I think the new look for the website is a huge improvement: cleaner,
clearer, less busy and distracting, much more up-to-date. Well done!
I live in Australia and love your web site. I click in most days and
read a few reviews which may prompt me to purchase an album or two. You
have the most helpful and easily accessible Classical web site by a long
chalk. I do like the cleaner lines of the new home page but I miss the
Downloads link. It has now been relegated to the Reviews section. I always
read this article as I use downloads a lot (though not exclusively) for
getting the best music I can. Could it perhaps be put back to your home
page or an active link to it be shown on the main opening latest reviews
Thanks for your great site and tireless work.
Brisbane. Queensland. Australia.
Just to say I like the new look - neat and clear. Best wishes for your
continuing work. The site has introduced me to some wonderful music and
great recordings and saved me from some poor impulse purchases, so many
Dear Mr. Mullenger:
Please convey my profound appreciation to Messrs. Godfrey
and Lawson for their combined efforts in producing an astoundingly comprehensive
and informative review of the new deluxe edition of the Decca Ring.
I do not expect to see another review, either in print or online, that
comes even close to this one in those respects. I was particularly impressed
by the lengths to which Mr. Godfrey went to compare the Blu-ray version
to the original LPs, which is certainly the more relevant comparison
given the controversy associated with both of the earlier CD editions.
I do have a comment regarding Mr. Lawson’s statement
that “The Decca set is marketed as a Limited Edition; it may be
but mine has no number.” I had the same thought when first examining
my copy, but later discovered the inscription “No. 3571/7000”
on the bottom of the slipcase. Either Mr. Lawson missed this, or Decca
published some review copies without the numbering.
Thank you again for this truly outstanding review,
and in general for an exceptionally interesting and useful website.
Thanks for emailing me about
Bob Briggs' review of my two orchestra singles, Shredding Glass
and Yet Still Night.
I feel Bob Briggs deserves some special award
for this review!
As the composer, whose music is subject, I just want to personally say
this is an amazing review.
It is quite a talent and accomplishment when
a music journalist can so completely "get" the core essence
of the composer's intention.
– To be able to capture the abstract emotional
essence of a piece of music and then translate it with a profound understanding
into words, providing a "key" with which other listeners can
open the door and enter into the world of the music, is a real gift.
Surely this is what great music criticism is about.
I am deeply grateful to Bob Briggs for his sensitive
understanding of my music and providing the "keys" for these
Thank you so much for publishing his review of
my orchestra music on MusicWeb-International.
I hope you get a huge response to the survey, and a
comparable boost in advertising revenue.Thank you for the great service
that you provide.
You might not appreciate just how valuable musicweb-international.com
is to people
on low incomes - no-one else reviews super-budget labels as regularly
or, IMHO, with the care they often deserve.
Congratulations on your excellent website
(PS. I am the pianist on the Dutton cd of rare English violin sonatas
by Rootham, Holbrooke and Walford Davies.)
Love your website and service to music lovers worldwide.
Admire your initiative and dedication. Hope my survey response helps.
Musicweb is by far the best classical review source
on the web (and superior to most print too).
I hope you can continue with your work as I find it
so helpful and have bought a good deal of CDs as a result of your reviews.
Thank you E R Kellow.
Just completed your survey. Glad to help. Your site
is one that I visit most everyday.
Gerard M. Bauer
please accept my best wishes for everything and my
sincere congratulations for all the efforts you spend for us classical
I want you to know that I really appreciate and enjoy
Just completed the survey: always happy to support
Dr Richard Newell
Best of luck with all the processing, and with your
site, which continues to give enormous pleasure.
Many thanks for all the great work you do the
site is much appreciated.
I also hope to use this opportunity to thank you for
founding and maintaining the wonderful website of MusicWeb International.
In the last several years, it has grown into a prominent part of my
life as a classical music lover. Please keep up the good work!
I just read the review of Bruckner's 4th Symphony by
Stephen Francis Vasta in your latest newsletter and haven't been so
impressed by a review, per se, since I've been keeping up with your
site--a long time. It's the 1st of Mr. Vasta's reviews I've read; he's
probably internationally known, and has been in your pages since your
foundation (where have I been?), but so be it. Not only is he very well
informed, about both past and present matters concerning the recording;
not only can he listen--and has listened--to the music--with a musician's
ear; his diction is precise, his sentences are varied and interesting,
and he is a thinker.
and finally you cannot please everybody
I have been reading the reviews on your site and I
am sorry to say that many of them have errors and no musical input and
are therefore unreliable. One would have thought that the editor would
pick up the mistakes some of which are glaring errors. Some of your
writers clearly do not know what they are talking about.
