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British Opera Overtures / Bonynge, Victorian Opera Orchestra

Benedict / Victorian Opera Orchestra / Bonynge
Release Date: 05/14/2013 
Label:  Somm   Catalog #: 123   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Julius BenedictMichael BalfeEdward James LoderWilliam Vincent Wallace,   ... 
Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 15 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Hardly a dazzling sunrise of a renaissance but at least the fields of Victorian opera are now being tilled. Several complete operas have been issued on Naxos. These include Macfarren’s Robin Hood and Wallace’s Maritana and Lurline. Balfe’s Falstaff (RTE Lyric), The Bohemian Girl (Decca) and The Maid of Artois (Campion) can all be found in the catalogue. Once upon a time this sort of repertoire was to be found only on 1950s BBC Third Programme broadcasts and on the Rare Recorded Edition ‘cottage industry’ LPs that one used to find advertised in the back pages of Gramophone. How things have moved on.

We now receive this completely unhackneyed and wide-ranging anthology of English operatic overtures directed by Richard Bonynge,
Read more the doyen of this repertoire. Benedict’s The Lily of Killarney makes free with a theme from Beethoven’s ‘Choral’ Symphonyall packaged in wrapping paper owing more than a little to Mendelssohn and Weber. Those two composers also lean benignly over the pages of Barnett’s The Mountain Sylph,rubbing shoulders with the lighter Tchaikovsky and diluted Berlioz. The big overture to Balfe’sThe Siege of Rochelle suggests an affinity for Bellini and nineteenth century operatic ballet music mixed in with Weber and Rossini. There’s some pretty striking eerie music at about 5:20 but it is not long before Balfe returns to the tried and trusted Weber/Rossini dramatic manner. Balfe’s Le Puits D’Amour is often a delicate and tissuey creature, smilingly bel canto in its ways. Bonynge is well experienced in the realms of bel canto. The overture stands out confidently in this company even if it does end with conventional affirmative gestures.

Loder’s The Night Dancers bears a confluence of voices - those of Mendelssohn, especially A Midsummer Night’s Dream, of Bruckner’s tensile ppp material from the symphonies and of the dramatic rhetoric of Beethoven and Rossini. Wallace’s Lurline is also a cut above with a superbly curvaceous and affluently rolled out melody from the opulent strings. Much else is in the cantabile lyrical impulse of the time. There are some lovely effects and all most caringly and meticulously orchestrated. Moments reminded me of Dvo?ák and Schumann. Verdian - even Wagnerian - storm clouds cut across the horizon in the same composer’s The Amber Witch as well as some contrasting heroic romantic work for the horns. The overture ends on a downbeat. The prelude to Love’s Triumph sports some liquidly mellifluous clarinet cantabile solos - a touch of Weber and Mozart here. Macfarren’s She Stoops to Conquer owes more than a little to that same sweetly flowing Mozartean lyrical line but accentuated with Weber and Mendelssohn and ending in a confident gesture. Thomas’s The Golden Web is another big overture with a singingly confident Mediterranean surge and flow. It’s a strong overture with high romantic aureate invention and the sort of Tchaikovskian filigree one hears in the ballets and the more delicate sections of the Manfred Symphony. It makes us wonder again about Thomas and his other works. We have been missing something altogether valuable.

Victorian Opera Northwest provided the highly skilled orchestra. Its Director is MWI reviewer Raymond Walker who we are assured has, together with conductor Richard Bonynge, carried out much research and realisation work to produce this CD. We also have to thank Valerie Langfield, Peter Jaggard, Nicholas Temperley and Michael Harris for their own input to make this disc such a success.

Somm once again prove themselves a pathfinder - this time for some grandly romantic English overtures which need no special pleading.

– MusicWeb International (Rob Barnett) Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
The Lily of Killarney: Overture by Julius Benedict
Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
Period: Romantic 
Venue:  Urmston Grammer School, Manchester, Engl 
Length: 8 Minutes 43 Secs. 
2.
The Siege of Rochelle: Overture by Michael Balfe
Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
Period: Romantic 
Written: United Kingdom 
Venue:  Urmston Grammer School, Manchester, Engl 
Length: 9 Minutes 23 Secs. 
3.
Le Puits d'Amour: Overture by Michael Balfe
Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
Period: Romantic 
Written: United Kingdom 
Venue:  Urmston Grammer School, Manchester, Engl 
Length: 9 Minutes 33 Secs. 
4.
The Night Dancers: Overture by Edward James Loder
Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
Period: Classical 
Written: 1846 
Venue:  Urmston Grammer School, Manchester, Engl 
Length: 6 Minutes 49 Secs. 
5.
Lurline: Overture by William Vincent Wallace
Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859 
Venue:  Urmston Grammer School, Manchester, Engl 
Length: 8 Minutes 22 Secs. 
6.
The Amber Witch: Overture by William Vincent Wallace
Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1861 
Venue:  Urmston Grammer School, Manchester, Engl 
Length: 6 Minutes 3 Secs. 
7.
Love's Triumph: Prelude by William Vincent Wallace
Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1862 
Venue:  Urmston Grammer School, Manchester, Engl 
Length: 3 Minutes 53 Secs. 
8.
She Stoops to Conquer: Overture by George Macfarren
Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
Period: Classical 
Written: 1864 
Venue:  Urmston Grammer School, Manchester, Engl 
Length: 5 Minutes 56 Secs. 
9.
The Golden Web: Overture by Arthur Goring Thomas
Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893 
Venue:  Urmston Grammer School, Manchester, Engl 
Length: 8 Minutes 22 Secs. 
10.
The Mountain Sylph: Overture by John Barnett
Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
Period: Classical 
Written: 1834 
Venue:  Urmston Grammer School, Manchester, Engl 
Length: 7 Minutes 27 Secs. 

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