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

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901)
Ernani - Lyric dramain four acts (1844)
Ernani, the bandit - Carlo Bergonzi (tenor); Don Carlo, King of Spain - Cornell MacNeil (baritone); Don Ruy de Silva, a Spanish grandee - Giorgio Tozzi (bass); Elvira, Silva’s niece and loved by Ernani - Leontyne Price (soprano); Don Riccardo, the King’s equerry - Robert Nagy (tenor); Jago, equerry to Silva - Roald Reitan (bass)
Orchestra and Chorus of the Metropolitan Opera/Thomas Schippers
rec. live, 10 April 1965, Met radio broadcast. Mono.
SONY CLASSICS 88691 90996 2 [37.53 + 65.51]

Experience Classicsonline

Ernani, Verdi’s fifth opera is based on Victor Hugo’s play Hernani. It was first performed at the Teatro La Fenice, Venice, on 9 March 1844. It follows directly after Nabucco and I Lombardi premiered at La Scala in March 1842 and February 1843 respectively. These works had been resounding successes and placed the thirty-year-old Verdi alongside his older compatriot, Donizetti, at the forefront of Italian opera composers. When approached by the Gran Teatro La Fenice to compose an opera to open their season, and aware of his increasing status, Verdi drove a hard bargain. He demanded that La Fenice stage I Lombardi as well as presenting the new opera to a libretto of Verdi’s own choice. It would be his first opera not premiered at La Scala. To write the verses he chose Piave, a native of Venice, who was to be his collaborator in nearly half his operas.
Ernani is in traditional form with arias, cabalettas and group scenes. Virile contributions from the chorus are an additional attraction for composer and audience. Verdi brings out the character of the conflicting roles, and their various relationships. Each has clear identification in the easy-on-the-ear melodic writing and vibrant choral music.
There were no studio recordings of Ernani until RCA took the core of the performers from this Met performance, including the conductor, to Rome in 1967 (GD 86503). For that Rome recording RCA substituted Ezio Flagello for Giorgio Tozzi as Silva and Mario Sereni as Don Carlo. However, it is neither the cast changes nor the poor recording characteristics of this issue that distinguishing the two - it is a matter of completeness. This performance, either as a consequence of theatre tradition or Thomas Schippers’ predilection for cutting, as in his recording of Macbeth for Decca, comes in at only 103 minutes for the opera itself. This compares with the 130 minutes for the complete work on the RCA studio recording under the same conductor. The savage cuts start with the overture and continue throughout with arias as well as cabalettas abbreviated and the chorus suffering even more.
The Met has always done justice to Ernani since its first production in 1903, as much as any major theatre. A rather grandiose 1983 production by Pier Luigi Samartini in costumes by Peter J Hall featuring Pavarotti, Sherrill Milnes, Ruggero Raimondi and Leona Mitchell made it onto DVD (Decca 00440 074 3228 DH). This production has been reprised several times including twice this century. It also featured in the Met transmission to cinemas on 25 February 2012, with a good cast. This will probably appear on DVD in 2013. As to the cast on this mono recording it has two of the best Verdi singers of their generation as the lovers. They are Carlo Bergonzi and the young Leontyne Price in role debuts. Regrettably, the recording mangles their opening contribution such that I hardly recognised them. Each voice exhibits a quick vibrato that I never found on stage or other recordings (CD 1, Trs.3 and 5). Later on, I easily recognised the distinctive patina and elegant phrasing of Bergonzi’s tenor (CD 2 Trs.10, 13 and 17-20) and the mellifluous purity of Price (CD 2 Trs.2-5). Both lower voice men are dependable rather than distinguished. Certainly they do not erase memories of Christoff and Bastianini under Mitropolous - circulated on unofficial LPs and now available from Bel Canto. A more modern live performance is that conducted by Muti from La Scala (see review) with Domingo, Ghiaurov and Bruson; Freni is a somewhat over-parted Elvira. The live recording from 1965 with Corelli and Price is similarly savaged by Schippers (MYTO Devotion MDCD 00010) although it has some extras.
The orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera respond to Thomas Schippers’ drive and the chorus bring welcome vibrancy.
Robert J Farr

see also review by Ralph Moore
























































































































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.