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

£11 post-free anywhere
(currently suspended)


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

Bruno Monteiro (violin)

Special Price and we are still delivering

Recordings of the Month


Feinberg Piano Sonatas

Schoenberg Violin Concerto

Early Keyboard

Nun Danket Alle Gott
Now Everyone Thanks God


Haydn Scottish Songs

Choral Music

Liszt Sonata

Renaissance Bohemia


Hahn Complete Songs

Piano Sonatas 6,7,8 Osborne


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


SFZ music

Songs without words
Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643)
Laudate Dominum [3:42]
Dario CASTELLO (1st half 17th C)
Sonata II [4:54]
Pierre SANDRIN (c1490-1560)/Adam WOOLF
Doulce mémoire [4:53]
Giovanni Battista FONTANA (1589-1630)
Sonata VI [6:44]
Girolamo FRESCOBALDI (1583-1643)
Canzona IV [2:26]
Diego ORTIZ (c1510-c1570)
Recercada I - Recercada II - Recercada I (arr Adam Woolf) [5:38]
Canzon III [3:14]
Cipriano DE RORE (1515/16-1565)/Adam WOOLF
Anchor che col partire [4:37]
Heinrich SCHÜTZ (1585-1672)
O Jesu, nomen dulce (SWV 308) [3:20]
Canzon detta La Superba [3:15]
Luca MARENZIO (1553/54-1599)/arr Giovanni BASSANO (1560/61-1617)
Liquide perle Amor [2:01]
Jacob VAN EYCK (1589/90-1657)
Pavane lachrymae [7:46]
Se l'aura spira tutta vezzosa [7:51]
Adam Woolf (sackbut), Nicholas Milne (viola da gamba), Eligio Luis Quinteiro (theorbo), Siobhán Armstrong (harp), Kathryn Cok (harpsichord, organ)
rec. 31 November-3 December 2009, Church of St John the Evangelist, Upper Norwood, London, UK. DDD
SFZMUSIC LC-18271 [60:30]

Experience Classicsonline

The sackbut was an instrument of the renaissance and baroque which we now know as the trombone. It played an important role in the 16th and 17th centuries. Used in an ensemble of 'cornetts and sackbuts', it provided support to singers or served to replace one or more of them. That was especially the case in liturgical music. Like the cornett it was used in purely instrumental music in the early 17th century. That said, there is hardly any music from this period which was specifically written for it.
In his liner-notes Adam Woolf quotes Michael Praetorius, the German composer and theorist, who referred to a sackbut player as "being able to execute rapid coloraturas and jumps on his instrument just as is done on the viola bastarda and the cornett". The French theorist Marin Mersenne writes about sackbut players who "play diminutions just as trumpets and all other wind instruments". Woolf then rightly asks: if sackbut players apparently had opportunities to show off their virtuosic capabilities of both player and instrument, what exactly did they play?
One answer is: ensemble music. A number of instrumental pieces by Italian composers from the first half of the 17th century had parts for sackbut which show the same amount of virtuosity as parts for violin or cornett. As a member of the Caecilia-Concert Woolf himself has played several such pieces. Examples can be found on their disc "Schmelzer & Co", reviewed here. I can't see any reason why Praetorius or Mersenne must have referred to playing of pieces for sackbut solo. On the other hand, it is remarkable that hardly any solo pieces have come down to us. It is quite plausible that sackbut players performed pieces which were originally intended for other instruments or pieces without a specific indication of the instrument.
A part of the programme is devoted to such pieces. The Sonata II by Dario Castello is written for a treble instrument, like the violin, the cornett or the recorder. Performance by the tenor sackbut demands transposition, but that was something of which any player of that time was capable. The Sonata VI by Fontana is from the composer's only collection of instrumental music. Although he was a violinist by profession, he indicates that the sonatas are for violin, cornett, bassoon, chitarrone, violoncino "or another similar instrument". Such formulas are hard to interpret correctly. It is a bit too easy to take this as an excuse to play the treble part of such a piece using the sackbut. The chitarrone is also mentioned, but I doubt that anyone would think of deploying this as an argument for playing the piece on the chitarrone with basso continuo. Whether such pieces were performed by sackbut players has to remain an open question.
But then, the programme as a whole can't be judged from a strictly historical point of view. It is very unlikely, for instance, that sackbut players would have played pieces from Jacob van Eyck's collection Der Fluyten Lusthof. It is questionable, for instance, how many copies of this collection of music for solo recorder would have found their way outside the Netherlands. Within the Netherlands music-making was largely restricted to the private homes of aristocrats and citizens. It seems quite unlikely that this included playing the sackbut. Also questionable is the instrumental performance of solo concertos for voice and basso continuo. In the renaissance it was quite common to perform vocal parts with instruments, but at that time the text was not central. Things changed in the first half of the 17th century. That makes the performance of pieces like Monteverdi's Laudate Dominum and Schütz's O Jesu, nomen dulce historically not very plausible. That said, I would be very happy if any singer would perform these sacred concertos in the way Adam Woolf plays them. In his liner-notes he emphasizes the need to pay attention to the text even if it ‘played’ instrumentally. That is exactly what he does, and some singers could learn from hsi example. It is just a shame the booklet doesn't include the lyrics of these pieces.
Specifically interesting are the items in which Woolf demonstrates the technique of divisions: the addition of ornaments to one or more lines from a vocal piece. He plays such divisions by Bassano over Luca Marenzio's madrigal Liquide perle Amor, and follows that example in his own divisions over Doulce mémoire by Pierre Sandrin and Anchor che col partire by Cipriano de Rore. Diego Ortiz wrote a famous treatise on the art of playing divisions. Although this was primarily intended for playing the viola da gamba, its importance goes far beyond that. It is interesting to hear some of the Ortiz pieces from this book at the sackbut.
From what I have written one may conclude that this programme is historically questionable as far as the choice of repertoire is concerned. To a large extent this is inevitable as we just don't know exactly what music sackbut players performed. It is Adam Woolf's virtue that he has almost single-handedly put the sackbut as a solo instrument on the map. Almost: the other performers on this disc have a fair share in the quality of this disc. Despite my remarks about the choice of music I have the greatest admiration for the achievement of this ensemble. The technical prowess of Adam Woolf and his colleagues is impressive. The Italian cornettist wrote: "The players of the sackbut are judged by their correct intonation, by their soft tone, by their avoiding a mooing sound (...)". Those qualities fully apply to Adam Woolf as well.
Johan van Veen


































































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.