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


paid for


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

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

Deaconoff; Stockhausen

Live at the Clifton Festival

Choir at Clifton Cathedral


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

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



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat



Recordings of the Month


Conner Riddle Songs

Rodzinski Sibelius

Of Innocence and Experience


Symphonies 1, 2, 3



Aho Symphony 5

Dowland - A Fancy


Rachmaninov_ Babayan



CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Camille SAINT-SAňNS (1835-1931)
Sonata No. 1 for Violin and Piano in D minor Op. 75 (1885) [22:39]
Cťsar FRANCK (1822-1890)
Sonata for Violin and Piano in A Major (1886) [27:24]
Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937)
Sonata for Violin and Piano (1927) [17:05]
Joshua Bell (violin); Jeremy Denk (piano)
rec. 26-29 November 2010, Musical Instrument Museum, Phoenix, Arizona, USA
SONY CLASSICAL 88697891882 [67:19]

Experience Classicsonline

This recording from Joshua Bell and Jeremy Denk is entitled ĎFrench Impressionsí and was released at the beginning of 2012. Franck was a Belgian rather than a French composer but, as the programme notes make clear, he made his career as a teacher and composer at the Paris Conservatoire. He became a French citizen. Bell was a student of Josef Gingold at Indiana University who was in turn taught by Eugene Ysaˇe for whom Franck wrote his violin sonata and who gave the first performance of the work.
Saint-SaŽns wrote the first of his two violin sonatas at the same time as Carnival of the Animals in 1885 when he was a mature composer at the height of his compositional powers. It is believed to have inspired Marcel Proust to have imagined the Venteuil sonata which became a recurring love theme in the first volume of Remembrance of Things Past. The dark opening Allegro agitato from Bell and Denk is full or drama and foreboding with excellent balance and co-ordination. Bell plays the second movement Adagio with a gorgeous sensuous poetry while Denk shows excellent tonal and textural control. Both players relish the dance elements in the jaunty third movement and again show superb mastery of texture and dynamic. The finale is a finger-twisting perpetuum mobile which Bell takes at full throttle - a bravura piece of violin playing guaranteed to bring the house down in concert.
The Franck Violin Sonata was written around the same time as the Saint-SaŽns and was published the year after in 1886. It is one of the most famous sonatas ever written and uses cyclical recurrence of themes and a rich harmonic language. The incremental build-up in tone and intensity in the opening movement is superbly judged with both players taking time to reflect on Franckís exquisite harmonies and musical details. The turbulent second movement Allegro moves at a brisk pace with both players completely on top of the considerable technical demands. Texture, tone and dynamics are well handled although I was not convinced that Bell and Denk quite achieve the searing passion and intensity which one hears in the greatest performances - try Chung and Lupu. The rapt slow movement was by turns probing, meditative, passionate and lyrical with Bell drawing well shaped musical lines. There was a fine rapport and shared musical understanding between the two players in the famous last movement canon with Bell soaring the heights at the climaxes.
The last piece is Ravelís Violin Sonata written a number of decades after the other two works on this disc. Ravel used blues and jazz themes on a number of occasions: the G major piano concerto. It is deployed very effectively in the slow movement of this work, while the last movement is another perpetuum mobile. In the opening Allegretto, both players successfully convey a range of textures and vivid tone colours. This gives eloquent voice to the impressionistic nature of the piece while keeping the passage work clean and clear. Bellís pizzicato effects were particularly good in the slow movement although it was a little too clean - I would have preferred a slightly smokier and freer blues feel. The finale was another finger-twisting tour de force from Bell with Denk providing a rich palette in support.
All three performances are uniformly admirable.

Robert Beattie

See reviews by Leslie Wright (Recording of the Month) and Michael Cookson
























































































































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.