MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around

and more.. and still writing ...


Search MusicWeb Here


Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer

International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

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

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Salon Treasures from the Max Jaffa Library



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


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom


REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

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 Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

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

Eloquence recordings
All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

August 2022

Louis Caix d'Hervelois

orchestral songs



String Quartets

la folia



July 2022

John Luther Adams Houses of the Wind
John Luther Adams
Houses of the Wind

Horneman Alladin
Horneman Alladin

Stojowski piano concertos
Piano Concertos 1 & 2

Vaughan Williams on Brass

Yi Lin Jiang - Dualis I



Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
Joachim RAFF (1822-1882)
Piano Works – Volume 4
La Cicerenella – Nouveau Carnaval, in A minor, op.165 (1871) [8:10]
Douze Romances en Forme d'Etudes, op.8 (1843) [34:30]
Deux Pièces, op.166 (1871) [10:32]
Allegro Agitato in C minor, op.151 (1868) [5:27]
Tra Nguyen (piano)
rec. Wyastone Concert Hall, Monmouth, Wales, 12-13 May 2013.
GRAND PIANO GP653 [58:50]

Pace the otherwise highly informative Joachim Raff website, volume 3 was not after all the final disc in British-Vietnamese pianist Tra Nguyen's traversal of this still undervalued composer's music: lucky listeners now have a fourth recital to savour. Links to enthusiastic reviews of previous entries can be found below.
Raff wrote a copious amount of piano music, so this remains a long way off being a 'complete works' series. Whether or not it is really the last this time, this latest disc juxtaposes a substantial work from Raff's youth, the 12 Etude-Romances, and a trio of shorter pieces from his maturity. With Raff, however, it makes little difference where on his timeline the pianist or listener alights – the music is uniformly engaging, brilliant, lyrical. Indicatively, the composer has afforded the shorter works opus numbers too – salon pieces they may be in a sense, but very well written ones brimming with musical adventure and virtuosic demand.
The much longer Douze Romances is rightly the centrepiece of Tra Nguyen's recital. Divided into two albums and recalling both Chopin and Schumann, it is, in annotator Mark Thomas's words, “clear to see why Mendelssohn was so impressed by these products of a 21-year-old who had never had, and never was to have, any formal musical training.”
Nguyen has already shown herself a worthy champion of this oeuvre. Volume 1, her debut solo recording, made an auspicious start, and by now, more than two years on in a career in which Raff has often been the focal point of her recitals, she understands this music like no other. With the substantial technical requirements easily met, she is able to concentrate on creating an expressive Shangri-la for the listener, drawing nurturing warmth, half-forgotten memories, romance and a kaleidoscope of hues and fragrances from Raff's enchanting scores.
Both La Cicerenella and Douze Romances have been recorded rather low – the master volume could have been easily doubled without any danger of distortion. Nevertheless, audio quality is very good, as the listener has come to expect from Grand Piano – a little on the dry side at worst.
Thomas's trilingual booklet notes are, as in previous volumes, extremely readable and informative. The cover art is great news for fans of Norwegian artist Gro Thorsen – another one to add to this effectively free collection of prints. Those less enthusiastic of his brand of gloomy urban snapshot are unlikely to experience a Damascene conversion from this particular issue. By now, however, there should be no waverers when it comes to either Raff or Nguyen.
Contact at
Previous reviews in this series: Volume 1 GP602 ~~ Volume 2 GP612 ~~ Volume 3 GP634