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Neeme Jarvi conducts Offenbach


Release Date: 11/13/2015 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 5160  
Composer:  Jacques Offenbach
Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.

Neeme Järvi, whose Chandos recordings with the (Royal) Scottish National Orchestra in the 1980s were universally acclaimed, has turned his attention to lighter music these days. Järvi was appointed artistic and music director of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in 2012.

We kick off this Offenbach collection with an invigorating account of the overture to the celebrated Orpheus in the Underworld, which ends with a high-kicking rendition of the famous Can-Can. The OSR are wonderfully alert and the recording has plenty of space and sparkle. Bass is quite taut and the percussion is nicely rendered.

Read more Järvi’s account of the overture to The Beautiful Helen is well blended and it’s surprisingly supple. The stereo spread is very convincing and there’s a lovely bloom to the sound. Also, those rousing brass passages are bracing but not too bright, while the quieter ones are nicely detailed. One of Offenbach’s less familiar works, the so-called ‘fairy opera‘ Voyage to the Moon, is represented here by the overture and ballet music. What glorious fanfares in the overture, and how ear-pricking the timpani rolls that follow. As for the ballet music it’s artfully sprung and attractively pointed.

Any caveats thus far? Järvi’s Offenbach isn't always as genial as I’d like. Never mind, he more than makes up for that with performances of impeccable style and shape. The overture to The Drum-Major's Daughter mixes martial rhythms with moments of real tenderness. It’s all capped by the kind of chatterbox-chastening finale that had me laughing out loud. Järvi scales and paces this one to perfection, inviting a round of applause even before the curtain rises. These well-drilled players seem to be enjoying themselves as well.

Offenbach’s masterly opéra fantastique, The Tales of Hofmann, is represented by the intermède (intermezzo) and Barcarolle; both get a decent if somewhat low-key outing here. Järvi’s account of Bluebeard has a softer center, and he’s firm rather than obsessive in matters of rhythm. The short overture to Marriage by Lantern-Light – a revised version of the earlier Mathurin’s Treasure – is one of the more obscure and less ‘showy’ pieces here; it has a certain charm nonetheless.

While Järvi’s performance of the overture to La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein seems a tad reticent after say, Karajan’s more brilliant one, it’s no less compelling for that. What the OSR lack in sheer élan – the Berlin brass in particular are hard to beat – they make up for in lovely detail and rhythmic flair. Ditto in the effervescent overture to Vert-Vert, which climaxes in a runaway finale that had me reaching for the Repeat button. The last bon-bon in this well-filled box, Antal Doráti’s arrangement of the overture to La Vie parisienne, is certainly one of the tastiest.

A melt-in-the-mouth confection, attractively played and presented; Järvi père is back on form at last.

– MusicWeb International (Dan Morgan) Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Orphée aux enfers: Overture by Jacques Offenbach
Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Paris, France 
2.
La belle Hélène: Overture by Jacques Offenbach
Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1864; Paris, France 
3.
Le voyage dans la lune: Overture by Jacques Offenbach
Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1875; Paris, France 
4.
Le voyage dans la lune: Ballet of the Snowflakes by Jacques Offenbach
Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 10/26/1875; Paris, France 
5.
La fille du tambour-major: Overture by Jacques Offenbach
Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1879; Paris, France 
6.
Les contes d'Hoffmann: Intermezzo by Jacques Offenbach
Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1881; Paris, France 
7.
Les contes d'Hoffmann: Barcarolle by Jacques Offenbach
Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1881; Paris, France 
8.
Barbe-bleue: Overture by Jacques Offenbach
Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1866; Paris, France 
9.
Le mariage aux lanternes: Overture by Jacques Offenbach
Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853/1857; Paris, France 
10.
La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein: Overture by Jacques Offenbach
Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867; Paris, France 
11.
Vert-vert: Overture "Kakadu" by Jacques Offenbach
Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1869; Paris, France 
12.
La vie parisienne: Overture by Jacques Offenbach
Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1866; Paris, France 

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