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

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896)
Symphony No 7 in E (1883) [65:26]
Sinfonia Varsovia/Jerzy Semkow
rec. in concert, St. Mary Magdalene Polish-Catholic Cathedral, Wrocław, 2005
DUX 0668 [65:26]

Experience Classicsonline

This may be one of the most accessible performances of what is arguably Bruckner's most listener-friendly symphony. Jerzy Semkow avoids overtly trawling the metaphysical depths, instead favoring the score's warm, open-hearted lyricism. The music's sense of spiritual affirmation ultimately emerges the more strongly, especially as the sonority maintains the needed tonal and harmonic weight.
Semkow allows himself old-fashioned tempo changes between sections, marked and otherwise - the latter an accepted Romantic device, though not one suggested by Bruckner's rugged contours - and generally makes them sound natural. Even the stepping up of the tempo at 11:13 of the first movement, at the bracketed alla breve - molto animato (letter "M" in the Novak score, possibly a Nikisch emendation), registers naturally, as a variant of the main pulse - compare Sinopoli's ludicrous, disjointed forward dash (DG).
The Sinfonia Varsovia, perhaps more readily identified with Mozart than with the big Romantic guns, plays with polish. The strings are clear and well-tuned, digging into the climactic chorales with resonant fervor. The violins maintain tonal quality even when isolated in soft passages. Perhaps there are a handful fewer string desks than in higher-profile orchestras, but there's still enough players to dominate the winds, while the clean, expressive winds, in turn, register more strongly within the doublings. The prescribed quartet of Wagner tubas adds a buzzy presence to the solidly balanced brass choir. As indicated, the ensemble sonority is firmly grounded.
The flaws will bother some listeners more than others. In passages marked piano and pianissimo, Semkow allows playing that's well above the indicated dynamic. When this is done to allow for a really full-throated voicing of the great melodies, or to bring greater definition and presence to supporting parts, it is unexceptionable. In other instances, however, the effect sounds careless and even counterproductive: in the Adagio's second subject (3:58) - set up with a nice sense of anticipation, by the way - the first violins give the theme the right sort of lift, but the thick supporting textures keep it relentlessly earthbound.
Also, at this stage of his career, Semkow's beat is better at conveying the broad musical arcs than at enforcing precise ensemble. Even relatively uncomplicated passages are slightly unkempt: in the Adagio's second-group recap, for example, the inner strings have trouble keeping their eighth-note accompaniments together. Coordination also becomes tentative during transitional ritards - a recurring problem, given all those tempo changes.
The engineering is well-nigh ideal for this writing. There is a moderate amount of ambience, noticeable after the cutoffs of loud chords, especially at the ends of movements. The rest of the time, it unobtrusively enhances and colors the sound of both ensemble and soloists. The clear, velvety reproduction of the solo woodwinds has an almost tactile appeal.
Surprisingly, given the number of recorded Bruckner 7s available, few entries have been really outstanding. The veteran Brucknerians Böhm (DG) and Klemperer (EMI) find their insightful readings dogged by control problems, mostly in the Adagio. Some listeners consider the various Furtwängler concerts sui generis; I don't, but limited, monaural sound rules out a firm recommendation, as it also does with Szell (Sony). In this context, the unfussy recordings by Haitink (both Philips), Inbal (Denon), and Rattle (EMI) score simply by virtue of avoiding major problems. Semkow's sincere, spontaneous account could be a worthy supplement to any of these.
Stephen Francis Vasta

see also review by Terry Barfoot 

Masterwork Index: Bruckner's Symphony 7






















































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.