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

Chopin Edition 17CDs
now available separately
£11 post-free anywhere


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

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

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



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat



Recordings of the Month


Symphonies 1, 2, 3



Aho Symphony 5

Dowland - A Fancy


Rachmaninov_ Babayan


Opera transcriptions & fantasias


Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

Schubert Symphony 9




CD: AmazonUS

Songs and Cycles
Emma Lou DIEMER (b.1927)
Strings in the Earth and Air [1:16]
The Caller [1:51]
One Perfect Rose [2:30]
Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day? [2:15]
Flicka RAHN (b.1944)
Vicarious [2:02]
Shore Grass [2:02]
Katherine FREIBERGER (b.1927)
The Coffee-Pot Songs [7:31]
*Winter Apples [6:57]
Libby LARSEN (b.1950)
Songs from Letters: Calamity Jane to her Daughter Janey [13:34]
Elizabeth R. AUSTIN (b.1938)
5 Sonnets from the Portuguese [11:23]
Linda McNeil (soprano)
Carolyn True (piano)
*Kathy McNeil (soprano II)
*Stephanie Shapiro (oboe)
rec. Musical Arts Center of San Antonio, Texas, January 2008. DDD
LEONARDA LE357 [51:20]

Experience Classicsonline

This disc was originally released in June 2009. It bears the subtitle 'Contemporary American Women Composers', and features songs - sometimes short cycles - by five of varying prominence in the more 'veteran' stages of their careers.

However, much of the success or otherwise of this CD hangs on American soprano Linda McNeil's voice, which is heard almost non-stop for 51 minutes. McNeil teaches musical theatre, among other disciplines, at Trinity University, San Antonio, and, according to her biography, she has performed in more than thirty professional productions of musicals, including Oklahoma and Guys and Dolls. Her aptitude for that style of singing is evident in this recital - she seems most at home performing 'numbers' like Katherine Freiberger's Coffee-Pot Songs, where there is more emphasis on quirkiness, acting, humour - the final item, 'Rainy Day', is straight out of Off-Broadway.

Those that enjoy a mature, heavyish, almost operatic sound with lashings of wide and sometimes slow vibrato will have nothing to worry about. Although when Kathy McNeil's very similar voice and technique practically double the effect in Katherine Freiberger's overlong-anyway Winter Apples, even the more easy-going of music lovers may be tempted to reach for the fast forward button.

Emma Lou Diemer and particularly Flicka Rahn get less than their fair share of McNeil's chosen programme. Rahn's two thoughtful settings of Amy Lowell are over in four minuscule minutes. The unhappily short playing time of this disc cries out for more contributions from either or both of them. In Diemer's The Caller, McNeil's rural American accent is unconvincing, more of a middle class impersonation of a working class voice. Though not without interest, Katherine Freiberger's songs are altogether less persuasive. Aside from being too lengthy, her Winter Apples is puzzlingly scored for a second soprano who all but doubles the first, and for a lacklustre oboe that adds little to the effect, and indeed comes across as a bit of a clichéd afterthought.

The two most substantial, musically interesting and significant works on the disc are saved till last: Libby Larsen's poignant Songs from Letters - based on letters written by the real-life 'Calamity' Jane to her daughter - and Elizabeth Austin's settings of five of Elizabeth Browning's lovely Sonnets from the Portuguese (not 'Songs', as stated in the booklet). Both McNeil and True cope well with their often virtuosic parts in these two works, although McNeil tends at times towards shrillness and the recording process has caused some distortion - almost an echo - in the highest notes.

The piano accompaniment is also generally problematic throughout the recital. There is nothing wrong with Carolyn True's abilities, but the instrument itself is muffled and flattish, and generally doing a good impression of an upright, and a well-pounded one at that. Stephanie Shapiro's oboe, which makes a sudden and fairly unnecessary appearance in Winter Apples, is better, but the evidence remains firmly against a high quality recording.

In the final reckoning, this is not a bad CD, at least in certain respects - the poetry is generally of good quality and imaginatively set, and there is plenty of variety in the programme. The booklet too is informative - even if no dates are given for any of the works - and the full song texts are included.

The less pleasing aspects of this production do devalue it somewhat, but ultimately the decision to buy or not to buy is most likely to come down to individual reactions to Linda McNeil's voice - samples can be heard at the Leonarda website here.

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.