Schubert sonatas

Newest Releases

Piano solo and duet
  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Some items
to consider

Free classical music concerts by Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.


Moravec - Twelfth Night Recital
15%off £17.21 (until Dec 7)

Katerina Englichová - harp
15%0ff £10.83 (until Dec 7)

  • Today's leading<br>clarinet-piano duo
  • Stellar debut<br>piano recital
  • Clarinet transcriptions Jonathan Cohler
  • Jonathan Cohler & Claremont Trio
  • French clarinet masterpieces
  • Today's leading<br>clarinet-piano duo

Sibelius Symphonies Maazel
4CDs + Blu-ray audio
Special Price £36.75

RVW A Sea Symphony - Elder

Shostakovich Symphony 10 Nelsons

Verdi Requiem

Dvorak Opera Premiere

Grieg, Mendelssohn sonatas




Would you like a hyperlinked weekly summary of the CDs we have reviewed?

Click for further details

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
Classical Editor
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Cameo Classics
Prima voce
Red Priest
Toccata Classics

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
Classical Editor
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

CD: Animal Songs

Sergey PROKOFIEV (1891–1953)
Peter and the Wolf
Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835–1921)
Carnival of the Animals
Francis POULENC (1899–1963)
The Story of Babar, the Little Elephant
Richard Briers (narrator);.David Coram (organ); David Owen Norris (piano)
rec. Romsey Abbey, 1 April 2011; Turner Sims Concert Hall, University of Southampton, 9 April 2011 (Poulenc)

Experience Classicsonline

I have six grandchildren; so I know a bit about the target audience for this recording. It contains three of the Top Ten on anyone’s list of the best classical compositions for children.

Peter and the Wolf was written in 1936, with music and words by Prokofiev, as a commission from the Moscow Central Children’s Chorus. Although its premiere was poorly attended, it did succeed in the long term in achieving its sponsor’s aim of “cultivating musical tastes in children from the first years of school”. It is usually heard with narrator and full orchestra, but here the orchestra is replaced by the organ. This rearrangement works in some ways, and not others: for example, the bird as flute, and the duck as oboe, are convincing, but bassoon for Grandfather and horns for the wolf are less so. And it’s jarring to hear the word “diapasons” used in a description of Peter, aimed at a five-year-old. On the other hand, replacing the orchestra with the organ opens up access to many more audiences, at more reasonable cost. This is precisely what the principals on this album plan to do during a 2012 tour.

Carnival of the Animals is a piece that Saint-Saëns was embarrassed about from its debut in 1886, worrying that it would damage his reputation as a serious composer. Ironically it has become one of his best known and loved works. It was written to show young people the range and playfulness of orchestral instruments, and it succeeded. One reason for its success is that Saint-Saëns borrowed great tunes freely: Berlioz, Offenbach, Rameau and himself. Another is that in 1949 the American poet Ogden Nash wrote droll verses to accompany each of the 14 movements. Most performances and recordings today feature the music with the poetry. Saint-Saëns’ original version uses two pianos prominently with orchestra, so in this recording the piano is essential with organ.

The Story of Babar, the Little Elephant, was written in French in 1933 by Jean de Brunhoff. It spawned a series of books and videos to which his son has further contributed. Poulenc’s three-year old cousin Sophie was vacationing with him outside Paris in the summer of 1940, when she become bored with his composing. Legend has it that she placed her Babar storybook upside-down on the piano stand and said “Play this!” He improvised between sections of the story, and later wrote down the music, dedicating it to Sophie and the other neighbourhood children who thronged to hear it. The English translation used in this recording is different from that in the first Random House publication, and leaves out major sections of the story. Even so, the result comes in at just less than half an hour, a challenging attention span for a child.

The actor Richard Briers narrates all three pieces. His face and voice are familiar from British TV and stage. He is able to call up gravity, impishness or breathlessness as these stories and poems require.

An act of love created this album – or rather two acts. The first act created the label. This is the first release from a new label – Cathedral Classics - from the team of Matthew Dilley and Richard Bland. The latter recorded, edited and produced this album. Their discography includes many recordings in the chapels on the Cambridge and Oxford campuses. An even greater contribution to the recording, including personal investment, came from the organist, David Coram, who clearly loves the instrument, and believes in its power to communicate with children. He arranged the first two pieces here for organ. He also wrote the accompanying booklet which is aimed perfectly at his young audience - with a note to parents warning them of the references to firearms in the Peter and Babar stories, in case even younger ones might be frightened. The booklet cover and the CD feature cute drawings of the stories’ characters .by Mike Brownlow.

If you have children on your gift list, this album will be gratefully received and enjoyed.

Paul Kennedy







































































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.