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

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Violin Concerto in D minor Op.35 (1878) [34:56]
Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945)
Violin Concerto No.2 Sz.112 (1938) [38:32]
Valeriy Sokolov (violin)
Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich/David Zinman
rec. October-November 2010, Tonhalle, Zurich
VIRGIN CLASSICS 6420170 [73:59]

Experience Classicsonline

These two concertos have illustrious recordings to their names, past and present, but are not natural disc-mates. In fact I’m struggling to remember a similar coupling. In any case, Valeriy Sokolov in tandem with Virgin Classics, has decided to harness them. The fine orchestral accompaniment comes from the Tonhalle Orchestra, Zurich under David Zinman.
Sokolov has decided ideas about Tchaikovsky but these are not outsize ones. In fact his approach is subtle, discreet and in some ways quite small-scale. That certainly relates to his tone, which is focused but not of much amplitude. It also concerns his tempo choices, which are quite direct, and sparing of rubati. His bowing is wristy and supple, unpressured and facile. He doesn’t dig into the string, like Russian players of old, but does cultivate a gracious and elegant legato phrasing. It’s the kind of rather aerial playing that might appeal to those sated by heavier, big-boned performances or those that rely on metrical displacements to try to make ‘points’. His first movement cadenza is up to tempo and though his playing is hardly one to parade panache it is well-shaded and, in the slow movement, effective without being at all effusive. The Zurich winds are malleable here, the chordal framing marshalled by Zinman being distinctive and a valuable adjunct to the soloist’s performance. The orchestral patina is indeed carefully shaped, too, and whilst the finale is hardly the last word in communicative élan, it remains dignified and of a piece. The folkloric drone passage is well realised however, so too the whistling Paganinian harmonics. Detailing remains good, clarity too, albeit at the cost of a degree of direct emotional engagement.
Bartók’s Concerto No.2 reflects this relatively objectified stylistic approach quite clearly. There is a certain reserve, and a reluctance to vary bow pressure and attack to generate a wide colouristic palette. The consequence is a reading of moderation, tonal unity and discretion. The elegance and pathos of the slow movement - good dynamics all-round - is highlit by Sokolov’s tight trills, whilst the forces catch the more barbarous moments in the finale adeptly. There are times, however, when Zinman seems more engaged than the soloist, and this skewed perspective leads to an emotive battle between heat and ice, rather than a congruent expressive approach.
Fine though the recording quality is, this qualified approach to the two works means that one’s response must be somewhat muted.
Jonathan Woolf




























































































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.