One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here


International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger

Some items
to consider

Yes we are selling
Acte Prealable again!

we also sell Skarbo

and Oboe Classics


with Eggebrecht we get all the excitement we can handle

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

Vraiment magnifique!

Quite splendid

Winning performances

Mahler Symphony 8
a magnificent disc

a huge talent

A wonderful disc

Weinberg Symphonies 2 & 21
A handsome tribute!

Roth’s finest Mahler yet

Mahler 9 Blomstedt
Distinguished performance



We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

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


CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
The Early Quartets

String Quartet No.1 in F major Op.18 No.1 (1798-1800) [27:42]
String Quartet No.2 in G major Op.18 No.2 (1798-1800) [20:06]
String Quartet No.3 in D major Op.18 No.3 (1798-1800) [19:12]
String Quartet No.4 in F major Op.18 No.4 (1798-1800) [21:24]
String Quartet No.5 in F major Op.18 No.5 (1798-1800) [22:35]
String Quartet No.6 in F major Op.18 No.6 (1798-1800) [24:07]
Rehearsal fragment from 13 April 1944 [9:21]
Budapest String Quartet
rec. 1 November 1943 (No.5); 9 March 1944 (No.3); 23 March 1944 (No.1); 13 April 1944 (No.2): 11 November 1960 (No.6): 30 March 1962 (No.4). live in concert, at the Library of Congress
BRIDGE 9342A/B [67:41 + 77:27]

Experience Classicsonline

It’s been a long time coming. Budapesters will know that the Bridge discs devoted to the Middle [9099A/C] and Late Quartets [9072A/C] were issued a good, long time ago – 2000 and 1997 respectively to be precise. I’m not sure why this final volume has been so long delayed, but the wait has been worth it as the performances match those previously issued in their levels of executant excellence and forceful commitment. There are the usual caveats about the Library of Congress sound quality, which is often very boxy, but these were in-house recordings and never meant for commercial release so one cannot be too critical, rather thankful to the Bridge team for choosing, tidying up, transferring, and releasing these musically and historically important performances.
They cover a transitional period in the quartet’s history when Edgar Ortenberg replaced Sasha Schneider in the second violin chair before Schneider’s subsequent return. Thus the A major, recorded in November 1943, features Schneider and the D major Op.18 No.3 which was given in concert on 9 March 1944 features Ortenberg. Handily, Ortenberg’s performances are contained in disc 1 and Schneider’s in disc 2.
The live performances compare favourably in all but recording quality with the commercial discs that have survived in this repertoire. The F major, Op.18 No.1 (23 March 1944) is in fact considerably more expansive than the 78 set made in the Liederkranz Hall back in 1940. This is particularly true of the far more relaxed and spun-out slow movement. The performance triumphs the rather mushy sound quality. Three weeks later they performed the G major in a slightly boxier recording but in a fully dramatic reading. It’s aligned with their tautly driving best 1940s Beethoven style, and their projection of the expressive elements of the slow movement is astutely judged. One of the coups of this release is that it preserves Ortenberg’s very first concert with the group, on 9 March. There are no tentative moments at all, and ensemble is rock solid.
The fourth in the Op.18 set takes us forward in time to 1962, the last year of the group’s residence at the Library. The sound here is rather boomy and dry. Leader Joseph Roisman’s intonation wanders around a good bit but he gets better as the work develops. The performance is quicker than one is used to hearing from the group and there’s a razory quality to the corporate sound that borders on insistence, though the March rhythms bite well. For No.5 we go back to November 1943 and this certainly captures a good spectrum of cellist Mischa Schneider’s tone and the well-balanced ebullience of the slow movement, despite the attendant aural limitations. The last of the set, No.6, comes from a November 1960 concert. It’s a much better performance than the 1962 No.4 from two years later, and I would rank it significantly higher than the quartet’s contemporaneous studio recordings, where they can sound lackadaisical.
As a bonus there’s a rehearsal segment of a performance in April 1944. The work is the slow movement of Op.59 No.2. There’s a lot of jabbering, and concern over balance, as well as brief phrases of music played by those not taking part in the chat, but when the music starts they play largely uninterrupted.
It’s been well worth the wait for these performances. Restoration has done what it can for the boxy originals, but the energy and drive of the playing will make up for that. The notes are helpful, but I part company from David Starobin when he asserts that it was largely due to the Budapest that Beethoven quartet cycles became a ‘rite of passage’ for subsequent groups. Beethoven cycles were nothing new, and the London String Quartet had been performing them across the globe for two decades before the Budapest.
Jonathan Woolf























































































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.