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.


Moravec - Twelfth Night Recital
15%off £17.21 (until Dec 7)

Katerina Englichová - harp
15%0ff £10.83 (until Dec 7)

  • 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

Sibelius Symphonies Maazel
4CDs + Blu-ray audio
Special Price £36.75

RVW A Sea Symphony - Elder

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

Echoes: Classic Works Transformed
David SCHIFF (b.1945)
Infernal (after Stravinsky) [5:40]
Bright SHENG (b.1955)
Black Swan (after Brahms) [6:52]
David STOCK (b.1939)
Plenty of Horn (after Clarke) [3:45]
John HARBISON (b.1938)
Rubies (after Thelonius Monk) [5:28]
Samuel JONES (b.1935)
Benediction (after Lutkin) [9:00]
Aaron Jay KERNIS (b.1960)
Musica Celestis (arr. string orchestra) [12:36]
Gerard SCHWARZ (b.1947)
Concerto for Brass Quintet and Orchestra (after Handel) [10:17]
Seattle Symphony Orchestra/Gerard Schwarz
rec. 10 January, 2006 (Stock, Jones, Kernis, Schwarz), 3 February, 2006 (Schiff, Harbison), 2 March, 2006 (Sheng), Benaroya Hall, Seattle, Washington, USA
NAXOS 8.559679 [53:35]

Experience Classicsonline

One of Gerard Schwarz’s initiatives as longtime director of the Seattle Symphony was a series of short commissions “reimagining” old favorites. The participating composers (including Schwarz himself) were asked to choose a short piece they knew and loved and, in Schwarz’s words, “to transform them for our present time.…to create something original for this recording.” The results don’t always live up to the assignment’s potential, and the CD length is just under an hour, but this is certainly well worth hearing, both as a meditation on contemporary composers’ love for their predecessors and as a varied collection of short, listener-friendly new pieces.

The least interesting, in my view, is the very first piece on the lineup: David Schiff’s “Infernal,” after the dance so-called in Stravinsky’s Firebird. It’s an effort to jazz the original tune up and trade it between various instrumental soloists, but it adds little to the original Stravinsky piece’s excitement or color (while adding several minutes to the play time). At least the ending rather merrily evokes the winking style of old Pink Panther scores. After this opener, though, the music improves markedly.

Bright Sheng’s “Black Swan” (recorded years before the film, by the way) is inspired by Brahms’ Intermezzo in A, Op 118 No 2. It’s a really achingly beautiful piece, some of the woodwind writing (4:20) evoking the original composer but the way Sheng hands the main tune to the violins is simply lovely. This is one for those who aren’t sure living composers can do “pretty” music.

David Stock’s “Plenty of Horn” is a loving tribute to Clarke’s trumpet voluntary; there’s rather a lot of percussion, but the focus is on trumpets, winds, and a string section which occasionally evokes the sonorities of an organ. The overall atmosphere is that of an Olympic theme, but there’s no lack of craft, and at under 4 minutes this is the most concise contribution. John Harbison takes a rather different tack by paying homage to Thelonius Monk’s “Ruby, My Dear,” in a wide-ranging and often very dark fantasia including orchestral piano and other effects. This is probably as far as any of these composers strayed from their material.

The heart of the album must be tracks 5 and 6: Samuel Jones’ rendering of Peter Christian Lutkin’s Benediction and Sevenfold Amen, a nine-minute prayer of restrained colors, and the contribution by Aaron Jay Kernis. Kernis offers an orchestral arrangement, “Musica Celestis,” of one of his own string quartet movements—a potentially self-centered choice which turns out to be twelve minutes (not four minutes, as the CD case says!) of genuinely moving string orchestra bliss. Set this (and I say this with all seriousness) right alongside Barber’s Adagio—though it is the emotional opposite of that work. It is a great healing. What Barber lost, Kernis found.

The album concludes with Gerard Schwarz’s own contribution, a concerto for brass quintet and orchestra. Schwarz has taken three movements from a Handel concerto grosso (Op 6 No 9) and arranged them for brass and strings, a commission originally carried out for the legendary Canadian Brass. As with all the works here, it’s very well played, and Schwarz’s adaptation is minimally interventionist, nearly a reproduction of the original rather than an ‘homage’ to it.

The recorded sound is as good as ever from Naxos’ exemplary Seattle recordings, close and full and presenting a rich, characterful orchestra at its best. The only complaint I can really make here is that the five brass soloists in Schwarz’ concerto are not named anywhere.

If you want a grab-bag of five-to-ten minute samples of seven American composers’ wares, this is a really excellent and extremely accessible introduction. But, and I can’t stress this enough, you need to hear “Musica Celestis.” If there is a thesis to Echoes, it might be this: today’s composers are never very distant from their predecessors, and retain a great love for the music which came before them. They may not write music which sounds like that of their ancestors, but they are capable of blending past and present in enjoyable ways. And “Musica Celestis,” with its obvious affinity with Barber’s Adagio, proves that something old and something new can together produce something great.

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.