Search MusicWeb Here

selling Internationaly

aSymphonies 1 and 5 £9.00 post free

See also Symphonies 2 and 3

Vision of Judgement £9 post free

Newest Releases

Symphonies 1,2,4 £11.75 post free

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Editor-in-Chief: Rob Barnett

Some items
to consider


  • Menuhin lost tapes
  • Overtures SACD
  • Krommer Flute Quartets
  • Schubert Piano Trios 2CD
  • Menuhin lost tapes

Let me tell you

David Pia

Beethoven Rattle

Highly Impressive

Matthews Shostakovich
Sheer delight!

To live with

outstanding retrospective

A superb celebration

flair, insight, controversy

outstanding singing


Sheer bliss

best thing I’ve heard this year

this really exciting release


REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Cameo Classics
Prima voce
Red Priest
Toccata Classics

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Editor in Chief
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
Arrangements for organ four hands
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
The Nutcracker - Suite Op 71a [28:43]
Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)
The Carnival of the Animals [25:39]
Ralf BÖLTING (b.1953)
French Toccata on the name “Helmut” [10:10]
Emmanuele Cardi and Gianfranco Nicoletti (organ)
rec. 27-28 August 2013, Mascioni Organ, Church of Santi Cosma e Damiano, Vairano Scalo

Having very much enjoyed two recent Tactus discs of organ duets played on Italian organs by Italian organists (review) I was very much looking forward to this release. The results are however much less convincing or enjoyable this time, showing the limitations of the genre.
I can see no objection in principle to organ transcriptions, especially where the work is well known and available in numerous recordings of the original. The fundamental questions are how musically satisfactory the results are and, ideally, whether they add anything to our appreciation of the originals. Here I can only give a negative response to both questions. Partly this is because the original versions of the two main works show their composer’s gifts for orchestration at their best. The arranger can only either ape the original, which will almost always produce a second best, or can attempt to transform it into something wholly new and original, which is more difficult but can produce much greater dividends. In this case the transcriptions, by Alexander Därr, tend to follow the first approach. They certainly require much dexterity from hands and feet but the result does not go beyond reminding the listener of the originals, never taking the music into new worlds. This is not aided by the curious habit of the players of occasionally slowing down in passages where that is not normally expected, presumably for expressive effect but sounding more often - and I am sure wrongly - as though they needed to go cautiously through the more difficult passages. This loss of impetus greatly reduces the impact of the music.
The organ used was built in 2011 by the Italian firm Masioni and is said to have been inspired by the organs of Cavaillé-Coll. It sounds a fine instrument but as played and recorded here it lacks much individual character. For instance I had expected something wholly special to play the titular “Cuckoo in the wood” in one of Saint-Saëns’ loveliest movements, but the somewhat prosaic sounds we hear are a grave disappointment.
The Toccata by Ralf Bölting was written for organ duet and shows the players’ abilities in a better light but is of limited musical interest. Overall this disc demonstrates the limitations of organ transcriptions more than their potential merits.  

John Sheppard