Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

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

 


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

REVIEW



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

Havergal BRIAN (1876-1972)
The Complete Songbook Vol.1
Three Songs for Contralto or Baritone Op. 6 (Sorrow song [3.57] The message [2.01] Farewell [5.29])
Little Sleeper Op. 13a [5.29]
John Dowland’s Fancy [2.48]
Three Contemporary Songs (A faery song Op. 13c [2.06] The soul of steel [4.30] Since love is dead [2.34])
Legend for violin and piano [6.52]
Three Elizabethan songs (When icicles hang by the wall [2.11] Care-charmer sleep [4/21] Take, O, take those lips away [1.05])
Three Unison Songs: he mountain and the squirrel [1.24] The lost doll [1.24] What does little birdie say [1.25])
Three Illuminations (The boys and the pastille [1.46] The butterfly's waltz [1.24] Venus and a bobby [2.57])
Soliloquy Upon a Dead Child Op.l3a [5.29]
Three Songs for tenor Op.l3b (Day and night [5.02] When I lie ill [3.08] If I could speak [2.38])
Mark Stone (baritone), Jonathan Stone (violin), Sholto Kynoch (piano)
rec. 25-26 August 2011, Potton Hall, Suffolk. DDD
STONE RECORDS 5060192780154 [68.40]

Experience Classicsonline


No doubt the numerous Havergal Brian fans will warmly welcome this disc, yet my enthusiasm was regrettably tempered by the performances and, in some cases, works, which I found to be rather below par.
 
I rather felt, from the outset, that Mark Stone’s vocal technique leaves something to be desired - his tone comes across as forced in forte sections, and has a tendency to stray to the flatwards side of the note. His vowels are often rather distorted, and the enunciation is not particularly clear. On occasion, I found the tone quality, manner and delivery inappropriate for the song: such as in The Message, setting an anguished poem by John Donne, which simply sounds jaunty, or in When Icicles Hang by the Wall, for which song his voice is too heavy; too leaden and earthbound. I lamented the lack of variety of tone-colour. Stone also struggles for the lower notes (as in The soul of Steel), and doesn’t appear to have the support needed for high notes in piano sections - this resulting in a thin tone and poor intonation. Without wishing to criticise too astringently, one other very notable problem is that when singing forte, the degree of the attack of the hard consonants is out of proportion with the volume of the preceding or following vowel sound, and this produces a sound that is rather harsh and unpleasant on the ear.
 
Pianist Sholto Kynoch generally accompanies with sensitivity, although I found myself feeling for the poor piano at times, which was rather heavily thumped - as in John Dowland’s Fancy. Nor, I’m afraid, was I particularly impressed by violinist Jonathan Stone, who performs the Legend for violin and piano - the consistently ‘passed’ bow during slurring is to the detriment of the lyricism of the line, and the opening lacked security.
 
Stone’s habit of delaying the start of the vibrato on long notes is also one that soon rankles. I’m sorry to say that I can’t even praise the recorded sound - which is rather poor, surprisingly so, given that the recording location is the usually excellent Potton Hall.
 
The pieces themselves - for this isn’t just a songbook - it contains piano works and, as previously mentioned, a work for violin and piano - are a rather mixed bunch. I found John Dowland’s Fancy slightly banal despite the fact that it was composed at the suggestion of Havergal Brian’s friend and fellow composer, Granville Bantock. I couldn’t understand the Three Illuminations at all: musical realisations of three completely pointless and nonsensical little stories, with no direction or apparent meaning. We hear the influence of Finzi in songs such as The soul of Steel but Havergal Brian simply doesn’t have the mastery of that great composer, and the gap in ability is glaringly detrimental to Brian.
 
Other oddities include an incorrect verse-form citation in the notes; a disproportionately long silence at the end of Soliloquy Upon a Dead Child; the inclusion of Three Songs for Tenor (given that Stone is a baritone), and the inclusion of both Little Sleeper and Soliloquy Upon a Dead Child - two different texts with the same or very similar settings, of which Brian himself urged the performance of the former version only, disparaging the second poem.
 
On the plus side, the disc is beautifully produced, with pleasingly spacious layout, photographs and so on. I just wish I could have something more positive to say about the other elements of it!
 
Em Marshall-Luck 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


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.