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

All HDTT reviews

Salon Treasures from the Max Jaffa Library



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
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
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

July 2022

John Luther Adams Houses of the Wind
John Luther Adams
Houses of the Wind

Horneman Alladin
Horneman Alladin

Stojowski piano concertos
Piano Concertos 1 & 2

Vaughan Williams on Brass

Yi Lin Jiang - Dualis I

June 2022

Beethoven Sonatas 29, 32

Orchestral Works

String Quartets Vol 1




CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901)
Complete Ballet Music from the Operas
Complete contents listed at end of review
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/José Serebrier
rec. 15-17 May 2011, The Lighthouse, Poole, Dorset, UK
NAXOS 8.572818-19 [54:09 + 61:13]

Experience Classicsonline

What a shame that most of Verdi’s ballet music – primarily written to satisfy Parisian audiences – is rarely heard these days, especially when it’s so irresistibly tuneful. Indeed, as José Serebrier points out in his excellent liner-notes these ‘bolt-ons’ have occasionally been pressed into service elsewhere, most notably in Jerome Robbins’ 1979 ballet The Four Seasons. Listening to this effervescent set it’s not difficult to see why; Verdi was a melodist supreme, an instinctive man of the theatre, and that shines through in this recording. It’s also heartening to hear the Bournemouth band – which enjoyed something of a renaissance under Marin Alsop – in such electric form.
The thrustful, swaggering Ballabile from the Act III of Otello – penned for the Paris premiere in 1894 – makes a splendid introduction to the set. Serebrier finds a thrilling momentum and ceremonial whirl here, the music capped by a hefty, crowd-pleasing bass-drum thwack. What a pleasure it is to discover that Naxos have produced a recording of untrammelled weight and range. The same musical and aural delights are apparent in the ballet music from Macbeth, revised for Paris in 1865. This may be slightly less memorable than that for Otello, but there’s an unmistakable undertow here, the music firmly rooted in the drama that surrounds it; indeed, those regal and impassioned perorations are simply glorious.
Jérusalem, which began life in 1843 as I Lombardi, was retitled and revised for Paris four years later. It’s disconcerting to discover that some of this ballet music is very similar to that of the partying Parisians in La Traviata (1853). That’s especially so in the deftly articulated – and convivial – Pas de quatre and the sparkling Pas de deux, whose frothiness hardly seems appropriate to a sober tale centred on the Crusades. Nevertheless, Verdi’s score is delivered with energy and polish, the melting, harp-led tunes of the Pas de solo most beautifully written and played.
The first CD ends with a substantial ballet from the original – French – version of Don Carlo. This too is unremittingly dramatic and, at times, most exquisitely scored. Serebrier and his band invest the music with a limpid beauty and rhythmic pliancy that just underscores Verdi’s gift for simple –yet heartfelt – tunes. There’s heaving passion and bright majesty as well, and the Naxos engineers have done a magnificent job capturing the noble fanfares and dynamically impressive tuttis. Indeed, I’d say this is the most spectacular Naxos sound I’ve heard in a long time; bravos all round.
The ballet music from Aida is unusual in that it’s an integral part of the action and not just a fashionable accessory. Predictably it gets a rousing performance on this CD, the sinuous arabesques of the Act I ballet wonderfully atmospheric. Verdi had to bow to convention once more with Il trovatore, revised and retitled Le trouvère for Paris in 1856. The flashing gypsy rhythms are very well managed, and even if there’s a hint of rumty-tumtiness at times there’s no mistaking the hot blood that courses through the veins. The real delight is listening to the orchestra play as if their natural home were a theatre pit; in fact, it’s hard to imagine these scores more idiomatically played.
One might be forgiven for thinking that two hours of this fare would be tedious, but when the level of invention and the standard of musicianship are this high the time just flies by. Part of the secret is that Serebrier creates and sustains a powerful sense of theatre, the wild Galop (tr. 10) crying out for applause and an encore; all I can say is, thank heavens for the repeat button. After the fizz and fun of this finale the integral ballet music from Les vêpres siciliennes – written for Paris in 1855 – has a clear structure and strong narrative. A depiction of the four seasons, the first part – L’inverno – has the assurance and sweep of a piece by Glazunov or Tchaikovsky. As for La primavera it’s blessed with a spontaneity and lift – a natural danceability – that’s hard to resist, while L’estate is most elegantly phrased; the changeability of autumn is evoked in music of felicity and strength.
There’s not a duff note or dull moment in the entire set, Verdi’s prodigious talents matched at every turn by those of Serebrier and his first-rate players. This is fresh, spontaneous music-making, whose dramatic peaks – while emphatic – are never coarse or overdriven. The Naxos engineers deserve plenty of praise too, as the fine sound adds immeasurably to one’s enjoyment of these vital scores.
Two hours of pure, unadulterated pleasure.
Dan Morgan

See also review by Paul Corfield Godfrey
Complete contents

CD 1
Otello (1887; Paris premiere 1894)
Act III Scene 7: Ballabile [5:37]
Macbeth (excerpts) (1847; French version 1865)
Act III Scene 1: Ballo I [2:27]
Act III Scene 1: Ballo II [4:38]
Act III Scene 1: Ballo III [3:11]
Jerusalem (excerpts) (1843; Paris revision 1847)
Act III Scene 1: Pas de quatre [7:40]
Act III Scene 1: Pas de deux [5:33]
Act III Scene 1: Pas de solo [5:49]
Act III Scene 1: Pas d'ensemble [2:34]
Don Carlos (Paris, 1886)
Act III Scene 2: Ballo della regina, ‘La Peregrina’ [16:41]
CD 2
Aida (excerpts) (1871)
Act I Scene 2: Dance No. 3: Danza sacra delle sacerdotesse [2:30]
Act II Scene 1: Dance No. 4: Danza dei piccoli schiavi mori [1:38]
Act II Scene 2: Dance No. 5: Ballabile [4:44]
Il trovatore (excerpts) (1853; Paris version 1856)
Act III Scene 1: Pas des Bohémiens [1:54]
Act III Scene 1: Gitanilla [2:30]
Act III Scene 1: Ensemble [1:34]
Act III Scene 2: Sevillana [4:05]
Act III Scene 2: Echo du soldat [2:58]
Act III Scene 2: La Bohémienne [7:20]
Act III Scene 2: Galop [2:31]
Les vêpres siciliennes (excerpts) (1855)
Act III Scene 2: Le quattro stagioni: L'inverno [6:36]
Act III Scene 2: Le quattro stagioni: La primavera [7:51]
Act III Scene 2: Le quattro stagioni: L'estate [5:41]
Act III Scene 2: Le quattro stagioni: L'autunno [9:22]































































































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.