Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah! Three well deserved cheers for this fantastic collection – it’s one of the most entertaining from this source.
Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah! Three well deserved cheers for this fantastic collection – it’s one of the most entertaining from this source. And what a variety of music we are offered!
Bumble Bee is a real mover in this performance, the poor thing’s wings must have hurt when he landed – and it must be a male bee for no female bee would rush quite like this.
Clair De Lune is exactly what it should be, were it written for Hollywood, but it never goes over the top as it so easily could.
The finale from Holst’s
St Paul’sRead more Suite is given a very breezy performance by Angela Morley, and, although it claims to be an arrangement I fail to hear it, and my score proved it – I wonder what this could mean? Walton’s
Popular Song is as delightful as ever – and deserving of a place in such a collection – and the first revelation for me was the popular song based on Ravel’s stately
Pavane for a Dead Infanta. I was intrigued as to how Ravel’s beautiful little dance could be so transformed into a different medium with such ease. I’d like to hear it with lyrics to see how it works in its “original” format.
The classics are plundered, as you’d expect in such a collection as this. Schumann’s
Devotion sounds as English as anything to come out of Elstree and Mendelssohn could never have imagined his
On Wings Of Song receiving such rich handling. Tchaikovsky receives “the treatment” twice.
Barcarolle becomes a piece of mood music and the “theme” from
Swan Lake, the famous Swan theme, here has a chorus and off-beat guitar chords.
Meditation from Thais is a lovely interlude for violin and orchestra but here it’s a piano solo, then a swooping string arrangement, culminating with the fiddle. Irreverent these arrangements may be, but they are great fun.
I was particularly taken with Sidney Torch’s arrangement of Franz Lehár’s
Gipsy Love, marvellously infused with Magyar sounds and spirit before letting go in a modern-sounding waltz. The Finale from Luigini’s
Ballet Egyptien is great fun, memories of Wilson, Keppel and Betty – there were many Bettys over the years – abound. The
Waltz from Khachaturian’s
Masquerade Suite is very fleet of foot, surely too fast for dancing, and his
Sabre Dance seems quite small-scale by comparison with the composer’s own version. But we mustn’t forget that this has been made for a more commercial market than the Russian’s ballet. Kabalevsky’s
Galop from his
Comedians Suite includes a super part for xylophone – perhaps this was issued because, in the days of spa concerts, a xylophone solo would have been regular fare.
More seriously, Grieg’s
Last Spring is a touching interlude, Robert Farnon’s
Lake Of The Woods is an intermezzo in the Delius mould, Haydn Wood’s
Brown Bird Singing appears in a beautiful sub-Delian orchestral hue. One of the best of the original works is Stanley Black’s very Schubertian
Overture To A Costume Comedy. This is a perfect piece of light music which marries a good tune to a good idea and carries it out with aplomb and total affection for the style it celebrates.
The biggest surprise is kept for the end. I have no problem with the fact that the great Igor Stravinsky should appear in the Golden Age of Light Music series, for he did write a few things which would seem to be real contenders for inclusion – the
Scherzo à la Russe or the
Circus Polka, for instance, but four excerpts from
The Firebird might seem a ballet step too far. But here’s the clever part – the dances are performed in arrangements by David Rose!
Dance Of The Princesses (the
Princesses Round Dance) starts, more or less, as you’d expect but when the saxophones enter we’re in another world. Here Stravinsky meets swing. Likewise the version of
Dance of Kastchei (
Infernal Dance of the Subjects of King Kaschei), there’s certainly nothing really infernal about this dance; I wondered if Kaschei had become a bobby–soxer! Rose’s editing of this piece is fascinating. The
Berceuse has a nice lazy swing to it – I especially like the walking bass, not to mention the
Laura–style brass refrain. The
Finale has a jaunty air to it – everybody here lives happily ever after! It’s known that Igor liked his cash – I wonder how well he was paid for allowing this arrangement? This is so enjoyable as to be worth the price of the disk alone.
Fantastic stuff. Great programming, good variety and every track a winner. What more can you want?
Great introduction to beautiful melodies.April 7, 2014By George C Nestler (Brooklyn, NY)See All My Reviews"All the pieces on this guild title are done with great taste and bring several famous classical melodies to a wider audience. All of them are excellent. Great remastering once again. Really super!"Report Abuse