The Lyrita boxed sets just arrived. They are beautiful
because the music is
so. Hats off to Lyrita for - in my opinion - almost single-handedly
British music and its musical heritage alive.
Mostly, I want to thank you and musicweb for providing
such fine and speedy
service to me in Maine (I suppose I need to thank the Royal Mail also
::--))); and I need to highlight how the site's exhaustive base of
information and reviews are of the highest caliber.
You and your web site are offering me more than I can
succinctly write in
this short space. I am sure I speak for many. Thank you.
May you only prosper!
Michael T Bucci
I very much enjoyed your review of German's 'Tom Jones'
on Music Web
International. I felt that you were relishing the music just as I have
done! Thank you so much for all the many generous things you said. The
cast will be delighted to read such a warm appreciation, not only of
but also of the music.
I hope you don't mind my having written - and that
it's not out of place.
There have been quite a few enthusiastic reviews of the recording, but
yours and Raymond Walker's in MWI truly convey the sense that you really
enjoyed the music - what more could one want?
With all good wishes,
David Russell Hulme.
I have just read the review to our team and they are
simply thrilled. These sets have taken a great deal of every ones time
and effort and it is so very rewarding when we hear that some one gets
it and likes it. This is the perfect balance to Rob's review which is
also fine but focuses on the technical and the collector.
.... thank you for having the foresight to create a review platform
that enables more than one point of view and also enough space for the
story to be told.
Once again many thanks not just for this but for all of your support
over the passed years.
Antony Smith, Business Director, Wyastone Estate Limited,
Thank you again for the years of erudition I have found
within the pages of Music Web.
Gordon E Smith
Many thanks for your very informative reviews. I look
forward to the musicweb-International websight eagerly every week--and
then wait patiently, saving them up to read 2 or 3 at a time. It's like
splurging on a huge serving of vanilla ice cream . .
Click and Pick: Tony
Deller reviews concert-finding websites
Classical Music 19 July 2008 p23
has been around longer still, and is one of
many sites concentrating on reviews rather
than listings. Set up in 1995 under the name
MusicWeb, the site was originally intended
to raise the profile of British composers.
Since then it has diversified to include CD
and live reviews (again, its reviewers are
not paid). In contrast to Classical Source,
which is relatively simple in design, MusicWeb
has something of the second-hand bookshop
about it. Certainly, one can spend enjoyable
moments browsing its many links and crannies;
much of what it contains is informative -
its exhaustive potted biographies of British
light music composers alone make it an essential
source. But its slightly ramshackle appearance
sits oddly with the slicker web designs we
are coming to expect.
I would have preferred being
compared to a reference library rather than
a second-hand bookshop but I am taking a positive
view of this review which I think is actually
rather affectionate. I like being thought
of as a sort of retreat to delve and explore.
Of course we could look very swish if we wanted
to - £10,000 to spare anyone?
From Adrian Farmer of Lyrita
I feel it right to say something to let you
know how much we appreciate the work you all
do at music-web. As I have said before, yours
is a properly grown-up approach to reviewing;
by the simple act of giving the team space
to do their job you leave the monthly mags
breathless and marginalised.
I have been particularly struck this month
by John France's review of the Moeran Cello
works and Goran Forsling's on-going discovery
of Bretan. Both record projects are 'difficult',
some would say of limited interest for various
reasons, but, by working through those difficulties
with knowledge and sympathy both writers are
able to present an honest evaluation of the
underlying strengths of the music and the
performances. Neither we, nor the reader,
can ask for more. Bravo.
Let us know if we can help to spread the word.
From Adrian Farmer of Lyrita
Just saw the list of Reviewer
choices for Record
of the Year. I am overwhelmed. On Richard's
behalf, and Wyastone's, I am grateful to you
and your team for the part music-web has played
in the restoration of Lyrita's extraordinary
catalogue. By supporting each release as they
appeared with so much enthusiasm and knowledge
you helped to create a sales buzz - something
the old music monthlies seem unable to do.
But you know that, right?
My name is Harry Harris. I'm knocking on 85
years old, and when I was 16 I worked at Chappells
as a messenger-cum-office boy in Teddy Holmes
I have lovely memories of Eric Coates and
his wife Phyllis, because they were frequent
visitors to Teddy Holmes.
My memory of him is that he was a kind and
gentle gentleman, who treated even a lowly
office boy with courtesy.
We always knew when he was coming in because
the smell of turkish cigarettes usually preceded
him. At the time, I had no idea how great
he really was. But I know now!
