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
Sound Samples & Downloads

Azerbaijani Piano Concertos
Fikret AMIROV (1922-1984) with Elmira NAZIROVA (b. 1928)
Piano Concerto after Arabian Themes (1957) [24:56]
Vasif ADIGEZALOV (1935-2006)
Piano Concerto no.4 (1994)* [28:08]
Tofig GULIYEV (1917-2000)
Gaytagi - Dance, for piano and orchestra (1958/1980) [3:41]
Farhad BADALBEYLI (b.1947)
The Sea, for piano and orchestra (1977) [7:54]
Shusha, for soprano and orchestra (2003) [4:24]
Farhad Badalbeyli (piano)
* Murad Adigezalzade (piano)
Joan Rodgers (soprano)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Dmitry Yablonsky
rec. Cadogan Hall, London, 9-12 July 2010. DDD
NAXOS 8.572666 [68:52]

Experience Classicsonline

Exposure to music from Azerbaijan in western Europe often comes these days through so-called 'world' or 'fusion' recordings performed by photogenic natives, often émigrés, such as jazz pianist Aziz Mustafa Zadeh. The occasional recording of 'mugam' music, the folk-classical tradition of Azerbaijan, is also available, but the kind of Europe-facing art music featured here, initiated by Uzeyir Hajibeyov (1885-1948) a century ago and shaped by Soviet influence, is still all too rare on disc and concert platform alike. Naxos have made a start with orchestral music from Fikret Amirov (review) and Kara Karayev (review), but now would be a good time to ramp up their low-key 'Azerbaijani Composers' series.

Surprisingly perhaps, Fikret Amirov's Piano Concerto is strongly redolent, especially in the first movement, of Manuel de Falla's Nights in the Gardens of Spain - such was the influence of Arab culture right across southern Europe. Whilst Falla's Generalife movement recalls the famous Alhambra court, Amirov's work is based on Arabian folk-tunes interwoven with his native music in a traditional European format. The track-listing shows Elmira Nazirova - muse of and immortalised by Shostakovich in his Tenth Symphony - as co-composer of the Concerto, whereas the notes say Amirov wrote it "in collaboration with" her.

At any rate, where Amirov's populist Concerto is good, Adigezalov's Fourth is profound and spectacular, reminiscent, at least in spirit, of Khachaturian's Concerto, though that was written 60 years earlier. Neither Amirov's nor Adigezalov's Concerto is especially alien-sounding: essentially lyrical, picturesquely orchestrated with rich harmonies and spiky rhythms, they both have an early-to-mid-20th century feel to them, European with the added frisson of byways passing through exotic scales.

Guliyev’s Gaytagi is a lot of fun, bristling with jauntiness and excitement - he can be forgiven for founding Azerbaijan's first state 'pops' orchestra and its first jazz orchestra! Pianist Farhad Badalbeyli's own The Sea is also light, but in a different way: altogether more lush, small-R romantic and filmic - along the lines of Richard Addinsell's Warsaw Concerto indeed, though making more use of clichés. His Shusha, a vocalise for soprano and orchestra, is similarly undemanding, and arguably out of place on this disc, but both works are pleasant to listen to and well performed.

Badalbeyli has been an important figure in Azerbaijani musical life for three decades. Even if his compositions here are the weakest part of the CD, his piano technique is very impressive, although he is possibly outshone by Murad Adigezalzade, who gives a heroic account of Adigezalov's Fourth Concerto. Naxos must now tempt Adigezalzade - or Badalbeyli - to record the other three, and also ask Yablonsky and the RPO to get on with Adigezalov's four symphonies.

Incidentally, the Azeri language usually undergoes a minor amount of transliteration into European languages. Thus Tofig Guliyev's name is written and sometimes met as Tofiq Quliyev in Azer, though the pronunciation is barely affected. Adigezalov is occasionally seen as the equally valid Adigozalov, Adygozalov or even - in New Grove - Adygözälov.

Engineers and producer also deserve a mention here: sound and general technical quality is excellent. The CD booklet is slim but informative.

Collected reviews and contact at

See also reviews by Rob Barnett and Steve Arloff






















































































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.