One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,928 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

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

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Salon Treasures from the Max Jaffa Library



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
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom



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 Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

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

Eloquence recordings
All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

July 2022

John Luther Adams Houses of the Wind
John Luther Adams
Houses of the Wind

Horneman Alladin
Horneman Alladin

Stojowski piano concertos
Piano Concertos 1 & 2

Vaughan Williams on Brass

Yi Lin Jiang - Dualis I

June 2022

Beethoven Sonatas 29, 32

Orchestral Works

String Quartets Vol 1




CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Download from The Classical Shop

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945)
Works for Violin and Piano - Volume 1
Rhapsody No. 1, BB 94a [10:25]
Sonata No. 2, BB 85 [20:07]
Rhapsody No. 2, BB 96a [10:33]
Sonata No. 1, BB 84 [33:35]
Andante, BB 26b [4:00]
Alternative ending for Rhapsody No. 1 [1:48]
James Ehnes (violin)
Andrew Armstrong (piano)
rec. Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk; 30 May - 1 June 2011
CHANDOS CHAN10705 [80:30]

Experience Classicsonline

I’ve spent a lot of energy recently praising to the skies James Ehnes’ work as a concerto soloist, both live in Edinburgh and on disc with Tchaikovsky. He is a musician of the most outstanding calibre, and this CD of his work in Bartók will only raise his reputation higher.
The title of the disc suggests that Ehnes and Armstrong are embarking on a project, though no further details are given in the liner-notes. If so then it’s one worth keeping an ear on, as the results on display on this disc are extraordinary, a worthy successor to his disc of Bartók concertos, also on Chandos. Bartók’s violin sonatas are among his most interesting but challenging works, and it’s a master-stroke to couple them with some of his most accessible writing for violin and piano. The disc begins with the first Rhapsody which, with its fiercely rhythmic opening, is immediately stamped with the flavour of Hungarian folk dance. In fact, the composer even refers to this in his sub-heading for the work: Folk Dances. The first movement has an earthy quality to its main melodies but a lovely songful feel to the great central section. The second movement is more showy, perhaps even more indebted to the composer’s love of Hungarian folk tunes. It’s full of dazzling inflections tossed off by Ehnes as if it were all in a day’s work. For the sake of completeness the disc also supplies an alternative ending which is interesting enough, if a bit superfluous. The Second Rhapsody is more angular than the first with some astonishing double-stopping from the soloist but also some bright-eyed humour too.
Make no mistake, though, the main events here are the two sonatas. It’s a shrewd programming move to put the more approachable Second Sonata first. The playing here is imbued with a lovely sense of questioning, of exploration, especially in the violin line. The piano underpins it with something more adamant, still exploring but more insistently than his partner. There is a lovely sense of the two listening to one another, as it should be in all the best sonata performances. The second movement is more reckless than the first, runaway and playful in many places, especially in the regular violin glissandi and double-stops, but always maintaining a hint of an edge. I loved the interplay of the pizzicato violin with the grumbling piano just before the lightning quick perpetuo section. The listener is treated to two great artists striking sparks off each other. The ending is particularly sublime, played with beautiful subtlety as the violin heads gently into the stratosphere.
The angular dissonant landscapes of the First Sonata present more of a challenge to the listener, but Ehnes and Armstrong assail this terrain with breathtaking skill. The spiky, often discordant world of the opening gives way to a slow movement of astounding humanity, the stillness coming across all the more powerfully after the drama of the opening, and the unaccompanied violin line that opens this movement draws the finest playing on the disc. It’s followed by a finale whose energy and attack will knock your socks off. Then, as if to surprise us all, the disc ends with the earliest, and most instantly accessible, work of all, the Andante that the composer wrote for the Arányi sisters who were the great-nieces of Joseph Joachim. Its arching, lyrical melody is beautiful in its simplicity, played here with intense beauty and just the right degree of schmaltz.
This is a magnificent disc, wonderful playing captured in fantastic sound, and a fine way to begin an exploration of Bartók’s work in this genre. Roll on Volume Two.
Simon Thompson

see also review by Leslie Wright



























































































































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.