One of the most grown-up review sites around

53,992 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                     Editor in Chief: John Quinn              

Some items
to consider

Chopin Edition 17CDs
now available separately
£11 post-free anywhere


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

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets


Recordings of the Month


Opera transcriptions & fantasias


Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

Schubert Symphony 9


Jean-Baptiste LEMOYNE

Enescu Ravel Britten

Debussy Images etc.

53 Studies on Chopin Études 1
Konstantin Scherbakov (piano)




REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers


Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826)
Violin Sonata No. 1 in F major, Op. 10 No. 1, J99 [8:04]
Violin Sonata No. 3 in D minor, Op. 10 No. 3, J101 [4:20]
Violin Sonata No. 5 in A major, Op. 10 No. 5, J103 [10:53]
Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)
Violin Sonata No. 1 in D minor, Op. 75 [21:16]*
Gabriel PIERNÉ (1863-1937)
Violin Sonata, Op. 36 [20:57]*
Brigitte Huyghues de Beaufond (violin)
Hélène Boschi (piano)
Varda Nishry (piano)*
rec. 1959-60, live radio recordings (Weber); 1957 live radio concert broadcasts (Saint-Saëns, Pierné)

Jules Boucherit, French violinist and renowned violin pedagogue, nurtured the talents of a roster of fine violinists including Ginette Neveu, Devy Erlih, Henri Temianka, Michèle Auclair and Lola Bobesco. We can add to this list Brigitte Huyghues de Beaufond (1922-2008), also a Boucherit student at the Paris Conservatoire. Later, Jacques Thibaud mentored her. Yet, unlike the above, despite her illustrious pedigree, her name has faded into obscurity. In fact, this is the first time I’ve ever come across her. Could the absence of any commercial recordings by her be a factor? I have scoured the internet, and can find nothing whatever about her apart from what I gleaned from the accompanying booklet notes, in French only, by Alexis Galpérine. She apparently travelled extensively, and worked with some big names including Munch, Cluytens and Henri Rabaud.

Huyghues de Beaufond was in her thirties when these live radio concert broadcasts were taped and, on this evidence, at the height of her powers. It’s encouraging to encounter a programme consisting of off-the-beaten-track repertoire, rather than revisiting the old, familiar, well-worn war-horses. The Pierné, for instance, is a delightful work, full of Gallic charm.

Weber’s Six Sonatas Op. 10 for violin and fortepiano were commissioned as a “collection of short pieces of moderate difficulty for the domestic music-making of the upper middle classes”. When finally published in two instalments by Simrock, they bore the title “Progressive sonatas for fortepiano with obbligato violin, composed for and dedicated to amateur musicians”. Huyghues de Beaufond and Hélène Boschi play nos. 1, 3 and 5 of the set. They are short works, and the title ‘sonatina’ would have been more apposite. Not technically demanding, they are, nevertheless, full of melody, and humour – the product of an imaginative mind. Whilst this affable nature is suitably conveyed in the performances here, these sonatas fare less well from the violinist’s point of view than the other works. I notice occasionally a dull, dry note, sticking out like a sore thumb, particularly evident in the second movement Romanze of the Sonata No. 1. At other times, the ends of the occasional phrase lack climactic vibrancy. Strangely this problem seems to confine itself to the Weber works, and I couldn’t detect it elsewhere. I also found Hélène Boschi’s rather pedestrian contributions not as satisfying as those of Varda Nishry.

The Violin Sonata No. 1 in D minor by Saint-Saëns calls for both eloquence in the lyrical sections and virtuosity. In the opening movement the players capture the underlying tension and drama. In the final movement, which is almost a moto perpetuo, the violinist certainly shows her mettle. The crisp and incisive spiccato is an impressive feature of her gleaming virtuosity, and her traversal easily stands comparison with the two Heifetz recordings.

It was for Jacques Thibaud that Pierné composed his Violin Sonata in 1900. The work provides something of a contrast to the preceding work in that it is less daring and dramatic. This performance is idiomatic and convincing, and its success can be attributed in part to the involved and sympathetic contribution of Varda Nishry, especially in the raptly intense finale. Huyghues de Beaufond’s variegated tonal palette adds subtle colour to this hauntingly evocative score.

There’s certainly some compelling music-making here, and I’m thrilled to make the acquaintance of Brigitte Huyghues de Beaufond. The broadcasts are in fine, warm and intimate sound, and I couldn’t detect the presence of any audience. I wonder if there are any more examples of this violinist’s playing out there.

Stephen Greenbank

Previous review: Jonathan Woolf



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

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