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

FOGHORN Classics

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

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


From Ocean’s Floor


Conner Riddle Songs

Rodzinski Sibelius

Of Innocence and Experience


Symphonies 1, 2, 3


CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS

Sidney CORBETT (b.1960)
Absconditus, for violin and cello (2011) [15:01]
Detroit Chronicles, for violin and piano (1995) [20:02]
Schneetod, for violin, mezzo and piano (2005) [7:00]
Nova Angeletta, for violin and mezzo (1996) [5:16]
Archipel Chagall I, for violin (1998) [23:47]
Sarah Plum (violin); Jonathan Ruck (cello); Timothy Lovelace (piano); Patricia Green (mezzo)
rec. Blue Griffin Ballroom Studio, 2011. DDD

Experience Classicsonline

Rather unusually for an independent label, the performer gets star billing here: turn over the front cover of the digipak-style case and violinist Sarah Plum's name appears in the same font and font-size as the CD title Absconditus. Open the booklet and first comes a two-page biography of Plum - turn over for Sidney Corbett. Never mind, though, because they have been friends for a good many years. This disc is the product of much collaboration, not least the fact that the title work was written expressly for Plum to record for it.
Such back-seat positioning may well be behind Germany-based Corbett's relative obscurity, though it may come as a surprise to learn that he actually has a reasonable discography under him, not to mention a substantial body of works dating back to 1983.
This disc offers a generous selection of his more recent chamber music, the proviso being that Plum's violin is involved. All but Detroit Chronicles are described as first recordings, although the track listing labels only Absconditus as a premiere.
A prominent quotation in the booklet and on Corbett's website, which appeared in the Berliner Zeitung last year, states that "Possibly no composer today writes more beautiful music than Sidney Corbett ... whose attractive sonorities are intricately woven and compel close listening." That is a big claim indeed and one which, in all likelihood, the typical music-lover raised on Mozart, Tchaikovsky or Debussy will not find substantiated by the music on this CD. These chamber works have an asceticism that will likely prove simply too 'modern' to those.
So much will be apparent from the very first seconds of the plunky, wheezy atonality of Absconditus, although in fairness to Corbett he admits to trying something new in this work, and "seeking sounds behind the sounds". Timothy Lovelace's piano replaces Jonathan Ruck's cello for Detroit Chronicles, but the effect is similar. That said, Plum provides numerous long lyrical lines on the violin, the piano is notably more disjointed, and evidence of the stylistic influence of Corbett's teacher György Ligeti begins to accrue.
What is also apparent so far is that Corbett's music has a tendency towards dark and despair, an impression that is hardly likely to be dispelled by Schneetod, his aptly austere setting of a poem by the seventeen-year-old son of a friend, the 'Snow Death' referring not to avalanches but to a cocaine overdose. Patricia Green sings pretty well in German, but alas for the listener there is neither original nor translation to follow in the booklet. The piano drops out for the brief Nova Angeletta, a setting of Petrarch, but the bleak mood continues. This seven-hundred-year-old text is obviously in the public domain, and short, so this time there is no excusing its omission from the booklet. Green's Italian diction is also very good, and her heavy voice conveys well the mystical quality of the text.
The final work, the six-movement Archipel Chagall I for solo violin, is arguably the most accessible piece: still fairly flinty and stark, yet bewitchingly atmospheric. When push comes to shove, there are many living composers writing music that is more instantly accessible than Corbett's: more tonal, more melodic, more structured, more 'old school'. Yet his is nevertheless compelling, at least for those who enjoy that kind of thing, in its allusiveness, its layered complexity and its indelible aura of mystery.
Sarah Plum has long been a staunch advocate for contemporary music, and has a longstanding familiarity with Corbett's in particular - last year, for example, she gave the American premiere of his violin concerto, Yaël. She gives a suitably terrific account of all these pieces, with fine support from the other soloists, easily navigating the often difficult terrain with aplomb.

Sound quality is very good, if rather reverberant and close - there is no obvious need to hear Plum's every intake of breath. The booklet is neat and informative, with notes on the works by Corbett himself.
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.