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

Yes we are selling
Acte Prealable again!


with Eggebrecht we get all the excitement we can handle

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

Vraiment magnifique!

Quite splendid

Winning performances

Mahler Symphony 8
a magnificent disc

a huge talent

A wonderful disc

Weinberg Symphonies 2 & 21
A handsome tribute!

Roth’s finest Mahler yet

Mahler 9 Blomstedt
Distinguished performance



We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

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


Buy through MusicWeb
for £9.50 postage paid World-wide.

Musicweb Purchase button

Sound Samples and Downloads

Zoltán KODÁLY (1882-1967)
Háry János – Suite for Orchestra (1926-27) [25:23]
Dance of Galánta (1933) [17:27]
Variations on a Hungarian Folksong (The Peacock) (1939) [28:29]
Hungarian State Symphony Orchestra/Ádám Fischer
rec. September-October 1990, Haydnsaal, Eisenstadt, Austria. DDD.
NIMBUS NI7081 [71:19]

Experience Classicsonline

Kodály’s music is owned by Hungarian conductors. They feel it deeper, and convey its spirit better. Ádám Fischer is the elder brother of Ivan Fischer and is probably mostly known for his association with the Austro-Hungarian Haydn orchestra. His recording of Kodály’s three most popular works for orchestra is worthy, but has a few drawbacks that prevent it from being put on the shelf with the best available choices. It seems that the root of all the problems is the distant, reverberant acoustics. The performance is also slower than usual, but this could be a deliberate adjustment made by the conductor in order to better deal with the acoustic situation.
The orchestral suite from Háry János is a treasure chest. The brooding Prelude starts with the famous “musical sneeze” – according to a Hungarian tradition, the sneeze proves that the following story is true! Viennese Musical Clock is light and crisp. Song is slow and atmospheric, with oriental shadows. It starts cool and gradually warms and collects colors, including the cimbalom. Battle and Defeat of Napoleon is a vivid scene ruled by brass and percussion; saxophone creates novel sonorities. Intermezzo is my favorite. It is in ABA form and has a genuine folk character, with plenty of cimbalom for everyone. This is open, proud and noble music from the world of Liszt’s Rhapsodies and Brahms’ Dances. The middle part is relaxed and transparent. Finally, Entrance of the Emperor is a bouncy, slightly comical march with a lot of oompah, little bells, trumpets, drums and piccolos. The march grows, covered in brass, becomes more opulent and triumphant, and all ends in grand jubilation.
My favorite recording of this work is by Istvan Kertesz and LSO on Decca/Belart. Despite the slight tape hiss, this is the most direct and vivid 3D. The music just leaps at you! His Prelude is deep and grand, and his musical sneeze is contagious. His Song has more contrasts, and the middle episode is dance-like. Kertesz rushes into the battle with Napoleon and his army, which is portrayed as a huge, heavy-footed monster. His Intermezzo is full of strength. The tutti are very tutti, and probably too much tutti. The cimbalom is very forwardly placed: on one hand you hear it well; on the other hand it is detached from the orchestra. He emphasizes the comical side of the Emperor’s march, but towards the end gives us an accelerating storm. In brief, this is the most electrifying reading.
I also listened to two Antal Doráti recordings. The one with the Minneapolis Orchestra does not come alive, because of the very even, steady beat. The music becomes square and mechanical, as if conducted by a metronome – this is especially noticeable in the Intermezzo. On the other hand, his Battle and Emperor parts have impressive power. Dorati’s recording with Philharmonia Hungarica has poorer acoustics and is characterized by huge dynamic leaps between loud and quiet. In the Battle the pauses are big, so everything falls apart. The saxophone is not very interesting, but the trumpets are excellent, and the culmination is like a volcano erupting. Overall, this recording sounds good but ordinary, without the fire brought by Kertesz.
Fischer’s recording has many pros and contras. His “sneeze” does not have the same vividness as Kertesz’s, but his slower approach brings good fruit in the Prelude, leading you into the magical fairytale, like Tchaikovsky’s growing Christmas tree. In the Song, the opening cello is rather expressionless; but again the relaxed middle episode uncovers new sides. In the Battle scene, he has an exceptional saxophone, and a greater feeling of depth, of multi-layered sonority. The approach of the French army is very graphic. He brings excellent rhythmic spontaneity to Intermezzo, and his syncopation is very alive; but the distant recording reduces the effect. The cimbalom blends with the orchestra – usually it is very separate. Entrance of the Emperor seems too fussy. When the march is growing, the sound becomes blurred. The acceleration is well done, but the orchestra sounds thinnish.
Kodály lived in Galánta for seven years, and there he listened to the famous local band. Dances of Galánta is like a musical memoir from these days, a whirling sequence of 17th century Hungarian dances, going faster and faster. The first one is slow and stately. The second is reminiscent of the Hungarian Dances by Brahms. The third is slender and frolicsome, framed by the returns of the slow opening motif. We start building the steam with the fourth dance, alive and heavily syncopated. Suddenly the momentum is suspended for a nonchalant, slightly tipsy episode – but then the rolling resumes, and everything bursts loose in the fifth dance, the fastest. This is the apotheosis of movement and joy, and in all music only the end of Enescu’s Romanian Rhapsody No.1 can compete with the impact of this uninhibited swirl. We slow down for one last reflection before rushing into the abandon of the swirling dance!
Fischer’s approach to this score is very symphonic. He keeps the energy for the ending, and starts slowly and cautiously. As a result, the contrast between the dances is more pronounced, and the ending becomes even more effective. His third dance is more dainty than playful. The fourth has a feeling of inevitability. It’s impossible to stay calm and indifferent. The last dance will make your heart beat faster – this is absolute happiness. If only the recording was closer and better! I swear I hear real reverberating echoes – especially in the closing chords.
The last work is a set of orchestral variations on an old Hungarian song The Peacock. The spirit of the ancient times is created by the heavy use of the pentatonic scale, as well as the rich, brocade orchestration. There is no overarching idea: these are variations for variations sake. The work is large – about half an hour. It is a long journey, you see wonders on every step, but as any long journey it can become tiring. Even Kertesz loses my attention somewhere mid-way. But Fischer conveys a sense of purpose that, even with his unrushed tempos, propels this leviathan forward. Fischer paints on a grand scale. The string climaxes are massive. The rhythmically rich, active parts receive exuberant treatment like new Polovtsian Dances. The slow episodes are grandiose yet thoughtful. In the middle of the road we enter the ethereal realm where the time stands still. The dirge is haunting, and the flute solo is sublime. The last part is again full of movement, the music is iridescent and festive. This is an excellent reading, highlighting all the wonders of the score – although I feel that it lacks some enthusiasm. Again, all is let down by the diffuse recording quality.
Summarizing, these are good performances, a bit on the slow side, but not the best available, chiefly because of the acoustic decisions.
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.