£16 post free World-wide


555 sonatas 9Cds mp3 files
Only £22


Benjamin: Written on Skin £16

What's New
Previous CDs
Labels index

Every Day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor: Rob Barnett  
Founder Len Mullenger   

Some items
to consider


Free classical music concerts by Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.

Mahler 9 Elder

New Lyrita Release

British Violin and Cello Concertos

Lyrita New Recording

Ritchie Symphony 4

Dvorak Opera Premiere

Mozart concertos






Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Cameo Classics
Northern Flowers
Toccata Classics

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)
Farnace - Dramma per musica RV711G (1738 version) [191:35]
Max Emanuel Cencic (counter-tenor) – Farnace; Ann Hallenberg (mezzo) – Selinda; Karina Gauvin (soprano) – Gilade; Daniel Behle (tenor) – Pompeo; Ruxandra Donose (mezzo) – Tamiri; Mary-Ellen Nesi (mezzo) – Berenice; Emiliano Gonzales Toro (tenor) – Aquilio; Michael Maniaci (male soprano)
Coro della Radiotelevisione Svizzera, Lugano
I Barocchisti/Diego Fasolis
rec. Lugano, 2010
VIRGIN CLASSICS 0709142 [3 CDs: 65:00 + 70:35 + 56:00]

Experience Classicsonline

A sharp-eyed reader may notice the 'G' after the RV or Ryom-Verzeichnis number. Peter Ryom's catalogue numbers, so valuable to the collector of Vivaldi's concertos to ensure that a CD contains new pieces you have not already purchased - OK, perhaps only I use it that way! - are given suffix letters only when various versions exist of a composition. Since Farnace is just such a piece a large part of the fascinating booklet is devoted to explaining in exhaustive detail why this is 711G rather than any of A to H. Far from being dull, this account is full of intriguing social and musical history and describes the sometimes unpleasant reality of a baroque composer's life. Remember that before Beethoven composers were servants of the rich and treated as such. As it happens there is little chance that you will be mixing this version up with all the others you own because the Alia Vox recording is clearly labelled '1727 version' and Jordi Savall's version equally clearly 'RV771D'. There are substantial differences between this final version intended for performance in Ferrara, and those earlier ones, so from a listener's point-of-view the present set is worth buying as well because firstly a lot of the music was recomposed or written entirely afresh by the composer, and secondly the final act, never completed by him, has been reconstructed by the conductor Diego Fasolis and musicologist Frédéric Delaméa. This too is detailed in the booklet.

None of this tells one how it sounds. It sounds mostly superb. The ladies of the cast are uniformly brilliant and the men sing well for the majority of the time. I was occasionally disturbed by lapses of pitch but they were hardly gross distortions. The orchestral part is played with eye-watering gusto and makes for enormous listening fun. The opera itself is the usual baroque hotch-potch of unlikely alliances and loves won and lost. It seems fair to treat all that as unimportant and far from any current reality or operatic fashion. One shudders to think of what some opera director might do to make the story 'relevant' with the usual clichés of AK47s and greatcoats, here one can simply enjoy Vivaldi's startlingly imaginative outpourings of lament and joyful song. Some of the singing should clearly be impossible, so unrelenting are the demands of the composer, but this cast, the ladies especially, give it their all. Under the enthusiastic direction of Diego Fasolis this must be as good as a Vivaldi performance gets.

The recording is, for a standard CD, flawless.

Dave Billinge






























































































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.