One of the most grown-up review sites around

50,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

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

Some items
to consider


A most rewarding CD
Renate Eggebrecht violin

Leticia Gómez-Tagle
Chopin, Liszt, Scarlatti

Acte Prealable returns
with New Releases

Anderson Choral music

colourful and intriguing

Pekarsky Percussion Ensemble

one of Berlioz greatest works

Rebecca Clarke Frank Bridge
High-octane performances

An attractive Debussy package

immaculate Baiba Skride

eloquent Cello Concerto

tension-filled work

well crafted and intense

another entertaining volume

reeking of cordite

Pappano with a strong cast

imaginatively constructed quartets

the air from another planet

vibrantly sung

NOT a budget performance

very attractive and interesting

finesse and stylistic assurance


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) 
Kindertotenlieder (1901-04) [29.15]
Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)
Tod und Verklärung, Op. 24 (1888/89) [30.11]
Brigitte Fassbaender (mezzo-soprano)
Münchner Philharmoniker/Sergiu Celibidache
rec. live, 17 February 1979 (Strauss), 30 June 1983 (Mahler); Herkulessaal, Munich

Brigitte Fassbaender has long been one of my favourite Lieder singers and she is in magisterial, peak-form voice here, relishing Celibidache’s leisurely tempi and extracting every ounce of emotion from these sombre, melancholy songs. When she plunges into her lower register or gives her voice full rein, the effect is captivating. Her famously crisp enunciation enhances the brooding melancholy of the texts and her vibrato, occasionally wayward elsewhere, is here well under control. At these reflective speeds, the stark, sparse, transparency of the orchestration is even more apparent, and the analogue recording is full, rich and immediate, the voice recorded closely but orchestral details, such as the oboe solo in “Wenn dein Mütterlein”, still emerging clearly.

Celibidache’s speeds are similarly leisurely in the Strauss tone poem. Only Sinopoli, then Karajan, Nagano and Previn begin to approach him in expansiveness, whereas old-timers like Knappertsbusch, Szell and Horenstein blaze through the piece in twenty-one or two minutes, and even Jansons, in his recent, superb recording on the same label, takes only 24 minutes – but Celi’s grasp over structure is such that the tension never slackens over thirty minutes. He generates a dreamy but intense mood which is especially apparent during the two-minute passage from around 21 minutes into the piece onward. The sound is big, brash and slightly diffuse, with more audible tape hiss than in the Mahler, but very exciting, reflecting the renowned acoustic of the Herkulessaal. The slow introduction before the orchestral explosion beginning at 6’27” with a drum-thwack is magnificently dark and brooding, the brass chorale beginning at 15’majestic and the finale overwhelming. I am captivated every time I listen to it; as is invariably the case with Celibidache, this is an unconventional reading but one to stand alongside the best, while the Mahler song cycle now assumes its place as my preferred version.

Ralph Moore



We are currently offering in excess of 50,400 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
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