Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

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Reviews from other months
BELL, Derek: Variations. "Come on, Northern Ireland, Come on"*; Divertissement Variations on a tune kindly contributed by Dr Paddy Moloney+; Toccata Burlesca for oboe and pianoº; Symphony No 2, 'The Violet Flame'*; DOUNO, Beinsa: Izgryava Slunteseto§; Vehadi§; Klamen Zenu§; Gospodi kolko Te obicham§.  *Tzvatarika Christoforu (mezzo) Vratza PO, Bulgarian Nat. Phil. Choir, Derek Bell and Maria Tutoriliva (harps), cond. Valeri Vatcher. +Vratza Phil. Wind Quartet, Peter Belneev (piano); ºPetco Totev (oboe) Derek Bell (piano). §Barnaby Brown (flute), Oghnyan Nicolor (tenor) Derek Bell (harp). Athene ATH CD14. [DDD] [73' 52"].



Derek Bell is the harpist with The Chieftains. Everyone tells me that he is a most congenial man. He is evidently a fine harpist.

But he is no composer.

The proceeds of the sale of this disc are to aid a charity called The Grain of Wheat which seeks to give musical therapy to young orphans in Bulgaria ... a noble cause.

But the music on this disc is simply ghastly.

The first item Variations: Come on, Northern Ireland, come on is appalling music; it is really that bad. And it contains a quotation of over a hundred bars from Schumann's Symphony No 4. Why? It is 'spiced up' with Irish drums and is so ludicrous that it is embarrassing.

The Divertissement on a tune kindly contributed by Dr Paddy Moloney is another inane title and, again, the music is so poor that one wonders how anyone would want to play it let alone record it. The Toccata burlesca fares a little better but it also lacks purpose, sense and direction.

And we come to the Symphony No 2 which lasts for thirty minutes but it seems an eternity. It is so utterly devoid of any redeeming features; it is suicidally boring.

Enter Linda, a clinical psychologist.

"Shall I open the bottle of Teachers now?" she asks.

"No," I reply, "but some black coffee would be welcome."

And it is.

The pieces by Beinsa Duono, a mystic Bulgarian, (1864-1944) are slight and of no consequence.

Linda returns.

"Shall we extend this evening of misery?" she enquires. "Let's put on the Elgar Cello Concerto, a late Piano Sonata by Schubert, some waltzes by Johann Strauss and then Elton John and the Sex Pistols ..."

I thank her for her kind suggestion but make another. She smiles radiantly and with approval.

The music on this disc is appalling, shockingly bad and tedious. It is not music to die for but music that needs a Government Health Warning.

Simply dreadful. Unbearable.


David Wright

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} No Comment.
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        For another opinion  from Rob Barnett see

The following comment has been received from an un-named source

"I would just like to impress a certain element that was missing from Mr.
Wright's review, regarding the statement "The pieces by Beinsa Duono, a
mystic Bulgarian, (1864-1944) are slight and of no consequence." What
Mr. Wright is probably not aware of (understandably so), is that Beinsa
Duono, aka Peter Deunov, is a Bulgarian prophet and teacher of esoteric
Christianity. He was not a composer, and these songs (which is what they
originally were), were given as prayers; they were never meant to be
compositions per se."


see compilation of reviews here


David Wright

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