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Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

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What they say about us

July 2013

#ff @MusicWebInt Invaluable resource for record collectors and musicians Kenneth Woods


This email has been a long time coming, perhaps even as long as nearly 60 years!

In 1954 my mother was a young woman of 24 years when she sang as a soprano in one of Piet van den Kerkhoff’s choirs in Rotterdam The Netherlands, that participated in the performance of Mahler’s Symphony no 8, which was reviewed by John Quinn.

Mum gave up singing for a while whilst her children were young, but when we became teenagers, she joined the local choir and started singing again. My mother is a quiet sort of a person, who is not given to talking about herself much. But she did always speak of her early singing days with great fondness and the Mahler performance was at times mentioned, although not in great detail.

About 15 years ago I myself joined a choir in Perth and found myself talking about music, singing and performances with my mum and connecting with her in a way that was new and very enjoyable. A passion we both shared! Slowly the anecdotes and memories of many years surfaced with a lot more detail, and this time I found myself asking questions, trying to imagine what it must have been like for her all those years ago. She spoke so often of that memorable Mahler performance, where all the choristers had received a booklet and for each rehearsal they received a stamp. If they’d missed out on 2 stamps, they were not allowed to sing in the performance! She also mentioned that the concert had been recorded, but the price of the LP’s was too much for her and she’d not been able to buy them. Later, during one of my visits home, she produced the newspaper clippings she had kept all those years and I began to understand the scale of the work a bit better. This had been no ordinary performance, that much I was really beginning to understand. It was lovely to see her so animated, reliving the whole experience.

I found it such a shame that she had never been able to listen to the recording, but didn’t really think about it much, until during one of our recent conversations the subject of “the Mahler concert” came up again. Mum is nearly 83 and likes to repeat old stories a bit! So I listened to her talking about Piet van den Kerkhoff and his methods of getting the soprano’s to hit their high notes and other highlights of the preparation for the Mahler concert. That conversation really sparked my interest in this performance and I jumped on the internet to see if I could learn anything about Piet van den Kerkhoff, the conductor she respected so very much. To my utter delight it wasn’t long before I came across John Quinn’s review of Mum’s concert. Here it was, in black and white! The story of Mum’s long lost concert brought to life in all its glory, with so much information, so many extra pieces to fit into the picture, John’s review brought the entire concert to life for me and it moved me to tears.

His review of the choral performance seems to be utterly and amazingly accurate. The choristers did indeed rehearse for months and months, they lived for nothing but their rehearsals and the stamps in their booklets! Mum’s choir under the guidance of Piet van den Kerkhoff was apparently extremely well prepared (better than the others she always proudly tells me!). John writes that in his notes he wrote that this performance mattered to those involved, and I’m not sure if he realises quite how correct he was when he wrote that. In the conversations we had following the discovery of John’s review Mum stated categorically that that concert had been the highlight of her life!!! I suspect she is not the only participant who feels that way right up to this present day!

I wanted to say a heartfelt thank you to John Quinn for the research he did and his wonderful review which also put me on the trail of the long lost recording. I was delighted to discover the concert has been burned onto a CD by the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, and as it’s mum’s birthday next week there will be no prizes for guessing what she’s getting for her birthday this year!

In your review you speculated on the performers receiving an ovation at the conclusion of the concert? Correct, .. again. I asked mum how they felt at the end when it was over, it must have been so huge. And she said - och child, they just clapped and clapped and they wouldn't stop. It lasted for a full 20 minutes! We didn't know what to do. It was amazing!

Mum had a very lovely birthday this week. She has been listening to the CD’s and has thoroughly enjoyed reliving the performance. She told me she had goose bumps when she first heard the opening again and so many memories then surfaced that she found it hard to sleep that night!

The whole experience has come to life again for her, it’s lovely. One of her most vivid memories is of the dress rehearsals when everyone came together for the first time. They were all astonished that the children could completely out-sing the combined forces of all the adults! She still chuckles at that. I remember you made a mention of them in your review as well. Those children must be in their 60’s and 70’s now, I wonder how they remember the concert?

