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: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Ave Maria, Op. 12 (1858) [4:49]
Begräbnisgesang, Op. 13 (1858) [8:51]
Alto Rhapsody, Op. 53* (1869) [14:51]
Schicksalslied, Op. 54 (1868-71) [17:56]
Nänie, Op. 82 (1881-2) [13:43]
Gesang der Parzen, Op. 89 (1882) [9:44]
Ewa Wolak (contralto)*
Warsaw Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra/Antoni Wit
rec. January 2010-April 2010, Warsaw Philharmonic Hall
NAXOS 8. 572694 [69:54]

Experience Classicsonline

Brahms spent a number of years working as a conductor of choral societies and such music forms an important part of his output. Many of his choral works deal with fate and mortality, as can be seen from at least four of the pieces on this disc. The six together comprise pairs of works from three periods of the composer’s life. 

Brahms’ Begräbnislied (Burial or Funeral Song) is scored for five-part chorus and winds with timpani, enabling it to be performed at a grave-side. The music is appropriately hushed and granitic - like much of Brahms - but with a dramatic aspect that the conductor Antoni Wit brings out with great skill. In the same year of 1858 Brahms wrote the contrasting Ave Maria for a small-scale women’s choral society that he had founded. This piece is simple and lilting, slightly Schumannesque, and also evidences the composer’s study of early music at this time.
The Alto Rhapsody is justly famous and has been frequently recorded. Wit’s conception of the piece is a full-blown Romantic one, with great attention paid to the dramatic arc of the work balanced with the severity of Goethe’s text. The orchestra and chorus match Wit in both these regards, though sadly the contralto Ewa Wolak is stolid and evinces little intensity. Brahms was working on the Schicksalslied (Song of Destiny) at the same time as the Alto Rhapsody. This work contrasts the life of the blessed spirits above with the tormented existence of those on earth. As if not wanting to leave the listener with this vision of earthly life, Brahms ends the work with a return to the music of the spirits above. Wit and his musicians turn in a fine performance although it is somewhat lacking in dramatic contrast.
Nanie was written in memory of the painter Anselm Feuerbach. In its gentle melancholy it is perhaps the most perfectly balanced of Brahms’ choral works. These elements are lovingly brought out by Wit and his performers. The Gesang der Parzen (Song of the Fates), to a text from Goethe’s Iphigenie auf Tauris, was the composer’s last major choral work. It foreshadows some of the later works such as Op. 110 and Op. 121 in their concern with old age and approaching death. As in the Schicksalslied the happy life of those above - in this case the Greek Gods - is compared to the brevity and misery of those on earth. The Gesang does not end with a consolatory section as does the earlier work. Instead the human voices weaken and finally die away. Wit’s conception of the piece is well-thought out. On the other hand the chorus is quite shrill and the orchestra somewhat lets him down by playing without the requisite pathos.
Although best-known for his recordings of Polish works and of the Mahler symphonies, Antoni Wit is also a natural Brahms conductor. He shows great sensitivity to the unique combination of structure and emotional content found in the composer’s works. The Warsaw Philharmonic also has a natural feel for this music, although not always playing to Wit’s standard. The chorus is mostly proficient. The Warsaw Philharmonic Hall has a sound that would severely hurt music of a less weighty cast, but that actually seems appropriate for these works, although the higher instruments frequently suffer. While all of these works have been recorded a number of times, this disc is recommended as an economical compilation of the major Brahms choral/orchestral works (sans German Requiem) in fine performances overall.
William Kreindler 


























































































































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.