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


REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Nimrod BORENSTEIN (b. 1969)
Suspended opus 69 (2014) [40:37]
das freie orchester Berlin/Laércio Diniz
rec. 27-28 August 2015, Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin

Putting a brand-new piece of music out as the premiere release on a brand-new record label is either daring or clever, depending on your point of view. This venture by recording producer Dirk Fischer is probably a bit of both. Avoiding areas of the record market that are already saturated is doubtless a good move, and in Nimrod Borenstein we have an in-demand composer whose music is likely to appeal to a wide audience. If you take a look at his online presence you will find out more about his background and numerous successes.

Suspended Opus 69 was conceived both as a score for a theatre show, Gandini Juggling’s 4x4 Ephemeral Architectures, as well as “a ballet that would not only provide for an inspiring basis for the choreography, but which would also work as a fully-fledged composition in its own right.” This recording is therefore the soundtrack to a sell-out tour, and this piece a significant addition to string orchestra repertoire.

The opening is very sparing, just the fundamental tone softly intoned by a pizzicato bass, and a descending scale a little in the manner of Arvo Pärt. This section was added at the request of the choreographer, and acts as a sort of prologue to the dance music ‘proper’. These movements have shapely rhythmic movement, but with their often elegiac feel and musical sophistication work well as a concert piece. Borenstein originally “had the idea that writing a ballet was similar to writing a suite…”, but in pushing the concept beyond, or arguably beyond the expectations of an ‘applied’ composition we are left with pure music – even if it is music that has been planned meticulously to suit the stage action.

There are some standard dance patterns that emerge, and there are titles such as Tango and the final track Tomorrow’s Waltz, but Borenstein manages to submerge stereotype into music that is eloquent and expressive. In his essay Mind in Motion: Ballet and the fragile Balance between Music and Dance Tobias Fischer points towards the 18th century influence of Louis XIV on the development of the form and the spread of its popularity, as well as significant music for ballet such as The Rite of Spring – all of which share a more lively existence in the concert hall or recordings than any expectation that they should be used for their original purpose. Time will tell if Suspended opus 69 will become a concert hall standard, but on this showing it has a fighting chance. In the sense that it has a not dissimilar feel to certain film soundtracks, it may well find itself being appropriated for such purposes, though there are no real ‘hook’ moments that make me think of potential TV theme tunes or advertising jingles. With the sense that we are contained within certain artistic boundaries there is an overall feel of control in this work which might have welcomed some further contrast somewhere in a moment or two of real abandon or some rough edges to highlight the qualities elsewhere. This is all very genteel, and that of course is very fine indeed. Clearly not demanded of the commission, there would arguably be advantage in having some kind of a breakdown or crisis, climactic or otherwise, to which could have been built and from which could have been retreated. The most extreme title is Annoyed and that’s as far as it goes, and probably as far as it needed to go – this is an observation rather than a criticism.

This release is something of a luxury article, as are all Solaire releases so far. The CD comes in a chunky box that also contains a substantial and glossy booklet with photos of the recording session, insightful essays, commentary and a fascinating interview with the composer. My only tip for the design department would be to put the entire catalogue number on the spine rather than the confident ‘1’ that has been printed. Having worked in record shops I know the state of wonder and crisis that can be induced amongst the minions if these kinds of details don’t match.

Sound quality for this production is of demonstration quality, with plenty of detail as well as a satisfying spaciousness and the best use of that gorgeous Jesus-Christus-Kirche acoustic. Short playing time is an artefact of such a single work release, but this is music of substance and character, and deserves to be heard.

Dominy Clements



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