Franz von SUPPÉ (1819-1895)
Overtures Volume 6
1. Der Gascogner (The Man from Gascogne)
2. Die Hammerschmiedin aus Steiermark oder Folgen einer Landpartie (The Lady
Smith from Styria or Consequences of a Country Outing)
3. Dolch und Rose oder Das Donaumädchen (Dagger and Rose or The Danube
4. Dame Valentin oder Frauenräuber und Wanderbursche(Dame Valentin or
Lady Robber and Journeyman)
5. Reise durch die Marchenwelt (Journey through the World of Fairy - Tales,
or Entr'acte - Spielerei-Marsch)
6. Die G'frettbrûderln (The Trouble-Brothers)
7. Kopf und Herz (Head and Heart)
8. Unterthänig und Unabhängig (Subservient and Independent)
9. Zwei Pistolen (Two Pistols)
Philharmonic Orchestra (Koice)/Christian Pollack.
Recorded Koice, June 1999.
Franz von Suppé was born in the Dalmatian town of Spalato (the modern
Split). He studied in Italy and later moved to Vienna where he wrote operas
and Singspiel and became the premier composer of operettas in the Johann
Strauss style. Few of his operettas are now played (but the occasional revivals
show how attractive they can be). During the twentieth century Suppé
has become mainly known by his overtures, "Poet and Peasant" in particular
with a handful of others, became standard repertoire of Brass and Military
bands. They were also much appreciated in the days of 78 records as one overture
filled a twelve inch disc nicely.
With the LP and then the CD, there have been several collections where the
famous overtures were supplemented by a few novelties. In the last few years,
Marco Polo has gradually been working through their collection of complete
overtures played by the Slovak Philharmonic originally conducted by Alfred
Walter and now by Christian Pollack.
The sixth disc in the collection does not contain any familiar overtures
(these have appeared in the earlier volumes) but contains several very attractive
items. For me the most engaging is the extract from "Journey through the
world of fairy tales" this is a miniature tone poem with wonderful fairy-like
atmosphere with various contrasting sections. The overture to Dagger and
Rose has a very memorable main theme which first appears on the horns. Dame
Valentin overture starts with a plaintiff tune on the woodwind and then develops
into a riding theme which culminates into an exciting end. The Trouble-Brothers
starts with a trumpet call and then becomes quite military in atmosphere
- rather reminiscent of Poet and Peasant. Head and Heart has an overture
which is very short but almost Mozartian in atmosphere. Subservient and
Independent overture after a rousing opening led to a wonderful perky tune
with sparkling flute ornamentation. The final item, the Two Pistols overture,
is typical of Suppé at his best with an opening drama followed by
a lyrical flowing tune which appeared on the trumpets and then developed
into a typical Viennese Operetta ending.
Christian Pollack and the Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra play these
overtures with obvious enjoyment and vigour. The recording is good and the
disc is attractively presented and includes interesting notes by Keith Anderson.
Overtures were not written with the idea of having a large number played
together back-to-back; even when written by a master of the genre such as
Suppé they are best sampled individually rather than being listened
to as a single concert. The disc can be recommended whole-heartedly to lovers
of good tunes presented well.