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Samuel Arnold: Polly / Mallon, Albino, Mcleod, Grossman, Newman

Arnold / Aradia Ensemble / Mallon
Release Date: 04/27/2010 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8660241   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Samuel Arnold
Performer:  Andrew MahonEve Rachel McLeodBud RoachLawrence Wiliford,   ... 
Conductor:  Kevin Mallon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aradia Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Courtesy of Robert Hoskins’s booklet note I can tell you that Polly was a ballad opera with a libretto by John Gay and tunes harmonised by Johann Christoph Pepusch. Written in 1729 it was a sequel to the previous year’s The Beggar’s Opera. Almost half a century later in 1777 the work was revived for performance at the Haymarket Little Theatre. This time the libretto was fashioned by George Coleman the Elder and the score a new one by Samuel Arnold.

Arnold is a semi-forgotten man of the English theatre. He was born in 1740, educated at the Chapel Royal, and proved adept at theatrical composition. He was composer for the Haymarket for a quarter of a century. His collaborator Coleman made many cuts in the vocal score
Read more for Polly. Arnold added an overture (there was none in the original), plenty of dances, and a raft of new vocal pieces. The edition used here in this premiere recording is edited by Hoskins and derives from a reconstruction of the manuscript parts of the orchestral score held at the Houghton Library at Harvard. In addition there are three songs excised from Act III shortly before the opening; apparently this Act got shorter and shorter.

The result is a tuneful ballad opera. The Aradia Ensemble and Kevin Mallon are certainly not unversed in Arnold’s music as they’ve already recorded his Op.8 Overtures to good effect, and they supply modest but attractive contributions throughout. The harpsichord is discreetly balanced. The winds make limited but always pleasant play. Strings are light, adept.

Many of the airs last a minute; some break the two mark minute; none breaks three. So whilst Arnold edited Handel’s works he was not emulating Handelian operatic example. As a result there’s isn’t time or indeed inclination to build up memorable arias. Instead we have brisk, snappy balladry spiced by two sets of instrumental dances - of Pirates and of Indians - and a freewheeling cast that enters into the light-hearted spirit of the thing with gusto.

It’s best not to delve too deeply, or indeed at all, into the machinations of the plot. Instead one can admire the charm brought to the title role by Laura Albino whose She who hath felt is a genial example of her musicianship. As Damaris, Gillian Grossman has a somewhat hectoring quality. Marion Newman, as Jenny Driver, is the pick of the singers - and her incisive, stylish mezzo is a pleasure to hear; try her When gold is in hand in Act II as supporting evidence; this, like so many airs has a pre-existing source, in this case the song Peggy’s Mill. The Act II air Cheer up my lads is an amusing bit of cod-opera, soundly dispatched by Lawrence J Wiliford. As Cawwawkee, Bud Roach wanders round a bit, vocally speaking. More convincing is the solid characterisation of bass Matthew Grosfeld.

Tuneful spirits set the tenor of Polly, and no wonder it was enjoyed. The libretto can be downloaded. The cast here is a little uneven but very personable.

-- Jonathan Woo, MusicWeb International Read less

Works on This Recording

Polly by Samuel Arnold
Performer:  Andrew Mahon (Baritone), Eve Rachel McLeod (Soprano), Bud Roach (Tenor),
Lawrence Wiliford (Tenor), Gillian Grossman (Soprano), Loralie Kirkpatrick (Mezzo Soprano),
Marion Newman (Alto), Laura Albino (Soprano), Matthew Grosfeld (Bass),
Jason Nedecky (Baritone)
Conductor:  Kevin Mallon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aradia Ensemble

