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

£11 post-free anywhere
(New titles - January)


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

Works for Voice by György Kurtág

Best Seller

Chopin Piano Concerto No.1

Schubert Piano sonata

Schubert symphony No. 9

Katherine Watson (Sop)

From Severn to Somme


We are currently offering in excess of 52,000 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

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
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads

George Alexander MACFARREN (1813-1887)
Robin Hood - A Romantic English Opera in three acts (1860) [158:33]
Robin Hood (in disguise as Locksley) - Nicky Spence (tenor)
Marian (daughter of the Sheriff) - Kay Jordan (soprano)
Sir Reginald d’Bracy (Sheriff of Nottingham) - George Hulbert (baritone)
Alice (Marian’s attendant) - Magdalen Ashman (mezzo)
Hugo (Sompnour, Collector of Abbey dues) - Louis Hurst (bass)
Allan-a-Dale (a young peasant) - Andrew Mackenzie-Wicks (tenor)
Little John - John Molloy (bass)
Much, the Miller’s son - Alex Knox (baritone)
John Powell Singers
Victorian Opera Chorus and Orchestra/Ronald Corp
rec. Urmston Grammar School, Manchester, England, 6-7 March 2010
NAXOS 8.660306-07 [78:36 + 79:57]

Experience Classicsonline

Despite his Scottish sounding name, George Alexander Macfarren was English, born in London. He studied at the Royal Academy of Music, became a Professor of Harmony and Composition there and, in 1875, by then totally blind, rose to become the Academy’s Principal. His compositional output comprised orchestral music, oratorios, cantatas and songs.
Robin Hood was first produced in 1860 at a time when Elgar was but three years old and when the English Musical Renaissance was in bud rather than in flower. Described as a ‘Romantic English Opera in three acts’, Robin Hood has more in common with operetta in its lightness of approach and intermittent spoken dialogue. It was popular in its day and was esteemed by Edward Dent who thought it ‘very full of good fun and on the way to Sullivan ...’ Indeed it does anticipate Sullivan. One can also detect influences of Mendelssohn and Schumann and even hints of Verdi in the Act III, Second Scene Song “Sons of the Greenwood.” It was revived regularly to the end of the 19th century when it was eclipsed, I imagine, by the works of Gilbert and Sullivan and Edward German. It then languished and it has been left to the hard and dedicated work of Valerie Langfield (Roger Quilter’s biographer) to painstakingly rebuild its score. This link takes you to her article detailing that task.
It has to be said that, to modern ears, this work can often sound quaint. One contemporary critic went on record to comment that Robin Hood was “a work of musical genius superior to any works of Verdi or Donizetti...” Ahem!
The story line follows the familiar Robin Hood legends but with Maid Marian cast as the daughter of the Sheriff of Nottingham - who is shown here to be not such a bad fellow in the end. Here the Sheriff pardons Robin and allows him to marry his daughter at the final curtain – but only when King Richard returns from the Crusades to sort out his evil brother, John. The villain is Sompnour, who collects taxes from the downtrodden peasants.
All praises to Ronald Corp’s choir and orchestra for their verve and enthusiasm. The Overture promises well; it’s atmospheric, exciting and romantic with its horn-calls and woodland imagery. The Act II Entr’acte sporting a brass chorale is equally pleasing. The choral writing, for the most part, impresses: the Act II Part Song ‘The wood, the wood’ and ‘A good fat deer’ that immediately follows, both for Robin’s men, are lusty, evocative and witty. Just as striking is the Act III, Scene II choral part-song, ‘Now the sun has mounted’ which anticipates Sullivan and especially his ‘The Long Day Closes’ published in 1868, some eight years after Robin Hood.
Tenor Nicky Spence is stalwart and dashing; his nobly patriotic Act I ballad ‘Englishmen by Birth’ rings out proudly. He romances Marian tenderly and his duets with Marian such as their ‘Good Night, Love’ are lovingly affecting. Lyric soprano Kay Jordan has a nicely young-girlish, bright, full timbre with a powerfully projected coloratura. It has to be said though that the voice tends, at times, to be a little uncomfortable in the top extremities. Alas she is not served with the best of the libretto – some lines are quite banal – take for example her Act I aria beginning with the words, “Hail happy morn Thy cloudless sky, That blushes in the new-born light ...” ’Pity because that number commences with a particularly engaging cello solo and sections of the aria are quite moving; but then it droops towards the risible – a banality almost worthy of PDQ Bach.
Bass Louis Hurst is a magnificent glowering Sompnour; he shines in his Act I song in which he sings of his ruthless tax-gathering activities, “"Oh, gentle Sompnour, pray be kind: We're in arrear — we own it. Pray thee do not be severe,” is delivered in a witty whimpering- woman imitation. George Hulbert is a pompous self-righteous Sheriff. His Act I duet and chorus ‘May the saints protect and guide thee ...’ sung as he bids the Sompnour a safe journey through Robin Hood’s forest is another delight.
Naxos provides a generous 16-page booklet. A full libretto, including spoken dialogue, is available for downloading on the Naxos web site.

Despite its unevenness, there is much to enjoy in this revival. Of historical interest in the progress of the English Musical Renaissance

Ian Lace

see also THE ROLE OF THE MUSIC EDITOR by Dr Valerie Langfield, Music Editor: Robin Hood


































































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.