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

Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928)
Taras Bulba, JW VI/15 (1918) [24:57]
Lachian Dances, JW VI/17 (1889-1890) [20:32]
Moravian Dances, JW VI/7 (1891) [9:09]
Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra/Antoni Wit
rec. Warsaw Philharmonic Hall, 2-3 September 2010; 26 April 2011 (Taras Bulba, Moravian Dances); Witold Lutoslawski Studio of Polish Radio, 12-13 October 2010 (Lachian Dances)
NAXOS 8.572695 [54:39]

Experience Classicsonline

I’m a staunch supporter of Antoni Wit and his hard-working Warsaw band. Their discs of central and east European repertoire have given me much pleasure over the years. That said, I do wonder if this busy schedule is taking its toll. Their recent BD-A of the Glagolitic Mass and Sinfonietta - review - was surprisingly subdued and frankly rather ponderous. Despite the high-res format the sonics aren’t up to much either. That’s why I approached this new CD with trepidation, hoping for a blood-curdling rhapsody and some idiomatic dances. As ever, Sir Charles Mackerras is the benchmark in this repertoire. His classic Taras Bulba from Vienna is included in Decca’s 5-CD set of Janáček’s chamber and orchestral works (475 523-2).
The first few minutes of Wit’s Taras Bulba are not encouraging, with flaccid rhythms and a fatal lack of impetus. These failings are all too familiar from their earlier recording. The sound is fierce and shallow where Mackerras’s is warm and full-throated. The tuning of the Warsaw organ in ‘The Death of Andrei’ is suspect too. It makes the whole enterprise seem woefully ill-prepared and hurriedly executed. Dipping into Mackerras’s gloriously propulsive account one senses a strong narrative; moreover, speeds are wholly convincing and the work’s dramatic peaks are perfectly judged. Against this irresistible torrent Wit’s version is a mere trickle, his players overwhelmed by the amplitude and urgency of their Viennese counterparts.
A dispiriting start, but perhaps the folk dances will bring some much-needed lift. François Huybrechts’ Lachian Dances with the London Philharmonic - also included in the Decca box - have been characterised by Jonathan Woolf as ‘perfectly decent but not very special’; it’s a sentiment I share. Listening to them now I was much impressed by the forgotten thrill and temperament of the first Starodávný; the LPO are in cracking form. Once again the Warsaw players are found wanting, as is the recording, which is just too close and coarse for my taste.
I suppose one could argue that Wit’s readings have an authentic earthiness, but Mackerras and others have shown that refinement need not compromise character. Janáček’s piquant harmonies and gruff rhythms are just as easily discerned and enjoyed when played by well-upholstered ensembles. That said, I’m pleased to report Wit’s Požehnaný is delectably done, even if the ear-pricking LPO bells are more atmospheric; his Dymák and the second Starodávný are serviceable. It’s a pity the soundstage isn’t as deep or as wide as it is for Decca. Also, I don’t feel Wit points rhythms as subtly as Huybrechts, whose control and consistency gain extra credence in such variable company.
Matters improve somewhat in the Moravian Dances, the infectious lilt of Kožich is very well managed and Trojky is given splendid bounce. These are tantalising glimpses of what might have been, an upbeat ending to an otherwise downbeat disc. I so wish I could be more complimentary about Wit’s Janáček, but on these showings it doesn’t even come close to the best in the catalogue.
Inexplicably dull; a very disappointing issue.
Dan Morgan

see also reviews by Brian Reinhart (June 2012 Recording of the Month) and Paul 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.