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

and more.. and still writing ...

MusicWeb - "A Beacon of Probity and Integrity" - Ralph Moore

Search MusicWeb Here


Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer

International mailing

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



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


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



John CARBON (b. 1951)
Violin Concerto (1995) [21:47]
Inner Voices (1992) [20:07]
Piano Concerto (1998) [22:19]
Rasgos (1992) [16:02]
Ghost Town Sketches (1995) [7:25]
Endangered Species (2001) [15:56]
Peter Zazofsky (violin: concerto)
Claire Chan (violin: Rasgos)
William Koseluk (piano)
Richard Fredrickson (double bass: Species)
Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra/Gerhardt Zimmermann (VC), Robert Black (Voices)
Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra/Marin Alsop (Rasgos), Vladimír Válek (PC)
Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble (Sketches)
Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra/Kirk Trevor (Species)
rec. 1992-2009 for the MMC label
CONVIVIUM CR058 [64:16 + 45:01]

American composer John Carbon turns 70 in 2021 and this is certainly a good opportunity to survey some of his large-scale works in these recordings made over a 17-year period between 1992 and 2009. All the recordings in this twofer were previously released on MMC.

The Violin Concerto (1995) was written for the soloist in the recording, Peter Zazofsky. It’s a crisp work in three classically clear movements but full of attractive themes, sororities and textures. The central slow movement exemplifies its range best. It opens plangently but then one senses a nervous unease sweeping across the landscape. The soloist has little solo flourishes before the music is distilled toward the end of the movement, cemented by a violin recitative. Angular turbulence drives the finale, the music accreting in fits and starts in a jerky moto perpetuo. Zazofsky is a fine soloist, marshalling considerable reserves of tone as much as evincing an ability to demarcate the music’s shifting expressive contours.

The piece that lends itself to the disc title is the three movement Inner Voices. The movements are named Tigers, Phantom and Nightride and once again this is a Warsaw recording, though here Robert Black is the conductor, whereas in the Violin Concerto it was Gerhardt Zimmermann. The opening movement is terse and laced with percussion outbursts. There’s vivid intensity here that is resolutely and almost wholly grumpy in effect. The central panel, rather like the corresponding movement of the Violin Concerto, offers a reprieve from these elements but it’s not one without its own sense of unease, before there’s a resumption of the drama in a finale that matches the opening in insistence.

For the Piano Concerto the location changes to Prague where the soloist William Koseluk is accompanied by the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra under Vladimír Válek. Cast in one movement but with three clear sections it offers the most sustained generosity of spirit of any of the three works on this first disc. Though it’s crisply rhythmic its sense of colour and strong chording can sound a little influenced by Rachmaninov. The central panel balances lyricism with impish scurry, much of it lovely, and a giocoso ending that encodes some Danse macabre elements and wit. I have to say this is my favourite Carbon piece in this retrospective though that might be because it’s the most expressive and historically-minded. Koseluk is a warmly sympathetic soloist and Válek is invariably a fine colleague to have on the rostrum.

Composed in 1992 Rasgos is a sequence of sketches for violin soloist (here Claire Chan) and chamber ensemble directed by Marin Alsop. Deftly and prismically orchestrated there is a sense of airiness and clarity in these compact studies which also admits some punchy elements as well as serio-comic moments, such as the finale. Chan is a dextrous soloist. In 1995 Carbon wrote Ghost Town Sketches which is played here by the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble as they evoke the ‘ghostly western mood’ derived from cowboy songs collected by the ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax. Some are jaunty, others more elegiac, whilst some of the writing is scurrying or repetitive. The final work is Endangered Species for double bass and orchestra. The opening is somewhat Stravinskian, and the soloist for whom the work was written, Richard Frederickson, nimbly traverses a dark landscape or else flings himself into music that is more reflective of the Hunt. There’s also lyric music generously provided for a solo instrument more usually given galumphing material. With a bell toll prominent in the work’s later stages, we are left with ambiguity; if the double bass represents the large and wild creature of the work’s title, does he live or die at the end?

The booklet notes are extensive, and the musical biographies are full. All the performances stand up well and the recording quality is equally laudable. This bracing twofer offers a fine perspective on Carbon’s compositions in the nineties and very early 2000s.

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 Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

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

Eloquence recordings
All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month


Cantatas and Organ Works

Complete Songs

Ralph Vaughan Williams

Simone Dinnerstein piano





Chopin Bruce Liu

Ingeneri Volume 2

Mondonville - Titon et L'Aurore

Telemann - French Cantatas 1