It’s certainly been wonderful for me to experience it through your review, which in turn has helped me to build a stronger connection with my mum. Thank you once again for that.

Kind regards

Marjan van Gulik


 

In March 2013 the site presentation was revised using a new format which included drop-down menus for the first time

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!

Victoria Love

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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 page?

Thanks for your great site and tireless work.

Regards,

Mark Percival.
Brisbane. Queensland. Australia.

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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 thanks!Hugh Pyper


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. http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2012/Oct12/Wagner_Ring_Solti_4783702.htm 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.

Regards,
Jim Kreh
Hoschton, GA
USA

2010

Dear Len,
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 compositions.
Thank you so much for publishing his review of my orchestra music on MusicWeb-International.
Best wishes,
Rain

Rain Worthington
Composer, www.rainworthington.com

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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.
Best wishes
Colin Gray

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.
Regards
DB

Congratulations on your excellent website
Bob Stevenson
(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.
Ed Rothberg

Musicweb is by far the best classical review source on the web (and superior to most print too).
Rex Dotson

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 lovers.
Best regards
Francesco Baldini

I want you to know that I really appreciate and enjoy your website.
Tommy Westbrook

Just completed the survey: always happy to support Musicweb!

Dr Richard Newell

Best of luck with all the processing, and with your site, which continues to give enormous pleasure.
Peter Mechen

Many thanks for all the great work you do – the site is much appreciated.
Doug Hughes

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!
Warm regards,
Wenbo Lu

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.
John Pendley


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.
Yuja Wang

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2009

Dear Len,

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 keeping 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
Maine USA

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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 them 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.

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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, Nimbus Records

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Thank you again for the years of erudition I have found within the pages of Music Web.

Gordon E Smith

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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 . .

Alan Blackman

2008

Click and Pick: Tony Deller reviews concert-finding websites
Classical Music 19 July 2008 p23

......... www.musicweb-international.com 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?
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From Adrian Farmer of Lyrita

Dear Rob

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.

Kind regards

Adrian Farmer

 

2007

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?

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Reference Eric Coates page

Hello Len,

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 office.

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 very kind.

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

Sincerely

Harry Harris


 

Reference Rob Barnett's review of Broadstock symphonies

Dear Rob

I am humbled by your review - thank you!! As I said earlier to you it is 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 nothing more!

Obviously, as editor, it is your own all-encompassing acceptance of many styles and kinds of music that is setting the example for fair and excellent reviewing. Keep up the great work.

best wishes
Brenton


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 International!

Sincerely,
Peter Mechen


I continue to read Musicweb every day. It's part of my routine like brushing my teeth!
All best,
John McLaughlin Williams (Conductor)


What 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 "complete works."

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 ephemera.

Thank you for making such a valuable work of criticism so readily available on the web.

Bill McGee


I 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 year’s festival and I will of course add you to our mailing lists.
With best wishes,
Shelley Hughes
Press and PR Manager
Brighton Dome and Festival



Dear Mr. Serotsky,

Thank 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 much.........

When 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 commercialized, American orchestra players play music without any kind passion, etc. and I'm having a difficult time to connect myself with the outer world.

I've 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.

Sincerely,

Chitose Okashiro 2006


It's high time I wrote you and thanked you for the wonderful work
you've done over the years making MusicWeb the useful site it is. I
always look forward to the reviews and other features and
particularly appreciate the weekly e-mail updates.

Scott Morrison
Middlebury, Vermont


As 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.

Dr. Marc Villéger


Your web reviews have been invaluable. They are intelligently written and are richer in background and analysis than Gramophone, Fanfare, etc. Thanks.
David Krantz 2006

Dear Mr. Horner,

Thank 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.

With my very best wishes,

Phillip Schroeder October 2004


Hello,

I have just belatedly stumbled upon this EXCELLENT review of the Wigglesworth/LPO Prom last summer: http://www.musicweb.uk.net/SandH/2003/July03/Prom50.htm

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.

I hope this message finds its way to you.

Yours sincerely,

name with-held July 2004


Please 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 superb work.