Sound Samples

Polly: Overture
Polly: Act I: Air 1: Noel Hills: He that weds (Ducat)
Polly: Act I: Air 2: Polwart on the Green: Observe the statesman's ways (Trapes)
Polly: Act I: Air 3: Dr Arnold: She who hath felt a real pain by cupid's dart ()
Polly: Act I: Air 4: Dr Arnold: Farewell, farewell, farewell, all hope of bliss! ()
Polly: Act I: Air 5: Dr Arnold: Despair is all folly (Trapes)
Polly: Act I: Air 6: Old Orpheus Tickl'd: When billows come breaking on the strand (Ducat)
Polly: Act I: Air 7: Christ-Church Bells: When a woman jealous grows (Ducat, Mrs. Ducat)
Polly: Act I: Air 8: Cheshire-Rounds: When kings by their huffing (Damaris)
Polly: Act I: Air 9: Johnny Fa': The crow or daw ()
Polly: Act I: Air 10: Bury Fair: How can you be so teazing (Ducat, )
Polly: Act I: Air 11: March in Scipio: Brave boys prepare (Ducat, Mrs. Ducat)
Polly: Act I: Air 12: Jig-It-O'Foot: Better to doubt all that's doing (Damaris)
Polly: Act I: Air 13: Dr Arnold: Aboard after misses most husbands will Roam (Mrs Ducat)
Polly: Act I: Air 14: Tweedside: The stag, when chas'd ()
Polly: Entr'acte: Dances of the Pirates: I. March
Polly: Entr'acte: Dances of the Pirates: II. Hornpipe I
Polly: Entr'acte: Dances of the Pirates: III. Andante
Polly: Entr'acte: Dances of the Pirates: IV. Hornpipe II
Polly: Entr'acte: Dances of the Pirates: V. Allegro
Polly: Act II: Air 1: La Villanella: Why did you spare him ()
Polly: Act II: Dead March
Polly: Act II: Air 2: La Cavalliere: Patriots at first declare (Culverin)
Polly: Act II: Air 3: Minuet: Cheer up my lads (Culverin)
Polly: Act II: Air 4: Dr Arnold: Shall I not be bold when honour calls (Morano, Jenny)
Polly: Act II: Air 5: Peggy's Mill: When gold is in hand (Jenny)
Polly: Act II: Air 6: Dr Arnold: Woman's like the flatt'ring ocean (Vanderbluff)
Polly: Act II: Air 7: The Boatman: Tho' different passions rage by turns (Morano)
Polly: Act II: Air 8: Hunt the Squirrel: The world is always jarring ()
Polly: Act II: Air 9: Dr Arnold: In love and life the present use (Jenny)
Polly: Act II: Air 10: Dr Arnold: We never blame the forward swain (Jenny, )
Polly: Act II: Air 11: Dr Arnold: The body of the brave may be taken (Cawwawkee)
Polly: Act II: Air 12: Excuse Me: Honour calls me (Morano)
Polly: Act II: Air 13: Ruben: Honour plays (Jenny)
Polly: Act II: Air 14: The Marlborough: We the sword of valour (Morano)
Polly: Act III: Air 1: The sportsmen keep hawks ()
Polly: Act III: Air 2: O Saw Ye My Father: Love with beauty is flying (Cawwawkee)
Polly: Act III: Air 3: Prince Eugene's March: When the tyger roams (Morano)
Polly: Act III: Air 4: Kate of Aberdeen: The turtle thus upon the spray (Cawwawkee)
Polly: Act III: Air 5: Dr Arnold: The soldiers who by trade must dare (Morano)
Polly: Act III: Air 6: Shall Man, in Arne's Abel: My heart forebodes ()
Polly: Act III: Dances of the Indians: I. Allegro
Polly: Act III: Dances of the Indians: II. Andante
Polly: Act III: Dances of the Indians: III. Allegro
Polly: Act III: Dances of the Indians: IV. Andante
Polly: Act III: Dances of the Indians: V. Allegro
Polly: Act III: Air 7: The Temple: Justice long forbearing (Cawwawkee, Indian Scout, , Chorus)
Polly: Act III Appendix: What Man Can Virtue or Courage Repose (Ducat)
Polly: Act III Appendix: I Hate the Foolish Elf (Ducat)
Polly: Act III Appendix: Victory is Ours (, Cawwawkee)

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