One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
Google seem to have closed down local search engines. You can use this FreeFind engine but it is not so comprehensive
You can go to Google itself and enter the search term followed by the search term.


International mailing

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

Some items
to consider

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now

A Garland for John McCabe


DIETHELM Symphonies

The best Rite of Spring in Years

BACH Magnificat

Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26

Just enjoy it!

La Mer Ticciati




simply marvellous

Outstanding music

Elite treatment

some joyous Gershwin

Bartok String Quartets
uniquely sensitive

Cantatas for Soprano


Plain text for smartphones & printers

Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
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
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Support us financially by purchasing
this through MusicWeb
for £10.50 postage paid world-wide.

Ernst KRENEK (1900-1991)
Music for Chamber Orchestra
Von Vorn Herein, Op.219 (1974) [9:56]
Die Nachtigall, Op.68a (1931) [8:08]
Im Tal der Zeit, Op.232 (1979) [13:21]
Static and Ecstatic, Op.214 (1971-72) [23:48]
The Dissembler, Op.229 (1978) [22:06]
Agata Zubel (soprano: Nachtigall)
Mathias Hausmann (baritone: Dissembler)
Leopoldinum Orchestra/Ernst Kovacic
rec. March 2011 and May 2011 (Im Tal der Zeit), Hall of Radio Wrocław, by CD Accord
TOCCATA TOCC0125 [77:01]

There is some memorable music to be heard in this disc, a selection that ranges from 1931 to 1979, theoretically therefore charting nearly half a century of Krenek’s compositional development. However it should be noted that Die Nachtigall is very much the odd work out; everything else was composed during the 1970s, a fruitful decade for the composer.
As a determined non-practitioner of systematic –isms, Krenek invariably spins surprises throughout the course of each of these works. The chance, expressionistic gestures of Von Vorn Herein (‘From the Outset’) emerge as quite the opposite of arid. Instead they are colour-conscious, though taut, fragmentary but structured, reliant on seemingly arbitrary gestures – raucous trombone glissandi, strumming of the piano strings – but liable to break out into an anguished bout of post-Mahlerian string searing. The result is an unforgettable ten minutes. Im Tal der Zeit (‘In the Valley of Time’), heard in this first-ever recording, explores, if anything, more fragmentary ideas but they are harnessed to writing of great energy and rhythmic surety, closely conjoined to passages of overt melancholy; for Krenek the dividing line between extroversion and reflection is invariably unpredictable.
Completed in 1972 Static and Ecstatic has ten brief movements, and is a work Krenek ranked as one of his most distinguished for orchestral forces. He mixes static (serial) movements with freely composed ‘interludes’ and the result is remarkable. Favoured brass glissandi and terse, brittle episodic gestures are part of the expressive arsenal of the work, but so too is an austerely beautiful, chorale-like refraction, in which the music’s cool coloration proves absorbing to hear, and impossible to ignore. The Dissembler (1978) is cast for a baritone, a role taken here by Mathias Hausmann. The disparate texts were compiled by Krenek himself – a melange, amongst others, of Biblical, Euripides, and Goethe – and the singer declaims them in a suitably wide variety of ways. This is a work that touches on the cabaret, the satiric, and the stage. Lasting twenty-two minutes it might outstay its welcome were it not for Krenek’s remarkably apt orchestration – notably piano and percussion - his deft coloristic precision, his encouragement of speech declamation and, not to be underestimated, the use of silence.
The other work for singer and ensemble is the early Die Nachtigall, Schreker-like in places, with a beautiful soprano line allied to the occasional and possibly anticipated expressive curdle in some string passages. Originally composed for voice and piano it is echt-Krenek, even this early, in its ability to absorb the close proximity in his writing of the atonal and the poetically expressionist.
There are excellent performances from both singers, and Agata Zubel is as acute in her perceptive reading of early Krenek as Hausmann is in the more stylistically variegated pleasures of the older composer. The recording in the Hall of Radio Wrocław is first class. Presiding over his soloists and the Leopoldinum Orchestra is a man best known as a violinist, Ernst Kovacic. He proves a splendid agent through which we can experience Krenek’s endlessly fertile and imaginative music.
Jonathan Woolf