One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,928 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for


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

FOGHORN Classics

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

Falckenhagen Flute Concertos

new releases


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


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom
Ph. 020 8418 0616



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

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


Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month


Gunnar Kristinsson Moonbow

Mozart and Contemporaries


La clarinette Parisienne


Serenade - Septet

Complete Organ Works


Septem Dies



CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads

Fritz KREISLER (1875-1962)
String Quartet in A minor (1919) [29:10]
Efrem ZIMBALIST (1890-1985)
String Quartet in E minor (1931/1959) [27:19]
Eugčne YSAŸE (1858-1931)
* Harmonies du Soir, for string quartet and strings, op.31 (1924) [14:47]
Fine Arts Quartet (Ralph Evans (violin); Efim Boico (violin); Nicolň Eugelmi (viola); Wolfgang Laufer (cello)); *Philharmonic Orchestra of Europe/*Otis Klöber
rec. Library, Wittem Monastery, Limburg, Netherlands, 27-30 April 2010. DDD
NAXOS 8.572559 [71:36]

Experience Classicsonline

What an intriguing programme: three of the greatest violinists not just of their age, but of all time, appearing as composers. By way of further connection, Kreisler and Zimbalist were good friends, often performing together, and both revering Ysa˙e. Outstanding performers and outstanding composers are not always to be found in the same skin, but Kreisler, Zimbalist and Ysa˙e were among those who, like Spohr a century before, were keen to express their artistic nature not only through violinistic bravura. There is growing recorded evidence that Ysa˙e at least was successful, for example in his own String Quartet, which appeared last year in a fine recording by Kryptos Quartet - see review.
Kreisler, on the other hand, seems damned for the time being to be known only for his famous encore pieces, Liebesfreud and Liebesleid, as pretty as they are. Naxos have treated Kreisler well, however, with dozens of recordings featuring him wearing different hats, including four volumes to date of his complete recordings (8.112053, 8.112055, 8.112064, 8.111384), nine volumes of Japanese violinist Takako Nishizaki playing Kreisler's arrangements and his own pieces (no.9 = 8.557875), and a sackful of compilation discs with titles like 'Violin Bliss', 'My First Violin Album', and even 'Classic Swoon'. Kreisler's String Quartet is also available in the Naxos Classical Archives series, performed by the Stuyvesant Quartet (9.80761).
Kreisler's and Zimbalist's are almost classical quartets in structure and spirit, not at all suggestive of their creators' high-society lifestyles, pitched in fact somewhere between Zemlinsky and Glazunov, and frankly irresistible: rich, beautifully crafted, melodic, harmonically wistful or nostalgic works - hardly a coincidence that the finale of Kreisler's Quartet is entitled Retrospection.
Ysa˙e's single-movement Harmonies du Soir may at first sight seem an odd companion, but the additional orchestra is strings-only and lightly applied, giving the work something of the texture of Strauss's Metamorphosen, which it predates by two decades and is sometimes harmonically reminiscent of, although Ysa˙e's work is much more optimistic - its final bars are said to represent sunrise. Given its subject-matter, mood and chromaticism, Schoenberg's Verklärte Nacht is probably a better model, and Ysa˙e must have heard Schoenberg's own arrangement of it for strings when it appeared in 1917. Extraordinarily, the works by Ysa˙e and Zimbalist are premiere recordings.
The Fine Arts Quartet have a massive and superb discography, including ten previous discs for Naxos, ranging from Beethoven to a CD that featured violinist Ralph Evans' own First String Quartet (review). Many of their recordings win awards; certainly they are nearly all singled out for their exceptional merit, on display again in this latest recording, where their technical prowess and expressive power are tested time and again by three composers that knew more than anyone what string instruments were capable of. Kreisler's 'sound' is stamped on his writing as much as it was on his playing, but the Fine Arts have the good taste not to over-sweeten the rubato or portamento. By way of contrast, this is Otis Klöber and the Philharmonic Orchestra of Europe's first recording for Naxos, and as decidedly low-key as it is, they acquit themselves nicely.
Sound quality is pretty good, although there is some lack of definition in the full string orchestra of Harmonies du Soir. Though traffic rumble is sometimes very faintly audible, there is little sign of the levels of reverberation that might be expected from a monastery venue - perhaps some post-recording processing accounts for the slightly dull sound.
The booklet is glossy, and the notes by Roy Malan - Zimbalist's biographer and himself a noted violinist, with a recording of Zimbalist sonatas to his credit - are not only informative and well written but extensive, for Naxos at least. The back inlay is rather scruffily laid out, and performer biographies very brief, and in fact inexplicably out of date - this disc was released ninth months after ill health had forced the Quartet's cellist Wolfgang Laufer to leave the group after more than thirty years; Laufer sadly died in June 2011. But as one of his last recordings, this CD pays an emphatic tribute to his, and the Fine Arts Quartet's, splendid musicianship.
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.