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

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Ruy Blas Overture [8.20]
The Fair Melusine Overture [10.59]
The Hebrides Overture [10.16]
The First Walpurgis Night [34.49]
Birgit Remmert (alto), Jorg Durmuller (tenor), Ruben Drole (baritone), Reinhard Mayr (bass)
Zurcher Sing-Akademie, Musikkollegium Winterhur/Douglas Boyd
rec. Stadthaus Winterthur, September 2015

In a lovely programme of works by Mendelssohn, this disc from MDG presents three overtures followed by The First Walpurgis Night. It opens with the overture from Ruy Blas, and one is immediately impressed by the wind and brass sections of the Musikkollegium Winterhur, and in particular by their excellent intonation in the difficult opening chords of the work – it is hard to find recordings with intonation this secure. The strings are perhaps less outstanding, but overall, the orchestra, under conductor Douglas Boyd, produces quite a light, clean sound – which, of course, suits works by Mendelssohn very well indeed.

The second overture, The Fair Melusine, is also well-performed, but I was disappointed by The Hebrides Overture, the performance of which is rather staid. This may be an overture that is done almost to death, yet it is nevertheless a thrilling and dramatic piece, and it is a great shame that this rendition is so lacking in excitement and passion; not nearly exhilarating enough.

The orchestra gets back into its stride a bit more for the final work, The First Walpurgis Night: a cantata based on Goethe’s eponymous ballad, which depicts Druids, who set out to terrify the occupying Christians with a masquerade of the Devil and his demons. Mendelssohn clearly allows his powers of imagination free reign in this colourful and extremely theatrical composition (amusingly and charmingly, he wrote of it that “The monster, and the bearded druid with his trombones that are standing behind him and tooting, give me a lot of fun.”). The Musikkollegium Winterhur and Zurcher Sing-Akademie here capture the terror and excitement superbly; the sole drawback of this recording being that the sopranos in the chorus are rather screechy. The quartet of soloists comprises alto Birgit Remmert, tenor Jorg Durmuller, baritone Ruben Drole and bass Reinhard Mayr, and all are very good with the exception of Remmert, whose very wide vibrato is rather warbly. On the whole, however, this is a sound rendition of a fabulous piece.

Em Marshall-Luck


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