MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing



CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
BIS Downloads available from

Vasily KALINNIKOV (1866-1901)
Symphony No. 1 in G minor (1894-1895) [37:37]
Symphony No. 2 in A major (1895-1897) [39:02]
Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra/Kees Bakels
rec. December 2000, Dewan Filharmonik PETRONAS Hall, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. DDD
BIS-CD-1155 [77:29]

Experience Classicsonline


  Kees Bakels and the Malaysian Philharmonic’s Rimsky-Korsakov collection (BIS-CD-1667/68) has given me great pleasure since it first appeared. Those familiar pieces are played – and recorded – with a freshness and spontaneity that’s rare indeed, qualities I was looking for in these Kalinnikov symphonies. Inexplicably, this disc has only just been released, more than a decade after it was recorded; in the meantime several versions have held sway, notably Neeme Järvi’s on Chandos CHAN 9546 and Theodor Kuchar’s on Naxos 8.553417. So just how well does this Johnny-come-lately compare?
Vasily Kalinnikov only wrote two symphonies and a handful of other works before he died of TB, aged 35. Given his dates it’s not surprising to hear frequent echoes of Tchaikovsky in these works; what is unexpected, though, is the composer’s sustained creativity and flair. From the outset one is struck by the lovely, balletic nature of Kalinnikov’s writing and Bakels and his orchestra springs the dance rhythms with grace and charm. The Allegro of the first symphony is subtly aerated, the recording warm, full and detailed in the very best tradition of the house. But it’s the quality of the music-making that’s most remarkable – lithe, characterful and brimming with life.
Really, this is a first-class band. Bakels scales and phrases the music to perfection; indeed, there’s an almost classical proportion and quiet dignity to this symphony that puts Balakirev, Arensky and Kalinnikov’s more excitable rivals to shame. Ensemble is always crisp, strings silky smooth, timps taut and clear; the woodwind sound fresh and frisky too. In short, it’s hard to imagine this music better done. The Andante is one of the gentlest, most luminous idylls I’ve heard in ages. Fortunately Kalinnikov doesn’t overwork his material. The Scherzo is pliant and playful, the unmistakably masculine Finale beautifully toned, its sinew and muscle sensed rather than flexed for empty adulation.
What a splendid creation this is; in fact I found myself applauding silently at the close, wondering if the Second Symphony would seduce me so completely. The short answer is yes, it did. The skipping strings of the first movement are a balm to the heart and ear. These are eminently danceable tunes, which makes me think this conductor and band would be an ideal pairing in the Tchaikovsky ballets. The nimble reflexes of this orchestra – and its refined tuttis – never fail to impress, notably in that Tchaikovskian close to the first movement. And it just gets better: a light but languid Andante, a Puckish Scherzo and a thrilling, typically Russianate Finale.
Järvi is more red-blooded and thrustful, Kuchar comparatively rough and ready, yet no-one uncovers the gentle, cultured soul of this music quite like Bakels and his band. In this Arnoldian night of drear and dread such open-hearted, easeful music – played with great sensitivity and skill – is doubly welcome. Imbibe and enjoy, for this is a very special disc indeed.
Dan Morgan






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

Past 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.