53,674 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...




selling Internationaly

Founder: Len Mullenger                                     Editor in Chief: John Quinn              

Some items
to consider

Chopin Edition 17CDs
now available separately
£11 post-free anywhere


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

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets


Recordings of the Month


Jean-Baptiste LEMOYNE

Enescu Ravel Britten

Debussy Images etc.

53 Studies on Chopin Études 1
Konstantin Scherbakov (piano)



Che fai tù? - Villanelles

Cyrillus KREEK
The suspended harp of Babel

violin concertos - Ibragimova

Peteris VASKS
Viola concerto - Maxim Rysanov

The Complete Lotte Schöne




Support us financially by purchasing this from

Ernst KRENEK (1900-1991)
Potpourri, Op.54 (1927) [17:52]
Seven Orchestra Pieces, Op.31 (1924) [18:31]
‘Pallas Athene’ Symphony, Op.137 (1954) [22:55]
Tricks and Trifles, Op.101 (1945) [17:16]
Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz/Karl-Heinz Steffens
rec. 2019, Ludwigshafen, Philharmonie
CAPRICCIO C5379 [76:42]

Capriccio has selected a worthwhile programme here, choosing orchestral works by Krenek that are seldom recorded and still less often performed in concert. If that sounds like a mopping up operation, I’d dispute the suggestion. Rather it’s an astutely explored examination of some of his more popular but perhaps also chillier musical imperatives in sound performances.

First up is Potpourri, a Weimar-era masquerade that snakes through French elements, romantic reverie, dance rhythms and lightly ushered Ragtime. Appended is a dreamlike piece of Schubert, as well as fresh air surging lyricism - all from the composer of Jonny spielt auf; seldom was a piece more aptly named than Potpourri. You will find this work in CPO’s 4-CD Krenek symphonies release. Three years earlier Krenek had composed the Seven Orchestral Pieces, Op.31. The notes refer to his use of 12-tone here but his use of it was invariably watchful and seldom a full-blooded endorsement. In fact the main impression is one of the nocturne and episodic lyricism, concise and attractive, not least in the high spirits of the final giocoso panel. It’s not at all forbidding, and reveals clever orchestration and fine thematic material.

What is the most forbidding piece in the album is Pallas Athene, the three movement symphony he took from his opera Pallas Athene weint, Op.144. There’s little here to cheer, which is not surprising given the gloomy nature of an opera set in Hell. The three movements are well balanced and almost equally sized. The first is a powerful and turbulent dirge, the second an unsettled Allegretto leading on to an Andante sostenuto of unremitting austerity. There are few sounds of hope here, and none of redemption.

After this I needed a stiff whisky and washed it down with Tricks and Trifles, which is claimed as a world premiere of this orchestral version – it was originally written for piano as the Hurricane Variations, Op.100 (1944) but Krenek subsequently orchestrated it the following year. It is a sequence of 22 variations and a (double) fugue on a theme by one of Krenek’s composition students, Virginia Seay. Here he reveals his full command of variation form in music of warmth and wit; sample the Siciliano (after Brahms) for instance or the eventful series of Canons. It’s hardly a composition at the cutting edge of things but it offers verities that transcend questions of time and place. It also, to be honest, comes as considerable balm after Pallas Athene.
Capriccio is good at providing single-composer albums; Ginastera, Dutilleux, Zimmermann and Dallapiccola are just four of the composers represented in this series of discs. The performances are dedicated and have been well recorded – they derive from the tapes of SWR – so this is worth consideration if the combination of works appeals.

Jonathan Woolf

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

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
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger