52,943 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

£11 post-free anywhere
(currently suspended)


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

Bruno Monteiro (violin)

Special Price and we are still delivering

Recordings of the Month


Feinberg Piano Sonatas

Schoenberg Violin Concerto

Early Keyboard

Nun Danket Alle Gott
Now Everyone Thanks God


Haydn Scottish Songs

Choral Music

Liszt Sonata

Renaissance Bohemia


Hahn Complete Songs

Piano Sonatas 6,7,8 Osborne


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

Krzysztof PENDERECKI (b.1933)
Viola Concerto (1983) [20:21]
Cello Concerto (1982) [37:12]
Grigori Zhislin (viola)
Tatjana Vassiljeva (cello)
Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra/Antoni Wit
rec. Warsaw Philharmonic Hall, Warsaw, 2-5 September 2008. DDD
NAXOS 8.572211 [57:33]

Experience Classicsonline

This is a compelling addition to the already impressive series of Naxos CDs devoted to the music of one of Europe's most important living composers. These two substantial works by Krzysztof Penderecki date from the early days of the period where he was, in his own words, "saved from the avant-garde snare of formalism by a return to tradition". In other words, any listener not enamoured of the post-war hardcore European modernism in which Penderecki more than dabbled - as his renowned Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima or the notorious De Natura Sonoris I and Fluorescences testify - can safely read on.

Nevertheless, neither the Viola nor the Second Cello Concerto can be construed as especially easy listening. The music is a heady mixture of neo-Romanticism and early modernist elements, employing a language that both Shostakovich and Bartók would have recognised, yet going beyond the relatively mainstream idiom of his 'Christmas' Symphony. In character both works are certainly darksome, a sense of menace never far off - perhaps a reflection of difficult times in communist Poland. The bleak, eerie strings-only opening of the Second Cello Concerto is particularly memorable: the work was written for and premiered by Mstislav Rostropovich and is as relentlessly Cimmerian as any Penderecki, or any other composer for that matter, has written. Confrontational, multi-climactic and superbly scored, this is one of Penderecki's key works. The Viola Concerto is notably shorter and less spectacular, but is nevertheless stylish and accessible, providing also a convenient route into the sterner challenges of the Cello Concerto.

Guided by the expert but still underrated Antoni Wit, the excellent Warsaw Philharmonic give surely award-winning accounts of these demanding scores. The Russian soloists are majestic too: intuitive, expressive and virtuosic. This is Grigori Zhislin's first recording for Naxos, but he knows the Viola Concerto very well by now: a friend of Penderecki's, he gave the Russian premiere of the composer's Violin Concerto, and then took up the viola at Penderecki's request in order to be able to give the premiere, a quarter of a century ago, of his new Viola Concerto! Some may recall Tatjana Vassiljeva's only other recording for Naxos, her 'Cello Recital' (8.555762) almost a decade ago, on which she performed the Sonatas of Britten and Debussy among other works. Naxos released that in their occasional 'Laureate Series', in which they showcase award-winning newcomers. The surprise is that it took them so many years to re-record someone of Vassiljeva's great talent.

Sound quality is very good. The booklet notes are informative, albeit focused on a step-by-step guide to the music. Despite the short running time, for anyone new to Penderecki, but perhaps familiar with Shostakovich's symphonies and concertos, this disc is an ideal place to begin what should be a thrilling exploration.

Collected reviews and contact at reviews.gramma.co.uk


































































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.