One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,514 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                     Editor in Chief: John Quinn              

Some items
to consider


paid for


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

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

Deaconoff; Stockhausen

Live at the Clifton Festival

Choir at Clifton Cathedral


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



Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Symphony No. 2 in C, Op. 61 (1845-6) [34:39]
Symphony No. 3 in E-flat, Op. 97 (Rhenish) (1850) [30:52]
NBC Symphony Orchestra/Arturo Toscanini
rec. March 1946 (2), November 1949 (3), NBC Studio 8H, New York

Andrew Rose brings about the expected sonic transformations of two decent-quality NBC radio broadcasts. The Rhenish, which RCA has been issuing in various formats for decades, here sounds big and bright; the opaque tuttis distort slightly, but details like the Lšndler's high unison horns cut through impressively. The C major symphony is nearly as good, but less consistently vivid below mezzoforte. The string sound is true; the wind choir, in the dry acoustic of Studio 8H, occasionally leaps from the speakers with startling presence and depth - the fanfare near the finale's start actually registers more strongly than the tutti coda.

The C major's first movement takes time to settle: there's a brief patch of iffy coordination near the start, and the trumpets have trouble getting their low tones to speak. At the Allegro proper, however, the conductor brings out the violas' tremolo, producing continuity with the slow introduction. He slides into the development equally smoothly, and, once it had got going, I stopped noticing the details - the music just carried me along.

The other movements fall short of that level. The violins sound frazzled in the driven Scherzo, though the playing is dazzling; both "leadback" passages from the Trios begin tentatively. The flowing Larghetto is perfectly judged, but the conductor pushes ahead slightly into both climaxes. The finale begins buoyantly -- striding proudly, with breathtaking violin runs -- but Toscanini slows down, unconvincingly, for the clarinet episode at 2:38. Still, the Larghetto motif in the bass registers clearly, and the woodwind chorale that follows is poignant.

This compact Rhenish is persuasive, though the opening movement doesn't quite surge: the textures are unvaried. In the Lšndler, you can, for a change, actually hear the right scansion from the start, and the reprise is joyous. The third movement, Nicht schnell, seems a bit schnell - it's practically an intermezzo - but sings simply and easily, with a clear overall shape. The Feierlich, while distinctly alla breve, remains spacious, with plenty of textural variety, and the finale is hearty enough. The journey is satisfying.

The inclusion of the introductory and closing announcements for each performance is a nice touch.

Stephen Francis Vasta

Previous review: David Dunsmore

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat



Recordings of the Month


Conner Riddle Songs

Rodzinski Sibelius

Of Innocence and Experience


Symphonies 1, 2, 3



Aho Symphony 5

Dowland - A Fancy


Rachmaninov_ Babayan