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



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


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

June 2022

Beethoven Sonatas 29, 32

Orchestral Works

String Quartets Vol 1


Cantatas and Organ Works

Complete Songs

Ralph Vaughan Williams

Simone Dinnerstein piano



CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

A Choral Tapestry
Full contents list at end of review
Voces8 (Andrea Haines (soprano), Emily Dickens (soprano), Chris Wardle (counter-tenor), Barnaby Smith (counter-tenor), Charles MacDougall (tenor), Robert Smith (tenor), Paul Smith (baritone), Dingle Yandell (bass))
rec. Brinkburn Priory, 4-7 March 2011

Experience Classicsonline

Voces8 are an eight-voiced vocal ensemble founded in 2003 by ex-choristers from Westminster Abbey. They have become known for their superb choral singing, developing a repertoire which encompasses everything from renaissance polyphony to contemporary a cappella.
On this disc they aim to reflect their diverse musical influences. The discís title is A Choral Tapestry, and diverse it certainly is with music ranging from Monteverdi through to Tavener. Though, in fact, their chosen repertoire mainly splits into three groups. Early music Ė Monteverdi, Palestrina, Byrd, Victoria and Gibbons; 19th century German romantic Ė Brahms, Reger, Bruckner and Rheinberger; contemporary Ė Tavener and Tippett, plus a spiritual arranged by David Blackwell. Brahms is the only composer represented by a multi-movement work, his Fest- und Gedenkspruche. The recitalís centre of gravity is very much German romantic, which isnít a period that you associate with eight-voice vocal ensembles known for singing with one voice to a part. Generally the 19th century works are carefully chosen from pieces which reflect the composerís interest in music of earlier periods.
They open with Brucknerís glorious motet Os Justi which is quite superbly sung, though frankly I would have rather have liked a little more choral depth. Singing with only eight voices does mean that the group can achieve miraculous unanimity in the shaping of the phrases, but I just wanted a bit more weight. This is a very artful performance, where the singers take advantage of the remarkable degree of control that they have to shape the music.
The early works are sung with a very fine sense of line and pure tone - all rather cool and very English This beautifully moulded cleanliness works well for the Byrd and Palestrina but the Victoria could take far more. I longed for a blast of southern warmth or the sound of Westminster Cathedralís vivid trebles. Only in the Monteverdi do we get the feeling that we really do travel to foreign climes. Gibbonsí O Clap your Hands is rather disappointing. Perhaps itís the tempo but the line feels choppy and the English text just doesnít come over.
In Brahmsí Warum is das Licht, the groupís smallness means that the chromatic lines are conveyed with fine accuracy, highlighting Brahmsí links to past composers. Some passages need more density of sound. This is more of a problem in the Brahms Fest- und Gedenkspruche; here the general sound feels too top heavy and I missed a sense of choral weight. Some of the complex passages just didnít gel. I was far too conscious of a group of individual voices.
Of the two Reger pieces, Wir Glauben comes off best as its homophonic, choral-inspired textures seem to lend themselves to the ensembleís treatment. In all the German pieces I was very conscious that the text was often under-played, which is a great disappointment given the diminutive ensemble and the relative closeness of the recording.
When we reach the 20th century style and content gel beautifully so that Tippettís Go down Moses is simply fabulous. David Blackwellís spiritual arrangement is well done also, very much in the Tippett mould. Tavenerís The Lamb is simply superb, purity and accuracy combining in just the right way.
I found the order of the programme to be puzzling. For me the recital didnít cohere and I rather regretted that the group had not concentrated on a single area. The 19th century works would have come over better if there had been more breadth. Adding some Mendelssohn and concentrating on the links to earlier chorale based music would have worked well. Equally, if they had reduced the number of German Romantic pieces and introduced some other flavours to create a real tapestry.
The CD leaflet does not really help with understanding the raison díÍtre behind the programme. There is a single fold-out leaflet with a highly stylised, very posed picture of the choir, plus texts, translations and a rather frustrating article about the music. Of their programme, it has this to say ĎThe album aims to present both the music itself and the personalities involved in its creation and performance. In an exploration of complementary and contrasting sound worlds, harmony and text and vocal forces, VOCES8 creates a sonic tapestry weaving together individual voices and music to create this performance. The ensemble enters into a dialogue with music, seeking to present its vision whilst allowing the listener freedom for individual engagement.í
I found this disc by turns puzzling, frustrating and mesmerising. It contains some of the finest choral singing I have heard in a long time. Some of the performances are simply spellbinding. Then other items just donít work as well for me; they fail to capitalise on the groupís strengths. Even then you still have to admire the technical tour de force of items like the Brahms - the brilliance of being able even to attempt this music. The pieces selected donít, for me, coalesce into a real programme, particularly when they are arranged in what feels to me to be a rather haphazard order. Or perhaps Iím missing something.
Robert Hugill

Full contents list

Anton BRUCKNER (1824 - 1896)
Os Justi
William BYRD (1540 - 1623)
Kyrie (Mass for Four Voices) [2.19]
Claudio MONTEVERDI (1576 - 1643)
Cantate Domino
Tomas Luis de VICTORIA (1548 - 1611)
O Magnum Mysterium
Giovanni Pierluigi da PALESTRINA (1525 - 1594)
Magnificat Primi Toni
Johannes BRAHMS (1833 - 1897)
Warum ist das Licht gegeben?
Traditional arr Michael TIPPETT (1905 - 1998)
Go down Moses
Orlando GIBBONS (1583 - 1625)
O Clap your Hands
Max REGER (1873 - 1916)
Das Agnus Dei
Wir glauben an einem Gott [1.55]
Johannes BRAHMS
Fest- und Gedenkspruche
Traditional arr David BLACKWELL
Steal Away
Josef RHEINBERGER (1839 - 1901)
John TAVENER (b. 1944)
The Lamb
William BYRD
Agnus Dei (Mass for Four Voices) [3.57]































































































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.