One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,416 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

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 cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount



CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908)
Scheherazade: Symphonic Suite, Op 35 [45:34]
Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881)
Night on Bald Mountain (Rimsky-Korsakov version) [11:07]
Aram KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978)
Gayane (excerpts) [51:57]
Czech Philharmonic/Zdenek Chalabala
rec. 29-30 September and 2 October, 1953 (Khachaturian); 7-9 December, 1953 (Rimsky); 23 November, 1955 (Mussorgsky); Rudolfinum, Prague, Czech Republic
SUPRAPHON SU 4094-2 [56:41 + 51:57] 

Experience Classicsonline

Of all the great Czech conductors of the past century - Talich, Kubelík, Ančerl, Neumann - Zdenek Chalabala is probably the most overlooked. There’s no reason for this; he’s an extraordinary colorist and this two-CD set presents an opportunity for more listeners to make his acquaintance. Chalabala excelled in music like this: exciting, vividly orchestrated and lavishly romantic. Everything here is superb.
Scheherazade leaps out of the speakers, or leaps as far as a mono recording can. The sharp opening blast yields to a pliant, rhapsodic, utterly lovely violin solo by a player who’s unnamed in the booklet. This begins a classic account which was once the exclusive property of hardcore collectors who bragged to each other about their good fortune in finding a copy of the Chalabala reading. We’re lucky to have it released widely like this: the opening movement rocks with oceanic drama, and the Calendar Prince sallies forth in a blaze of glory - note the very Czech tone of the central clarinet solo. This episode finishes with a climax that would make any conductor of today proud. You can even hear the piccolo! The third-movement love story is told with unusual expansiveness (11:33), occasional violin portamenti, and unusually rustic-sounding percussion. Only after 9:45 do things briefly feel a little rushed; maybe the lovers’ passion has got the best of them. The final movement is as good as it gets, the ending a perfect calm; it’s a classic reading, for sure.
The Czech Philharmonic winds bring their unique colors to the Rimsky-Korsakov version of Night on Bare Mountain. It’s one of those technicolor pieces where you regret the thinness of the timpani presence, but other than that the orchestra’s vibrancy is well-preserved - along with a bit of a problem with the violins keeping together at 4:53. Chalabala doesn’t treat the piece like a race-track, but he also maintains sharp rhythms and accents which make this a very good reading.
The second CD presents nearly an hour of highlights from Khachaturian’s ballet Gayane, including the most famous bits (Sabre Dance, Gayane’s Adagio, Gopak) and some which are more obscure (a ten-minute scene called Gayane and Giko). The Czech Philharmonic’s playing is superb throughout, indeed impossible to fault, while Chalabala’s leadership shapes this as legitimate ballet music rather than a collection of loud, vulgar party tunes. The only possible qualm is with the ordering of the excerpts; Gayane’s Adagio, which is my favorite part of the piece, and which is paced flawlessly here, is something I would have saved for near the end, while the Lezghinka would have made a more rousing finale than the excellently played Aisha’s Awakening

All throughout, the digitally restored mono sound is excellent. It hails from 1953-1955 and is the kind of mono which is really just as good as some of the first stereo efforts. There are certainly no caveats necessary about acoustics, which in music as colorful as this comes as quite a relief. The booklet includes a brief but welcome biography of Chalabala, whose Dvorák symphonic poems really deserve reissue as well. Until those come along - please, Supraphon, please! - do enjoy this two-disc set. It’s a total delight and outstanding testimony to one of the century’s most overlooked conductors.
Brian Reinhart 

Masterwork Index: Scheherazade




























































































































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.