One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here


International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger

Some items
to consider

in the first division

extraordinary by any standards

An excellent disc

a new benchmark

summation of a lifetime’s experience.

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now

A Garland for John McCabe


DIETHELM Symphonies

The best Rite of Spring in Years

BACH Magnificat

Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26

Just enjoy it!

La Mer Ticciati








Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
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
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads

Krzystof PENDERECKI (b. 1933)
Three pieces in old style (1963) [6:04]
Capriccio for oboe and string orchestra (1964) [6:11]
Intermezzo for 24 strings (1973) [6:53]
Sinfonietta No. 1 (1992) [14:02]
Sinfonietta No. 2 (1994) [15:02]
Serenade (1997) [9:56]
Jean-Louis Capezzali (oboe); Artur Pachlewski (clarinet: sinfonietta 2); Warsaw Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra/Antoni Wit
rec. Warsaw Philharmonic Hall, 6-9 and 22-24 September 2008 and 3 December 2008
NAXOS 8.572212 [58:10]

Experience Classicsonline

When Penderecki renounced the avant garde and all its works in the mid-1970s and threw himself like a penitent into the arms of romanticism, the cries of betrayed acolytes echoed around the musical world. Since then the composer has been the subject of much vituperation and execration from his former admirers. The appearance of each new work from him has been greeted with opprobrium from certain zealots with whom the behaviour of the apostate still clearly rankles.
As yet, to judge by the earliest work on this CD, they should not have been altogether surprised. Written for the soundtrack of the film The manuscript found at Saragossa (not a title that screams ‘box office’), the Three pieces in old style are pure mock-Mozart, not even seen through the twentieth century lens of neo-classicism but through a sensibility that seems purely late-romantic. They are attractive pastiches, but come as a shock from the composer who not long before had completed the Threnody for the victims of Hiroshima.
These pieces open this disc devoted to Penderecki’s music for string orchestra - with occasional wind soloists. The other work here from the 1960s is the Capriccio for oboe and strings, which Richard Whitehouse’s informative booklet note refers to as evidence of the composer’s “lighter side” even in his avant garde days. Well, it all depends how you define the “lighter side”. It is certainly very jaunty, not one thinks intended to be taken terribly seriously, but it exploits to the full the whole lexicon of oboe technique and range in a dazzling kaleidoscope of ideas and bravura passages. Thankfully it never enters the realm of overblown chords, key clicks and other more or less unmusical devices so beloved of more recent ‘experimental’ composers. It was written for Heinz Holliger. At the time he was probably one of the very few oboists in the world who could have played it. Nowadays players are made of sterner stuff, and the admirable Jean-Louis Capezzali shows no apparent difficulty in coping with everything the composer throws at him.
The Intermezzo from eight years later comes from the years immediately before Penderecki abandoned his earlier style, and in it frankly the cracks are already beginning to show. We are presented with a gallery of all the usual avant garde string devices: divided strings microtones apart from each other, every sort of glissando and harmonic technique in the book, fast running pizzicato passages falling over each other – and all totally bereft of meaning. Penderecki had been doing this sort of thing for far too long to find anything new to say; and it is much to his credit that, unlike those of his colleagues who either proceeded to tread the same ground over and over again, or else took off into realms ever more abstruse and unfathomable, he decided to break entirely new ground and seek a reconciliation with the evolutionary trends of earlier music.
The two Sinfoniettas are both transcriptions of other works: the first derives from the String Trio of 1991 and the second from the Clarinet Quintet of 1993. Neither seems to add very much to their original chamber scoring, and to be honest it is difficult to summon up much enthusiasm for either of them. The original small scale of the music extends to these larger versions too, and despite excellent clarinet playing in the Second Sinfonietta from Artur Pachlewski, Penderecki’s inspiration remains obstinately earthbound throughout. It is pieces like this which lead one to recognise a degree of truth in the accusations of the composer’s detractors that he has never been able to recapture the imagination that he displayed in his earlier work, were it not for the existence of pieces like the Serenade to prove the contrary. For the Serenade, a work of pure neo-romanticism, is also very beautiful. The opening Passacaglia leads to a heartfelt Larghetto with soulful textures leading in turn to an impassioned climax.
The orchestral playing under Wit is every bit as good as one would expect from his superb continuing survey of the music of Penderecki, which has brought to our notice so many works that are otherwise unrecorded and unperformed.
Paul Corfield Godfrey















































































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.