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This email has been a long time coming, perhaps even as long as nearly
In 1954 my mother was a young woman of 24 years when she sang as a
soprano in one of Piet van den Kerkhoffs choirs in Rotterdam The
Netherlands, that participated in the performance of Mahlers 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 theyd 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 LPs was too much for her and
shed 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 didnt 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 sopranos 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 wasnt long
before I came across John Quinns review of Mums concert.
Here it was, in black and white! The story of Mums long lost concert
brought to life in all its glory, with so much information, so many
extra pieces to fit into the picture, Johns 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! Mums 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 Im not sure if he
realises quite how correct he was when he wrote that. In the conversations
we had following the discovery of Johns 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
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 its
mums birthday next week there will be no prizes for guessing what
shes 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 CDs 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
The whole experience has come to life again for her, its 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 60s and 70s
now, I wonder how they remember the concert?
Its 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.
Marjan van Gulik
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!
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
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 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
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 compositions.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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?
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
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.
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
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
Thanks again for your website and the lovely memories it's brought
back to me
Reference Rob Barnett's review of Broadstock
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
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.
Just a short note to say "Bravo, Dominy Clements!"
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!
I continue to read Musicweb every day. It's part of my routine like
brushing my teeth!
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
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.
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 years festival and I will of
course add you to our mailing lists.
and PR Manager
Dome and Festival
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.
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.
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
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.
hope this message finds its way to you.
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.
Salt Lake City, UT
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
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
William A. Rosen
From Jonathan Wearn
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
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
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.
Thank you again
for your astonishing perception of my work.
John R. Williamson,
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
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
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 so well.
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
this message to Mr. Barnett and Mr. Culot with my thanks
With all best
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 !
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
performed by (amongst others) Philip Cave and Magnificat (www.magnificat.org.uk)
You will find - on the above link - the album details as Cantoris
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....
Without digressing into my troubles too much - full marks and WELL
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!
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
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]
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.
WOW! But, yes,
I liked the review very much (didn't hear this Horenstein Ninth yet,
only the M & A one).
of an unique recording.
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
might, David is so focused on execution that he can't, or won't, hear
And then there's his rather tiresome nastiness, but I suppose we just
have to accept
that to get his (sometimes) worthwhile insights.
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 ,
I just received from Zin Young Blondiau at Cypres' the copy of Hubert
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
April 01 writing in the Daily Telegraph
spawns a Mahler legend
of classical recording will be driven by the internet, says Norman
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.
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.
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".
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.
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 14th Symphony.
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
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 keep pace.
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!
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.
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.
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
[we blush on
to Tony Duggan's Mahler reviews
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,
to reviews on Seen&Heard
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
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.
this, I am still very pleased that you give us such coverage and I
look forward to reading further reviews in the future.
and best wishes,
- - - 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
Hope all is
well with you, the site is looking fantastic!!
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 & Heard
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 2000
wide on the WWW
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
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
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!"
review of Searle's Quadrille with a Raven
review of Film Music on the Web September1999
Gramophone Review of Web sites January
Music of America Vol 7 No 1 February 2000
"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).
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