MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around   2022
 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

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

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

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Robert FÜRSTENTHAL (1920-2016)
Sonata for Two Oboes and Piano in D minor, Op. 56 [14:24]
Cello Sonata in F minor, Op. 58 [12:01]
Viola Sonata in D minor, Op. 57 [16:12]
Violin Sonata in B minor, Op. 43 [16:25]
Piano Trio, Op. 65 [13:39]
The Rossetti Ensemble
rec. 2018, St Silas the Martyr, Kentish Town, London

The inaugural volume in this series (review) was devoted to the songs of Robert Fürstenthal and they looked back to the Viennese world he had been forced to leave. So too does this body of chamber music which constitutes, as Martin Anderson has noted, ‘an exercise in time travel’. It is a prelapsarian ethos, a Vienna that might admit Mahler’s influence but one that strongly preserves the sound-world of Schumann and, notably, Brahms. It is perhaps less a reflection of the composer’s lack of formal training, and more of his desire to preserve musical and aesthetic rootedness. He is, after all, on record as having said that ‘When I compose, I am back in Vienna.’

It’s been impossible to date the works with any certainty. They can provisionally be dated to the period when he began composing again, from the mid-1970s onward. The works have small harmonic or formal kinks, sometimes quirky changes of key too. The five-movement Sonata for two oboes and piano shows a charm and unforced lyric generosity of expression, long-spun melodies and lively fast movements wholly and unapologetically cast in late-Romantic language. The three string sonatas conform to the four-movement schema and to a greater – the Cello Sonata – or lesser extent show a personal, almost idiosyncratic approach to structure. They also, by and large, share a real compression of material. The Cello Sonata, for example, ends with a funereal slow movement that concludes somewhat in mid-air, as if more could yet be spoken.

The Viola Sonata opens with a recitative, continues with a very introverted, Brahmsian slow movement, probably the most overtly expressive of all the slow movements here, and a finale that is indelibly stamped with Brahms’ procedures. The Violin Sonata rather reprises the template of the Cello Sonata though its opening movement is more fluid and forceful, generating an attractive vibrancy. It ends with an Andante and small sequence of variations suffused in Viennese warmth. The bittersweet elements of the Piano Trio are accompanied by some manoeuvres in key changing and once again the slow movement is a high point of lyric directness.

The members of the Rossetti Ensemble are all well-known and expert performers and never seek to inflate the music beyond its natural constraints. Fürstenthal’s biography and music, well related in the extensive booklet note – there are essays by his wife, Michael Haas, and William Melton – amplify the value of this well-produced disc.

Jonathan Woolf

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