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.


Moravec - Twelfth Night Recital
15%off £17.21 (until Dec 7)

Katerina Englichová - harp
15%0ff £10.83 (until Dec 7)

  • 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

Sibelius Symphonies Maazel
4CDs + Blu-ray audio
Special Price £36.75

RVW A Sea Symphony - Elder

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

CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Downloads from

Kalevi AHO (b. 1949)
Quintet for Clarinet and String Quartet (1998) [35:34]
Trio for Clarinet, Viola and Piano (2006) [13:00]
Sonata for Two Accordions (1984/89) [25:26]
Osmo Vänskä (clarinet), Sarah Kwak, Gina DiBello (violins), Thomas Turner (viola), Anthony Ross (cello)
Susan Billmeyer (piano)
Veli Kujala, Susanne Kujala (accordions)
rec. June 2010, Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA (quintet and trio); May 2011, Kalevi Aho Hall, Lahti, Finland (accordion sonata)
BIS-CD-1886 [75:10]

Experience Classicsonline

The Aho-BIS partnership continues to blossom; from its early flowering with the First Symphony in 1989 it’s proved remarkably hardy, yielding a number of symphonies - 15 at the last count - concertos, vocal and chamber works. I’ve reviewed all the recordings for MusicWeb, the bulk of them in my Aho survey of September 2008; the most recent release - the three Chamber Symphonies - was reviewed for Brian Wilson’s Download Roundup. Happily it doesn’t end there, for BIS supremo Robert von Bahr has promised us part one of Aho’s complete organ music (BIS-SACD-1946) and an Oboe Concerto.
What’s most intriguing about this review disc is that it features Osmo Vänskä not as a conductor but as a soloist. He was a guiding light in this Aho series until he decamped to Minnesota in 2003, but now he’s found space in his busy schedule to show off his skills as a clarinettist in this quintet and trio. Aho’s certainly familiar with the former, having written a number of pieces for five players, and from the start of this clarinet-led newcomer it’s clear he hasn’t lost his talent to surprise. Speaking of the unexpected, Vänskä the soloist - now eloquent, now earthy - is a real delight.
The first movement of the quintet encapsulates much of what makes Aho’s music so very listenable. True, the piece has its sinewy side, but there’s an underlying lyricism and narrative strength that can’t fail to impress. All his players are given a chance to shine: extremes of register tempered with moments of striking inwardness. That said, the piece wears its virtuosity lightly; the second movement is especially challenging in its range and degrees of animation and the third is dominated by some of the most wistful - and seamless - clarinet sounds I’ve heard in ages.
Not to be outdone, the other members of the group play with considerable trenchancy when required; they’re also very much at ease in the more withdrawn passages that dot this composer’s œuvre. Their playing is captured in sound of clarity and closeness. Some may find the balance a little too forward, but the upside is that every detail of this score is laid bare in a way that’s not at all fatiguing. Indeed, the vigorously motile fourth movement, with its slashing, Herrmannesque strings, is all the more gripping for being so forceful. In the fifth there’s music of rare beauty and equivocation - a trembling, evanescent air - that’s something of an Aho trademark.
A fine, artfully structured piece - it never overreaches or overruns - the quintet gives way to an even more economical and alluring trio. Cast in a single movement it’s dense and angular, yet still remarkably lyrical. This apparent sleight of hand is another of the composer’s specialities. The hard outer carapace conceals a melodious and - at times - magisterial core. Susan Billmeyer’s piano is very well recorded, adding warmth and dramatic ballast to the proceedings; Thomas Turner’s viola sound is equally well caught.
The accordion sonata, recorded in Finland, sounds rather less forensic than the other two pieces; indeed, the distinctive squeezebox timbres emerge with pleasing tactility and strength, from the bass drone and burble to the instruments’ bright upper reaches. The splashy dissonances certainly caught me on the hop, but as always Aho tempers tough formality - the first movement is a prelude and passacaglia - with moments of soft and sudden quietude. That said, the second movement - a prelude and fugue - majors in arresting glissandi, while the complex fugal section is surprisingly light and honeyed in character.
This is another varied and stimulating collection that is very well played and recorded. As for the composer’s liner-notes - as lucid as ever - they strike a good balance between the genesis of these pieces and their musical content. Of the three works here the quintet will probably have the broadest appeal. The sonata - with its remarkably subtle control of dynamics and articulation - is more approachable after several hearings.
Fine writing and solid musicianship; a feast for Aho fans.
Dan Morgan  
























































































































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.