Another frequent visitor was Harry Parr Davies,
a different kettle of fish entirely, but also
I never went back after the war, and went
into an entirely different business from music,
but now I'm pleased to say, I'm involved again
with a very nice keyboard which I to entertain
in old age homes. I do a "nostalgia"
programme, and one of the items I play is,
of course, the Knightsbridge March when I
talk about "In Town Tonight"
Thanks again for your website and the lovely
memories it's brought back to me
Reference Rob Barnett's review
I am humbled by your review
- thank you!! As I said earlier to you it
wonderful to receive a review that is honest,
intelligent, articulate and
tries to clarify the emotional experience
that music gives us without
being prejudiced by aesthetic agendas. As
a composer I could ask for
Obviously, as editor, it
is your own all-encompassing acceptance of
styles and kinds of music that is setting
the example for fair and
excellent reviewing. Keep up the great work.
Just a short note to say
"Bravo, Dominy Clements!" for writing
a review that strikes a blow for how they
did things in the "old" days when
they did them well, which was every now and
then sans glitter, sans tinsel, sans hype
and sans "image" - I refer to the
latest EMI incarnation of "Peter and
the Wolf" which does unspeakable things
to the original conception of the recording
in the interest of being "up-to-date"
- these days we must have every "t"
dotted and every "i" crossed and
leave nothing to that thing called the imagination.
Dominy Clements says it all, as far as I'm
concerned - even if the pleasure his review
gave me was spleen-filled, 'twas the nature
of the beast to do so. Well done, MusicWeb
continue to read Musicweb every day. It's
part of my routine like
brushing my teeth!
John McLaughlin Williams (Conductor)
a refreshing experience to find that the very
first Google listing for a "Brilliant
Classics Bach Edition reviews" search,
should be Kirk McElhearn's wonderful
essay explaining the values and drawbacks
of this monumental set. He answered all my
questions about whether such a "bargain-basement"
collection is true to the master's intent,
described the quality of the musicianship,
explained the sources of the licensed selections
and compared this edition to the more up-scale
Thank you so much for recognizing that not
all lovers of Bach's music need to know the
exact frequencies of scordatura tunings and
about learned disputes on instumentation and
tempii. Mr. McElhearn's comments were in language
suitable for academic discussion without resorting
to the incomprehensible minutae of musicological
Thank you for making such a valuable work
of criticism so readily available on the web.
have been using your website for some time
and it is held in high regard in the industry.
I do hope that now you have a reviewer we
will be able to have more coverage for next
years festival and I will of course
add you to our mailing lists.
and PR Manager
Dome and Festival
you very much for your email. I'm Chitose
Okashiro. I've received
your forwarded email from my webmaster, and
I apologize [. . .] for a
mistake my review site contains. However,
on the other hand, at the same
time, I could not help feeling lucky to have
got to know you through email
like this, whom I respect and admire very
I read your review of my Mahler, I was so
touched by your words and
your deep thoughts that it almost made me
cry. As you could easily imagine,
since my performance is not conventional nor
stereotyped, I'm not a type of
a pianist who could be easily understood by
everybody, ESPECIALLY in this
country, USA!! In our modern age, both classical
music listener and
classical music industry are looking for a
safe, boring, same kind of square
performer who cannot be risky to anybody by
any means..........the business
of music in this country is so political and
orchestra players play music without any kind
passion, etc. and I'm having a
difficult time to connect myself with the
always wanted to tell you how much I appreciate
you for your deep
understandings and thoughts. Your words mean
so much to me. Thank you.
high time I wrote you and thanked you for the
you've done over the years making MusicWeb the
useful site it is. I
always look forward to the reviews and other
particularly appreciate the weekly e-mail updates.
the producer of the CD "Schnittke"
featuring pianist Svetlana Ponomarëva,
I wished to thank you for your time and insightful
June 29, 2006 review
on Musicweb. Since the general press has relinquished
its role of discovering talents for a safer
rubberstamping of heavily promoted artists,
initiatives such as Musicweb's offer an exposure
opportunity to lesser known artists, some
of them true musicians.
web reviews have been invaluable. They are intelligently
written and are richer in background and analysis
than Gramophone, Fanfare, etc. Thanks.
David Krantz 2006
you so very much for your September 4 review
of my two disks Turning to the Center
and Songs of My Affinities that appears
on the Music Web. As with your review of all
rivers at once, I am grateful for your
thoughtful and thorough approach to my music,
addressing the broader aesthetic, stylistic,
and technical qualities. As you know, comments
such as yours are very helpful in publicity
and disseminating the music. Many of the reviews
in the United State would be better described
as reports, lacking any true critical
context, or they tend to take a singular,
biased approach to contemporary music, and
thus render their perspective as meaningless.
