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

£11 post-free anywhere
(New titles - January)


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

Works for Voice by György Kurtág

Best Seller

Chopin Piano Concerto No.1

Schubert Piano sonata

Schubert symphony No. 9

Katherine Watson (Sop)

From Severn to Somme


We are currently offering in excess of 52,000 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



AmazonUK AmazonUS

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943)
Symphony No. 2 in E minor (1906-7)
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra/Tadaaki Otaka
rec. July 2010, Melbourne Town Hall. DDD
MSO LIVE ABC CLASSICS 476 4842 [66.13]

Experience Classicsonline

The bar has already been set very high for new recordings of this most swooningly indulgent of Romantic symphonies. I’m afraid that from listening to the first few bars of this live performance from Melbourne, I had the feeling that this would be an also-ran.
The opening Largo evinced little of the brooding menace of the Rozhdestvensky recording with the LSO (Regis), the soulful yearning of Handley and the RPO or the rapture of either of Ormandy’s recordings with the Philadelphians; indeed, it borders on the prosaic. I hope that I am not prey to the kind of snobbery which would condemn the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra to provincial status, nor do I automatically assume that Tadaaki Otaka is a second-rank conductor (a very fine Rachmaninov symphony cycle for Nimbus. Ed.) – I have recently heard too many indisputably world-class recordings from supposedly minor-league outfits to fall into that trap – but this is a performance which does little to set the pulse racing and in general plays the notes in restrained and accurate style. Again and again, as I made detailed comparisons with those four favourite recordings, I found Otaka’s phrasing to be dull and wooden. The orchestra themselves seemed to exude no real sense of pleasure or inspiration as they dutifully followed their leader.
I also found the live sound to be oddly dampened and lifeless, without presence. The strings have very little radiance, which militates against generating the aureate glow demanded by Rachmaninov in his upward-soaring figures. Otaka in any case seems to have nothing much to say about the music nor to feel very much in response to the composer’s emotional outpouring; the ensuing Allegro sounds as if he is afraid to embrace the sensuousness of the music, whereas Ormandy in 1973 leans into the phrasing like a drowning man.
The Allegro molto lacks Rozhdestvensky’s bite and I miss Ormandy’s judicious application of portamento in the big tune. Similarly, the superb sound from the RPO’s Tring label is immensely helpful in allowing Handley to bring out instrumental colours. The Adagio again sounds as if Otaka is scandalised by or indifferent to its overt emotionalism; the thin clarinet tone of the Melbourne soloist compares unfavourably with the golden tone of its Philadelphia counterpart or the characterful graininess of the RPO clarinettist and we never approach the swing and lilt of Ormandy’s interpretation. To cap what is clearly a disappointing account, the Allegro vivace isn’t; it’s too slack and slow to deliver thrills.
Oh dear; I have committed a critical assassination. I’m just a listener, not a gifted musician like those who play for us and it gives me no pleasure to voice my honest opinion, but I can find no reason on earth to prefer this recording to the extraordinarily vivid and ecstatic interpretation given to us by Ormandy in his second recording with the Philadelphia Orchestra (without cuts, unlike his first) and this remains my top recommendation, good as Handley and Rozhdestvensky are.

Ralph Moore


































































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.