Schubert sonatas

Newest Releases

Piano solo and duet
  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Some items
to consider

Free classical music concerts by Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.

British composers

  • Today's leading<br>clarinet-piano duo
  • Stellar debut<br>piano recital
  • Clarinet transcriptions Jonathan Cohler
  • Jonathan Cohler & Claremont Trio
  • French clarinet masterpieces
  • Today's leading<br>clarinet-piano duo

Shostakovich Symphony 10 Nelsons

Verdi Requiem

Dvorak Opera Premiere

Grieg, Mendelssohn sonatas




Would you like a hyperlinked weekly summary of the CDs we have reviewed?

Click for further details

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
Classical Editor
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Cameo Classics
Prima voce
Red Priest
Toccata Classics

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
Classical Editor
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Waldbühne 2011: Fellini, Jazz & Co
Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975)
Jazz Suite No. 2, Op. 50b (1938) [26:20]
Encore:Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk - Suite, Op. 29a (1930-1932)
III. Allegretto [2:46]
Nino ROTA (1911-1979)
La Strada - Suite (1954) [24:05]
Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936)
Fontane di Roma (Fountains of Rome), P. 106 (1915-1916) [17:17]
Pini di Roma (Pines of Rome), P. 141 (1923-1924) [24:07]
Encore:Belkis, Queen of Sheba - Suite, P. 177 (1930)
II. Danza guerresca(War Dance) [3:31]
Paul LINCKE (1866-1946)
Berliner Luft (1922) [4:35]
Berliner Philharmoniker/Riccardo Chailly
rec. live, Waldbühne, Berlin, 23 August 2011
Picture: 16:9, 1080i Full-HD
Sound: PCM stereo, dts-HD Master Audio 5.1
Region: 0 (worldwide)
Video director: Henning Kasten
EUROARTS 2058404 [105:00]

Experience Classicsonline

As outdoor venues go, Berlin’s Waldbühne is one of the most spectacular. Based on the amphitheatre at the ancient Greek city of Epidaurus and now home to the Berliner Philharmoniker’s summer concerts, it seats 22,000 people in a pleasant forest setting, the stage topped by a distinctive, twin-peaked roof-cum-acoustic-shell. Many of the orchestra’s themed evenings are available on DVD - they tend to surface on various arts channels as well - the ‘American Night’, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, one of the most memorable of recent years. Now it’s the turn of Riccardo Chailly, whose live Mahler 2 from the 2011 Leipzig Mahlerfest impressed me so (review).
The slightly cumbersome title of this disc - Fellini, Jazz & Co - isn’t all that accurate. Shostakovich’s Jazz Suites, culled from his other works for stage and screen, aren’t particularly jazzy; that said, they’re terrific showpieces, as is the suite from Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. The Fellini connection is more obvious, his 1954 film La Strada blessed with a fine score by Nino Rota. The ‘& Co’ part encompasses two-thirds of Respighi’s colourful Roman trilogy and a dance from his last ballet, Belkis, Regina di Saba. The fizzy coda is provided by Paul Lincke’s Berliner Luft, from his operetta Frau Luna; it’s to Berliners what the Radetzky March is to the Viennese, right down to the audience participation.
For some reason Chailly has yet to record any of the Shostakovich symphonies, but he has given us the piano concertos and lots of lesser-known scores. In particular I quite enjoyed The Dance Album (Decca), although his emphasis on cool sophistication does rob the music of its raw heat and energy. And so it proves here, genial rhythms and the orchestra’s oh-so-svelte delivery better suited to the Strausses than to Shostakovich. Balances are inconsistent too; the piano, squeezebox and saxophones are easily heard, but the xylophone is very indistinct, especially in the perky Little Polka. The soft-edged, somewhat diffuse sound - in stereo at least - isn’t terribly involving either.
Regrettably, it doesn’t get any better, with a bland rendition of Rota’s La Strada that lacks energy and direction. There are fine violin and trumpet solos and Chailly does up the ante - and the tempo - in that jazzy middle section, muted trumpets, drums and hi-hats to the fore; otherwise it’s too much like a unruffled, air-conditioned ride in an expensive Mercedes, devoid of the character and edge that so enlivens Riccardo Muti’s fine CD version for Sony. Goodness, less idiomatic readings of this and the Shostakovich it would be hard to imagine!
So, how does the Respighi fare? Not very well, is the short answer. These four Roman fountains are very different and that’s reflected in the scoring; yet such are the turgid tempi and lack of sparkle that you’d be hard-pressed to tell one from the other. Poor balance is even more of an issue here, the piano and bells of the Villa Medici fountain all but inaudible; inexplicably, the stereo layer is veiled, gaining a little in oomph and bite if one selects the surround option - mixed down to stereo on my Sony player. A desperately prosaic performance in every respect, I’m afraid.
This doesn’t augur well for the Pines of Rome, which demands plenty of momentum, colour and attack, all qualities I’ve not heard thus far. The whooping woodwind of the Villa Borghese aren’t as crisp and animated as usual, the sombre bass of the Catacombs much too light to make a lasting impact. Dynamically the supposedly high-res recording is nowhere near as expansive or frisson-inducing as it should be, especially in the slow-building climax to this movement; and Chailly’s somnolent reading doesn’t help. The Pines of the Janiculum fares little better - the piano is audible though - and Chailly gives the legionnaires’ Appian march a Mahlerian lilt and sway that’s frankly bizarre. Not surprisingly, that huge finale counts for precious little here.
Not even the spirited cncores - Lady Macbeth, Belkis and the bierkeller rowdiness of Berliner Luft - can save this wasted evening, those stilted shots of doe-eyed lovers and earnest families smiling fixedly at the distant stage an apt visual metaphor for this concert as a whole.
Soporific performances and dull sonics; in other words, a dud.
Dan Morgan

Masterwork Index: Roman trilogy





















































































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.