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

Click here and you can listen to soundclips.

Czeslaw MAREK (1891-1985)
Piano Works
Triptyque, op.8 [20:03]
Two Meditations*, op.10 [13:16]
Ballade, op.7 [8:52]
Deux Morceaux, op.4 [6:18]
12 Variations on an Original Theme, op.3 [13:45]
Chorale and Allegro, op.11 [12:23]
Echos de la Jeunesse: Suite de Six Esquisses, op.9 [14:45]
Petite Valse, op.19 [2:31]
Sarabande and Toccata, op.27 [11:31]
Three Jazz-Caprices, op.29 [9:04]
Two Foxtrots, op.35 [5:02]
Three Dances, op.39 [9:22]
Chant Varié, op.37 [6:42]
Suite, op.40 [15:43]
Marie-Catherine Girod (piano)
rec. St George's Church, Bristol, England, 1998. DDD
GUILD GMCD 7364/5 [74:37 + 74:40]

Experience Classicsonline

This release by Swiss label Guild of solo piano works by Polish-Swiss composer Czeslaw Marek is in fact a reissue, as the recording date suggests. Actually, it a composite re-issue, in that the two CDs are a re-jigged compilation, with new notes, from two different discs previously published just over a decade ago by the now 'assimilated' Austrian label Koch-Schwann in a multi-disc series that was universally praised at the time.

The booklet notes seem to indicate that these are Marek's complete works for solo piano, apart from the Petite Suite op.36a, which, along with two pieces for two pianos, the Sérénade Italienne op.16a and Annemarie op.38a - both in fact his own transcriptions of other works - appeared on a worthy companion volume of chamber music, also released in 2011 - see review. Guild have also now issued a third volume, this time of songs and choral works (GMCD 7366/67).

Marek's corpus of works was fairly small; in fact, he had more or less stopped composing, with less than 50 opuses to his name - including a fair bit of judicious recycling - by the time he was fifty, preferring to spend the second half of his very long life concentrating on pedagogy. The fourteen works in French pianist Marie-Catherine Girod's extended recital are randomly ordered, although CD2 features predominantly later works, not least a few items from Marek's 'jazz' period, during which he used the pseudonym 'Mark Mat' and wrote scintillating music surprisingly evocative of Gershwin. In any case, there is no doubt that this volume represents far greater value for money than the first, a generous 149 minutes versus a miserly 96.

Marek's post-war descent into relative oblivion is highly puzzling, but this mini-series from Guild should go some way towards facilitating his musical resurrection. This piano volume in particular must be considered one of the best re-releases of the year. The silly claim in the booklet notes that "Marek's piano oeuvre offers in its variety an entire cosmos of piano music history" is brazen hype, but the music on these two discs amounts to much more than a collection of salon music that many of the titles may suggest. The combination of lyricism, pathos, sincerity and unostentatious invention - what Marek himself described as "classically orientated late Romanticism" - may be considered ‘old hat’ in more captious quarters, but for those who judge music on its own merits, rather than by measuring it against what the avant-garde was doing at the time, it is beguiling in its splendour.

The influence of Chopin and Szymanowski is self-evident but discreet, and from outside Poland, Bach, Brahms, Debussy and Ravel feed into the cosmopolitan Swiss musical culture Marek also absorbed. There is beautiful music at every turn, and many of these works belong in every pianophile's collection and in every pianist's repertory, from the lilting, Schumannesque nostalgia of Echos de la Jeunesse op.9 to the rich textures of the Chorale and Allegro op.11. The opening Triptyque op.8, likely a personal reflection of Busoni's Fantasia Contrappuntistica, and the final Suite op.40 come from opposite ends of Marek's composing career, but for sheer brilliance of imagination they are quite unbeatable.

Sound quality is good throughout. The English-German booklet is neat and informative, though purchasers should be forewarned that Jürgen Schaarwächter, author of the new German-language notes, has also translated them into English with an impressive competence not matched by an understanding of idiom. As a consequence, the notes have their own definite 'German accent'. Much of the time it is hardly noticeable, but at its worst it borders on the surreal: "Additionaly [sic] Marek writes: 'Or order that my wife could make foot and leg exercises that are useful for the therapy of her sick legs, we took some dancing hours.'" When will labels finally comprehend that saving money through not employing a native proof-reader is false economy? Incidentally, the spelling 'Tryptique' in the track listing appears to be Guild's - Marek published his work in Polish as 'Tryptyk'; in some sources it is accepted as an alternative to the expected 'Triptyque' (to which the editor has altered the spelling).

Marie-Catherine Girod's genial interpretations in the previous volume are continued here, and, indeed, added to with sustained sparkle and insight, a poetic pianism to match Marek's. Her profile may not be high on an international scale - unusually nowadays, she does not appear to have her own website - but in France she has continued to record and perform: an online interview with a French pianophile site mentions a discography of around 30, from Mendelssohn's complete oeuvre for piano for the Saphir label to works by French composers obscure or modern, like Pierre-Octave Ferroud, Gustave Samazeuilh or the remarkable Paul le Flem; and to fondly-recalled recordings of the likes of York Bowen or Arnold Bax on the now defunct Opès 3D.

Collected reviews and contact at


































































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.