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Record Box - Planning your collection - with Bill Newman

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A new series for the CD collector

Part I - Global fascinations and sophistications

<< Introduction

Dvorák New World Symphony. (c) 2000 BMG Entertainment UK and Ireland / Classic fm plcDoes one want another Dvorák New World Symphony with umpteen versions already in the catalogue? If the line-up is all-Czech, yes! I had time to compare orchestras at last year's Prague Festival, and certainly the Prague Symphony is on a par with the celebrated Czech Philharmonic. I am not following the process of comparing with the new Berlin Philharmonic/Abbado version, as the BBC did. I didn't care for their No 7, but Libor Pesek, following his illustrious predecessors' interpretations, achieves such natural spontaneity and delicacy of nuance from his players, and my attention was held throughout. All repeats are observed, and there is a constant feeling of motives growing out of and linking the whole. Pesek, a master at holding back for the final climax paces the music with perfect intent. There is no lingering for the lovely flute solo in movement 1, just that tiny touch of rubato instead, and the fortissimo timpani - slightly muted - at the close of the introduction to the 2nd is a portent of a simple, direct statement of the 'Going-Home' melody [listen - track 2, 0:00 - 0:58]. The wonderful central climax takes the breath away. The 3rd and 4th movements (like 1 and 2) are clearly linked, full of lyrical strings/woodwind beauties and sonorous brass passages. As fresh a performance heard in a long time. Strings/winds interplay in the American Suite, highlight the lightly-scored 5 movements, while Smetana's Vltava with its swift-moving currents is admirable. The piercing piccolo at the start of the final build-up - which city dwellers and tourists might link with the cries of gulls searching for their fish-meal on the breakwater beyond Charles Bridge - is eerie in the extreme [listen - track 10, 7:40 - 8:40]. Superbly recorded, what a bargain!

CD INFORMATION - Classic fm/BMG  75605 57043 2
PURCHASE FROM CROTCHET

British Light Music Classics - 3. (c) 2000 Hyperion Records Ltd.Ronald Corp with his New London Orchestra has clearly made British light music classics his special province. The overall excellence of volumes 1 & 2 (Hyperion CDA66868, 66968) is now added to by volume 3 with its survey of past favourites by Clive Richardson, Jack Strachey, Trevor Duncan, Lionel Monckton, Felix Godin, Ronald Binge, Robert Farnon, Harry Dexter, Albert Ketelby, Jack Strachey, Archibald Joyce, Vivian Ellis, Ernest Tomlinson, George Melachrino, Tolchard Evans, Charles Ancliffe, Sidney Torch and Eric Coates. Monckton's Soldiers in the Park [listen - track 5, 0:00 - 0:54] is a perfect example of our staunch pride. Corp's forte is letting the music breathe - you can clearly hear all those subtle inner parts with the aid of Tony Faulkner's fine engineering.

CD INFORMATION - HYPERION  CDA67148
PURCHASE FROM AMAZON
PURCHASE FROM CROTCHET

Swedish Orchestral Favourites Vol 2. (c) 2000 HNH International Ltd.Naxos's inroads into the unusually popular comes in a beautifully balanced selection of Swedish Orchestral Favourites, Vol. 2. Once again, you have the distinct advantage of authentic performances by the Swedish Chamber Orchestra under Petter Sundkvist. The composers are well-known - Larsson, de Frumerie, Blomdahl, Atterberg, Rangström; the music isn't - Lyric Fantasy, Pastoral Suite [listen - track 2, 0:00 - 1:00], The Wakeful Night, Little Serenade [listen - track 8, 0:00 - 0:54], Suite No 3, Adagio, Divertimento elegiaco. My first introduction to an industry representative brought the response: 'Scandinavian music is all on the surface, empty really...' Rather than strike him dead on the spot, I advised him to visit the countries where music is literally in the air.

CD INFORMATION - NAXOS  8.553715
PURCHASE FROM AMAZON
PURCHASE FROM CROTCHET

Sullivan - The Gilbert and Sullivan Overtures. (c) 1998 HNH International Ltd.We haven't had really outstanding accounts of Gilbert & Sullivan Overtures since Sargent, Godfrey and Mackerras made them way back in the days of long play. That's why I am pleased to give a warm welcome to Andrew Penny and the Royal Ballet Sinfonia on Naxos. Sullivan, like Verdi, had the genius of painting a picture of sequence and character study of what was to follow. Call it comic opera or operetta or a fusion of both styles, the music of its own accord hearkens back to a passing era where the world of music hall is transformed into the stylised make-believe of love, comedy intrigue, passing fancies and good resolutions. Penny catches the impulse behind the veneer, handling the phrases with light affection and panache, Iolanthe - that most gorgeous of numbers [listen - track 6, 4:23 - 5:21] - surrounded by Cox and Box, The Sorceror, HMS Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, Patience, Princess Ida, The Mikado, Ruddigore, The Yeomen of the Guard, The Gondoliers and The Grand Duke.

CD INFORMATION - NAXOS  8.554165
PURCHASE FROM AMAZON
PURCHASE FROM CROTCHET

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Copyright © 28 June 2000 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK

 

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