I do hope that you will consider reviewing
my next release, Music for Piano.
my very best wishes,
Schroeder October 2004
I have just belatedly stumbled upon this EXCELLENT
review of the Wigglesworth/LPO Prom last summer:
I just wanted to say that I agreed with you
COMPLETELY, in every tiny detail of what you
observed, including the conductor's grasp
of structure, passion and economy, pacing,
control, colour and balance; Christine Brewer's
flawless technique but soulless performance;
and even your mention of the timpanist whom
I remember noticing as well. I particularly
agreed with your comments about Wigglesworth's
"musicality" stemming from his grasp
of symphonic structure, and faithfulness to
the score. And your very pertinent and insightful
observation about why this did not give him
the ovation he deserved.
I become more and more disillusioned with
the reviews I read in the mainstream press
as they seem increasingly to miss the point
(in my opinion). Reviews from Covent Garden
and Glyndebourne in the last couple of weeks
have particularly astonished me in their lack
of insight and musical understanding. So I'm
glad to find (rather belatedly) a review as
insightful as yours. I hope there are more
such available! I'm about to have a look.
hope this message finds its way to you.
with-held July 2004
excuse my intrusion, but I felt obliged to
write and say that the review of the May 17
Aimard concert sets a standard of excellence
that few attain.....wonderful, wonderful,
wonderful! Please thank Mr. Hodges for his
Salt Lake City, UT
Concord Sonata played by Pierre-Laurent
Aimard, Zankel Hall, New York City, May 17,
couldn't restrain myself from writing to
express my admiration for
Jonathan Woolf's richly expressive language
about each of the singers
in his critique
of the Guild release of the 1940 Met Tristan.
evocative and in such brief terms!
have recently begun to read your site's classical
reviews. I am an old hand at reading classical
music reviews and I must say I prefer your site's
to Gramophone, Fanfare or the American Record
Guide. They are professional, passionate and
William A. Rosen
Jonathan Wearn (Producer)
wonderful review of the Holbrook which
CD I much enjoyed - but, you did
not mention the marvellous Razumovsky Quartet's
playing which I think is
always extraordinary - (watch this space!!!)
Christopher Wellington the viola now in his
70s - makes the most wonderful
sound and I simply love their playing!!!!!
But your understanding of Holbrook fascinated
me and the article was much
admired - I have sent the page to Christopher
just a few minutes ago.
I wonder, if like me, you are old enough to
remember the UK-originated EMG Monthly Letter
of fond memory. I considered this small publication
to have issued the most erudite, informative,
and best-written record reviews of any English
or American publication. Most of your reviews
reach and occasionally surpass that level
of excellence and eloquence. (But, please,
no revisionist criticism of Elgar should be
allowed! He occupies a high place in my pantheon
Rod DeCecco, Rhode Island/USA
felt that I just had to write and express
my gratitude to you on the most eloquent and
discerning review of my 12
Housman Songs Disc. You have indeed reflected
a sincere insight into my particular and,
if I may say so, my very personal compulsion
towards Housman's unique poetical messages.
You seem to be the first critic who has uncovered
my personal obsession with Housman so accurately.
Actually, when I came across Housman's poems
in the 80s, I had no idea that he was already
so prolifically set by a host of others. I
was so drawn to the opposites of pastoral
beauty and the irony of man's destruction,
the obsession with death, it all seemed to
reflect the tragedies of my own life. You
certainly saw through me. I became immediately
a member of the Housman Society. I have been
performed by a few baritones, but several
of high repute have not shown a preference
for my work.
fill in some your unknowns about me, I am
in my early 70s and have set about 90 of Housman's
poems, outstripping all other composers in
this field, being about two thirds of his
total output. I may say also, after some criticism
of my songs by the renowned baritone Stephen
Varcoe, that I have revised a great deal of
the piano parts in the 12 songs on the disc,
which I now consider to be inferior to my
revisions. I intend to produce a 2nd. disc
of Housman in the near future.
you again for your astonishing perception
of my work.
R. Williamson, b. 1929
a few words to thank you for the thoughtful
and extensive review
of my late father's 2-CD set. The comparative
appreciations are essential to understanding
the way my father worked; the immediate grasp
of his determination not to interpose himself
between orchestra and audience is absolutely
crucial. And he was always pleased with the
Piatigorsky performance which they shaped
together in terms of soloist/orchestra relationship.
fact to correct, maybe two: my father left
the Soviet Union in 1929 because he had already
had a debut in Western Europe and wanted to
expand his career there. He was, at the time
that he left, still conducing the Leningrad.
