MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2023
Approaching 60,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


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

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing



Buy through MusicWeb
for £9.50 postage paid World-wide.

Musicweb Purchase button

Sound Samples and Downloads

Lennox BERKELEY (1903-1989)
Serenade for strings (1939) [12.46]
Michael BERKELEY (b. 1948)
Coronach (1988) [8.37]
Michael TIPPETT (1905-1998)
Fantasia concertante on a theme of Corelli (1953) [18.30]
Little music for strings (1946) [10.29]
English String Orchestra/William Boughton
rec. Great Hall, Birmingham University, 18-19 May 1991
NIMBUS NI7082 [50.55]

Experience Classicsonline

This is a somewhat odd collection, because apart from the family relationship between the Berkeleys and their friendship with Benjamin Britten, the three composers represented here do not really have very much musically in common with each other. The earliest piece is Lennox Berkeley’s Serenade, one of his oldest pieces - composed at Britten’s home in Snape - which begins as a light-hearted divertimento-like effort before an unexpectedly slow finale. William Boughton and his players give a brisk and well-pointed account of the first three movements, but the small size of the string body means that despite a deeply felt reading the final Lento does not get the full measure of emotional weight which it really needs. Berkeley himself conducted a recording on Lyrita in 1975, but nowadays the best performance on disc comes as part of Richard Hickox’s Berkeley cycle on Chandos combining the music of both the father and son. In that survey we have a fully rounded and impassioned reading which effectively sweeps the board.
The same observation has to be made for Hickox’s performance of Michael Berkeley’s Coronach. This piece received its première recording on this disc, but Boughton rather hurries the score; Hickox takes nearly two minutes longer over what is after all a pretty short piece, and his players from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales are able to give more expression to the music. This is really a very effective work, which explores the “emotions of loss and mourning” - to quote from Andrew Burn’s informative booklet note. It even quotes from the Scottish folksong The bonny Earl o’ Moray which the composer remembers from singing with his father as a child, but which is better-known to most listeners from its harrowing setting by Britten. This is music that really benefits from Hickox’s more expansive approach, although Boughton still brings plenty of feeling to the lament.
The two Tippett works also feature on Nimbus NI7026, which I have also reviewed on this site and which features more logical couplings with Tippett’s Concerto for double string orchestra and other choral pieces. This disc therefore falls into a rather awkward cleft stick. On the one hand, those who want the Tippett works - which are effectively done - will probably gravitate towards the all-Tippett disc. Those who want the pieces by Lennox and Michael Berkeley may well prefer the readings by Richard Hickox which take in the greater part of the orchestral music of both composers; Michael Berkeley is still very much active. Those who are attracted by the recording première of Coronach will want this release, but it is the shortest work here on a disc that nowadays seems rather meagre measure. It is really unfortunate then that this recording has been very much overtaken by later issues, because the performances and recordings themselves are excellent.
Paul Corfield Godfrey






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

Past 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

Error processing SSI file