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


Reger Violin Sonatas
Renate Eggebrecht violin

Brahms Symphony 3
Dvorak Symphony 8
9 cello sonatas
Piano Music

Clara Schumann
piano concerto

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

Vraiment magnifique!

Quite splendid

Winning performances

Mahler Symphony 8
a magnificent disc

a huge talent

A wonderful disc

Weinberg Symphonies 2 & 21
A handsome tribute!

Roth’s finest Mahler yet

Mahler 9 Blomstedt
Distinguished performance



We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

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


CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads

Victor HERBERT (1859-1924)
Serenade, for string orchestra, op.12 (1884) [24:15]
[Seven] Pieces, for cello and string orchestra (arr. Three Pieces for cello and piano and Five Pieces for cello and orchestra by Sam Dennison and Hans Kunstovny) (1900-06) [20:54]
Three Pieces, for string orchestra (1912-22) [8:33]
Maximilian Hornung (cello)
Southwest German Chamber Orchestra Pforzheim/Sebastian Tewinkel
rec. Matthäus Kirche, Pforzheim-Arlinger, Germany, 20-21 November 2008, 9-10 February 2009. DDD
CPO 777 576-2 [54:07]

Experience Classicsonline

Irish-born American composer Victor Herbert is probably doomed to be remembered in the annals of music history for his proto-musicals like Babes in Toyland (review). As with George Gershwin, there was another, more serious side to his music that recordings like this do their best to remind the public of. A decade ago Swiss label Guild released a recording of Herbert's fine Second Cello Concerto alongside his friend Dvorák's own Concerto (review), highlighting Herbert's credentials as a serious composer and certain similarities in background, if not necessarily style or imagination.

It may as well be stated at the outset, however, that these three works for strings do not reveal Herbert to be anything approaching the equal of Dvorák, nor, for that matter, Tchaikovsky, Grieg or Elgar. It is very easy to hear the composer of operettas and other light music in them - Herbert has less of a claim to undeserved neglect as a serious composer than his older contemporary Arthur Sullivan, whose situation paralleled Herbert's in some ways. On the other hand, Herbert wrote music to make money more than for artistic self-gratification, and as he died rich he might not have been too troubled by posterity's opinion.

Either way, there is an undeniable charm to his music, and warmth and melody in abundance. The five-movement Serenade is probably the least memorable of the three works here, though by the time of the attractive finale, signs of greater invention are starting to break through. In spite of its somewhat generic, anationalist nature, the Serenade appeared a couple of years ago on a Dutton disc entitled 'American Serenades' (review), billed as the premiere recording. The Three Pieces are lighter still, knocked into a cocked hat by many of the masters of this genre, yet still undeniably pleasing to the ear, particularly in the dreamy final 'Sunset'.

For a none too obvious reason, CPO have given this CD the subtitle 'Works for Cello & Strings', misleading in that there is only twenty minutes' worth of cello, in the so-called Seven Pieces. This item is actually an arrangement by other hands of two different works by Herbert. If the orchestral writing tends once again towards the predictable, there is no doubting the cantilena effectiveness of the cello part - Herbert himself had had a career as a cellist - confidently brought off by German soloist Maximilian Hornung. Even so, this is not music that ever wanders outside the generic listener's comfort zone, nor a work that was especially crying out for this arrangement which rather flattens some of the textures. On the other hand, it is probably the only work of the three that deserves to be heard with any degree of frequency.

Pforzheim's Southwest German Chamber Orchestra under Sebastian Tewinkel give a reasonable rather than spectacular account, though perhaps the modest nature of Herbert's music is partly to blame. Certainly neither they nor Herbert are done any favours by the apparent smallness of the ensemble - though the photo in the booklet shows fifteen members, many a string quintet can be heard with a richer sound. Audio quality is another minor issue: CPO's recordings are sometimes undermined by a certain flatness, and here too there is a noticeable, though by no means critical, 'mp3 effect'.

The shortness of the disc does not aid its cause, but some lost ground is made up in the accompanying trilingual booklet, which is as detailed as ever from CPO, with two or three photos of all the involved musicians looking quite friendly. Unfortunately CPO have once again failed to have the translation looked over by a native speaker, with the result that the English is rendered in a convoluted style that ranges at times from the recondite to the faintly ludicrous: "Herbert was apparently something on the order of a melodic volcano, to whom something always occurred and who was always ready to flow with something or other. Whether it was also by him, that he himself did not know." In fairness to the translator, however, the purple prose and quirky factoids of Eckhardt von den Hoogen's original German - which, for example, absurdly gives Herbert's and his wife's "BMI" (Body Mass Index) - must shoulder at least part of the blame.

Collected reviews and contact at


































































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.