And when he and my mother left (I was not
yet born), it was carrying two suitcases.
All assumed, or behaved as if they assumed,
that they would be return. They didn't, not
until 1959 when the Soviets unvited him back
to conduct in Moscow, Kiev and Leningrad.
The US State Department expressed support
for the visit and my parents, both US citizens,
went back. My mother to her dying day wished
they hadn't. She felt, and I did not disagree
after working in the old Soviet Union for
NBC News, that the return broke my father's
for what those who have heard it consider
one of my father's most sublime performances,
it was with the Danish Orchestra and it was
Stravinsky's Petite Suite.
all good wishes, George Malko
"john mclaughlin williams" <jmw12@------->
Sent: Friday, June 21, 2002 3:56 PM
> I just wanted to say congrats and thanks
for Musicweb. It is a truly great
> site, easily the best and most comprehensive
on the web devoted to good
> music. I've spent countless hours withe
articles, reviews and particularly
> the insightful composer profiles. Andante can't match Musicweb
> So thanks, and keep doing what you do
am writing to express my appreciation of the
review of my CD
Transience, that has recently appeared in
your journal. It is wonderful
indeed to find such understanding of what
I am trying to express as was
shown by Mr. Culot. I am delighted that the
music so clearly spoke to him
exactly as I hoped it might speak to an ideally
convey this message to Mr. Barnett and Mr.
Culot with my thanks
all best regards,
Thank you so much for your your good work,
which just seems to get better and better.
Thanks to you I'm beginning to think I can
safely let my Gramophone Subscription expire.
Keep up the good work.
just recently signed up for the MusicWeb Reviews.
They are really superb, free of politicizing
and bias, clear and enjoyable to read.
I won't renew my subscription to Gramophone.
William Rosen May02
think that the MusicWeb is a brilliant site
all around and I am telling
friends about it who might not know it exists
-- if they don't know, they
should. Through Rob, of course, I was well
aware of the reviews but I had no
idea how extensive and comprehensive the entire
site is. It is like having a
music encyclopedia available at my fingertips,
one that focuses on topics of
particular interest to me.
first of all want to thank you for writing
an intelligent and compelling
Mahler's Sixth Symphony conducted by Michael
Tilson Thomas with
the San Francisco Symphony. I was present
for the September 13 concert and
recording during those dark days following
the World Trade Center disaster.
I must say, it did take a great deal of both
courage and concentration for
the musicians and conductor to turn out such
a pristine and effective
reading of this complex work.
Francisco and much of the US (if not the world)
was reeling from these
tragic events and the city felt like a ghost
town. The streets of San
Francisco were empty and at the time, there
was still hope that people would
be found alive inside the ruins of the trade
center. The images were seared
in our collective memories and hope had not
yet left that the tragedy may
not be as disastrous as first feared.
I went to the concert, I felt like I was the
only person in the streets
of San Francisco. It was a cold and cloudy
day and I thought about not
attending the concert though my love of Mahler
compelled me to attend. I
had hoped the concert would open with a word
of comfort from the fearless
Tilson Thomas regarding the tragic events.
Instead, a muted applause
greeted him to the stage as he silently began.
I know Mahler is very
complex for performers to truly understand
the music as they perform a
marathon piece such as this one. The orchestra
and conductor displayed
suburb concentration. The rage and energy
of the final movement felt real
and resonated inside me. The sledgehammer
produced a concussion blast that
could be felt from my seat half way down the
hall and it needed that impact.
am glad that the energy and performance was
recorded with such precision
and technical refinement so others could enjoy
is as much as I did.
just visited your website, having recently
discovered what a wonderful composer Benjamin
Frankel was. Your site is incredibly detailed,
with al lthe information I needed to acquire
all of the remaining CPO recordings. I was
greatly impressed with his twelve-tone score
for 'Curse of theWerewolf', and also the CPO
recordings of the complete string quartets.
quality of his music goes without saying,
embracing all of the important 20th century
styles in one heady opus.
site is a truly inspired effort !
I would like to extend my congratulations
to you for having (almost without doubt) the
single most comprehensively cross-referenced
and updated list in the world!
I say this with some justification as over
the past 3 months I have attempted to locate
a recording (or even the owners of the recording)
The Coronation Of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth
I. A Celebration in Music
performed by (amongst others) Philip Cave
and Magnificat (www.magnificat.org.uk)
You will find - on the above link - the album
details as Cantoris Soundalive #CSACD3055.
