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

 58,121 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 from

Marius CONSTANT (1927-2004)
Turner (1961) [12:45]
Brevissima (1992) [10:11]
103 Regards dans l’eau (1981) [30:40]
Olivier Charlier (violin)
Riverside Symphony/George Rothman
rec. 2001/06, SUNY Purchase, New York.
DIVINE ART DDA25216 [64:36]

Marius Constant is one of those composers who, as the booklet notes for this release puts it, is “lamentably unsung”, but almost all of us will have heard at least some of his music - his authorship of the TV theme The Twilight Zone being just one of many little-known facts about this remarkable voice in 20th century music.
This disc comes with a neatly made short film, ‘formatted for computer playback’, in which the Riverside Symphony’s directors talk about their discovery of the works recorded here, and also has some fascinating archival footage of the composer. Constant states that he is not an intellectual composer, but one with an intuitive approach both in terms of content and form, a point of view with which many of us might feel a close connection.

Turner was inspired by Constant’s encounter with this English artist’s work in the Tate Gallery in London, and whose painting “Rain, Steam and Speed, The Great Western Railway 1844” fleetingly adorns the cover for this release, appearing clipped and in reverse on the booklet. The work is in three movements, the first, Rain, Steam and Speed being by no means the expected portrait of an iron juggernaut ploughing through the countryside. There is mystery and poetry here, as well as some heavy action which hints at the avant-garde trends of the 1960s, but handling them with lightness and translucence of orchestral colour. The second, Autoportret, is reflected on the back cover of the CDs gatefold package, the “unflinching, even unflattering projection of ambivalence, doubt and sorrow” of the artist’s gaze being seen as his ‘tormented’ side. This and the final movement, Windsor avoid caricature even in their most angular moments, Constant’s skill in balancing lyrical and rhythmic tensions creating its own fascinating sonic canvas.

Constant was Romanian in origin, but like Dutilleux his orchestration always has an underlying Frenchness in its luminosity and a sense of restraint: of power held in reserve. Brevissima is a four-movement symphony “whose generative conceit is the super-compression of large form. The result is a unique homage to a grand tradition in ten riveting minutes.” There are moments of lush romantic sound here, alongside extreme contrasts of dynamics and mood. The atmosphere at times reminds me of Alban Berg in something like Wozzeck, where the drama is both underlying and constantly unfolding, full of chills and thrills and relatable human experience of one kind or another. In Constant’s own words, “the wager of Brevissima was to employ a massive sonority and sculpt it into a grand sonata form in a greatly reduced time frame; a discourse free of useless ornamentation, which… sought variety yet coherence, a narration surprising but convincing.” In this, Brevissima is supremely successful but quite dark, even with those passages of eloquent expressiveness and a slightly corny close.

103 Regards dans l’eau or 103 Visions of Water is a violin concerto that derives its inspiration from “poetic celebrations of water” from a variety of literary and scientific sources. There are 103 titled ‘movements’ not reproduced in the booklet, the work here divided into the tracks of its main four sections, marked only by tempo indications. The dialogue between soloist and orchestra is almost entirely constant throughout the work, though it is clear from the outset that the violin is also in a dialogue with itself, a characteristic which at times rubs off into the orchestra, but by no means always. This is a violin concerto that can be heard ‘along more familiar guideposts’, but it takes on the concerto form in an almost entirely different way to classical conventions. Constant’s detail is more in the micro than in the macro, which is not to say that we get wrapped up in anything too hard to decipher, but if there are any grand candenzas or orchestral tuttis then these only last for what seems like a few bars before the waterscape changes. The final Lent section has some breathtakingly beautiful passages and sonorities.

Superbly performed and recorded, this is a gem of a disc. The music demands time and attention, but rewards in equal measure. The excellent Riverside Symphony and its adventurous directors owe us our gratitude for bringing this rarely heard but fascinating repertoire to our attention.

Dominy Clements

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

November 2022
Bach Orchestral Suites

del Cinque
Del Cinque Cello sonatas

Fujita Mozart
Mao Fujita Mozart

Stanczyk Acousmatic Music


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