53,674 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...




selling Internationaly

Founder: Len Mullenger                                     Editor in Chief: John Quinn              

Some items
to consider

Chopin Edition 17CDs
now available separately
£11 post-free anywhere


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets


Recordings of the Month


Jean-Baptiste LEMOYNE

Enescu Ravel Britten

Debussy Images etc.

53 Studies on Chopin Études 1
Konstantin Scherbakov (piano)



Che fai tù? - Villanelles

Cyrillus KREEK
The suspended harp of Babel

violin concertos - Ibragimova

Peteris VASKS
Viola concerto - Maxim Rysanov

The Complete Lotte Schöne




REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

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
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
Michele ESPOSITO (1855-1929)
Violin Sonata in G major No. 1, Op. 32 (1890s?) [19:16]
Violin Sonata in E minor No. 2, Op. 46 (1907) [19:03]
Violin Sonata in A major No. 3, Op. 67 (1920-21) [22:46]
Cello Sonata, Op. 43 (1898) [18:26]
Mia Cooper (violin); William Butt (cello); Lance Coburn (piano)
rec. 3-5 September 2012, Music Room, Champs Hill, West Sussex

Like Rob Barnett, it was through Hamilton Harty that I first came across the name of Michele Esposito, the Italian-born composer who was for many years a most important figure in Ireland’s musical life. A trawl through the Hallé Orchestra concert programmes from 1925 shows the conductor performing at least two of Esposito’s orchestral works: I’d love to hear Othello. Which may not sound a great trawl, but over a relatively small period of time, and given the prestigious series of Manchester concerts, actually reflects well on the Irish conductor’s continuing admiration for Esposito, to whom he owed so much.
The First Violin Sonata is a very richly lyric work. At first I felt that the balance between the two instruments somewhat favoured the piano but in fact there is much careful awareness of the importance of subsidiary violin material, especially in the first movement, and Mia Cooper withdraws gracefully to allow Lance Coburn prominence when necessary. It is almost a fin de siècle work but not one that shows much enthusiasm for the Franco-Belgian school; Franck’s precedent is not followed at all. Esposito’s muse was a much more gentle and refined, elegant one as demonstrated in the Lento. True, he evokes the Dies Irae in the finale, but its contrast with Late-Romantic warmth is effective but not over-demonstrative.
The Sonata in E minor was completed in 1907. Again it’s a three-movement work, and sports an expressive recitativo (non-Franckian) in its opening Allegro moderato, in well-constructed standard sonata form. The music’s essentially light-hearted and extrovert quality is cemented in the Andantino, with its rocking rhythms and violin chords of ingenious sonority - and a brief, solemn almost Chorale-like progression. There are hints of Brahms in the violin’s phrasing - though Fauré has been plausibly suggested in respect of Esposito’s overt lyricism. The urgency of the finale, whilst not especially distinctive, is still viable. The Third Sonata was dedicated to Harty. Its opening movement is the longest span of any in this disc. This is probably the sonata that cuts deepest of the three. Quite rhapsodic in its opening, its two central movements - this is the only four-movement sonata - are dominated by a capricious waltz and a rather beautiful Andante cantabile.
There is an auxiliary string sonata, and that’s the Cello Sonata. It was dedicated to Henry Bast whom Malcolm MacDonald - whose notes are first-class as always - admits he can’t identify. Bast, who died in 1909, was a German cello professor at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. Whilst I’m in the cellistic mood, can I please put in a word for the musician MM calls ‘a cellist rejoicing in the name of Clyde Twelvetrees’. This was the principal cellist of Harty’s Hallé, whose recording of Walford Davies’s A Solemn Melody graced many a parlour gramophone. He was a terrific player, hugely admired by Harty. That over, I must say I find this sonata the least interesting of the four. It’s slightly patterned after Brahms, and the best movement is the slow one, a kind of dirge with local ‘snaps’.
I doubt you’ll have heard a note of Esposito’s music (I hadn’t either) but these well-prepared and sympathetic performances, all premiere recordings, will allow you a portal through which to appreciate his graceful muse; not to forget Miceal O’Rourke’s generous Esposito piano recital on Chandos CHAN 9675.
Jonathan Woolf

Previous review: Rob Barnett