MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around

 57,903 reviews
   and more ... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here
Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

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

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Clarissa Bevilacqua plays
Augusta Read Thomas

all Nimbus reviews

Brahms Dvorak
Brahms 2 Dvorak 7
all tudor reviews



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
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881)
Pictures from an Exhibition (1874) [33:01]
Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937)
Miroirs (1904-1905) [27:43]
Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992)
Cantéyodjayâ (1949) [12:21]
Peter Donohoe (piano)
rec. 2018, Cedars Hall, Wells Cathedral School, Somerset, UK
Reviewed as a 24/96 download from
Pdf booklet included

I first encountered pianist Peter Donohoe in the Tchaikovsky concertos, recorded with Rudolf Barshai and the Bournemouth Symphony in 1987/88; those remain very competitive (EMI-Warner). However, it was his 1988 Proms account of the Busoni concerto, with the BBCSO under Sir Mark Elder, that really took my breath away (EMI-Warner). Indeed, in my recent review of the Kirill Gerstein/Sakari Oramo/Boston Symphony recording of that piece, I was pleased to confirm Donohoe’s barnstorming version is still out in front. Fast forward to 2013, and I much admired his Prokofiev sonatas, the first tranche of which which I made a Recording of the Month (Somm). Alas, his most recent album, the Shostakovich concertos with David Curtis and the Orchestra of the Swan, was a major disappointment (Signum). Then again, that was also due to lacklustre accompaniment and one rather dubious venue.

Donohoe can certainly hold his own in Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev, but he faces formidable competition in Mussorgsky. Most of the pianists I’ve heard treat Pictures like a scintillating showpiece, its vibrant colours and varied subjects a gift to exhibitionists of another sort. From the outset, though, it’s clear that Donohoe is not of their ilk, preferring instead to major in clarity and detail. Mike Hatch and James Waterhouse’s bright, clear recording is an asset in that respect, for it helps to bring the score’s inner workings into sharp relief. Happily, it’s forensic but not fatiguing, and there’s enough here to please those jaded by the work’s ubiquity. Most important, Donohoe treats Pictures like the solo piece it is, and doesn’t attempt to mimic the weight and scale of the subsequent orchestrations. Ravel’s in particular. That pays dividends in Mussorgsky’s more crystalline passages, but anyone expecting added thrill/heft in The Great Gate at Kiev may feel a tad underwhelmed.

Not a top-notch Pictures, but not a dud, either. In fact, one might want to play Miroirs first, if only to underline just how Ravelian Donohoe makes the Mussorgsky sound. A neat reversal, perhaps, given the Frenchman’s famous orchestration. One might reasonably expect this pianist to deliver alert, insightful readings of the five pieces that make up Miroirs, yet I found myself yearning for a bit more sparkle here. Again, these are decent performances, but for imagination and a sure sense of style Steven Osborne’s recording, part of a superbly recorded 2-CD set, is hard to beat (Hyperion CDA67731/2). As for Messiaen’s Cantéyodjayâ, based on Hindu rhythms, it needs to be more incisive - more idiomatic - than it is here. Indeed, one need only listen to Håkon Austbø, a specialist in this repertoire, to realise how this finely crafted piece should go (Naxos 8.554090).

Donohoe’s Mussorgsky has its moments, but his Ravel and Messiaen are unremarkable; fair to middling sound.

Dan Morgan

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

October 2022

Berg Violin Concerto
Violin Concerto Elmes

DEbussy Jeux
Debussy Jeux

Romantic pioano masters
Romantic Piano Masters

The future is female - Vol 2
Volume 2 - The Dance

impromptu harp music
Complete Harp Impromptus

September 2022
Nikolai Medtner
Herbert Blomstedt
Tarrodi Four Elements
Secret Love Letters
Lisa Batiashvili