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


Alexander GLAZUNOV (1865-1936)
From the Middle Ages, Suite Op. 79 (1902) [24:48]
Arcady DUBENSKY (1890-1966)
Fugue for 18 Violins (1932) [4:25]
Stephen Foster: Theme, Variations and Finale (1940) [12:16]
Otto CESANA (1899-1980)
Negro Heaven (c. 1933) [7:52]
George GERSHWIN (1898-1937)
Porgy and Bess; A Symphonic Picture (1935) arr. Robert Russell Bennett [19:46]
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra/Fabien Sevitzky
rec. 1941-45
Sevitzky Indianapolis Volume 2

One of Pristine Audio’s interesting side-lines is in the recordings of conductor Fabien Sevitzky. Their restorations shine much welcome light on obscurities in the repertoire in niche 78s that have been heard barely at all since they were first set down. In the case of the second volume of his Indianapolis Symphony recordings the repertoire is Russian and American. One says ‘niche’ but in fact all the recordings were made for Victor between 1941 and 1945.

Sevitzky, who was the nephew of Serge Koussevitzky, directs Glazunov’s enchanting suite From the Middle Ages with real feeling. The romantic allure of the writing is never stinted and whilst one would need the more brazen recorded quality accorded Svetlanov decades later fully to draw out the romance and the colour of the score, Sevitzky and his forces fall little short. He brings out the basses descriptively in the third panel, the Serenade of the Troubadour, evoking its melancholic chanson, and proves valorous and stirring in the proud finale, its evocative cantilena excellently evoked.

Stokowski recorded Arcady Dubensky’s music during his Philadelphia years. Significantly the Fugue for 18 Violins was performed by Sevitzky during his own tenure in the city as director of the Philadelphia Chamber String Simfonietta. He also premiered Stephen Foster. The fugue is rather genial and brief, lyrical and confident, whilst the Foster consists of a theme, variations and finale. There’s lightly burnished nostalgia here, tempo accelerations, skirling strings, droll pizzicati; there’s Oh Susannah! with coy flute solo and manly horns, and there’s a back-porch banjo as well as a violin solo from leader Leon Zawisza. Tunes are drawn out and explored before Beautiful Dreamer comes sweeping in. Otto Cesana was something of a crossover artist, and in fact he was respected enough for Leonard Feather to include him in one of his Encyclopaedias of Jazz. Negro Heaven has a lush Gershwinesque quality to it: Duke Ellington might well have called it a ‘tone parallel’ – had it been rather better.

The final piece is an arrangement by one of my favourites, Robert Russell Bennett, of Porgy and Bess. True, as Mark Obert-Thorn points out in his note, Bennett introduces a bassoon for I got plenty o’ nuttin rather than the customary banjo but this is still a thoroughly enjoyable piece of work, made to Fritz Reiner’s ground-plan and ordering. This was its first complete recording, in fact, pipping Reiner’s own to the post.

Pristine has released a disc devoted to recordings Sevitzky made with Philadelphia Chamber String Simfonietta (PASC 375) and additionally of the music of Harl McDonald with the Indianapolis on PASC491. Then there’s the Manfred symphony on PASC479. That’s a valuable chunk of repertoire in prone-to-be-overlooked performances. The good work continues here too.

Jonathan Woolf



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