Aureole etc.




Nimbus on-line




If it’s the Czech works you’re after, do not hesitate

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android


Mahler symphony 6 Nott


Vaughan Williams Symphony 3 etc.


Lyrita New Recording


Lyrita Premiere Recordings

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

 

 

 

REVIEW
RECORDING OF THE MONTH



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

alternatively
CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

American Flute Quintets
Joan TOWER (b.1938)
Rising (2010) for flute and string quartet [16:09]
Arthur FOOTE (1853-1937)
Two Pieces (1918) for flute and string quartet [13:47]
Amy BEACH (1867-1944)
Theme and Variations, Op.80 for flute and string quartet [22:10]
Carol Wincenc (flute), Kevin Lawrence (violin), Carolyn Stuart (violin), Sheila Browne (viola), Brooks Whitehouse (cello).
rec. 19-21 December 2011, Watson Hall, UNCSA, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA.
BRIDGE 9373 [52:08]

Experience Classicsonline


Only the other day I had never heard of Joan Tower. Then I watched a BBC Proms on television during which they played one of Tower’s five Fanfares for the Uncommon Woman. This was a nice touch following, as it did Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man. Now I have this disc and I read in the booklet notes that she has been described as “one of the most successful woman composers of all time”, then explaining how she takes issue with “qualifying designation ‘woman’”. I’m with her since no male composer would be given the designation as ‘male’ but just as ‘composer’ and, in any case, music cannot be said to be either male or female; it is just music. I don’t know what the New Yorker mean by “most successful” either but both of her works I have now heard are excellent in every way. The booklet includes her description of her pieceRising in which she explains the thinking behind it saying how she has always been interested in how music can “go up”. I’ve always found it staggering as to how composers can describe all kinds of things from emotion to movement in an art form with its own unique non-verbal ‘language’. Joan Tower mentions Beethoven as being a particular example of someone who understood all the elements involved in representing the action of rising (or falling). Though Haydn’s Sunrise quartet (Op.76 no.4) was given its title by a publisher its opening is a good example of music describing the action of rising as is Vaughan Williams’ The Lark ascending. Joan Tower’s Rising is a brilliant addition to these works. The music perfectly achieves its aim and the flute seems to be the ideal instrument to use for this purpose. It is an extremely evocative piece of great beauty which represents everything that is the best about contemporary music, namely that it is exploratory yet immediately accessible.
 
I have come across the composer Arthur Foote before and was struck by how much I enjoyed his music. This work confirms those feelings. The Two Pieces bear the titles Night Piece and Scherzo and are understandably among his most popular works. Night Piece is a simple title as befits a work that is as beautifully simple as it is simply beautiful. Long and flowing melodic lines led by mellifluous sounds from the flute are accompanied by the quartet. Then a gorgeous theme emanates from the violin which picks up the lead. The work ends with the five instruments together. Scherzo begins with a Dvořákian dumka which then leads into a dialogue among the instruments before a return to another dance-like theme. Foote was resolute in pursuing his own internal musical dictates resisting any pressure to conform to the current trends of his era. His music has deservedly achieved its status as incorporating the best tenets of American music; freedom and innovation.
 
If Joan Tower is known as “one of the most successful woman composers of all time” then surely Amy Beach must be another and she was the first American woman to compose any large-scale symphonic works and wrote over 300 works in total. Having to triumph over the constraints placed upon her first by an overbearing family and then by an arranged marriage to a surgeon 25 years her senior, Amy Beach, who took back her maiden name of Cheney after her husband died, wrote music that has endured and is becoming even better known today as more discs of her music appear. Her Theme and Variations, Op.80 is based, so I read in the booklet, on one of her own melodies, An Indian Lullaby which is treated to six variations and ends with a coda. The premise is that the women’s voices in the original implore the “forest breeze to lull the child to sleep with the soothing scent of pine needles”. The music is ravishing, with the flute playing the principle role though the other instruments do get their moments too, especially the cello, which has some achingly beautiful passages, particularly in variation number 5. Everything of Amy Beach that I have heard I have really enjoyed and this is another example of her huge talent. Women composers today are certainly more fortunate in their freedom to express themselves though it will still be a greater struggle for them than for men which is why they have to strive to be better than men - which often they are! - and Amy Beach is a shining example of those efforts. Her music is certainly up there with the best composed at the time and which has rightfully remained both successful and popular.
 
This is a wonderful disc and the music is brilliantly played by five highly talented musicians and Joan Tower herself is quoted as saying that flautist Carol Wincenc “could make Three Blind Mice sound like it came from Heaven!!” I must concur; she is one of a growing number of superb flautists making a name for themselves and encouraging composers to write music for them that further expands the repertoire which is a win-win situation for us all.
 
Steve Arloff 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

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

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      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

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

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

Comment
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

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
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
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
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
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
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.