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Not quite Alfonso

Schubert arranged by
Andreas Tarkmann -

'... wonderfully accomplished throughout.'

Schubert: Alfonso und Estrella - Harmoniemusik. © 2002 CPO

The Neue Schubert-Ausgabe published the full score of Alfonso und Estrella in three separate volumes, totalling some 1600 pages. Scant chance, then, that the three acts could fit on to one CD. So what have we here? Inevitably excerpts, but of a type Schubert could hardly have imagined for a work he always hoped to see in the opera house. The disc presents some eighteen numbers out of thirty-five, not necessarily in Schubert's order, not always to Schubert's length, whether 'heavenly' or otherwise, and deliciously arranged for wind octet plus double-bass. There is not a singer within earshot. It is as if we are at a protracted Don Giovanni supper, with his private band trying out some of Vienna's latest and most attractive tunes. By the end of a pleasant hour's listening, I started to feel apprehensive and wonder which of London's innumerable statues I might have upset to the extent of its wishing to invade my jolly concert and hale me off to nether regions distinctly warmer than an English July.

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Copyright © 10 July 2002 Robert Anderson, London, UK


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