the Canadian soprano Gillian Keith has all the high notes and the technique to rip off Zerbinetta’s devilishly long and difficult aria - Your gracious Royal Highness in the English translation. Bacchus is another role that puts the singer to test: requires a Heldentenor but with lyrical capacity as well. James King on the Kempe set has the heroic quality but lacks lyrical charm, Paul Franz for Masur has lyricism in abundance but also some heroic ring. Robert Dean Smith on the Chandos set has a somewhat rough start in the prologue but then he sings wonderfully. One of the leading Tristans of today he also has the roundness of tone one normally only hear from much lighter voices. Together with Ben Heppner on the Sinopoli recording (DG) he now leads the Bacchus field on records. Alan Opie is a strong Music Master and it is indeed remarkable how well preserved his voice is; he turned 65 just a few weeks after the recording was made! Roderick Williams’ Harlequin also holds his own against the competition. We shouldn’t forget either Stephen Fry’s haughty Major-Domo.
 
There are many excellent recordings of this opera. Besides those already mentioned there is the Karajan recording with Schwarzkopf in the title role from the mid-1950s and even older is the Böhm recording on DG from a performance specifically mounted on the composer’s 80th birthday. The new Chandos can confidently be listed among that select company.
 
Göran Forsling

see also review by Simon Thompson 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

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

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      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

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

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

Comment
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

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
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
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
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
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
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.