One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,416 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount



CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS


Camille SAINT-SAňNS (1835-1921)
Allegro Appassionato, for solo piano, op.70 (1884) [6:26]
Mazurka in G minor, for solo piano, op.21 (1862) [3:48]
Cello Sonata no.1 in C minor, op.32 (1872) [22:39]
Allegro Appassionato in B minor, for solo cello (and piano), op.43 (1873) [4:14]
Suite in F, for solo piano, op.90 (1891) [12:07]
Carillon [from Album, op.72 (1884)] [5:19]
En forme de Valse in D flat, for solo piano [from Six Etudes, op.52 (1877)] [7:17]
Christina Shillito (cello)
Christine Croshaw (piano)
rec. St Edward the Confessor's Church, Mottingham, London. No dates given. DDD
MERIDIAN CDE 84433 [61:43]

CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS


Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826)
Trio in G minor, for flute, cello and piano, op.63 (1818-19) [25:23]
Seven Variations on a Theme from 'Silvana', for clarinet and piano, op.33 (1811) [14:21]
Sonata in A flat, for (flute and) piano, op.39 (1816), arr. August MŁller [26:57]
Variations on an Original Theme, for solo piano, op.9 (1808) [10:26]
David Campbell (clarinet)
Clive Conway (flute)
Christina Shillito (cello)
Christine Croshaw (piano)
rec. St Edward the Confessor's Church, Mottingham, London. No dates given. DDD
MERIDIAN CDE 84260 [77:06]

CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Johann Nepomuk HUMMEL (1778-1837)
Trio (Adagio, Variations and Rondo on a Russian Theme) in A, for flute, cello and piano, op.78 (1819) [19:00]
Rondo Brillant in B minor, for solo piano, op.109 (1825) [7:50]
Grand Rondeau Brillant in G, for violin (flute) and piano, op.126 (1834) [15:55]
Grand Sonata in A, for cello and piano, op.104 (1824) [22:37]
Clive Conway (flute)
Christine Croshaw (piano)
Charles Tunnell (cello)
rec. St Edward the Confessor's Church, Mottingham, London. No dates given. DDD
MERIDIAN CDE 84217 [65:22]

Experience Classicsonline

The Saint-SaŽns CD is a new release showcasing not just the composer's underrated chamber music, but also the multiplex talent of two stalwarts of the Meridian label, cellist Christina Shillito and pianist Christine Croshaw.

This disc and the Hummel are, respectively, the latest and earliest of several Croshaw/Shillito collaborations for Meridian, with or without other soloists, in a rewarding association spanning two decades. A second volume of Hummel (CDE 84236) appeared shortly after the first, Croshaw this time performing with dependable flautist Clive Conway and violist Norbert Blume. This was followed by the Weber disc, and then a CD of Carl Czerny's chamber music (CDE 84310), with Croshaw, Shillito, Conway and Nicholas Bucknall on clarinet and Stephen Stirling on horn. Then came another Croshaw/Shillito/Conway CD of chamber music by Jan Ladislav Dussek (CDE 84383), again with Blume and Susan Lynn on violin. Before the present Saint-SaŽns disc came another Croshaw/Shillito/Conway collaboration for chamber works of Ignaz Moscheles (review).

Besides the performance crew, there are other parallels and similarities to be found among the three discs under review. For one thing, the sound quality is uniformly good. Meridian's "Natural Sound Recording", however they accomplish it, does not disappoint - though it has to be said that 2011 sound technology is still an improvement on that from the 1990s, even if Shillito and Croshaw are set further back from the microphones than can be considered ideal.

There are also resemblances, presumably coincidental, between the Hummel and Weber recitals. There is a Flute Trio apiece, both dating from the same year, a virtuosic work for solo piano that allows the listener space to marvel at Croshaw's musicianship, and a Sonata in each programme, Hummel's for cello and Weber's for piano, as re-scored by the composer August MŁller for flute and piano; and Hummel too has a work for this last combination, the eminently hummable Grand Rondeau Brillant.

