One of the most grown-up review sites around

51,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

Yes we are selling
Acte Prealable again!

we also sell Skarbo

and Oboe Classics


with Eggebrecht we get all the excitement we can handle

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

Vraiment magnifique!

Quite splendid

Winning performances

Mahler Symphony 8
a magnificent disc

a huge talent

A wonderful disc

Weinberg Symphonies 2 & 21
A handsome tribute!

Roth’s finest Mahler yet

Mahler 9 Blomstedt
Distinguished performance


Plain text for smartphones & printers

We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

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 through MusicWeb
for £12 postage paid world-wide.

Augusta Read THOMAS (b.1964)
Aureole for orchestra (2013) [7:47]
Words of the Sea for orchestra (1995) [16:53]
In My Sky at Twilight for soprano and ensemble (2002) [18:36]
Carillon Sky for solo violin and chamber ensemble (2006) [8:20]
Terpsichore's Dream for chamber orchestra (2007) [15:33]
Silver Chants the Litanies for French horn and 18 players (2004) [12:41]
DePaul University Symphony/Cliff Colnot (Aureole); Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Pierre Boulez (live concert performance) (Words of the Sea); Christine Brandes (soprano); Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Pierre Boulez (In My Sky); Baird Dodge (violin); Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Oliver Knussen (Carillon Sky); Chamber Orchestra/Cliff Colnot (Terpsichore's Dream); Greg Heustis (horn); Southern Methodist University Wind Ensemble/Jack Delaney (Silver Chants)
rec. no dates and locations specified.

Step forward a comparatively young composer writing today in a dissonant and provocative way.
Augusta Read Thomas was born in Glen Cove, New York and has held and holds a variety of directorial, professor and composer-in-residence positions. The latter include the Chicago Symphony (1997-2006) and, currently, with the New Haven Symphony. The latter connection accounts for the intended third release in the Nimbus Read series. This will feature the world premiere and first recording of the Saxophone Concerto Prisms of Light with William Boughton and the New Haven Symphony. Read’s music has also been conducted and played by Rostropovich, Boulez, Barenboim, Eschenbach, Knussen, Salonen and Sir Andrew Davis, so she has not been short of A-List proponents.
Aureole for orchestra is a shade Coplandesque, wrapped in provocative rhythms and colours. There’s a Bernsteinian rumpus about this with lots of percussion activity giving a silvery overlay. Around 6:33 there’s a jagged ‘central casting’ percussion-underlining. It’s all very lucidly orchestrated.
Words of the Sea for orchestra lets us hear a live concert performance of a work with lots of busy apocalyptic activity. Are we hearing a tidal race or a maelstrom? A sense of long-line writing emerges but we are soon sucked back into that percussive tidal race. This is virtuoso stuff. An uneasy peace is evoked, like Melville’s Ishmael adrift in the ocean. This becomes increasingly tense and mysterious putting me in mind of Poe’s Arthur Gordon Pym. The music recalls Szymanowski’s First Violin Concerto, yet is edgily dissonant.

In My Sky at Twilight is for soprano and ensemble. The soprano, Christine Brandes, sings with great clarity across the dissonance and patter-clunk of the ensemble. Again Read’s predilection for wild upwards strikes is present and they are fierily lofted by Brandes who would on this evidence take well to Nicholas Maw’s Scenes and Arias. The music asserts a malign mystery - a gentle cradling under threatening skies. There is something of Valentin Silvestrov’s Fifth Symphony about this, though it’s not quite as refulgent.

Carillon Sky for solo violin and chamber ensemble revels once again in a luxuriant web of dissonance and caprice. It’s highly virtuoso writing redolent of Szymanowski and Dutilleux.
Terpsichore's Dream is for chamber orchestra, with more pattering percussion and silvery chiming filigree. Gritty dissonance carries the day but it’s always cleanly scored. This time there’s a sizzle and bite about the music and something of the dynamic ruthless activity of Aureole. The searing brass writing is reminiscent of William Schuman. 

The hunting and fanfaring of Silver Chants the Litanies is bitingly recorded. The score is laid out for French horn and eighteen players. It’s a hammeringly active Stravinskian piece which, after passing through shimmering episodes, ends in quiet druidic mystery. It’s impressive but struck me as disconsolate music for malcontents. I suspect I just didn’t get it.
The notes are useful and the recordings though seemingly made at different times during the 2000s are brilliant.
There’s at least two more Read CDs are to come from this source so Read adherents are to be encouraged.
Rob Barnett