Very sincerely,

Gene Halaburt
Salt Lake City, UT
USA

Ives’ Concord Sonata played by Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Zankel Hall, New York City, May 17, 2004 (BH)


I 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. How evocative and in such brief terms!

Warmest thanks,

Richard Caniell
Archivist


I 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 personal.

Warm Regards,

William A. Rosen

(Aug 2003)


From Jonathan Wearn (Producer)

Dear Rob Barnett


A 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.

Best

J


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 of composers.)

Rod DeCecco, Rhode Island/USA


Dear Rob

I 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.

To 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.

Thank you again for your astonishing perception of my work.

With kindest regards,

John R. Williamson, b. 1929


Just 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.

One 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 heart.

As 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.

With all good wishes, George Malko


From: "john mclaughlin williams" <jmw12@------->
To: <Len@musicweb.uk.net>
Sent: Friday, June 21, 2002 3:56 PM
Subject: musicweb


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 for breadth.

So thanks, and keep doing what you do so well.
JMW


I am writing to express my appreciation of the recent 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 receptive listener.

Please convey this message to Mr. Barnett and Mr. Culot with my thanks

With all best regards,

Joel Feigin



Sir;

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.

royknoop@harbornet.com May02


I 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.

Many thanks,

William Rosen May02


I 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.

Pamela Blevins


Hello,

I first of all want to thank you for writing an intelligent and compelling review of 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.

San 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.

When 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.

I 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.

Sincerely,

Karim


Hello,

I've 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.

The quality of his music goes without saying, embracing all of the important 20th century styles in one heady opus.

Your site is a truly inspired effort !

Kind regards,
John Harper.
Oxfordshire, UK.

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Hi Len,

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) of:

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 World Leader!

Kind regards,

Craig Savill

................................................

Dear Len,
http://www.musicweb.uk.net/classrev/2001/Aug01/AuberCrown.htm
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 (http://www.operanews.com/archives/901/Recordings.901.html).

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

With thanks,
Bruce Livett

Tony Duggan's Mahler (again)

Gustav 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] [TD]

Every 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.

The 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.
Henry Fogel

WOW! But, yes, I liked the review very much (didn't hear this Horenstein Ninth yet, only the M & A one).

regards,
samir golescu

Brilliant review of an unique recording.
Stephen Hall

Not 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.

Bob Harper

 


Malcolm Arnold 80th Birthday celebrations

Well 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 ,

Richard Shaw


Dear Len,

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

Michel Stockhem

July 2004


Norman Lebrecht April 01 writing in the Daily Telegraph

Cyberspace spawns a Mahler legend

The future of classical recording will be driven by the internet, says Norman Lebrecht

WORD 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 arts.

In 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 Record.

Two 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 available".

These 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 print.

The 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.

The 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.

What 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.

Its 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 14th Symphony.

After 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.

Over 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.

His 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.

Herschel 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.

Mahler 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."

And 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 keep pace.

With reference to Classical CD Reviews Jan 2001

Thank you for review info - must be a record - from posting out the CD to publication of review two days!

Stephen Sutton

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, BTW.    

Cordially,

Danielle Woerner


With Reference to Classical Music on the Web

I just had to write to compliment Prof. Robin Mitchell-Boyask on the  perceptive and well-written analysis 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.
Yours,Mark Obert-Thorn

-----------------------------------------------------

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]

Oct 2000


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,

Charles

Titanic Records  June 2000


With reference to reviews on Seen&Heard

London 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 critical opinions.

With all best wishes,

Tricia Staple

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 careers progress.

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 future.

With thanks and best wishes,

Yours sincerely

Sulamita Aronovsky

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 fantastic!!

Speak soon
Nice wishes

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.

March 2000


What they say about Seen & Heard

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.

Thalia Myers

Oct 199


Gramophone review of web sites January 2000

Wandering 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 wrote

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 page

This 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 Search engine

musicweb.uk.net 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!"

abeillemusique.com

Lewis Foreman's review of Searle's Quadrille with a Raven

Internet Magazine review of Film Music on the Web September1999

Gramophone Review of Web sites January 2000

Chamber Music of America Vol 7 No 1 February 2000

I quote:

"Were 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."

This 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).

Donald Clarke


 

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