One of the most grown-up review sites around

52,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

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

Some items
to consider

Yes we are selling
Acte Prealable again!
£11 post-free

we also sell Skarbo

and Oboe Classics


with Eggebrecht we get all the excitement we can handle

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

absolutely thrilling

immediacy and spontaneity

Schumann Lieder

24 Preludes
one of the finest piano discs

‘Box of Delights.’

J S Bach A New Angle
Organ fans form an orderly queue

a most welcome issue

I enjoyed it tremendously

the finest traditions of the house

music for theorbo
old and new

John Luther Adams
Become Desert
concealing a terrifying message

ground-breaking, winning release

screams quality

Surprise of the month

English Coronation, 1902-1953
magnificent achievement

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Johan WAGENAAR (1862–1941)
Symphonic Poems - Volume 1
Overture De getemde feeks (The Taming of the Shrew) Op. 25 (1909) [7:22]
Levenszomer, Op. 21 (Summer of Life) (1902) [14:44]
Saul en David (Saul and David), Op. 24 (1906) [11:51]
Romantic Intermezzo, Op. 13 (1894) [5:01]
Frithjofs Meerfahrt, Op. 5 (Frithiof's Sea Voyage) (1886) [11:16]
Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie/Antony Hermus
rec. 24-28 Nov 2008, Herford, Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie
CPO 777 479-2 [50:16]

The Dutch composer Johan Wagenaar is - thank the heavens - another of those late-romantics beloved of CPO. The label has two Wagenaar CDs and the second from the same artists has already been reviewed here. His music is said to be related to that of Richard Strauss; it lacks the utter exuberance of Strauss but is without his tendency to recede into densely clotted textures. As far as I can tell this composer has nothing to do with the American composer-teacher Bernard Wagenaar (1894-1971).

We start this disc with De getemde feeks (The Taming of the Shrew). It's a bustling, brilliant and muscular piece which might well have been influenced by Berlioz's Roman Carnival and Le Corsair (6:00) and by Mendelssohn's Italian symphony. After this comes the silky sleepiness of Levenszomer (Summer of Life) which rises to a glory heedless of summer's transience. It's an indulgent rhapsodic meander but takes in some worthwhile views along the way. In the golden glow of the horns at 10:20 the music stretches contentedly and yawns in the sunlight. This substantial piece is like a full-noon echo of Schoeck's treasurable Sommernacht.

Saul en David broods in the shadows until rising to lush excitement and then evaporates into silence. A rhapsodic section for solo harp is suggestive of David's serenades. Some disconcertingly playful episodes appear but the piece ends suitably amid a concentrated gloom reminiscent of the start of Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet. The Romantic Intermezzo is classy and soothing - a touch of the serene Massenet here. It's also memorable for dignified, measured harp-strokes and woodwind solos that maintain a slow and seemly dignity. There's also a big violin melody at 1:20. We end the collection with something of an anti-climax. Frithjofs Meerfahrt (Frithiof's Sea Voyage) is Wagenaar's earliest orchestral work. The piece starts in slow majesty but becomes treacly, has little 'lift' and tests the listener's attention.

Wagenaar is not a total rarity There is Etcetera KTC1326, including Levenszomer, Sinfonietta, De Philosophische prinses, Elverhoi, Aveux de Phèdre and Larghetto. It is played by the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra conducted by Eri Klas. Major league Wagenaar can be traced to a long-gone November 1990 Decca all-Wagenaar disc (425-833-2) on which the Concertgebouw were conducted by Riccardo Chailly: De getemde feeks; Amphitrion; Driekoningenavond; Wiener Dreivierteltakt; Saul en David; De Cid and Cyrano de Bergerac. The latter was also advocated by Alain Lombard (Olympia OCD504 as part of the "400 Years of Dutch Music" series) and in 1954 by Willem Van Otterloo who the same year also recorded Cyrano de Bergerac.

The notes for this CD, brief but to the point, are by Jaap van Benthem. They are in German, English and French. The recording is excellent radio studio standard with perceptive and lively performances although I continue to harbour doubts about Frithjofs Meerfahrt.

It’s good to report that Wagenaar is worth hearing. Not everything here is admirable but there's enough to justify the outlay.

Rob Barnett



We are currently offering in excess of 52,000 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

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