Fifteen years later, the Saint-SaŽns disc is a little bit different in emphasis, but the Cello Sonata is a direct descendant of Hummel's, and there are further solo piano works permitting an appraisal and appreciation of Croshaw's pianistic development. Saint-SaŽns' chamber music is still woefully under-appreciated, and the Cello Sonata is a case in point, arguably the finest work on offer here. Its sometimes dark, always atmospheric, restless character gives the lie to the popular notion that he was all tunes and no substance. His jaunty, straightforward Allegro Appassionato in B minor op.43 is more frequently encountered, both on disc and on stage, yet is less than typical of his output.

Rewind fifty years and Saint-SaŽns could almost have written Hummel's own Cello Sonata op.104, a supremely lyrical work of classical elegance and warmth, whose tailor-made cello phrasing Charles Tunnell unfolds with memorable refinement. This performance sparked a handful of further recordings for the next few years, but the work appears to be going out of fashion again, an ironic state of affairs in view of its massive audience-friendliness.

Weber's Piano Sonata op.39 is similarly conspicuous by its absence from the repertories of pianists today. Virtuosic, dramatic, witty and elegant, it has much to recommend it, and August MŁller's skilful conversion of it into a Flute Sonata adds extra spice, especially in Clive Conway's hands and lips. In her booklet notes, Croshaw describes Weber's Trio as a "pastoral drama" permeated by "a note of melancholy", reflecting an unhappy time in the composer's personal life. Such an assessment does not account for the sprightly scherzo, but the work, though less profound than Hummel's, is certainly tinged with nostalgia and full of poignant lyricism, enhanced by some beautiful part-writing.

On the subject of programme notes, they are in all three cases written by Croshaw, and are good as far as they go, communicating her obvious and justified enthusiasm for these relatively neglected works. However, the notes often go beyond pithiness - these are the two lines, for example, for one of Hummel's works: "The Trio, op.78, was composed in 1819. Its original title was as follows: 'Adagio, Variazionen and [sic] Rondo Łber ein Russisches Thema fŁr Pianoforte, FlŲte und Violonzell von Johann Nepomuk Hummel.'" Hardly enlightening, yet twenty years later there has been no evolution: Saint-SaŽns' Allegro Appassionato op.70 "is a brilliant bravura work, written in the style of a toccata."

Similarly, biographies of composers and performers alike leave the reader feeling under-nourished - Shillito's is rather brazenly reproduced verbatim from the Weber for the Saint-SaŽns, leaving the last 15 years unaccounted for. A little photo or engraving here or there would have brightened the texts up a bit. Quite unnecessarily, by the way - not to mention entirely without relevance - Croshaw notes that "it is believed that Saint-SaŽns was homosexual, a fact that, if true, was greatly at odds with his public image".

Fortunately for music-lovers, however, Croshaw took up piano playing as a career, not note-writing. Her nuanced, revelatory pianism seems almost outside of time in its understated eloquence, and in a way the chosen repertoire is perfectly suited. Her artless poetry at the keyboard is evident in Saint-SaŽns' retro, and magical, Piano Suite, for example. Her athletic legerdemain in Hummel's Rondo Brillant in B minor seems undiminished in the hugely strenuous En forme de Valse in D flat or the Allegro Appassionato op.70 of her Saint-SaŽns recital, even though Croshaw is by now well into her sixties and only partially sighted.

On a wider level, these are all performances not of bright young things anxious to be different or show off their virtuosity at every phrase, but of musicians. This is music-making that comes from experience, from looking deeper into the score - especially in the case of Hummel and Saint-SaŽns, who had left behind the emotional melodrama that can occupy a young man's mind. They were writing music that betokened a deeper kind of intellectual insight and expressive intensity.

For minutes to the pound and instrumental variety, the Weber CD is a winner, whilst for sheer classical beauty Hummel's music is hard to beat. The Saint-SaŽns disc is rather short and the recording slightly recessed, but as an opportunity to hear Shillito, Croshaw in the autumn glow of her career, and the fruits of Saint-SaŽns' great imagination all in the same place, it is easily worth the asking price.

Collected reviews and contact at












































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.