|Founder: Len Mullenger||
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett
International Salon Music Festival - Interlaken 1994
P.MARQUINA Spanischer Zigeunertanz
J.RIXNER Blauer Himmel
L. GANNE Extase
G. WINKLER Neapolitanisches Ständchen
A. SCHULENBURG Majarska
G. BOULANGER Avant de mourir
G. BOULANGER Tango Torero
G. BOULANGER Avant de mourir
R. STRAUSS Waltz from Rosenkavalier
GLAZUNOV La Glace, la Gèle et la Neige from The Seasons
W. KOLLO Alle Englein lachen
E. NAZARETH Fon-Fon’
A. BENJAMIN Jamaican Rumba
A. JOBIM Desafinado
SONDHEIM Send in the Clowns
Recorded at the Interlaken Casino, September, 1994, DDD
CLAVES CD 50-9514 [66.02]
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Hands up those that of you who do not know what salon music is. Yes, quite a few. Well this CD recorded in 1994 and which came out in 1996 (only recently sent for review) will with its eighteen happy and cheerful tracks tell you, in sound, all that is necessary.
According to Daniel Ryhiner’s booklet essay "Salon Music is now enjoying a new wave of popularity." These excerpts are from the group’s titled programmes. Prima Carezza’s was ‘Le Gala Boulanger’. This Romanian composer (1893-1958) was the doyen of salon music and the booklet comments "his death marked the end of an era in Europe. With his death salon music vanished for good from hotels, varieties, coffee houses and private social affairs, not to mention radio programmes." Later on we are told "it is the aim of the George Boulanger Society to search out the forgotten forms of the musical dialect, to bring them to life again".
Three groups represented are; ‘I Salonisti’ consisting of two violins, cello, double bass and piano, ‘Salonorchester Colln’ which consists of piano, harmonium, two violins, viola, cello, double bass, clarinet and percussion and finally ‘Prima Carezza’ involving, two violins, cello, double bass, piano, accordion and clarinet. As can be seen, a salon ensemble can consist of a variety of instrumental combinations, but strings are the dominating factor.
The repertoire is wide and varied and the arrangements are generally by the groups themselves or by members within the group. The players know exactly what works and what doesn’t and although some arrangements are more interesting than others, all of them are completely within character.
To illustrate this I have chosen three tracks, which hopefully show the versatility and the potential of these ensembles. As an example of the Classical Romantic repertoire, the arrangement by Thomas Hartman of the extracts from Glazunov’s ballet ‘The Seasons’ show how nothing of the original is lost and much colour can still be extracted. This is played by the largest group on the CD the ‘Salonorchester Colln’ [track 11]. The second extract is an example from Broadway, ‘America’ from West Side Story arranged V.Kormendl, [track 7]. It is amazing how this piece works so naturally yet sounding like something out of an Argentinian Café. This is played by ‘I Salonisti’. The third example played by Prima Carezza is in Boulanger’s typically Romantic Salon style - his ‘Avant de mourir’ [track 13].
In fact it’s interesting to hear the two contrasted versions of this famous piece; the Salonorchester, in an arrangement by Karl Satow, take over a minute longer and have the extra colours of clarinet and percussion. Both versions have some marvellously warm violin playing, but Primo Carezza do not include the more improvisatory middle section.
This CD will undoubtedly afford considerable
pleasure to any listener who is not too prudish and is most certainly
worth investigation. I wonder if there has been a follow-up?
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