£16 post free World-wide

 


555 sonatas 9Cds mp3 files
Only £22


 


Benjamin: Written on Skin £16

Search
What's New
Previous CDs
Concerts
Jazz
Nostalgia
Composers
Resources
Announce
Labels index


Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



Some items
to consider


BRAHMS Complete Edition
58CD £95.22


Shostakovich 14 Petrenko


Rachmaninov #3
Prokofiev #2

 


Dunedin Consort

Peter Grimes

Hymn of Jesus: Sea Drift

Complete Mozart Edition
Mozart complete edition

Vaughan Williams Symphonies 5 & 8 £11

Weiner, Klepper, Bloch, Schulhoff £12 post free


Available again

REVIEW
RECORDING OF THE MONTH



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
CDAccord
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter
 

alternatively
CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads

Albert ROUSSEL (1869-1937)
Le festin de l’araignée (The Spider’s Feast), Op 17, complete ballet (1912) [32:27]
Pâdmavatî, two suites from the Opera-Ballet (1918) [22:15]
Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Stéphane Denève
rec. 4-5 October 2010, Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow, Scotland
NAXOS 8.572243 [54:42]

Experience Classicsonline

When Naxos issued Stéphane Denève’s recordings of Albert Roussel’s symphonies as a 4 CD box set, I snapped it up - having never heard a note of Roussel - and devoured it with gluttonous delight. Roussel is a genius, but he’s slipped through the cracks because his music is so hard to pigeonhole. Sometimes he’s a Debussian impressionist, as in the ballet Le marchand de sable qui passe; sometimes he writes like the Ravel of Mother Goose, as in Le Festin de l’araignée (featured here), sometimes he blends that French sound with a brash, muscular exuberance in the manner of Respighi (Symphony No 3, Bacchus et Ariane), and the rest of the time he’s his own incomparable self. So the fact that Naxos is offering us one more (alas, final!) volume in its Roussel series is a terrific treat.
 
Le Festin de l’araignée, variously translated on this CD as “The Spider’s Feast,” “The Spider’s Banquet,” and (incorrectly) “The Spider’s Web,” is a 1912 ballet presenting the lives of insects in a garden; the booklet notes inform me that the insects are used to merrily ape the foibles of human behavior. This is the complete ballet, with wonderfully named cues like “Entrance of the dung beetles”, and the entire second part is a fourteen-minute depiction of the birth, dancing, death, and funeral (!) of a mayfly.
 
This is from the height of Roussel’s impressionistic period, when his style had much in common with Debussy and Ravel; that much is obvious from the very beginning, scored with tenderness for flute over muted strings. There is an assortment of striking coloristic effects associated with various insects; the fruit worms, for instance, inch forward slowly in a cloud of surprising prettiness, while the mantises strike a gruffer tone and the ants dart about with surprisingly graceful agility. The mayfly’s dance is a highlight, marked by a brief but winsome violin solo. At the very end of the mayfly’s funeral, the flute melody from the opening returns, bringing this gentle, quiet, softly witty ballet to a close.
 
The opera-ballet Pâdmavatî, and the two suites recorded here, are almost completely unknown - there’s a full recording helmed by Michel Plasson on EMI - which makes it more of a pity that they’re also nearly impossible to describe. Can I just say they’re absolutely ravishing and leave it there? This is Roussel at his most Roussel-like: mysterious, exotic, with darker tones foreshadowing the Symphony No. 2, but also with bounding, energetic dances, a seductive flute solo, spooky harp strumming, and a finale which nearly works itself into hysterics several times before the brass and bass drum are calmed down by a gorgeous melody from the cellos. The sheer amount of stuff Roussel manages to cram into 22 minutes is unbelievable.
 
I still remember my thought upon hearing Roussel for the first time, when Naxos issued that box set of the symphonies: “Where has this composer been all my life?!” A glance at my log shows that I’ve listened to at least one performance from this five-disc series about once every three days so far this year. The Suite in F, with its glittering merriment; the compact punch of the Third and Fourth symphonies; the nightscapes of the First Symphony and Le marchand de sable qui passe; the sheer hyperactive thrill ride of Bacchus et Ariane; now, too, the hypnotic Indian dreamland of Pâdmavatî. All aided by the fact that the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, under Stéphane Denève, have maintained an amazingly high standard of play throughout the series, with stunning brass playing and some of the best sound Naxos has ever recorded. In fact, this is one of the best series Naxos has ever released, full stop, and I’m very sad indeed that it is ending without tackling the ballet Aenéas, the choral Psalm 80, and the very brief concertos for cello and piano. If one of the concertos had appeared here, everything else would have fit on a sixth and final disc. As is, a Timpani CD containing both Aenéas and Psalm 80 is the best way of completing your collection.
 
Anyway: if you’ve been collecting this series, you will need this CD. If your Roussel discs date from the era of Jean Martinon, Michel Plasson and Charles Munch, you should know that the glorious digital sound does not entail any compromise in energy or idiomatic orchestral sound. If you somehow have yet to hear Roussel, my advice isn’t to buy this album as a starter. My advice is to buy all five in one go. You’ll understand when you suddenly want to shout: “Where has this composer been all my life?!”
 
P.S. I didn’t think much of the cover painting until I turned the CD case over and saw the name of the artist.
 
Brian Reinhart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

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

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      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

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

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

Comment
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

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
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
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
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
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
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.