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

MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Magnificat in D, BWV 243 [32:36]
Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971)
Mass* [20:30]
Anny Mory (soprano); Patricia Parker (mezzo); Rodney Hardesty (counter-tenor); John Mitchinson (tenor); Paul Hudson (bass)
English Bach Festival Chorus; *Trinity Boys Choir
English Bach Festival Orchestra/Leonard Bernstein
rec. live, 16 April 1977, St Augustine’s Church, Kilburn
Latin, English, French, German subtitles
Region Code 0; Picture Format NTSC/4:3
IDÉALE AUDIENCE 3085308 [56:00]

Experience Classicsonline

There’s a photograph of Leonard Bernstein in rehearsal on the box of this DVD. It shows the sort of view that many people might feel is typical of him. It could scarcely be less appropriate to the two performances that are preserved here. You will look in vain for the perspiring, emotional Bernstein that one has seen conducting, say, Mahler or Tchaikovsky. Instead what we see is a much more restrained maestro but one who is no less engaged with the music. Bernstein is neat, dapper even, in a black tuxedo. He is very economical in his gestures, though he becomes somewhat more animated as the Bach piece progresses. The impression given is of a man who is enjoying directing two quite intimate performances. He takes evidently scrupulous care over the detail of both works, being, perhaps, especially watchful in the Stravinsky.

I have no idea how Bernstein came to be conducting a fairly small-scale concert in St Augustine’s Church, Kilburn for the English Bach Festival in 1977. Classic Archive’s “documentation” is inadequate, containing no notes whatsoever about either the music or the performances themselves. Apart from technical details about the DVD and production credits, they provide nothing more than the names of the performers and a track-listing. I can’t readily recall seeing such woefully inadequate documentation accompanying a premium release.

Having got that out of my system, what of the performances? Bernstein is pretty steady in the tempi he adopts for the Bach. The speeds for several movements – especially the faster ones -are significantly slower than one is accustomed to hearing nowadays. At first I found this disconcerting but my ears soon adjusted and though some of the speeds may verge on the stately – the opening chorus, for example – the music always has life. With the exception of John Mitchinson I can’t remember hearing – or hearing of – any of the soloists but all do well. I do part company with Bernstein a couple of times when he makes a significant rallentando at the end of a movement – the very end of the work is one place where he does this. The other rather glaring example occurs at the end of the bass aria, ‘Quia fecit’.

If you want evidence of the great care that Bernstein takes over this performance watch the ‘Suscepit Israel’ movement. This is sung by the ladies of the chorus and the conductor shapes every single phrase with loving care. This is not to imply that the music doesn’t flow or that Bernstein is micro-managing; neither is the case. At the end of the Magnificat I had the distinct impression that Bernstein had greatly enjoyed conducting a piece that mattered to him and that he was pleased with the results.

The forces required for Stravinsky’s Mass are modest; the choir is accompanied by an ensemble of five woodwind and five brass players. Here, the English Bach Festival Choir takes a breather and gives way to Trinity Boys Choir. It’s a difficult work in every sense and makes significant demands on the choir and on the various soloists drawn from it. To be honest, I’m not really the best person to comment on this performance because I’m afraid that this particular work by Stravinsky – austere and Spartan – leaves me cold. At the very start I wondered if the Trinity trebles were a little bit tentative – and who could blame them if they were in the face of this challenging score – but any confidence issues are soon laid to rest, I think, and the singing is good. In this I think the choir is helped immeasurably by Bernstein. He stands quite close to the performers and conducts with great precision and clarity. One has the impression that the performance has been scrupulously prepared and at the end the maestro seems fully satisfied.

The performances originated in a BBC TV programme, ‘The lively Arts: Bernstein at the English Bach Festival’; in those days the BBC used to take music on television seriously. The director was Brian Large and his direction and the camera-work are both excellent. For many people, used to seeing Leonard Bernstein conducting the world’s leading orchestras in big symphonic works these performances will probably come as a revelation – as they did to me. It’s almost as if we see here the private rather than the public face of Bernstein. This DVD offers an unfamiliar view of Leonard Bernstein conducting small-scale works with great care and affection and, as such, it’s an important document.

John Quinn















































































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.