One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

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

Some items
to consider

16th-19th November

Shostakovich 4, 11 Nelsons
Transparent Granite!

Nothing but Praise

BrucKner 4 Nelsons
the finest of recent years.

superb BD-A sound

This is a wonderful set

Telemann continues to amaze

A superb disc

Performances to cherish

An extraordinary disc.

rush out and buy this

I favour above all the others

Frank Martin - Exemplary accounts

Asrael Symphony
A major addition

Another Bacewicz winner

match any I’ve heard

An outstanding centenary collection

personable, tuneful, approachable

a very fine Brahms symphony cycle.

music that will be new to most people

telling, tough, thoughtful, emotionally fleet and powerfully recorded

hitherto unrecorded Latvian music


REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers


César FRANCK (1822-1890)
Violin Sonata in A Major (1886) [24:00]
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
Violin Sonata in G Minor (1917) [11:38]
Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924)
Berceuse, Op.16 (1878) [2:55]
Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937)
Pièce en forme de Habanera (1907-08) [2:43]
David Nadien (violin)
David Hancock (piano)
rec. 1958, New York

Forgotten Records has disinterred a Monitor LP made by esteemed concertmaster, session player, and soloist David Nadien with the fine pianist David Hancock. This isn’t the first time it’s been reissued. Cembal d’amour has released a long line of recordings by Nadien, some studio inscriptions and others live. For some reason, though, the Ravel was omitted in their reissue (Cembal d’amour CD151 - review) and the Rachmaninoff-Heifetz Daisies arrangement included, as well as Prokofiev’s Sonata for two violins – the other fiddle player was none other than Ruggiero Ricci – from a 1970 recital. So it seems as if the Ravel is making its first reappearance since LP days. The Forgotten Records transfer, incidentally, is cut much higher than the rival one. With the Cembal d’amour you struggle to catch detail, even when the volume is pushed very high.

Musically, Nadien always had something to say, and whilst his ethos may be frankly derived from Heifetz, his individuality is such that he stands as a soloist with his own highly developed arsenal of expressive tools at his disposal.

It’s most instructive to hear him in Franck’s sonata, with pianist David Hancock in New York in 1968. They take the first movement deftly, not lingering overmuch, and allowing maximal contrast to fall between the movements and not, as can often happen, for ennui to set in through undifferentiation of mood, texture or tempo. This is a well characterised performance, powerfully projected and the finale is a good example of purposeful ensemble playing. We hear Nadien’s characteristically tight vibrato, of course, and at one or two points moments where his phrasing sounds just a touch calculated - but this is refined and elegant playing indeed.

His Debussy sonata performance is a direct one. The ethos is not especially Gallic - not in the way Thibaud, or Dubois or Francescatti were in their own ways, recognisably Gallic, or Franco-Belgian - but it retains independence on its own terms. One either accepts the oscillatory and fervid vibrato usage, or one doesn’t. I happen to find the playing here rather too suave, but that’s a phrasal (and personal) matter - but certainly the end could be more decisively stated.

The Fauré Berceuse is played quite quickly, but such is Nadien’s control of rubato that by the end one may not think so at all. It’s a question more of accenting, than tempo as such. The Ravel is played with élan and style and technical command.

There’s a small conundrum; Cembal d’amour claims a 1968 recording date for the LP, whilst Forgotten Records suggests instead 1958.

Jonathan Woolf



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

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