Your web page is one of only 2 found in the
world (via a lot of search engines, but most
trustedly via www.northernlight.com which
is alleged to have nearly 30% of the entire
internet catalogued) that even refer to this
recording... but the ONLY PAGE OF ITS TYPE
that actually lists (you have a link to) Griffin
Records!!! No other music site I have visited
even lists Griffin Records, and the fact that
you do, AND also refer to the recording mentioned
above, proves you are (in my opinion) the
best classical "music buff & site
hoster" in the world.
(Cantoris Soundalive became Cantoris, and
Soundalive - as you may be aware, and then
Cantoris sold the rights to this recording
to Griffin.... whew!)
Without digressing into my troubles too much
- full marks and WELL DONE!
I mentioned your site (and e-mail address)
to Griffin in my correspondence to them for
the same reason...
I am extremely impressed with (and grateful
for) your knowledge, your ability to stay
VERY up-to-date (some 'competitor sites' to
yours have not been updated since 1999 and
2000!!!), and of course...
Thank you for your love of classical music!
Keep up the great work... you are truly a
Could you please pass on to Raymond Walker,
my appreciation for the review he wrote on
Auber's "The Crown of Diamonds".
It has encouraged me to purchase same, and
provides a nice counter to the rather uncomplementary
review by Andrew Farach-Colton in Opera News
I will place a link to Raymond's review on
the station web page on Auber that I maintain
at MP3.com http://www.mp3.com/stations/auber
Duggan's Mahler (again)
MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony
No.9 in D Major, Kindertotenlieder*
Janet Baker (Mezzo Soprano)*, Scottish National
Orchestra* London Symphony Orchestra/Jascha
Horenstein (Royal Albert Hall, London 15/9/66
and Usher Hall, Edinburgh 3/3/67*) Restoration
and remastering by Jerry Bruck, Posthorn Recordings
BBC Legends BBCL 4075-2 2 CDs [113.38]
Mahlerian should own this recording of the
Ninth Symphony. It should be treasured by
all whose first concern is music and its performance
in front of an audience.
above review attracted attention on rec.music.classical.recordings:
And what a wonderfully written and conceived
review it is, Tony. This could be
a model for balanced, effective criticism
and vivid writing. I came away from
reading it feeling that even if I never heard
the performance I could know what
it sounded like from the review. Bravo.
But, yes, I liked the review very much (didn't
hear this Horenstein Ninth yet, only the M
& A one).
review of an unique recording.
that I wish to incite controversy (smirk),
but it is an interesting exercise to
read D. Hurwitz's review in the light of Tony's
review. It's clear (to me at least)
that while Tony may give a bit more of a pass
to some poor execution than others
might, David is so focused on execution that
he can't, or won't, hear the whole.
And then there's his rather tiresome nastiness,
but I suppose we just have to accept
that to get his (sometimes) worthwhile insights.
Arnold 80th Birthday celebrations
over a year ago I came across your extremely
useful website. It was largely thanks to this
excellent website (and the ready access to
all the information required) that I was able
to develop these Wigmore Hall programmes.
Thank you so much.
Best wishes ,
I just received from Zin Young Blondiau at
Cypres' the copy of Hubert Culot's
review of the Rens CD - one of the last
cd's I produced as manager of Cypres. It is
very nice to read.
I would like very much to have a contact with
Hubert Culot to thank him for his continuous
interest shown in my productions. And of course
I share this thanks with you, who are at the
basis of all this huge and useful work.
All the best
Norman Lebrecht April 01 writing in the Daily
spawns a Mahler legend
future of classical recording will be driven
by the internet, says Norman Lebrecht
of mouth, like nostalgia, is not what it used
to be. In the cyber-chat age, when a girl
can have a fun night out and find the intimate
particulars posted on a million screens next
morning, the acquisition of reputation has
become a haphazard thing. Nowhere are the
scales of judgment shifting more decisively
than in music, the most nebulous of performing
September 1999, someone on an internet Mahler
List reported a "remarkable performance" of
the Fifth Symphony given by a youth orchestra,
the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, in Cologne.
