Notes and Editorial Reviews
A swashbuckling tribute to mark the 50th anniversary of Korngold's death
Hard on the heels of William Stromberg’s admirable Naxos set (9/07) of Korngold’s towering score for The Sea Hawk (1940) in its entirety comes this classy and generous single-disc selection from Chandos. Rumon Gamba’s 77-minute suite in six parts sensibly follows the action and will leave no listener in any doubt as to the giddy fecundity of top-flight invention and awesome architectural sweep of Korngold’s exhilarating canvas (“much copied in adventure films ever since, it has never been bettered”, as Brendan Carroll rightly states in his typically authoritative and detailed
All the big set pieces are here, not least the unforgettable choral recapitulation of the main title (“Strike for the shores of Dover!”), which comes close to matching the tingle factor on Charles Gerhardt’s classic RCA recording of the abridged suite (12/89 – a reissue soon, please), while the gorgeous love music for Thorpe and Dona Maria is always most touchingly attended to (for a taster beam to tr 14, “Rose Garden”).
Suffice to say, the orchestral playing under Gamba’s judiciously paced lead has a sophisticated sheen, appropriate sense of spectacle (stellar brass contribution, as ever from this source) and whole-hearted commitment that testify to the BBC Philharmonic’s unimpeachable credentials in this repertoire (Korngold has had no doughtier champion among UK orchestras).
Apart from one jarringly audible page-turn, Chandos’s production values leave nothing to be desired; indeed, the sound is gloriously wide-ranging, sumptuous and detailed. Throw in a particularly handsome booklet (which includes photographs of the composer directing the Warner Brothers Studio Orchestra) and it will by now be clear that every true Korngold fan should make haste to this terrific release.
-- Andrew Achenbach, Gramophone [1/2008]
Works on This Recording
The Sea Hawk: Suite by Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Manchester Chamber Choir,
BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1940; USA
Be the first to review this title