One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,416 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                     Editor in Chief: John Quinn              

Some items
to consider


paid for


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

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

Deaconoff; Stockhausen

Live at the Clifton Festival

Choir at Clifton Cathedral


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

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



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat



Recordings of the Month


Conner Riddle Songs

Rodzinski Sibelius

Of Innocence and Experience


Symphonies 1, 2, 3



Aho Symphony 5

Dowland - A Fancy


Rachmaninov_ Babayan





Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)
Der Bürger als Edlemann Op. 60 - Orchestral Suite [35:16]
Four Last Songs [21:22]
Wiegenlied Op. 41/1 [3:50]
Zueignung Op. 10/1 [1:46]
Morgen! Op. 27/4 [4:23]
Lisa Larsson (soprano)
Musikkollegium Winterthur/Douglas Boyd
rec. Stadthaus, Winterthur, 5-9 September 2011
text and English translations included

Experience Classicsonline

In 1912 Strauss wrote a set of incidental music for a performance of Molière’s comedy Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme. The play had been translated and adapted by Hugo Hofmannsthal at the request of Max Reinhardt. The original ending of the play - a Turkish scene - was replaced by an opera about Ariadne’s stay on the island of Naxos. The whole was first performed in Stuttgart but was only a limited success, probably largely as a result of its length - the evening as a whole had lasted over six hours. The opera in the final section alone had been intended to be brief but extended to well over an hour. The rethink which followed resulted in the opera Ariadne auf Naxos, one of the composer’s most fascinating and successful works. It comprised a newly written first part and an extended version of the opera. This meant however that the incidental music Strauss had written for the play which had formed the first part of the evening was no longer needed. The result was the orchestral Suite performed on this disc (and which confusingly has the same Opus number as the opera), one of the composer’s most enjoyable works. It is in a markedly lighter and less tortured vein than the works for which he was best known at that time. This paved the way for the wonderful works of his latter years. It consists of nine movements, including an Overture, a Minuet based on Lully’s music for Molière’s original play, and an hilarious finale entitled “The Dinner” depicting its various courses.
There have been many recordings of the work, including superb performances conducted by Reiner, Krauss and Beecham, all great champions of the composer. Even when compared with them however the present performance is worth hearing for its very particular qualities. It has wit and charm, both essential here. Unsurprisingly it has the merit of superb and very well balanced modern recording quality. Above all it essentially has the sense of a chamber work. It is perhaps a paradox that whilst I am sure that Douglas Boyd worked very hard to produce this performance the result does not sound so much conducted as the result of the companionable coming together of a group of superlative chamber musicians. The scoring requires only some 34 musicians and includes a prominent part for piano. This tends to emphasise the links with the composer’s later masterpieces.
The Four Last Songs are also well known from previous recordings - even greater in number. Most listeners will come to a new version with a bias towards a particular previous version, or at least to a particular approach. These can vary from the almost instrumental purity of a singer such as Lisa della Casa to a very detailed essentially word-based approach. I suspect that Lisa Larsson would say that she was attempting something midway between these extremes. The result is certainly well considered and generally convincing if perhaps lacking in the last ounce of conviction. The real heroes of the performance are the orchestra which again plays with a chamber-like refinement, making apparent details that tend to get lost in more obviously impassioned versions. The same applies to the three short songs included to fill the disc.
The very considerable merits of this disc are enhanced by lengthy and interesting notes and the essential inclusion of the text and an English translation. Even if you already have a version or versions of the main works here this disc is worth having for the freshness and transparency of its approach.

John Sheppard 

Masterwork Index: Four Last Songs



























































































































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.