Nothing more was heard until last month, when
word broke that the concert was scheduled
for release on an esoteric US label, Laurel
cyber-reviews appeared within a week. The
first, by David Hurwitz on classicstoday.com,
acclaimed the performance as "one of the half-dozen
best recordings of the work . . . right up
there with Bernstein, Karajan, Barbirolli
and Tennstedt". The second, by Tony Duggan
on musicweb.uk.net, called it "the finest
recording of the Fifth Symphony currently
were not nerdish rants, but scrupulous assessments
by recognised Mahler cognoscenti aimed at
consumers who know their gongs from their
cowbells. Messages soon came pouring in from
Mahlerians who had either bought the disc
or been frustrated in the search. By the beginning
of this week, when I tracked down the producer,
the disc was in its second printing and being
rush-shipped to Europe - all this before a
single word had appeared about it in traditional
speed and superlatives of web communications
can create false legends. In this instance,
the new recording fully lives up to its acclaim.
It is searingly well played and uncannily
well shaped, a rare blend of raw excitement
and refined intelligence, with the most transcendent
ending I have ever experienced.
cover picture says it all. Neither an airbrushed
image of a primping maestro, nor an art shot
of undulating landscape, it portrays the T-shirted
woodwind section of a youth orchestra, their
instruments tilted forward and upward (just
as Mahler ordered) and blown to all appearances
with the last breath in their bodies.
you see is what you get. Such plain-Janery
would never have sneaked past a big-store
buyer in the bad old days. Indeed, no record
of this kind could ever have hit the jackpot
before the internet democratised the means
of distribution and dialogue.
conductor, Rudolf Barshai, is a known commodity.
The outstanding viola player of his generation,
Barshai co-founded the Borodin Quartet and
later the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, which
he conducted in the premiere of Shostakovich's
leaving Russia in 1976, Barshai had involvements
with the orchestras of Bournemouth and Vancouver,
alongside a lively career as a guest conductor.
That he should belatedly emerge as a Mahler
intepreter is unexpected. But Barshai, in
his late seventies, has been reflecting deeply
on Shostakovich and became absorbed in Mahler
as a primary influence.
the past year he has composed a new realisation
of Mahler's unfinished Tenth Symphony, which
was premiered in St Petersburg and will be
toured by the JDP. In it, Barshai went further
down the dissonant path than Deryck Cooke
and other completionists. "This manuscript
must be made to come alive," he proclaimed.
son, a California-based lawyer, took his recent
tapes to major record labels, who balked at
issuing staple works by a non-star conductor
and at Barshai's editorial demands. With options
running out, he found a mom-and-pop label
in Nichols Canyon, Los Angeles, and struck
a chord with its exotic owner.
Burke Gilbert is a movie orchestrator who
won two Oscars and was once music director
for CBS TV. Thirty years ago, he founded Laurel
Record as a hobby to issue obscure works by
US composers. When Barshai's son played him
the Mahler tapes, he was smitten, and for
all sorts of reasons. Gilbert, who is 83 this
week, graduated from Juilliard as a viola
player and conductor. He was honoured to represent
a master of his crafts.
Fifth is his first mainstream release. It
will be followed by the last concertos ever
played by Sviatoslav Richter, conducted by
Barshai in Japan, along with some Russian
music and probably the Mahler Tenth. "I have
been involved with recording all my life,"
Gilbert told me, "but I have never tasted
such excitement as this."
so, thanks to web buzz, Barshai and Gilbert
may enjoy a golden Indian summer and many
of us will relish treasures that we would
never otherwise have accessed. The future
of classical recording, if there is to be
one, will be driven by the internet. The question
is whether earth-bound media will manage to
With reference to Classical CD Reviews
Thank you for review info - must be a record
- from posting out the CD to publication of
review two days!
The Divine Art Record Company
Len, I just happened on last July's review
of my Parnassus recording of Luening and Starer.
I want to say how pleased I am that
the site covered this recording, and that
Rob Barnett's review was so detailed and full
of interesting musical comparisons. (It suggested
some future listening to me, certainly!) In
our world of sound bites and "noteds in brief,"
which tend to do meager service to the subtleties
of classical music or the performance thereof,
it is heartening to find one's work and that
of one's colleagues treated so attentively
-- a feature I enjoy about the site in general,
With Reference to Classical Music on the
I just had to write to compliment Prof. Robin
Mitchell-Boyask on the perceptive and
of the state of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
As a Philadelphian myself with some familiarity
with the ensemble (I produced the Orchestra's
Centennial boxed set), I have to say that
this was as well-done as anything which has
appeared from the music critics of our major
newspaper here. Kudos to Prof. Mitchell-Boyask,
and to you for publishing it.
The website Classical Music on the Web, edited
by the incredibly learned and expert critic
Rob Barnett (a site that offers a good alternative
to the often narrow views of Hurwitz and his
collection of critics) ............
