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


paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

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

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Clarissa Bevilacqua plays
Augusta Read Thomas

all Nimbus reviews

Brahms Dvorak
Brahms 2 Dvorak 7
all tudor reviews



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
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom



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 cpo reviews

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

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

November 2022
Bach Orchestral Suites

del Cinque
Del Cinque Cello sonatas

Fujita Mozart
Mao Fujita Mozart

Stanczyk Acousmatic Music


October 2022

Berg Violin Concerto
Violin Concerto Elmes

DEbussy Jeux
Debussy Jeux

Romantic pioano masters
Romantic Piano Masters

The future is female - Vol 2
Volume 2 - The Dance

impromptu harp music
Complete Harp Impromptus



Buy through MusicWeb
for £12 postage paid World-wide.

Musicweb Purchase button

Sound Samples and Downloads

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
String Quartet No.13 in A minor, D.804 Rosamunde (1824) [35:36]
String Quartet No.14 in D minor, D.810 Death and the Maiden (1824) [42:33]
Brandis Quartett (Thomas Brandis, Peter Brem (violins), Wilfried Strehle (viola), Wolfgang Boettcher (cello))
rec. February 1995 (D.804), March 1994 (D.810), Concert Hall of the Nimbus Foundation. DDD
NIMBUS NI5438 [78:35]

Experience Classicsonline

Schubert’s two great quartets are a popular combination on disc. Such is the power and the beauty of this music that even though parts of it are depressive, violent and desperate, the listener is left with the overall impression of gratitude and purification – rather like the after-effect of watching a tragedy by Shakespeare.
The A minor Quartet got its nickname “Rosamunde” from its slow movement, where Schubert reused a theme from his earlier (1823) incidental music. The first movement is dense and nervous, with flickering pulse and dramatic outbursts. The main subject is troubled and despairing, and is reminiscent of Schubert’s Gretchen am Spinnrade. The second subject is like a smile through tears: this is Schubert’s “uneasy joy”, clouded by premonition. The second movement is songlike, calm but not joyous. It has a sweet rocking motion like a lullaby. The anxiety rises in a short dramatic episode then we return to soft serenity.
The feeling of unease continues in the third movement. It is called Menuetto, but in fact it is a light and cool waltz, almost in Dvorák’s manner: autumnal, wistful and yet somewhat “practical”. The folk-style Trio is more cheerful. The gloom disperses in the finale. The first theme has the character of a rustic folk-dance; the second theme is a Schumanesque half-march half-scherzo. This joy is not really light-hearted - it has an air of seriousness about it, but after the preceding movements even this sounds like bliss, and the spirits are raised nevertheless.
The performance of the Brandis Quartet is expressive, unanimous and relatively fast. In the first movement, they focus more on the beauty than on the drama. So their performance is more even and less torn and nervous than, for example, that of Quartetto Italiano on Philips. The first violin of Thomas Brandis produces assured and beautiful sound. In the slow movement they assume quite a fast tempo, more Allegretto than Andante. This gives the music a different character; it becomes “thicker”, with more action than reflection. With Quartetto Italiano, the music breathes with juvenile timidity; the Brandis are more assertive and add a dancing lilt. As a consequence, the short agitated episode does not create much contrast with its surroundings. I feel some dissatisfaction as a result of this haste – as if the music was not given the opportunity to express itself fully and consequently loses some of its logical force. Menuetto starts in a hushed voice and is well balanced. This movement certainly benefits from certain remoteness. The Brandis excellently convey its character, painting it in cold grayish-blue tones. The trio is successfully contrasted. The playing of the finale is light and elegant, with some filigree finger-work. Again, the cooler notes are well emphasized.
The D minor Quartet is more monumental. It is definitely one of the greatest string quartets ever written. Its tragic mood reflects the composer’s desperation as a result of his degrading state of health and business. The nickname is taken from the 1817 song Der Tod und das Mädchen – or, more specifically, from the theme of the Death, which serves as the base for the second movement’s variations. The first movement builds on the contrast between the stormy, violent first subject and the lyric, lilting second. This is a gripping drama, unfolding right before our eyes, with pain and terror. The somber Andante con moto is like Death’s answer to the desperate pleas of the first movement. The music calms down – but this calmness is chilling. The five variations preserve the harmonic structure of the theme, but are very diverse emotionally. The entire movement is characterized by high static tension. The music speaks of fear, and defiance, and acceptance, and sweet hope, and then fear again.
The Scherzo is angular and commanding. The Trio section is more singing and lyrical. Unlike the A minor quartet, here the sun does not come out in the finale. It is a frantic gallop in the cold night, resembling the finale of Schubert’s C minor piano sonata. It also resembles a tarantella, in its original morbid objective: to dance away the poison and the death. Although the character does not change significantly in the coda, it magically brings a measure of optimism and confidence.
This is music with strong personality that exists independently of the performers – and yet it may come out wearing quite different faces. This performance by the Brandis Quartett is sonorous, with resonant acoustics, and the music gathers grandeur – like a gray gothic cathedral. The balance shifts toward the violins, with less weight given to the cello, which is a pity. In the first movement the Brandis play with pressure but not roughness, and express well the music’s mortal dismay. Their development section is especially multi-layered. The musicians give an excellent performance of the slow movement. The first violin is poignant and earnest. They are energetic and powerful in the Scherzo and the finale.
Tempo and dynamic-wise, the Brandis performance of these two masterpieces is not very different from the best “mainstream” interpretations. However their approach is cool and sometimes detached. It has a certain dryness and thinness. The first violin plays a big role in both quartets, and the voice of Thomas Brandis’s instrument is not especially meaty, so this could be one of the reasons. Also, the cello is not prominent in the recording, and does not have enough weight to bring the balance closer to the rich lower regions. These are technically impeccable performances, dedicated, concentrated, but I can’t find any specific quality that would mark them apart from the others. There’s none of the Wow!-factor which is probably needed in works that already have so many excellent existing recordings.
Oleg Ledeniov


































































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.