8H Haggis Oct 2000
[we blush on Rob's behalf]
With Reference to Tony Duggan's Mahler reviews
Mr. Duggan's reviews are the most intelligent
and literate I have yet seen. Thank you very
much for forwarding them to me. Given the
quality of your Web site, I will have to make
it a habit to connect with it.
All the best,
Titanic Records June 2000
With reference to reviews on Seen&Heard
International Piano Competition
Dear Mr Woolf
Thank you so much for sending copies of your
various reviews. I am glad the Competition
inspired such mixed reactions and it was good
to read such a well-balanced collection of
With all best wishes,
Event Coordinator May 2000
Thank you very much indeed for passing me
the various reviews regarding the World Piano
Competition. It is very good that you found
it of such interest - and that it stimulated
such differing responses! I hope our prize-winners
continue to receive such coverage as their
I would be grateful, however, if you would
correct one point. I would like to assure
you that, far from having the casting vote,
I as Chairman have no more sway than any other
jury member (the total number of jurors being
11 including the chairman). We pride ourselves
on having a transparent voting system which
ensures a total lack of bias and I would be
grateful if this could be made clear to your
readers as soon as possible.
Having said this, I am still very pleased
that you give us such coverage and I look
forward to reading further reviews in the
With thanks and best wishes,
Chairman & Artistic Controller
- - - all of us here at this office enjoyed
reading what was a refreshingly thorough piece
of reviewing and we will follow your site
with interest in the future - - -
Their own website is oup.co.uk/music.repprom
Oxford University Press
Hope all is well with you, the site is looking
Decca Press Office March 2000
We are a PR agency in the realm of classical
music, and do PR for Ingo Metzmacher, among
others. With great pleasure I read the interview
with Ingo Metzmacher on your website.
What they say about Seen
Congratulations on creating Seen & Heard:
a much-needed enterprise, especially given
the decreasing space allocated to music journalists
in the national newspapers. I enjoyed Peter
Grahame Woolf's informative and extensive
account of the recent Musica festival in Strasbourg.
Seen & Heard could become an important
part of musical life.
Gramophone review of web sites January
wide on the WWW
James Jolly presented a grand tour of Music
Web Sites as Editor's Choice. We earned
a picture and a mention in the final sentences
...... and Len Mullenger's fine Music on the
Web site has a long article by Francis Routh
on Rubbra - and masses of other interest besides.
It's well worth a detour.
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Chamber Music of America Vol 17 No
1 Feb 2000
In a survey of 50 music web-sites Cadenza
was first, Music & Vision 2nd and we were
18th. Well done the Brits! Robert Commanday
This is a very british affair, as is immediately
apparent by the prominent features at the
top - Gerard Hoffnung, British Music Societies,
The Proms - but there's quite a bit more,
CD and book reviews, some amusing light articles.
We also earned a picture, albeit on a separate
established compendium of CD and book reviews, composer profiles, interviews
and musical societies stands head and shoulders above many of its competitors.
No fledglings here. Savvy
est un site d'une belle richesse sur la musique
au Royaume Uni. Son auteur, Len Mullenger
est un extraordinaire animateur. Les richesses
de son site sont prodigieuses, avec en particulier
de remarquables biographies, des critiques
de CD...; l'ensemble est tellement riche qu'une
visite s'impose. Et pourcelles et ceux qui
ne parlent pas ou ne lisent pas l'anglais...
et bien... prenez des leçons !
"MWeb is a site of exceptional richness
about music in the UK. The man behind it,
Len Mullenger, is an extraordinary webmaster
of the site whose depth of content is prodigious,
particularly strong in first rate bios. and
CD reviews. In fact the whole site is so rich
that visiting it is practically a requirement.
And for those who neither speak or read English,
start taking lessons!"
Foreman's review of Searle's Quadrille
with a Raven
review of Film Music
on the Web September1999
Review of Web sites January 2000
Music of America Vol 7 No 1 February 2000
you as a Bax beginner to be seeking out
a recording of the Fourth for
the first time then in fairness you should
go for either the Thomson/Chandos
or the Naxos/Lloyd Jones. This is one for
those who wish to catch some sense
of the Bax revival on the cusp of harvest;
history joyously in the making.
Would that Handley had been let loose on
the other Bax symphonies and the
Moeran symphony back then."
is exactly the sort of thing I want to read
in a record review, and
which I never get in a magazine, but only
from Musicweb (from Rob, and Tony
Duggan). I have bought more CDs from Musicweb
reviews in the last five
years than from any other source (and I've
been buying records nearly every
week for 50 years).
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